Oral historians

Harrison, Brian (24 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 24: [Session six: 27 June 2012] [1:12:34] Father and money. Did make good money as a buyer in Peter Robinson. The toy business did well firstly in Percy Street off Tottenham Court Road, then For-tess Road, Tufnell Park. Had a car in the late 1940s. Firm gradually went down and was wound up. Mothers brother set them up in the sub post office. In North Kensington. Due to its success they took on another one in Harrow Road. His parents recovered financially from their divorce. Father was also involved in a toy firm called Fentocraft, run by a Mr Kidd. New Volumes was a high-class bookbinders that he was also involved in. His own firm made soft toys. Employed some Jewish refugees with sewing skills. Father was a freemason. Mother was disparaging about this. Talks about how they dealt with money in the house. [12:06] Did not worry him too much that his parents split up, but others were con-cerned about him. Academic life helped, as well as mothers relatives and the Robinsons. Reflects upon this period in his life. [25:00] Went to an employment agency in Kilburn. Taught himself to touch-type but was worried about being useless on the job market. Got the job in the music dept. at Selfridges with help from his fathers contacts there. Developed his skills of selling. Describes how the dept. worked and manager, Mrs Starling. [35:30] Talks about academic life. Appointment of Keith Thomas as President in 1985. Refurbishment of Presidents lodgings issue. Bursar Campbell was opposed to the election of Keith Thomas. Ethos of Oxford important to teach undergraduates about research. Did not believe in the collegiate and examination structures. [46:30] Bought a small flat in c.1972 in London, in part as a base for Vicky. Then in 1976 a bigger flat for £12,000. Dining in college. Much more informal business was still in the late 1960s being done over dinner. Refused to be Master of the Common Room when first invited because seniors hadnt taken their turn first, but agreed to do it the next year. As Senior Tutor he introduced a number of reforms. President Dover wrote some nice remarks about Brian in his autobiography. Did a survey on why so many students getting Thirds. [57:30-58:32 closed until 1st September 2032] [58:43] Brian not very active in the History Faculty but very much so on keeping his own research going. Sharing housework cites Keith Thomas and feminism. Cook-ing and cholesterol. Careers and children. Successor to Kenneth Dover - Brian was invited to stand, but refused. Didnt have any ambition in that respect.

  • 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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