The Charabancs and Cadillacs Project


What is it?

In Newham, a unique project called “Charabancs and Cadillacs” has been unfolding, weaving together the threads of nostalgia, community, with memories of transportation history. This two-year heritage reminiscence project is funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

The project is a celebration of stories, memories, and the art of storytelling, with a particular focus on transportation experiences in Newham that span the decades. From the rickety charm of London buses to the luxurious allure of aeroplanes, the project encapsulates the evolution of transportation and its profound impact on the lives of the community members.

At the heart of ‘Charabancs and Cadillacs’ is the creation of a magnificent ‘travel quilt’. This quilt is not just a patchwork of fabric; it’s a patchwork of memories, stitched together by the hands of the elderly participants who generously share their stories. Guided by skilled Artist Katie Anderson, sewing workshops have become communal spaces for laughter and reminiscence.

Heritage Trips will be run during the project, were attendees of the Charabancs Project will be collected by Community Transport Newham, and taken to places of interest to trigger memories and stories. This could be a day out to Norwich, where a woman spent her early years as a midwife, or a trip to Oxford, where a gentleman worked as a milkman. Attending these trips will encourage the attendees to share their memories and stories.

What else is included?

We also have a series of Heritage Lunches coming up for those taking part in the project. This will involve enjoying a meal relating to their memories to encourage conversations. This could be a traditional meal at a Pie and Mash shop, Seaside Fish and Chips wrapped in newspapers, or any childhood meal of their choice. The purpose of these Heritage Lunches is to entice conversations about their memories using food.

The outcome of this heartwarming project is the “travel trunk,” a specially designed repository for the travel quilt and the oral history and reminiscence. The travel trunk will serve as a time capsule, preserving the essence of the project for generations to come. Adorned with carefully crafted embellishments and adorned with the spirit of the community, the trunk is a testament to the resilience and creativity of Newham’s elderly residents.

The journey doesn’t end there. The travel trunk is set to tour across Newham, bringing the stories and memories to various neighbourhoods within the borough. Residents and passersby will have the opportunity to witness the living history contained within the trunk, forging connections across generations and fostering a sense of community pride.

Charabancs and Cadillacs is more than just a project; it’s a celebration of life, community, and the enduring power of storytelling. As the quilt unfolds and the trunk travels through Newham, it leaves in its wake a trail of shared experiences, laughter, and the warmth of communal reminiscence – a true testament to the timeless impact of the National Lottery Heritage Fund on preserving and celebrating our collective heritage.

If you are interested in supporting and volunteering, or would like to find out more about the Charabancs and Cadillacs project, please contact

Be apart of the journey

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We had a lovely reminiscence session at Stephen's Court this week. We spent the afternoon talking about past memories, as well as learning a thing or two of the local histo#reminiscenceprojecto#newhame#NationalLotteryHeritageFunde#charabancsandcadillacsllacs ... See MoreSee Less

We had a lovely reminiscence session at Stephens Court this week. We spent the afternoon talking about past memories, as well as learning a thing or two of the local history.
 #reminiscenceproject #newham #NationalLotteryHeritageFund #charabancsandcadillacsImage attachmentImage attachment+5Image attachment

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