Peacock, Elizabeth (1 of 3). The History of Parliament Oral History Project
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Interviewer's home, Wakefield
Peacock, Elizabeth, 1937- (speaker, female)
Irving, Henry, 1986- (speaker, male)
Part 1: [Session One: 21 August 2012] Elizabeth J Peacock [EJP] born Skipton North Yorkshire 4 September 1937. Description of childhood, family and upbringing. Mentions father’s disablement and mother’s determination. Comments on education and early career. Mentions marriage, birth of first son and husband’s career in food industry. Mentions moves to Dorset and Cheshire. Mentions work as Magistrate. [Short break to resolve problems with electronic interference] [cont. from 07:59] Description of Skipton in 1940s. Mentions housing problems and move to new estate. Mentions mother’s work. [11:04] Anecdote about not being aware of the countryside. [12:41] Mentions not travelling beyond Skipton. [14:03] Mentions not being directly affected by the Second World War. Mentions rationing and food shortages. Anecdote about father bartering for fruit. [18:04] Description of Skipton’s political landscape and housing problems. Discussion of parent’s political apathy. [20:12] Description of life at St. Monica’s Convent School. Mentions not staying for school dinners. Anecdotes about specific teachers and being caught sliding down a corridor. [23:51] Mentions that Catholic education was important for mother but that religion played little part in daily life. [25:32] Mentions that St Monica’s was a fee paying school. Description of the social mix at the school. Mentions links with Grammar School. Description of EJP’s social life as a young person in Skipton. [29:57] Description of clerical work in local Hospital and Mill. Detailed description managing hair dressing and beauty salon in Keighley. Mentions expanding business into retail of handbags and costume jewellery. [36:04] Mentions charity modelling work and being conscious of presentation. Anecdote about learning to sew and buying first sewing machine. [38:47] Description of relationship with family and passing on clothes. [39:37] Reflections on the impact EJP’s upbringing had on her political career. Detailed anecdote about political disenfranchisement and EJP’s insistence that all parties should engage with those living on local authority housing estates. Mentions canvassing. Mentions importance of business experience. [44:02] Reflections on not having continued education. Reflections on not having continued education. Mentions work as a Magistrate and feeling that a legal career would have been impossible considering family background. Mentions that both sons are practicing lawyers. Mentions belief in public service as motivation for becoming a Magistrate. Mentions winning Business and Professional Women’s Foundation Award in 1975. [49:11] Mentions experience in public speaking. Anecdote about first experience of public speaking. [50:27] Description of voluntary work and links with local community. Mentions supporting husband’s career. [53:29] Anecdote about being invited to local Conservative Party event as the beginning of EJP’s active involvement in politics. Mentions helping in 1971 Macclesfield by-election. Mentions attendance at 1975 UN conference, appointment as a Magistrate and implementation of 969 Children and Young Persons’ Act as a spur for further political involvement. Mentions Nicholas Winterton [NW] as a key point of contact. Mentions that decision to stand for Cheshire County Council disrupted by family move to York. [59:04] Detailed description of children’s schooling and decisions surrounding the move to York.
Life story interview with Elizabeth Peacock (1937-), former Conservative Member of Parliament.