Watkins, David (1 of 3) National Life Stories Collection: Crafts Lives
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2006-04-03, 2006-04-05, 2006-04-12
Interviewee's home, London
Watkins, David, 1940- (speaker, male)
Hughes, Hawskmoor (speaker, female)
Part 1: David Watkins [DW] born Wolverhampton 1940. Description of father’s (Jack Watkins) family, father’s upbringing in Iron Bridge, Shropshire, grandfather a cabinet maker for Craven Dunhill tile factory. Story about grandfather and sons moving to the West Midlands during the 1930s depression. Comments on DW’s interest in his family history. Father a cabinetmaker. Story about father missing Shropshire. Short description of father’s career in the building trade post Second World War. Description of mother’s family, grandfather a blacksmith, grandmother suppressed her past. Description of mother, Dorothy May Burgwin’s, education, remarks on grandfather not allowing her to take her place at Grammar School and her leaving school age seventeen to work in an office. Comments on mother working at the Courtaulds factory during the War. [12:35] Description of parents’ courtship and marriage. Mentions DWs birth at home. Remarks on sheltering under the stairs during air raids. Parents considered themselves upper working class. Comments on mother’s career. Description of grandparents, comments on mother’s close-knit family. Comments on not having many toys. Description of DW’s cousins. [24:05]Description of grandparents two-up-two-down house, description of family parties. Comments on eating powdered eggs. [28:30] Description of DW’s relationship with mother, comments on her reaction to her daughter’s death. Description of father, comments on his interest in politics. Comments on mother’s Methodist background, remarks on DW attending the St. Peter’s Collegiate Church (Anglican), mentions singing in the choir. [36:10] Description of attending Redcross Street Primary School. Comments on living near the Wolves’ (Wolverhampton Wanderers) football ground, remarks on weekend activities. Description of playing in the street. [44:15] Description of attending football matches. [47:45] Long description of attending Wolverhampton Grammar School, comments on wanting to study art not the classics, remarks on DW’s accent. [53:20] Long description of art lessons, comments on parents’ attitude to DW studying art, mentions Uncle Fred an amateur painter. Comments on meeting girls in coffee bars after school. [59:55] Description of DW’s piano lessons, comments on singing in the church choir, description of discovering jazz and playing in jazz bands. Comments on attending ballroom dancing lessons. [01:08:20] Description of DW’s as a teenager, comments on his clothing. Comments on taking O and A Levels. Comments on not knowing what to do after leaving school. Description of father’s career as a building contractor. [01:15:00] Story about deciding to go to Reading University to study art, description of the course. Comments on leaving home. [01:22:15] Description of playing in jazz bands in Reading. Remarks on spending equal time on art and music. Description of studying sculpture and of DW’s sculptures. Description of DW’s student accommodation. Comments on girlfriends, remarks on women not playing in jazz bands. [01:34:35] Story about meeting Wendy Ramshaw [WR], description of their courtship and wedding. [01:40:45] Description of DW’s sister’s death. Further description of DW’s sculpture, comments on studying aesthetics. Compares DW’s art degree with a National Diploma in Design (NDD). Comments on DW’s degree show, description of DW’s metalwork. [01:51:20] Comments on not expecting to make a career as an artist. Comments on experimenting with making jewellery after leaving university, description of WR’s influence on DW’s career and jewellery making, comments on making jewellery for small boutiques. Remarks on working in bands. [01:56:20] Description of deciding to move to London, description of DW’s studio. Comments further on making jewellery for boutiques. Description of DW’s sculptures made when moved to London. Description of living in Leamington Spa after leaving Reading, comments on touring with a band. Mentions WR’s and DW’s first exhibition in Reading. Description of teaching part-time in art schools. [02:08:05] Comments on the decline in work for jazz bands in the late 1960s. Description of playing with a big band, mentions Stan Kenton. Remarks on finding a job as a special effects model maker for MGM (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer).