Oral history of British science

Vine, Fred (Part 2 of 12). An Oral History of British Science.

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  • Recording locations

    Interviewees home, Norwich

  • Interviewees

    Vine, Frederick, 1939- (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Merchant, Paul (speaker, male)

  • Abstract

    Part 2: Description of childhood home, Chiswick. Mentions own drawings of house; parents’ move to Richmond. Story of drawing front room during period of glandular fever. Comments on gramophone and radio with substantial batteries; father’s dislike of televisions and telephones but enthusiasm for radio. Story of father suffering from prostate illness secretly. [7:39] Comments on father’s aversion to telephone conversations; own favourite childhood radio programmes; preference for comedy without ‘swearing’; current BBC ‘Year of Science’. Positive comments on informative BBC programming from late 1960s, including influence of David Attenborough, ‘Civilisation’ programmes, Philip Daly and Nigel Calder’s ‘Spectaculars’ on ‘Astronomy’, ‘Earth Sciences’ and ‘Ascent of Man’. [14:24] Comments on effect of ‘Eye Spy’ books in encouraging outdoor observation. Mentions New Naturalist books, Shell Guide to the Countryside. Comments on favourite entries in Arthur Mee’s ‘Children’s’ Encyclopaedia’, bought by parents in early 1950s; Hornby Dublo and Meccano; interest in machines; collecting bus and train numbers with primary school friends. [19:07] Story of visits to London Airport; train journeys to Clapham Junction. Mentions cycling; childhood interest in maps; recently discovered book of own maps of journeys with friends. [20:21] Story of correctly identifying date of aerial photograph of boat race course in ‘Radio Times’, shown by primary school Headmaster in assembly, 1950, aged 10. Comments on interest in visualising landscape in plan view; origin of interest in maps. [23:39] Mentions buying Ordinance Survey [OS] maps. Story of influence of friendship as young teenager with Scout leader (son of composer Cecil Coles). Mentions collection of own OS maps. [26:04] Discussion of interest in spatial relations of objects in the environment, connected to use of maps in Scouts and later Cadets. Mentions view from Richmond Hill. [27:46] Story of drawing floor plan of primary school for open day. [29:53] Comments on Hogarth Primary School [HPS], Chiswick; lack of instruction in biology through own education; interest in biology and history since retirement; interest as child in explaining features of environment, including holiday landscapes of Isle of Wight. Mentions interest in sea floor as child. [33:03] Story of giving talk at Sandown High School, Isle of Wight in late 1970s, including discussion of wartime Pluto pipeline, possibly pumped from building labelled ‘Browns Ice Cream’. [37:40] Further comments on teaching at HPS. Comments on childhood interest in geography of Chiswick as part of London basin. [40:00] Comments on teaching of geography at Latymer Upper School [LUS], King Street, London. Mentions geography field trips. Stories of irreverent behaviour of geography teacher. Mentions geography fieldtrip, Castleton, Derbyshire.

  • Description

    Interview with geologist Professor Fred Vine.

  • Related transcripts

    Professor Fred Vine interviewed by Dr Paul Merchant: full transcript of the interview

  • Related links

    Visit this interviewee's page on the 'Voices of Science' web resource

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