The Second World War Experience Centre

Step into history at The Second World War Experience Centre in Otley, West Yorkshire, where the past comes alive through personal stories and preserved artifacts.

One of our most fascinating customers is The Second World War Experience Centre based at Otley, West Yorkshire. This is an independent charitable archive formed in 1999 which collects, preserves, and makes available the evidence of the personal experiences of people who lived through the Second World War in whatever capacity or country.   This takes the form of post war oral recordings and memoirs, wartime letters, service and personal documents, diaries, photographs, log books and other personal memorabilia.  The Centre currently holds recordings of over 4,700 people speaking of their wartime experiences, and nearly 6000 entries of donated material totalling tens of thousands of individual documents.  The Centre’s website at contains further information on its work and also articles on some of the personal wartime stories in the archive.   A searchable online digital catalogue is currently being created and, when complete, will be accessible via their website.

The archive is freely available to consult by students, teachers, academics, military and social historians and anyone researching the wartime period.   Research queries are welcome and can be made at Help With Research • SWWEC ( or via the archive’s social media platforms which include Facebook The Second World War Experience Centre | Otley | Facebook, Instagram @secondworldwararchive, and X @SWWEC1.

HR Fire & Safety’s engineer Malcolm services all their fire extinguishers on the site and we have been looking after The Second World War Experience Centre’s fire safety needs for over 15 years.

The Second World War Experience Centre

Established in 1999, this independent charitable archive is a treasure trove of wartime memories, boasting over 4,700 oral recordings and thousands of documents.

Visit The Second World War Experience Centre Website