Bryden, Bill (1 of 6). The legacy of the English Stage Company.
The British Library Board acknowledges the intellectual property rights of those named as contributors to this recording and the rights of those not identified.
Legal and ethical usage »
2009-04-06, 2009-04-21, 2009-05-20, 2009-07-09, 2009-12-08
Bryden, Bill, 1942- (speaker, male)
Devine, Harriet (speaker, female)
Part 1: [Session one: 6 April 2009] BB born Greenock, 12 April 1942, at home, 8 Carwood Street. Paternal grandfather [Charles Bryden, CB] a canary breeder, maternal grandfather Billy Ruff, shipbuider on the Clyde. BB never met CB, most famous Norwich canary breeder in UK, won best bird in hall at Crystal Palace; mentioned in dispatches at Ypres; became an engineer; canaries sold for a lot of money after CB’s death. BB’s father proud of CB; CB’s trophies in house, in Royal Street Gourock; both grandparents died before BB born. Billy Ruff [BR] partly brought BB up; description of Carwood Street house, a 2-room and kitchen; no bedrooms, bed set in wall. Grandmother [Kate Sowden Ruff, KR] born Campbelltown, Argyll; moved after marriage to BR. BB’s aunts in Campbelltown; holidays in Campbelltown with family; Aunt Mary [MG], her husband Mr Graham. KR’s birthplace. Description of BR; his illness and death when BB aged 7; BB’s feelings; BB’s relationship with BR, their activities together; his hopes for BB. Reading matter, Scottish literature; BB’s early schooling [15.09]. Memory of KR at BR’s funeral; her later deafness, refusal of hearing aid; brief description of KR; description of old family photos. BB’s early concept of death; Church of Scotland churchgoing. KR’s long widowhood; moving in with BB’s mother; death of BB’s father [George Bryden, GB]; father’s funeral; BB’s reaction. GB in 2nd World War; GB’s first marriage and son; his second marriage to BB’s mother; his job as head of bus drivers; his amateur sports; his pre-war job as a fitter; BB finding GB’s medals. GB’s English friends in RAF; their Christmas cards; GB’s pride in the war. GB’s appearance, his resemblance to BB; his clothing; his gambling, new clothes for family from winnings. GB’s interest in theatre; taking BB every week; seeing American stars in Glasgow; disliking English comics; famously bad Glasgow audiences; story of Mike and Bernie Winters. Seeing Judy Garland, missing the train, staying in a hotel. Arts Guild Theatre in Glasgow. [30.08] BB’s acting at high school; joining Greenock Players; BB starting drama workshop. Teachers, and plays at school. Household dislike of English movies, love of Hollywood; going to movies with KR; BB’s love of Westerns, realisation of role of director. KR’s favorite films. Cost of theatre and movies; family finances; relative earnings. Hierarchy in church, and in town. First family house, an attic; later rehousing in a housing scheme; IBM as an employer; GB’s refusal to work for them; strength of unions. Explanation of attic, in tenement building; BB’s memories of it. Housing scheme house described. BB’s mother, Catherine [CB]; her early widowhood; her visit to National Theatre [NT], conversation with Denis Healey. BB’s memories of holidays at Campbelltown; CB taking care of daughter Sheena [SC] of friend Jean Chambers [JC]. CB’s loss of a child; BB’s memory of going to pick her up in hospital [44:26]. BB’s stepbrother George; his early employment; his singing; his relationship with CB. CB as a mother; lack of physical affection. Happy marriage of GB and CB; rare rows, during wallpapering. GB a good man, compared to neighbours; drinking habits of neighbours. BB’s earliest memories; Campbelltown holidays; camping; swimming; large family gatherings; going to the movies. Auntie Anna, CB’s cousin. Explanation of shipyard holiday periods. Going by boat from Gourock to Campbelltown; nature of Campbelltown; fishing, and fish and chips.
Life story interview with Bill Bryden, film and theatre director.