Press & media

Goodman, Geoffrey (2 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 2: GGs father found it very difficult to get a full time job. GG's mother had an elder sister living in London in Delancey Street. They arrived towards the end of 1936. His father found a full time job eventually as a messenger in the civil service. His mother was not in good health. Her sister ran a boarding house and helped. By the time the war came his mother spent a lot of time in hospital, with an advanced form of varicose veins. And a diseased womb which had to be removed. [5:45] GG had gone first to school in Stockport, the Wellington Road British School, then the Stockport Grammar School. His best subjects were history and geography and English. Then he went to the grammar school in Kentish Town. It was a difficult change. He took a part time job delivering papers and aged 16 got a job as a junior trainee reporter on the St Pancras Chronicle. George Bernard Shaw used to write for it too, and GG wrote to him. The reply came on one of his pink postcards saying GG had a lot to learn. [11:17] GG got himself accepted for an economics degree. Harold Laski saw him, and said he would help GG pay for it. He was famous for his help to poor students. He helped Ralph Miliband, father of David. HL saw the potential in people. He was a remarkable teacher and a wonderful human being. Then the war came along. [15:54] When GG came to London he realised what social poverty involved. They always had enough to eat, and his uncle would make him clothes. Coming to London and being removed from a close society he realised things differently. It is tougher to live without money in London. It had been a limited life up north, of learning, reading, working. They had moved into a basement flat in Camden Square. In the house, divided into flats, were working class people. Krishna Menon lived in the square. There was a park in the centre where they walked the terrier dog, acquired to keep his mother company. [23:07] GG made good friends at school, Eddy Furneaux, from a French family, and John Brem from a Swiss family. They were all interested in cricket and went to Lords. The gentlemen would come down the Pavilion steps and the players would come out from a side gate. The class distinction was embodied at Lords. They used to go into the cheap end, the Mound stand today, for a shilling. It was marvellous. GG played for the school, he was a fast bowler and played Saturdays and Sundays. Cricket memories. Another friend was Bill Wilson and he was very active in the Labour party. GG went to listen to left wing speakers. [30:57] GG began to read Marx and philosophy and Bertrand Russell. He started to do this almost as soon as he came to London. His thought formed into a pattern from his grandfather's Talmudic messages and LC, good and evil and helping people, a pattern of what society was about, where some of the problems lay and how one might tackle them. The whole thing began to gel. [35:03] All this was before television. They had a squeaky radio, there was not a great deal of communication. They had the Daily Herald and the News Chronicle, and his mother collected the coupons from the Herald to buy furniture. The NC was a liberal paper owned by the Cadbury family. Whenever GG could get hold of a paper he chose the Manchester Guardian. They used to go on the tram every Tuesday to Manchester from Stockport, and you had to change trams to get to Cheetham Hill. In Cross Street was the Manchester Guardian office. It had a special appeal, LC would read from it. Even buying two papers was quite a thing for a poor family.

  • Description

    Life story interview with journalist Geoffrey Goodman

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