Oral historians

Harrison, Brian (14 of 25).  Oral History of Oral History

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  • Recording date

    2012-01-24, 2012-02-24, 2012-03-27, 2012-04-24, 2012-05-18, 2012-06-27

  • Interviewees

    Harrison, Brian, 1937- (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Wilkinson, Robert (speaker, male)

  • Abstract

    Part 14: Need to change your strategy all the time. Interviewed Sir Henry Phelps Brown. Wanted to find out about the Economics Sub Faculty after the War. Then he started talking about his father in Calne and his attitude to religion and trade which was much more interesting. Did an obituary of Norman Gash and interviewed his secretary up in Scotland. These types of interviews normally very good but she refused to tell Brian anything much of any interest. Interviews with politicians are difficult. Went to see two secretaries of Neville Chamberlain. Sir Neville Rooker was a defender of him. The other one, Sir Douglas Field, was a great success. Went to see John Major for his History of Britain. He worries about his future reputation. Much at his best in talking about his childhood. He had a secretary in the room with a tape recorder and only an hour. Interviewed him 3-4 years previously. Tried to get him to talk about his school days. [11:20] Dont interfere with peoples thoughts not usually difficult in interviewing. Brian starts building up a picture of their childhood. Thick description of a person. Interviewing Keith Thomas who was from a farming background, asked him questions about his background and got some good anecdotes. Does not get too many life review type interviews. Interviewed Leonora Cohen in Rhyl when she was 102 and spoke about how her mother taught her the alphabet through singing and she sung it. A second interview aged 104. Interviewed a woman in Hampstead about psycho-sexual guidance. Follower of a man called Balint. She was annoyed that he did not know the subject. Another difficult interviewee was Roy Jenkins. Brian interviewed him about his time at Oxford. He said he felt the interview wasnt very interesting and tried to terminate it. Best advice of oral history from Beatrice Webb you must allow people to talk utter nonsense with the upmost patience.

  • Description

    Life story interview with Brian Harrison, original committee members of the Oral History Society and Emeritus Professor of history at University of Oxford.

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