Oral history of British science
Grove, A.T. (Dick) (Part 1 of 19). An Oral History of British Science.
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Interviewee's home, Cambridge
Grove, Alfred Thomas, 1924- (speaker, male)
Merchant, Paul (speaker, male)
Part 1: A T (Dick) Grove [DG] born Evesham, Worcestershire, April 1924. Comments on father’s occupation as grower and seller of fruit/vegetables; membership of Worcestershire Yeomanry; World War 2 (WW2) service; car journeys with father in Cotswolds; family holidays; mother’s early life as orphan; parents’ meeting, marriage, 1919; restrictions of mother’s early life; father’s WW2 travel. [04:07] Stories of father’s WW2 service. Comments on effect on self and brother of father’s war stories; father’s pre-WW2 farm work; paternal grandfather’s occupation as grower, Evesham; relations in Evesham; paternal grandmother’s birth place date; paternal great grandfather’s occupation. [09:53] Comments on lives of maternal grandparents, Irish immigrants; maternal grandmother’s death in childbirth. Comments on mother’s childhood (with sister) in Catholic convent, Nottingham; fundraising visits from sisters; effect of mother’s early life on mental health as adult. [14:44] Description of family home in Evesham. [18:44] Comments on items considered modern. Description of experience of local landscapes: River Avon [RA], Cotswolds. Comments on visits to father’s growing plots, Cotswolds. Brief stories of being shown fossils, earthworks by father; fishing, RA. [24:19] Comments on lack of memory of childhood reading; interest in building structures with toy bricks; contrast between reading/musical habits of parents and those of maiden aunts. Description of paternal grandmother’s horticultural books. [27:15] Comments on morality of family life, linked to Catholic Church; role of Evesham priests, including friendship with Philip Rhodes [PR] (collector of seaweeds, stamps) [obituary in report of British Bryological Society, 1934 p. 246]. Mentions inheriting PR’s stamp albums. Comments on Benedictine Abbey, Evesham; reasons for father’s Catholic conversion; father’s religious life; other family converts [32:00] Story of role as church ‘alter server’; attending Catholic elementary school; exclusion from worship at grammar school; Saturday morning instruction from Catholic priest. Comments on own religious faith as child and adult; relations between faith and conduct. [35:40] Comments on parents’ conservative politics in 1930s, including fear of communism, reading of Daily Mail; own reading of Arthur Mee’s ‘Children’s Newspaper’ in mid 1930s, celebratory of Soviet infrastructural projects; reading of relations’ Collins Encyclopaedias aged twelve, including memory of picture of Handley Page aircraft over African landscape; interest in reading about foreign places, especially in later teens; use of Boots library for travel books, including ‘Tschiffely's Ride’, accounts of exploration of Himalayan botanists. [42:05] Description of elementary school. Comments on roughness, discrimination, violence in playground; own coping; content of teaching; awareness then of child mortality; lack of memory of science teaching; geography teaching; teaching aids concerning bible stories.
Interview with geographer A.T. (Dick) Grove.