Gowan, James (6 of 10) National Life  Story Collection: Architects' Lives

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  • Recording date

    2012-06-20, 2012-09-18, 2012-12-05, 2013-10-22, 2013-11-12, 2013-12-04

  • Recording locations

    Interviewee's home, London

  • Interviewees

    Gowan, James, 1923-2015  (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Dillon,  Niamh (speaker, female)

  • Abstract

    Part 6: Track Six [00:43:00] [Session three: 5 December 2013] Talks about being demobilised after the Second World War – efficiency of Beaverbrook – he specialised in radar during the war. [00:04:05] Talks about being sent to Palestine on a troop ship – the terrible conditions on board. Talks about being in Palestine [00:07:23] hostility towards the British soldiers from Jewish insurgents. [00:09:06] JG was in charge of a group of radar mechanics. Talks about his experience of managing soldiers. [00:12:09] JG on the apparent similarities between the Jews and the Arabs in Palestine. Mentions the influx of Jewish refugees, supported by the Americans. [00:16:54] Mentions anti-British feelings in the Middle East. Brief discussion about Indian independence – remembers reading books about India as a boy. [00:20:39] After the war students fees were paid so JG went to study at Kingston Polytechnic. Talks about the rise of socialism in post-war Britain – [00:24;16] discusses the Labour landslide, remembers Churchill’s impressive radio broadcasts. JG commitment to equality – wearing a beret and basque sandals. [00:27:05] JG meeting his wife in London and deciding to stay and study in London –there were more opportunities for architects in London than Glasgow. JG starting work for Brian O’Rourke after the Armed Forces – meeting Jeffrey Powell and being introduced to Powell and Moya, and being offered a job [00:31:46] Explains how he met his wife, Peggy, at the radar school at Bomber Command. [00:35:14] Mentions Peggy’s life before the Second World War, her father had been injured in the First World War. [00:38;34] Explains he came to work at Brian O’Rourke’s office – Peggy approached him on JG behalf. [00:41:16] Describes Peggy’s character.

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