Oral history of British science

Wood, Sir Martin and Lady Audrey (Part 10 of 11)

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  • Subjects

    Scientific Instruments

  • Recording date


  • Recording locations

    Interviewees' home, Abingdon

  • Interviewees

    Wood, Sir Martin, 1927- (speaker, male), Wood, Lady Audrey,1927- (speaker, female)

  • Interviewers

    Lean, Thomas (speaker, male)

  • Abstract

    Part 10 [1:00:12] Remarks on MW: photograph of MW in a pram; born in Great Milton 19 April 1927; elder father than mother, differences in parents in personalities and interests but ability to compromise; father Arthur Henry Wood, mother Katherine Altham Wood; mother's family background in iron making in Bradford; mother's personality and appearance, became a university student at 72 to make up for lack of education earlier on; [05:22] father working at Board of Education in London, responsible for education of crippled children, devised Nuffield Orthopedic Hospital with Dr Gathorne Girdlestone, MW's stern godfather; Girdlestone and MW father convincing Lord Nuffield to fund hospital; father's personality, upstanding, educated, adaptive, cycled to France for holidays, skilled pianist, played piano to MW in nursery, death of first wife. [09:45] Story about how MW's parents met through family connections. Remarks on: MW father's first wife and their daughter; MW home, large house in village; father's interest in gardening; remaining active on grammar school and Nuffield hospital boards in retirement; work at Board of Education and involvement with Nuffield Hospital with godfather Girdlestone. [13:10] Remarks on AW: born 2 November 1927 in Hankow, China to missionary parents; parents journey in a Sampan as refugees during troubles in China; anecdote about mother fixing boat with plasticine; parents work as Methodist missionaries, mother's service during demise of Manchu dynasty by Chiang Kai-shek and Nationalists; story about father's leading a warlord's army to safety through hostile warlord's lines; story about father's escape from bandits. [17:30] Remarks on AW parents, John and Lillian May Stanfield: father's studious nature and conscientious nature as preacher; mother's practical nature, all her children surviving childhood; sent all children to university despite low salaries with aid of small grants; story about mother turning down Cambridge place because of finances; mother becoming a teacher-missionary; parents meeting in Hangkow; anecdote about father singing old songs; reasons for parents becoming missionaries, family traditions in missionary work. [22:50] Remarks on AW childhood: childhood in Hoonang Province; parent's holidays by P&O boat to England, Italy, Palestine; 4th birthday on boat; staying with relations in Hastings; learning to swim on boat, anecdote about falling in swimming pool in China; living in walled city of Bah Ching, now So Chu Yang; semi-bungalow home; mother teaching them with aid of 'Child Education'; anecdotes about mother's science teaching; paper mache globe; [27:30] summers at Jo Jang in Lo Shang mountains; parents' interests, mothers' craft skills, and political outlooks; anecdote about parents hiding church's money from Communists in postwar years, problems leaving China; picnics in summers at pools mountains; dangers in streets of Bah Ching; [33:35] [pause] Chinese armour and other servants; anecdote about liking plain rice; shyness of Chinese children they played with; later living in city of Chang Sha, anecdote about playing in buildings; mother setting up school in Yale American compound on city edge; AW siblings; anecdote about riding Rickshaw to Yale; AW mother organising orphanage for girls at Bah Ching; anecdote about mother organising maypole dancing for school; [38:35] awareness of Communist problems as child, having to move about quickly; fire in Bah Ching. [39:45] Remarks on AW father: work as minister; AW mother once helping at missionary hospital; father's skill at social work; scholarly in classical languages; anecdote about father starting prayers in England in Chinese. [41:50] Further remarks on AW after leaving China aged 8: siblings attending school in England and staying with grandparents in holidays; AW attending local elementary and high schools then moving to boarding school in Southport; father's experiences in Sino-Japanese war, burning of Chang Sha, return to UK in 1939; father's church in Runcorn; [45:10] AW feelings on being in England; family home in Hastings from 1936 near to family. [46:00] Remarks on AW religious outlook: religion in AW upbringing; AW questioning aspects of religion in her teens whilst studying science; agnostic outlook; feelings on religion when first husband died; disagreeing with Richard Dawkins, enjoying attending church sometimes; feelings on Christianity compared to Islam; values from Christian upbringing. [49:35] Remarks on religion in MW upbringing: father playing organ in church, MW pumping organ; father's interest in Christianity, writing a book 'The Old Testament as History' and on different versions of Bible; Christian atmosphere of home, closeness to Church; influence of upbringing on MW, valuing Christian values; MW sister becoming nurse in at a missionary hospital at Assam, living with AW and MW until death at 99. [53:05] Remarks on: AW brother John who became a clergyman after serving in SOE in China during war, signed the Japanese surrender for Britain in Beijing, recently writing up history, going to Cambridge at same time as AW; sister Margaret, a doctor, who died in 1987; sister Lorna. [56:00] Remarks on MW siblings: family background of father remarrying after death of first wife; half sister from first marriage, nurse in Assam; anecdote about sisters' experiments with anaesthetic, MW helping to build equipment; anecdote about MW writing to King of Sweden for parts for an instrument steriliser for sister's hospital.

  • Description

    Interview with scientific instrument designers and entrepreneurs Sir Martin and Lady Audrey Wood

  • Related transcripts

    Sir Martin and Lady Audrey Wood interviewed by Thomas Lean: full transcript of the interview

  • Related links

    Visit the 'Voices of Science' web resource for extracts from Martin and Audrey Wood's interview

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