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Help for people living with dementia at Tameside Local Studies and Archives

The Local Studies and Archives Centre holds a range of material which can be helpful for those living with dementia, but, in most cases, it will require some work on the part of the carer to create a tailor made pack in an accessible format. Many old documents are hard to read and may need transcribing or editing. Below we have listed some of the useful material, it is generally possible to photocopy items or to photograph on a digital camera.


Probably our most useful and accessible source for people living with dementia is the Image Archive which can be searched online. Users can print out low quality copies from the Image Archive or order high resolution electronic copies online. It is possible to tailor make a package of relevant images for the person concentrating on the streets and buildings they remember, the jobs they did, the shops they used etc. It may take some searching using a range of search terms and it is not always possible to find specific images for the right period.


We hold some books on doing reminiscence work with elderly people and people living with dementia. Two useful titles are:

  • Roger Sim Reminiscence. Social and Creative Activities with Older people in Care (1997)
  • Pam Schweitzer (editor) Reminiscence in Dementia Care (1998)

Other useful sections of the book collection are books of old photographs, local histories of each Tameside town and books of reminiscences. Other useful subject areas are the Second World War (including the home front), the cotton industry, other local industries, childhood, leisure and sport. Many older people enjoy listening to the reading of Lancashire dialect poems and stories, especially the well known poems of local writer, Samuel Laycock. We have a very good range of dialect writings. Most of these books can only be consulted in the Local Studies and Archives Centre. A small proportion of the books held are listed on our online catalogue.

Archive Material

The most useful documents include photograph albums, old letterheads, advertisements, material relating to the Second World War etc. There are special rules about handling archive material and it cannot be taken out of the building though it is sometimes possible to copy items. 

Oral History

We hold three oral history collections. They include tape recorded memories of people who lived in our area in the past and can help carers find out about games, work, leisure activities etc as well as trigger memories for those with dementia. We have a series of recorded interviews with people who have come to Tameside from the Indian sub-continent in their mother tongues, but with transcripts in English. Some of these tapes are described on the online catalogue, but the tapes with elderly Tameside residents recorded from 1976 onwards are only listed in a card catalogue accessible in the Local Studies and Archives Centre.

There are books which use oral evidence such as the Living Memories of Hyde series, the Voices of …. books published by the History Press and Here to Stay which uses the tapes recorded with people from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Many of these recordings are now described on the online catalogue and remove: but the tapes with elderly Tameside residents recorded from 1976 onwards are only listed in a card catalogue accessible in the Local Studies and Archives Centre.
Revised April 2021


Old maps can be very evocative as people remember old street names and long demolished buildings. We have a comprehensive collection of large scale Ordnance Survey maps for the area and a range of smaller scale Godfrey maps for sale. There are copyright problems with maps less than 70 years old.


Old advertisements for local shops and businesses are a very useful source to trigger memories. They appear in our ephemera collection, in old newspapers, in directories and old town guides.


Newspapers are a good source for advertisements for shops, businesses, cinemas and theatres and for reviews of local shows and other leisure activities such as events in the parks, Whit Walks, other church related activities and local football matches. Accounts of past local events can also trigger memories and sometimes just browsing a few articles is helpful. The wartime papers give a good impression of the atmosphere of the time – the everyday problems of rationing and making do are featured in advertisements while the articles give an idea of people’s concerns at the time. Unfortunately most photographs in old newspapers are too poor quality to reproduce very well and the print is often very hard to read so some work would be required to make the material accessible this purpose. Some photographs may have been digitised as part of our Smile! Project, so this can be worth checking however. Old newspapers are held on microfilm so it is best to ring the Local Studies and Archives Centre before visiting to be sure of access, copies can be made from microfilm.


We have a range of small exhibitions of old photographs and other material mounted on card which can be put on display or handed round. There is a full list here, and they are available for loan. Boxes for loan are also available from Portland Basin Museum to aid carers in supporting those with dementia. Please check their webpage for more information Museum and Galleries Loan Boxes (
Revised 2021

Some Useful Websites

General Information

Advance booking is necessary for microfilm-readers. Please note that archives will not be produced within thirty minutes of closing time and that all archives must be returned fifteen minutes before closing time.

Revised April 2021