Industry: water, steel & energy

Vey, Peter (1 of 10). An Oral History of the Electricity Supply in the UK

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  • Recording date

    2016-01-28, 2016-02-19, 2016-04-04, 2016-04-18, 2016-05-10, 2016-05-20

  • Interviewees

    Vey, Peter, 1928- (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Lean, Thomas (speaker, male)

  • Abstract

    Part 1: Introductory remarks: aged 88, born in Maitland Road, Sydenham, Kent in a small Victorian terrace house; mother dying when PV was 3, PV only having one photograph of him with both parents; few memories of childhood; supportive maternal relatives, Aunts Maud, Dora, Vi, and Uncle Ernest; PV growing up in Bristol with Aunt Maud and Uncle Fred. [02:25] Remarks on life in Bristol: attending Colston boarding school; PV neither happy nor unhappy; learning tables at primary school in Stoke Bishop; friendly relations with Uncle Fred; move form council house in Shirehampton to own home in Westbury on Trym; playing countryside with friends. [05:40] Remarks on mother: PV few memories; photographs; younger than PV father; last memories of mother on beach holiday; illnesses concealed from children at time. [07:10] Remarks on Colston School: founded by Bristol Merchant Adventurers; PV good at sport; long walks every Sunday or swimming; short story about school being bombed in 1940, PV bed pierced by glass but PV safe in shelter; collecting shrapnel, anecdote about beatings for picking up incendiary bombs; physical punishments, writing lines, Geography Master arbitrarily rapping knuckles with rulers, prefects beating with slippers, caning reserved for headmaster; intra house rivalry; PV good at running and rugby; PV bugler in OTC; [13:50] strict disincline but little bullying; nicknames, PV nicknamed May Vay. [15:00] Remarks on father, Charles Norman Vey: PV staying with father for summer holidays in Weybridge; old father, sad personality; purchased flat for a lady friend; father financial troubles in wartime meaning PV had to leave Colston; worked at Selfridge, where he met mother; worked at Rowes of Bond Street children’s outfitters as a buyer; woke very early to take cheap workman's train to work; likeable but not a striver; served with anti-aircraft balloons in first World War; uncomplaining nature in spite of difficulties in life; PV not close to father. [20:00] Remarks on family: anecdote about Aunt Maud's taste in clothes and cooking; Maud caring but reserved character, in contrast to outgoing Aunt Dora; Uncle Fred suffering from wartime gas; playing cards in evening at home. [22:05] Remarks on interests and growing up: PV reading much, using library much; anecdote about convincing strangers to take him into cinema; description of suburban Westbury on Trym , comparison with other suburbs of Bristol; steam driver dust carts. [25:30] Description of home: best room; kitchen with basic appliances; garden and vegetable garden; bedroom arrangements; PV two cousins; PV cousin Joe duties as wartime RAF officer, emigrating to USA where he taught military logistics; Cousin Betty sleeping in small bedroom, trained as secretary, wartime service as WAAF [Women's Auxiliary Air Force] officer; PV and Joe sharing other bedroom; Joe brotherly toward PV. [31:30] Remarks on school: PV few memories of primary school in Stoke Bishop; PV doing well at maths, history, English; anecdote ab out wife scoring better results at school; PV middling student; anecdote about Russophile geography teacher, who used corporal punishment; Officer Training Corps [OTC] activities, marching, parades, exercises. [36:00] [cont' from 36:00] Remarks on family background: daughter-in-law's family history study; father's family background as coast guards on South Coast; Mother from Norfolk family; lower middle class background; legacy from aunt funding PV school fees, moving to Salesian College when funds ran out; modest earnings; PV Uncle Ernest emigrating to Australia, maimed in first world war, later worked as Australian civil servant; anecdote about Earnest playing tennis in spite of losing an arm; mentions Aunt Vi marrying a bank manager; no feelings of growing up in particular class; cousin Joe becoming an officer, marrying well; Betty marrying into good family; fluidity of rising between social classes; at the time. [41:20] Remarks on interests: walking in woods; playing cards; not interested in gardening until later life; reading; appeal of 'Just William' books; appeal of adventure stories. [44:00] Remarks on religion: little religion in upbringing apart from school: Colston having own chapel for regular services; PV later attending Catholic Salesian College, where PV started attending Anglican St James church to fend off conversion attempts; lively debates with brothers at Salesian. [46:20] Remarks on Salesian College: PV sadness at leaving Colston and Bristol to live with father, initially with a lady friend before move to cottage; young teaching brothers at Salesian College willing to debate; anecdote about playing football a goalie at Salesian; excellent food compared to Colston, examples of food; relaxed atmosphere compared to Colston; anecdote about Salesian poor performance at school sports; school plays; Salesian college an affordable day school near father's home. [51:45] Remarks on religious outlook: PV attending church, unsure of afterlife, but believing in community mission; ageing congregation at church, rector Brian Prothero hopes to open church up to wider uses by community; PV family little interested in politics; PV not confirmed but enjoying church services. [55:45] Description of Salesianf College: redbrick built; sports grounds; anecdote about PV attending an old boys day; pleasant surroundings; good standard of teaching, good relationship between masters and pupils; mentions hating learning Latin at Colston; PV enjoying maths, history and English.

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