Oral history of British science
Shirley, Stephanie (Part 3 of 15). An Oral History of British Science.
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Interviewee's home, Henley-on-Thames
Shirley, Stephanie, 1933- (speaker, female)
Lean, Thomas (speaker, male)
Part 3: Remarks on: grandmother hiding in Holland in war and making false identity papers, now held by Imperial War Museum; SS suffering panic attack on visiting Holocaust exhibition. [01:45] Detailed description of foster parent's house and aspects of life there. [06:37] Remarks on Uncle smoking a pipe, playing after doing chores, helping in the garden. Comments on Aunty: sense of humour, kept up appearances, slightly snobbish. [09:45] Remarks on: friend Anne Redoubt; good teaching at convent school, where her aptitude for mathematics was spotted; scholarship at the Friary School in Lichfield, where she stayed for a year; repertory theatre near school visited by foster parents; Lichfield Cathedral. Comments on maths: loving beauty of pure but not applied mathematics, deciding against mathematics research; aptitude for mathematics spotted at Oswestry leading her to study maths lessons at boy's school. [15:46] Remarks on maths classes, studying biology and arts at sixth form. Remarks on leaving school, wanting to go to university but wanted to earn money, interviews for General Electric Company [GEC] and Post Office Research Establishment, deciding to work at Dollis Hill as a scientific assistant. Remarks on disliking boarding at Oswestry school and move to preferable lodgings nearby. [pause] [21:14] Comments on later boarding at Oakhurst, a large former country home: spacious fading grandeur; studied hard, wanted good exam results; later realised she needed more science education. [25:42] Remarks on evening classes: support of Post Office, studying applied maths and physics concurrently over 2 years; part time maths degree from Sir John Cass College; started MSc; learning self defence for her walk home to Colindale; good quality of teaching. [29:10] Remarks on outside activities: British Interplanetary Society, interest in classic film. Comments on Sir John Cass College: also taught navigation and arts, near to Tower of London where she ate sandwiches; friends Bill Cameron and Derrick Richell, but part time nature of course made close friendships rare; functional nature of education. [33:51] Remarks on taking a logic course at Birkbeck, dropping MSc, working for Andrew Donald Booth [ADB] on speech recognition with boyfriend [phone].
Interview with entrepreneur, computer scientist and philanthropist Dame Stephanie 'Steve' Shirley.