Hufton, Neil (1 of 5). Food: From Source to Salespoint

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  • Subjects

    Manufacturers ; Product developers

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  • Recording locations

    Interviewee's home, Northampton

  • Interviewees

    Hufton, Neil, 1947- (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Michael, Cos (speaker, female)

  • Abstract

    Part 1: Neil Graham Hufton [NH], born 5th June, 1947, Birmingham. Mentions German family bible, destroyed in WW2. Father, Raymond Evan Hufton [RH], mother, Edna Irene Parr [EP]; both from Birmingham. Mentions family origins. Outlines acrimonious divorce of EP’s parents; NH mentions rarely meeting grandfather Parr [GP]. Outlines Parr family relationships; recalls clandestine visits to GP with EP. Anecdote about GP going to Wales. [07:40] EP brought up by NH’s great grandparents, Little Nanny, Annie Appleby [AA] and Great Grandfather, Oswald Appleby [OA]. Outlines EP’s childhood, with Appleby’s, near British Small Arms [BSA] factory. [11:44] OA born 1870, AA about 1890; NH recalls affectionate relationship. Anecdote about AA providing food parcels for NF. Outlines OA’s job, security guard at BSA; describes OA. Mentions OA losing legs. NH describes OA’s terraced house location; mentions OA being bombed out in WW2. [17:30] NH describes Grandmother, [Olive] Parr [OP] meeting second husband, Poppa, Oswald Smith [OS]. Describes OS; military policeman. Describes OS’s kindness; worked as welder in Gaskell & Chambers [G&C] after WW2. [20:00] NH describes family’s post war accommodation: describes OP and OS’s terrible flat above cafâe in Aston. NH’s great grandparents lived in Kitt’s Green council house; mentions OP subsequently getting council bungalow. NH recalls OA’s death; mentions AA moving next door to OP. Outlines pleasant council estate. [26:00] NH baptised Church of England; mentions Sunday school in Baptist church. NH’s younger brothers, Barrie [BH] and Keith [KH]. NH describes beliefs in heaven and hell, aged 8; never believed in reincarnation. [30:15] EP’s mother named Olive Parr [OP]; NH speculates on OP’s basic education. OP’s working life unknown. NH describes “hole” in OP’s back; dressed 3 times weekly. Little known about OP meeting GP or early married life. NH describes AA and OP; recalls both living into 90s. Describes OP’s clothes; always wore apron. Recalls AA always in bedroom as OA confined to bed. Describes OP’s bungalow layout and plan furniture; recalls cold store. Outlines OP’s poor cooking. [42:40] NH describes family Christmas; EP always cooked. Describes Christmas lunch; turkey with all trimmings. Mentions addition of prawn cocktail in 1960’s. Describes making Christmas puddings; describes using cast iron mincer. NH recalls wishing to pass 11 plus whilst stirring pudding. [48:25] NH describes being bright child. Outlines EP’s education and secretarial training. Worked as shorthand typist at Churchill’s factory, Birmingham. Outlines EP’s loving childhood, with AA; OP sometimes present. Describes EP’s school, in Armoury Rd; EP retained school friendships until death. Little known about EP’s school life; EP 16 when she met RH. NH describes EP’s teenage looks; didn’t play sports. EP met RH at BSA dance. NH describes EP’s excellent spelling; enjoyed reading. Mentions EP’s reading preferences; wrote letters for Amnesty International. Outlines EP’s newspaper preferences; voted Conservative. [1:01:00] NH outlines parents’ social lives; parent-teacher associations, Masonic events, outings with friends. Mentions RH coming home for lunch; parents always together. NH describes parent’s devoted relationship; very little friction. [1:06:22] Outlines RH’s background; youngest of 7, living in Sparkhill. RH’s parents, William [WH] and Annie Hufton [AH]; WH ran garage. Little else known about WH; died 1940. Outlines WH’s reputation; nothing known about house. [1:10:00] Outlines RH’s engineering apprenticeship at BSA; mentions engineering evening course at Birmingham Technical College. RH became draughtsman; anecdote about apprenticeship interview. Outlines RH’s talents; anecdote about RH building house extension, making dress for EP. Describes RH’s appearance, clothes, etc. [1:17:46] Describes RH’s reserved occupation during wartime; joined RAF. Outlines RH’s war service. Describes EP’s wartime activities; adventurous time for EP. Describes EP’s flirtatiousness. [1:22:46] NH describes parent’s marriage; special license. Mentions EP buying house; uncle guaranteed mortgage. Describes RH’s post war decision to rejoin BSA; turned down offer to become Air India pilot. Explains RH’s decision; became design engineer. RH moved to Lucas Aerospace [JLA]. [1:26:45] NH describes RH’s heroic reputation with EP’s family; great mutual affection. NH outlines relationship between RH and siblings; not close. Describes parent’s first house location; close to Birmingham City football stadium. Describes external appearance; now predominantly Asian district. Describes internal layout; NH has no memory of living there. [1:32:05] NH’s parents married 1945. NH describes Yardley home; external and