Oral history of British science
Higton, Dennis (Part 2 of 24). An Oral History of British Science.
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Interviewee’s home, Shrewton, Salisbury
Higton, Dennis, 1921-2012 (speaker, male)
Lean, Thomas (speaker, male)
Part 2: Description of neighbourhood and terraced house in Aldershot, with remarks on: father not happy with DH playing in road as his status rose from building cars for Baden Powell; neighbours playing piano; playing with tops; little food thanks to recession; being upset by Grammar school children; nice neighbours, but lots of quarrels; wireless poles in gardens and listening to Henry Hall's Guest Night; small gardens; anecdote about being thrashed after running away naked; DH enjoying beauty, such as the moon; [06:20] only car in road, belonging to father; Cox local shop; monday washday and coal fired copper. [09:05] Comments on religious outlook: being brought up a Methodist, attending church frequently wherever they were; mother taking him to Aldershot Methodist Church, where he enjoyed the hymns; attending Sunday School; retaining faith as a framework for living and finding it helpful; attending cathedral church in Liverpool with John Charnley and family; [11:25] believing in basic Christian structure; wife Joy, raised Church of England; combining engineering outlook with belief; feeling thankful; knowing hymns well; brother recently returning from hospital; helping others; enjoying church in America; Joy's funeral; [14:55] belief helping maintain his integrity on government business. [15:40] Story about resolving a dispute between Westland and Egyptian government, whilst Director General of Aircraft Production. [19:05] Remarks on running a church youth group from age of 21, where he learned how to manage people. Story about becoming regional chairman of National Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children [NSPCC] after a call from Mary Morrision. [22:07] Comments on siblings: brought close together by death of mother; close relationship between the three of them, partly endeared by having to do chores together, protecting sister childhood. [25:05] Remarks on running NSPCC: recognising issues from his own childhood; increased fund-raising. [26:17] Comments on hobbies: country life, such as birdwatching and walking; cricket; collecting cigarette cards, father's smoking keeping him well supplied; little interest in aviation; woodworking; hop picking holiday from school; brother's dislike of recalling childhood. [32:00] Comments doing a fine arts course at Southampton after retirement: finding his engineer mindset quite different to others on course; course widening his interests. [34:20] Remarks on engineers mindset: 'thinking vertically', compared to thinking more broadly, reference to recent John Snow lecture on TV; art courses impact on his attitudes and reading; giving up painting when his wife had Alzeimers, and being unable to paint now due to hands shaking. [37:45] Remarks on: constrained childhood limiting his ambitions, wanting to get on rather than being anything particular; making buggies as a child; leaning toward practical, but would have liked to do something musical; not being able to afford to continue piano lessons with Mrs Troubridge in Aldershot, but still being able to play carols.
Interview with aeronautical engineer Dennis Higton.