Oral history of British science

Rothschild, Miriam (4 of 16) An Oral History of British Horticulture

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    Interviewee's home

  • Interviewees

    Rothschild, Miriam, 1908-2005 (speaker, female)

  • Interviewers

    Brodie, Louise (speaker, female)

  • Abstract

    Part 4: Aged 10-18 were years of great enthusiasm, but when her father died she couldn't touch another plant for 2 years. Story of her brother Victor asking her help to dissect a frog and she becoming fascinated again. Miriam Rothschild [MR] was the stupid one of the family. Sister Liberty (Elizabeth) was brilliant in many ways, eventually diagnosed with schizophrenia. Other sister was 6 years younger and became an American jazz specialist. They were "uneducated" in the schoolroom, as parents distrusted governesses, who came for only a few hours a day. MR was taught about insects in brief expeditions with her father, and self taught from the Wayside Woodland Series of books. MR learnt about animals from the farm (was milking cows at age 4) but had little intellectual curiosity. From 1917 - 24 they were isolated at home by her father's illness. She had breeding cages of butterflies, helped by Cox the scientific assistant. Had a flock of fantail pigeons, story. Discussion on diminishing birdlife. Swallows used to be allowed to nest in the hall. They had a roost of 75,000 starlings on estate. All gone. More examples. MR last year had a party for local farmers to try to persuade them to leave a broad margin to their ploughed fields.

  • Description

    Interview with Dame Miriam Rothschild DBE FRS, naturalist and entomologist.

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