internal. Describes garden. NH describes playing in street with gang of friends; recalls games, toys, etc. Describes playing in pond, local woods, etc; unsupervised. Mentions cycling to grandparents, train spotting, getting busses, etc, aged 9 or 10. [1:37:40] Describes RH’s BSA motorbike; EP on pillion, 3 boys in sidecar. Describes sidecar; anecdote about theft of motorbike. Describes RH’s Ford Prefect car; anecdote about EP’s terrible driving. [1:42:04] Describes EP shopping in 1950s; outlines shopping parade on Coventry Road. EP returned to work when NH aged 11; all boys at school. Describes EP’s cooking; cooked breakfasts. Outlines evening meals; traditional English meals with puddings. Mentions EP experimenting with foreign food in later life. Recalls EP’s cake baking; owned Mrs Beeton’s cookbook. [1:47:38] Describes Sunday lunch; describes dining room table. Describes Corona drinks van coming round; mentions dandelion and burdock, limeade, orangeade, ginger beer. Meals always eaten at table. Describes evenings; limited television, homework, playing with friends. [1:50:45] Describes birthday parties; describes food. Recalls Walls ice cream birthday cake. Outlines getting presents; recalls games played in garden. [1:53:20] NH describes bedroom, shared with BH; outlines few clothes and possessions. Recalls getting Hornby train set. Enjoyed freedom of bicycle. Mentions relationship with brothers. [1:57:00] Describes Lyndon Green School [LGS]; describes brand new 1950s building. Describes class layout; 40 children seated in alphabetical order. Mixed school. Anecdote about getting into trouble on first day at LGS. Describes school uniform; leather satchel. Recalls feelings at starting school. [2:01:30] Describes LGS building; 800 infants and juniors. Describes streaming system; top stream potential grammar school pupils. Describes teaching structure; describes Mr Taylor [MrT], last junior school teacher. [2:05:00] Mentions segregated infant and junior playgrounds; no bullying recalled. NH very average; affectionate memories of schooldays. Describes private 11 Plus tuition. Describes corporal punishment; normal practise. Mentions school reports, annual exams, being numerically placed in class. NH enjoyed maths; recalls acting in mime, at Birmingham Town Hall, aged 10. [2:11:05] NH recalls 3 tests for 11 plus. Describes typical school day; registration, assembly, classroom. Mentions school milk; describes walking to school playing grounds. No school gym recalled. NH went home for lunch. [2:16:00] Describes importance of passing 11 Plus. Recalls entrance exam for King Edward School [KES]; elite Birmingham school. Outlines school rankings. NH’s ambition; to go to university. No previous graduates in family. Outlines taking KES exam; failed KES exam. NH got into King Edwards, Camp Hill [KECH]; RH pleased. Recalls celebration meal at Berni Inn; outlines Berni Inn menu. [2:24:40] Describes first Chinese meal; major event. Outlines foreignness of food; recalls dishes. Rarity of going out for meal. [2:25:52] Describes ethnic changes in late 1950s Birmingham. [2:27:27] Describes moving to Solihull, aged 11; very posh. Describes starting at Tudor Grange Grammar School [TGS]. Describes interview with TGS Headmaster, Mr Munday [MrM]; very detailed questions. Hufton parents also interviewed; MrM very imposing. [2:30:52] NH describes MrM’s office; light on outside wall. Describes brand new building layout; well equipped subject rooms. NH describes parent’s difficulty over choice of school; factors involved. [2:34:30] Reasons for moving to Solihull; nicer area, middle class. Describes Links Drive, big houses and gardens. Easy transition for NH; more difficult for brothers. Advantages for Hufton parents; everyone new in street. Describes friendly neighbours; social life of street. Describes street; 140 houses. Describes newly built detached 3 bedroom house; house layout. Innovations of breakfast room and utility room. Describes decorations; bold 1960s patterns. Recalls G Plan suite, L shaped settee. Describes Scandinavian wood dining suite; glass fronted cabinet. Describes plastic lamp; glass light fitting. Outlines few possessions of neighbours; little money. [2:45:20] TGS was single sex; no mixing with girl’s grammar. Outlines development of TGS prior to moving into building. Describes smart school uniform; rigid uniform code. Outlines punishments for breaking rules; penalty runs, detention, etc. NH describes receiving detention in lower 6th form. [2:50:48] Describes class structure; moved between classrooms after 1st year. Describes streaming; NH never in top class. Describes finding comfortable academic level. Outlines favourite subjects; sciences, sports, etc. Disadvantage of being small for playing rugby; NH played hockey to county school level, 1st eleven cricket team. Importance of sports; recalls weekly Saturday inter-school matches. Status judged by sporting ability. NH became deputy Head Boy; easy friendships. Stresses importance of joining TGS Scout group; became Queen’s Scout, aged 18. Outlines scouting activities; mentions retaining friends from schooldays.

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