Kingscott, Judith (5 of 12). Oral History of Oral History
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 »
2010-03-15, 2010-04-19, 2010-05-17, 2010-06-21, 2010-07-26, 2010-09-13
Kingscott, Judith, 1939- (speaker, female)
Wilkinson, Robert (speaker, male)
Part 5: The job was at Nottingham library. The degree had no practical applications. The job was for an administrator for a project that had been running for two years. Theyd set out to interview working people, promoted by Peter Wincoll, a trade unionist from the City Council. He got it pushed through that the Council and the Manpower Services Commission would fund it. Bradford had a huge project going with Rob being one of 30 people employed. Nottingham only got money for a co-ordinator, five interviewers and three typists. Details of the arrangements including problems retaining staff. At the end of the 2nd year MSC cut the funding meaning they could only have three interviewers and two typists. The co-ordinator had to reapply, he had a doctorate. The emphasis shifted to getting the material ready for public use. They both applied, she got it and he didnt. He wasnt willing to transfer his duties, he didnt seem like somebody who would put everything into the system for the library. He was unwilling to do the dreary work whereas she was. Turned up and found she had a mutiny where students sided with him and blamed her for ousting him. They refused to cooperate. By that time there were just three left. As their contracts ran out they werent replaced.[07:16] The other two were not replaced, leaving just one; she was on her own. They had made several pushes getting people who worked in the major industries. There were still miners, and went to Boots, Players and Raleigh and got people who had retired. Tried to cover all the industries that had been prominent in Nottinghamshire. The previous co-ordinators job was to find people; sometimes the students followed a theme of their own. One looked at professional footballers and discovered bribes, the tapes had to be sealed for a time. They worked as a team and decided who would do what. The coordinators interest was supposed to be folksong but didnt seem to have recorded much. [09:47] Picked up an archival role, did one or two interviews but wasnt encouraged. Only worked for 25 hours a week at first, the two clerical people had 18 hours. MSC withdrew their funding so the Council voted on a separate amount. Main role was to process what had been done and make it available to the public. Transcripts had been done by typists who were based at the University. When she started - hired a mature typist who worked at the library. Others had struggled whereas she loved it and loved history. She got through far more work, when she had finished they looked at other tapes the library had. Had to keep about six players so they could accommodate the different sizes and speeds of the old reels. They recorded them onto cassette, the originals went to the archives office. The archivist didnt want to know. There was a fear the tapes would deteriorate so played two a year as a test; they lasted longer than was thought. Had a reference copy of everything in the library, anything produced by the project was made available for loan in the library. Anything else they had to check for permission. There was stuff going back to the 1950s; were strict about copyright, there was no paperwork for most of it so they assumed it was to be used for reference. [15:43] The Queen came in 1955, this was one of the first tapes. Anything anybody had recorded was there. It was not necessarily oral history as we know it. Some was recorded off the radio, usually local history programmes. At one time they had a teacher seconded to Radio Nottingham to make schools broadcasts. The programmes varied according to age range, they did an awful lot of research. They were all kept in a cupboard at Radio Nottingham, one day they rang and offered the tapes. The Library kept the relevant ones that were not too chopped up and made composite tape recordings as they were quite short. They were made available to the public for loan. [20:15] Assumed they owned the copyright as the teacher was from the county council. The name wasnt given, it was anonymous, didnt have the programme notes. They were done 70s-80s, they were not always dated. The MSC schemes were being reinvented all the time. They did it for two years, it had originally intended to be a three year project and the library took over the third. The University had no role in the end. They were also collecting tapes and copying them. There were some tapes done by David Gerard, the Local Librarian in the 60s. He had a thing about DH Lawrence and recorded as many people he could. He got DH Lawrences 92 year old brother. There were 30 which became known as the DH Lawrence tapes. The person in charge at the University had borrowed reel copies from the library, was hard to contact, found them on the back of a filing cabinet in the end. Eventually found several 8 and 10 inch reel copies. [24:30] The MSC recordings were done on 8 inch Uhers playing for 45 minutes. The BBC Uhers only had 10 minute recording. Had an enormous amount of stuff from the BBC, one local reporter was freelance and recorded everything. His stuff was left but the family claimed the copyright. Dennis McCarthy. He interviewed important people who came into Nottingham; the son claimed copyright and took them home. Eventually he got fed up with storing them, he offered them. The cellar at Beeston was horrible. This store was at Carlton Rd Library; it was fitted with metal racks. The McCarthy reels filled over 3 rows. Never had a chance to listen to all of it. Immediate boss wanted to send it to MACE Midlands Archiving. They were set up to collect film and sound recordings. Trent University started it, they were county based, they kept Derbyshire and Leicestershire, then the whole Midlands. Is unsure if McCarthy stuff is still there. It was on the big reels, 10 or 8 inch, with a couple of hours on each. Some tapes had four tracks. They had multiple format machines, the library had kept them, one Revox was very valuable, occasionally people used to come and borrow it. [31:04] Had to learn skills on the job, did some courses. Wasnt library trained at all, the only non-professional one there. The professional staff were kind but some of the clerical staff treated her as an interloper. Had a system, one professional and one clerical together on public desk duty. Describes working arrangements. Thinks they were trying to prove a point. It was a fascinating job, the variety of stuff. It wasnt like a library at all, it was so different. They had their own classification system. Very early on read a report that said the oral history unit would only be funded for two years. Found out they had a scheme for training new librarians, one day a month looked at a different area. The people in charge of that suggested she do a part time MA librarian course at Loughborough University. Was doing 25 hours and later 28 hours over three days. Loughborough did the course two days a week. Got on the course and the Council paid the course fees, about £1,000 a year. Was seen as an employee so it was a secondment, but carried on normal hours as well.
Life story interview with Judith Kingscott, former oral history lead at Nottinghamshire Libraries.