Sugden, Derek (1 of 5). National  Life Story  Collection: Architects' Lives

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  • Recording date

    2014-07-15, 2014-09-24, 2014-12-16, 2015-10-07

  • Recording locations

    Interviewee's home in Watford, Hertfordshire

  • Interviewees

    Sugden, Derek, (1924-2015) (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Dillon, Niamh (speaker, female)

  • Abstract

    Part 1: [Session one: 15 July 2014] Derek Sugden [DS] born in Hitchin, Herts, in 1924. Describes location of house in Hitchin, [01:43:45] story about building a treehouse with a pulley system and crashing into his father’s shed. [00:04:43] His parents’ origins in Yorkshire – his father was a pacifist and had left-wing politic views, DS Uncle Joe published The Workers Dreadnought. His father’s interest in gardening and rearing poultry, both parents’ were practicing Methodists [00:07:00] his father bought DS Das Kapital for his sixteenth birthday. [00:07:49] DS’s grandfather worked at Booth’s Engineering in Yorkshire making cranes, he died in an industrial accident. DS’s uncle Joe was a pattern maker. [00:11:30] His father worked in the drawing office at Booth’s. [00:12:09] Importance of pattern making in geometry – (all his maternal uncles were in engineering) reflects on his father’s interest in engineering. Father later went to work at Innis, Sons and King in Hitchin making agricultural machinery, father later worked at Kodak. [00:15:23] DG talks about his primary schooling – taking the scholarship exam for grammar school. Enjoying the facilities at grammar school, [00:17:22] anecdote about choosing German. Describes his father character: his outlook, his prudent nature, his clothing. [00:24:36] His great interest in rearing chickens and growing vegetables, DS dislike of eating chickens. [00:26:11] DS’s father’s attitude to money: only buying what you can afford. He was later influenced by Hindu philosophy. [00:27:49] DS compares his parents’ view of religion. [00:28:31] His father’s support of the Labour Party, his pacifism, discusses his father’s disenchantment with Stalin. [00:31:36] Admiration of Clement Attlee – mentions Arup becoming a staff owning partnership - Ove Arup’s ethos. DS’s family’s attitude to money. [00:37:56] Values at home: honesty, not wasting food. [00:40:00] Discusses food in his childhood. Freedom to roam as a child – [00:43:53] his enjoyment of visiting the local blacksmith. [00:46:38] Making model airplanes. [00:47:29] Talks about his mother’s family – mentions his maternal grandparents’ house. [00:50:08] The importance of keeping the Sabbath. Mentions his mother’s upbringing in a large family. His grandfather was a buyer for a civil engineering firm. [00:57:14] His parents’ met at the Methodist church, anecdote about the proposal. Mentions who made the decisions in their family. [01:01:34] Anecdote about his father commenting on his mother’s Parkin (desert). His father’s loving nature, his interest in books. [01:07:22] DS parents’ read The News Chronicle and Sunday Observer. Music in DS childhood: his mother sang in church, DS interest in jazz [01:11:27] his interest in classical music – DS explains why music appeals to him.

  • Description

    Life story interview with Derek Sugden, structural engineer. The interviewee died in December 2015, before the interview had been completed. Much of his work on acoustics is therefore not included.

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