Porter, Shirley (1 of 17).  Tesco - an Oral History

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  • Subjects

    Retail trade and distribution; Supermarkets; Tesco

  • Recording date

    2005-12-07, 2005-12-12, 2006-04, 2006-07-06, 2006-08-15

  • Recording locations

    Interviewee's home

  • Interviewees

    Porter, Shirley, 1930- (speaker, female)

  • Interviewers

    Dillon, Niamh (speaker, female)

  • Abstract

    Part 1: Shirley Porter [SP] Born on November 29th 1930 in Gunton Road, Hackney, London. Born Shirley Cohen – her sister’s name. Youngest of two girls. Talks about paternal grandparents: Abraham Cohen; his Polish origins. Her maternal grandparents Polish origins: her grandfather being captured by Tsarist Army, his work as a tailor for Aquascutum – story about mother’s coat. Maternal grandparents - Annie and Benjamin Fox - anglicised from Fuchs. Story about origin of Tesco name. Story about her father changing his name from Jacob Cohen to John Edward Cohen. Maternal grandparents home. Talks about her grandmother’s accent. Their identity as British Jews. Her maternal grandparents background in Poland. Story about her grandfather killing chickens during World War II. Moving from Hackney to Finchley aged four. SP talks about being ill after tonsillectomy. SP’s nanny and her uniform. Maternal grandfather’s work as tailor. Her grandmother’s character. Story about her mother’s poor driving. Her family’s Jewish faith. Grandparent’s house in Letchworth: describes food eaten there, speaking Yiddish. Their social class. Grandparent’s lack of political views – their patriotism. Rise of fascism – SP parent’s giving refuge to a Viennese Jew. SP being protected – lack of television. Listening to announcement of outbreak of war: story about being on holiday in France in 1939. Waiting for Germans in Worthing. Visiting house in Gunton Road in Hackney. Remembers Mickey Mouse birthday party. Arriving at house in Chessington Avenue in Finchley. Story about auction for ambulances for Soviet Russia. Describes childhood home: story about burglar running through glass doors.

  • Description

    Life story interview with Lady Shirley Porter (1930-), a former politician who led Westminster City Council in London, representing the Conservative Party, and the daughter of Sir Jack Cohen, founder of Tesco supermarkets.

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