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Goodman, Geoffrey (1 of 9).  Oral History of the British Press

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  • Recording date

    2008-02-18, 2008-02-29, 2008-04-16, 2008-04-28, 2008-05-19, 2008-06-11, 2008-07-07, 2008-07-21

  • Recording locations

    British Library, London

  • Interviewees

    Goodman, Geoffrey, 1922-2013 (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Brodie, Louise (speaker, female)

  • Abstract

    Part 1: Geoffrey Goodman [GG] told everybody he born in Stockport in 1921 [although, according to his son John, Geoffrey was actually born in 1922; he added a year in order to be eligible for the Royal Air Force]. His grandparents were Russian Jewish immigrants, they had a great influence on him as a child, wanting him to become a rabbi. They were profoundly orthodox Jews. His father was wounded in the First World War, and was partially deaf. They were very poor. His mother worked in the original Marks and Spencer's bazaar in Stockport market. His grandparents came over in the 1880s from near Minsk. One of the things he did was to organise and arranged to have built the original synagogue in Stockport. [6:24] As a boy GG went to chaida four times a week and was barmitzvahed in Stockport. The language of the house was Russian and Yiddish. GG spoke English at school of course. All the rituals were seriously obeyed. The basic creed was in the values of life with the code of right and wrong and helping people. [11:17] GGs father's family had come over in the 1860s slightly more established, not quite as impoverished, and lived in Manchester. They were orthodox Jews as well, but they seemed to be a degree more liberal. An example. GG found this upbringing warm, loving with mental comfort, and the physical side which was very poor, never occurred to him. His mother did not have the natural warmth of his grandmother. The power of his grandfather's presence was great and it had a profound affect on GG. [17:07] GGs father went to the Jewish School in Derby Street Manchester. His father went to be a clerk and then with his brother went to war, being invalided out in 1918. Afterwards he had only part time jobs. Later they moved to Chorlton in Manchester to a council estate. His father was injured crossing the road and was then permanently an invalid. His mother continued to work in the market for her brother. To help the family GG delivered papers, giving the one shilling and 9 pence a week to his mother. [22:23] They lived in 59 Shoreheath and across the road was the workhouse. Each night GG would see the vagrants go in for a night's bed. The ground floor of their house was the tailor's shop. Joseph and Abraham worked for his grandfather there. Details of accommodation. GG was given the horrible job of taking the hen and see it being killed in a brutal way. GG resented this task and refused to do it in the end. [27:57] The market stall was in Chestergate, and the school was nearby and he went for his Hebrew lessons there, and with his father on Saturdays to the synagogue. Description. On the way back, two miles, GG had his first taste of anti-semitism from Catholic boys. GG was about 10 or 11. [36:26] They would wear the school cap in the street, the kepal inside. The head teacher was very good. After a while GG was influenced by Leonard Cookson a Christadelphian, they claimed to be close to the Israelis. LC regarded GG favourably and was responsible for GGs later development. He had a great sense of values and literature. LC would use his lessons to read extracts from the Manchester Guardian on music, cricket, and current affairs. They would go to Old Trafford to see Lancashire play cricket, and in school parties to hear the Halle orchestra, and he warned about the coming war. This was 1933, with fascism rife. [44:40]

  • Description

    Life story interview with journalist Geoffrey Goodman

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