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The River Memories Project

Could you help us bring memories of the river to light?

The river has played an important part in the lives of many people in Frome. People have fished, swum, picnicked, canoed,  battled floods and watched the wildlife along the river for years. And there’s a lost history of the river – did you know that once there were 26 mills along the river near Frome and bridges at Willow Vale and Adderwell and Vallis? But as time’s gone on the course of the river has been diverted many times – for instance near Saxonvale and the market place.

A 1920s painting of Willow Vale in Frome
A painting of Willow Vale circa 1920

Preserving the cultural history of the river

Friends of River Frome want capture this history and build up a resource that can help people recognise the importance of the river to the well-being and identity of the town. The River Memories project will encourage greater appreciation of the river and the ways in which it continues to enhance life in the town.

A photo of a man jetskiing in floodwaters in Frome
Jet skiing in the floods at Wallbridge, 2014

A two part project

We’ll be collecting memories of the river in two ways.

1. By talking to people and collecting their stories, pictures and objects

We’re hoping to talk to people across a range of age groups, but especially older people. We want to learn about (and hopefully collect materials related to) children playing and having fun around the river, hobbies like angling, and changes to the river environment (e.g. the re-engineering of the market place channel). 6 volunteers will be trained to record interviews with individuals and groups. We’re developing this part of the project in collaboration with the Working Memories team.

2. By researching

We’ll be researching the river in the Frome Museum and Frome Society for Local Study archives, and using any other sources we can to gather written and visual material to build up a timeline of the history of the river in the 20th century (and possibly earlier). We hope to focus on identifying sites of lost architectural and natural heritage, such as the numerous historic mills.

How you can help

We need volunteers to help us research and gather material. If you’re interested in Frome’s history or like listening to people stories, and have some spare time we’d love to hear from you.

2024 UPDATE: We're now done with gathering memories for the project, and we're working on the best way to share them with the community. If you can help, please drop us an email at


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