Thompson, Paul (1 of 22). Oral History of Oral History
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2012-11-22, 2013-03-11, 2013-05-23, 2013-07-12, 2013-08-13, 2013-09-18, 2014-09-01, 2014-12-02, 2015-04-28, 2016-03-31
British Library, London (Tracks 1-20) Poplar (Tracks 21-22)
Thompson, Paul, 1935- (speaker, male)
Wilkinson, Robert (speaker, male)
Part 1: [Session one: 3 December 2012] NB The recordings relate to various papers, letters and printed archived material donated by PT to the BL and have been used to form the basis of these interviews [00:10] First file starts in May 1969. Research projects go back to 1967. Letter from Brian Harrison seeking guidance about an interview on college servants. Pioneering work. Notes form a History Workshop with a list of people from Ruskin College doing oral history. Raphael Samuel finishing the Headington Quarry project. 58 interviews, all transcribed, to be deposited in the County Museum. Sally Thaw (then married to John Thaw, the actor, later Sally Alexander) doing a project on St Giles’ Fair. Alun Howkins who did a project on poachers at Oxford. Key figure early on. Did a PhD with Paul as supervisor on farm workers in Norfolk. When he first heard of the term ‘oral history’. Bernard Reaney working on a project on Otmoor (not OH).Frank McKenna working on a glossary of railwaymen’s talk at Willesden MPD. Bob Gilding on the London Docks. Paul started going to HW meetings in 1969. [06:36] Letters from people in local archives. Letter from Patrick Saul Director of British Institute of Recorded Sound 14/6/1969. Paul had asked them to deposit interviews from The Edwardians. Later problems led them to depositing elsewhere. Paul describes him and his eccentricities. He picked up on the idea of having a meeting in July. Paul had already met with Theo Barker and had decided to approach BIRS to use them as a venue for the meeting. Talks about Theo Barker and his profile then. ESRC Newsletter article on memory and history. Talks about the programme for the proposed conference. Asks Theo for he and/or John Whyman to speak about their project at Kent. In reply Theo mentions John Saville, John Marshall and a number of other people who didn’t come. John Saville was interviewing for Labour History using documents with retired trade unionists. [15:37] Letter from Beamish (Museum) where they say they have a small number of tapes. Letter from Trevor Jones at Workington Public Library. Term ‘oral history’ is being used in the letter. [18:05] Paul went to Essex in 1964, a year’s sabbatical at Nuffield. First recordings in 1967. Paul did not do any interviewing originally and appointed a research assistant: Elizabeth Sloan. . Mentions Thea (first wife) and interviews at Great Bentley. [20:07] Letter from Willa Baum at Berkeley, California. Then a proposal from Patrick Saul to set up a register in December. People invited for 13th December 1969 meeting were: Theo Barker as chairman, David Clark from Loughborough College of Education, Stanley Ellis of the National Dialect Survey (later enthusiasm diminished), George Ewart Evans. Paul went to see George as a result of Ask the Fellows Who Cut the Hay. He played a crucial role in interview techniques – never interrupt. Also vocabulary that went back to the Elizabethan period. Paul disagrees with George’s interpretation of agricultural history and the lack of change before 20th C. More of the invitees HES Bishop from Exeter, Brian Harrison, Ruth Hawthorn from Essex, I G Jones from Swansea, Raphael Samuel, John Saville, Betty Smith from The Observer, Paul, Theo and John Whyman [30:01] Scottish Labour History Society claim to have done recordings from the 1960s with John McArthur of the NUM in Fife. Issue of local v national collecting. Document with a list of items to be discussed at the meeting in December. Other people suggested - mention of Timothy Eckersley from the BBC. Suggestion that Dr Edge from Edinburgh to represent medical and scientific oral history work. Paul suggests in a letter to invite Peter Laslett from Cambridge. He had a track record of involving volunteers in his population research. David Clark from Nuffield who was recording family and community life, Ronald Blythe, LJ Mayes Borough Librarian High Wycombe, Ewan Gwyneth Jones social historian and two graduate pupils Peter Stead and Hywel Francis at University College Swansea.
Life story interview with Paul Thompson, co-founder of National Life Stories.