Oral history of British science

Wintle, Ann (Part 1 of 11). An Oral History of British Science.

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  • Recording locations

    Interviewee's home, Cambridgeshire

  • Interviewees

    Wintle, Ann, 1948- (speaker, female)

  • Interviewers

    Merchant, Paul (speaker, male)

  • Abstract

    Part 1: Ann Wintle [AW] born Alton, Hampshire, [26th] September, 1948. Comments on father’s commuting/working day as stockbroker; interest in detective stories, shared with father; father’s early life. [1:27] Comments on reasons for limited relations with/mother’s view of paternal grandparents; paternal grandfather’s career. [2:16] Comments on time spent with father at weekends; father’s interest in music. [3:34] Mentions maternal grandmother [MG] lived in family home. Comments on MG’s character/profession. [4:38] Story of father’s system for allocation of pocket money related to school achievement. Comments on father’s encouragement of enjoyment of food/dining. [7:57] Story of helping with jumble sale at village school at which mother taught. Comments on dominant presence of GM at home. Detailed comments on mother’s influence on own geographical/botanical awareness. [11:04] Story of family weekend walks, involving flower identification. Comments on parental attention/own quietness as only child; own and mother’s lack of artistic ability. [12:43] Comments on father’s appreciation of walking; parents valuing of competitive sport. [13:53] Story of mother’s encouragement of geographical research before holidays. Comments on parents’ encouragement of curiosity/research. Story of mother’s travel diaries/own thank you letters, involving holiday details. Mentions own scrapbooks. Detailed comments on own stamp collection. Mentions lack of books at home. Detailed comments on influence on self of mother’s interest in archaeology. Description of archaeological picture book by Sir Mortimer Wheeler [MW]. Comments on interest as older child in Megiddo excavation, Israel; reasons for pursuing science rather than archaeology, through history. [21:23] Detailed comments on perception of playing chess as time wasted, in relation to schoolwork/academic work. Mentions membership of girl guides/[Methodist] youth club; preference for chess (over netball) as indoor pastime. [25:13] Comments on family homes, including home designed by GM. Description of childhood home (for 3 years), Alton. [31:16] Comments on childhood play in woods adjacent to garden. [33:33] Detailed comments on GM’s control over family life. [36:25] Comments on limited religious engagement of parents. Mentions Sunday school, until age 11; limited church attendance with father. Comments on awareness of religious belief in others. Mentions current interest in churches/choral music. [40:43] Comments on parents’ political (‘conservative liberal’) outlook. Detailed comments on mother’s response to class difference, contrasted to father’s. Story of parents’ meeting. [46:35] Comments on father’s service, World War Two [WW2]. [48:15] Detailed comments on parents expectations concerning behaviour/conduct. Mentions memorable smell of spent hops, Alton. [51:40] Detailed comments on first school Mayfield (private day school), with related stories. [54:56] Mentions surviving friendships with fellow pupils. Story of school reunion, including perception of continuity in characters of individuals. [1:02:59] Comments on lack of formal science/nature study teaching, Mayfield. [1:05:45] Comments on teaching of Beowulf, Mayfield. [1:06:32] Comments on/description of childhood toys. [1:09:40] Detailed comments on childhood reading, including enjoyment of Rosemary Sutcliff’s ‘The Eagle of the Ninth’ [EON]. Comments on radio/television programmes with archaeological content, from late 1950s. [1:16:03] Mentions passing 11 plus. Comments on/description of Eggar’s Grammar School [EGS]. Story of changing focus from archaeology to physics. [1:21:12] Comments on history master/teaching; discontinuity of content in history/English literature, in contrast to progression of languages/science/mathematics/geography. [1:25:25] Comments on science teachers/teaching, EGS, including positive comments on physics teacher Edward Harckham [EH]/biology teacher (and athlete) Martin Hyman [MH]. Story of teachers choosing to distance themselves from religious instruction. [1:31:01] Story of essay on life of water molecule. Mentions plant dissection. Comments on MH’s homework involving wild flower pressing/collecting.

  • Description

    Life story interview with Physicist Professor Ann Wintle.

  • Related transcripts

    Professor Ann Wintle 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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