Oral history of British science
Woodworth, Philip (Part 1 of 9) An Oral History of British Science
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British Library studio, London and Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory, Liverpool
Woodworth, Philip 1949- (speaker, male)
Merchant, Paul (speaker, male)
Part 1: [1:02:22] [Session one: 17th February 2011] Philip Woodworth [PW], born Claughton Village [CV], Birkenhead, Wirral, Merseyside, UK (United Kingdom) 1949. [0:16] Comments on large families of mother and father; mother’s secretarial work, including post at Lever Brothers [LB], Port Sunlight, Wirral; father’s early career in Army. Brief story of father’s WW2 (World War Two) service. Comments on father’s post-WW2 work at Capenhurst reprocessing plant [CRP], UK Atomic Energy Authority [AEA]; subsequent work for LB. [3:00] Mentions current home, Thornton Hough, Wirral. [3:34] Comments on meeting of parents through Presbyterian church. [4:02] Comments on maternal grandparents; paternal grandparents. [6:30] Mentions own recent genealogical research. [7:37] Comments on childhood holidays in Scotland, using family car. Story of paternal grandfather’s pipe smoking. [8:55] Comments on grandfather’s character/appearance; differences between work at Birkenhead docks of maternal and paternal grandfathers; father’s dislike of paternal grandfather; father’s tendency not to speak about himself; own interest in father’s work at CRP. [13:32] Comments on nature of father’s work, CRP. Story of security check on father. Mentions father’s positive view of Soviet Union, following WW2 experiences; teaching of science, Grammar School. Mentions father’s radiation dose meter/white coat. [16:44] Story of CRP family parties. Brief description of CRP. [18:49] Story of father’s WW2 service including capture/internment, partly based on reading of book by Frank Williams. Mentions father’s stories of tank training for WW2. Comments on father’s pride in WW2 service. [26:56] Description of first home, flat above bakers, Birkenhead. Mentions watching of Coronation Street on television; bad weather; father’s allotment. Stories of father’s allotment. [29:43] Mentions move to CV, near to Birkenhead Park [BP]; local schools attended. Positive comments on primary school. Mentions irritation at not attending private Birkenhead School [BS]. Positive comments on Birkenhead (boys) Grammar School [BGS]. [31:46] Description of family home, HV. Mentions television set. Comments on watching of television. [35:27] Comments on mother’s valuing of/assistance with school education; tendency to regret lack of siblings later in life; relations with adult cousins. Stories of swimming with mother at local pools. [39:00] Description of childhood Hornby train set. Mentions books, Scalextric. Comments on Baco bricks. Mentions bicycle. Comments on use of train set. [42:32] Comments on reading of Biggles/Enid Blyton/classics, including Dickens; tendency to shop for own books. Comments on reading of non-fiction; lack of interest as child in history/art. [45:03] Mentions BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) ‘Science Men’ on television/radio. Comments on cutaway drawings in Eagle comics; reading of Children’s Newspaper. [46:54] Comments on BBC television ‘Science Men’, 1950s/1960s. [49:02] Story of seeing posters in Birkenhead celebrating first nuclear power station, 1950s. Detailed comments on these posters. Comments on reaction to these posters; social/economic context of 1950s. Story of reading about airships, illustrating merging of science and science fiction in 1950s. Comments on Eagle cutaway drawings, including Flying Scotsman, Mallard, oil refineries. [57:06] Comments on experience of local landscapes/places, including BP, mid Wirral sandstone ridge, beaches. Mentions playing of cricket. Comments on lack of interest in natural history.
Interview with oceanographer Philip Woodworth