Oral historians

Kingscott, Judith (11of 12).  Oral History of Oral History

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  • Recording date

    2010-03-15, 2010-04-19, 2010-05-17, 2010-06-21, 2010-07-26, 2010-09-13

  • Interviewees

    Kingscott, Judith, 1939- (speaker, female)

  • Interviewers

    Wilkinson, Robert (speaker, male)

  • Abstract

    Part 11: Started oral history career when after university. Was in early 40s by then, saw an oral history co-ordinators post advertised. Was working with husband and wanted to do something on her own. [00:55] There were other Manpower Services oral history projects commissioned but had no links until the network was set up, had no contacts outside the Nottingham library. Learn as you go. Found out about the oral history movement fairly soon, got a letter from Rob (Perks) to discuss setting up a network. Went to a meeting in Leicester, met a disparate group of people. Rob was there and met Cynthia Brown as well. Met once a year, it evolved into the format of people coming together from all over. it was held in the midlands so nobody had to travel too far, Cornwall and Aberdeen complained so they changed it, now everybody had expensive travel claims. [04:07] Went to the conferences, joined the Society as soon as found out about it. It became difficult to claim conferences as an expense at work so paid herself. The idea of a network was mooted, Cynthia set up the regional structure more. They just went as individuals from work, not as regionally identified. Later they divided up in order to back each other up on enquiries. Became a rep from the start. The virtual network was then set up and they had immediate contact. [06:20] The Society gave credence for talking about oral history, it was a worthwhile occupation with a vast organisation behind it. There were two stages, Cynthia got people to work together more. You couldnt get one rep from every county, it helped to have it regional, referring to others. Upon retiring name went in the listings without address as didnt want enquiries at home and hardly got any inquiries, Cynthia still did however. An institutional base is important, it gives more validity. At central library didnt get many enquiries. People did set up independent projects, local history societies. [09:48] The Society was useful as you could use practical examples from the site. The written documentation helped, the network annual workshop meetings that specialised in a topic gave good knowledge and experience. Found getting to know people useful, people on the network were from different walks of life. Was restricted being part of the library, Cynthia was museum based but most others were academically based and had more time and funding to do oral history. Found own job was more administering the system and making it accessible. Others could focus on projects and research. Never did much oral history, even on projects only supervised. [13:15] cant recall getting any follow up enquiries, would refer people to the journal if they wanted to put together a project. There are three or four people on average in regional areas. Only got together at network meetings. Took questions from other counties but didnt get many at all, not many people came, if they needed help they were people already starting who hadnt heard of the Society. The virtual network was very useful for discussions. The information point was not that well used. Perhaps people realised she didnt have the personal experience, was not publishing. Cynthia was working on a project so was visible in the oral history community. [17:40] Had to submit a report of what had happened in their area; at the meeting to start with later it was included in the journal. There were regional training events, they were incorporated at the annual meetings. The meetings changed into Saturday being the big day for a topic to be discussed. The business meeting was squeezed in on the Friday evening. Carried on being regional rep until retirement, carried on for a couple of years but began to feel further away from what was going on. The person who took over library job eventually became east midlands rep too. Felt she was not being very helpful by keeping place on the network, still attends meetings sometimes to keep hand in. [21:35] the Society and journal was useful, own work administering archives and supervising benefited from this. Was never hot on the technical side of things, had to teach herself. The Society helped advise the latest equipment. [24:45] Replacement took over the same hours but does less oral history work. Does keep in touch with some people at the library. In terms of practice has kept hand in with the local history society, got a £5,000 Awards for All grant for an oral history project. Went for equipment to build up the village archive. Became more organised. Did 12 recordings of own members. Is joint secretary with a friend, both did the interviews. [30:11] There was no specific thematic project. The organisation is Sawley as opposed to Long Eaton. Long Eaton overtook Sawley which had no lord of the manor. Eventually they took on New Sawley and later Old Sawley. There is still resentment around this. Describes history and geography of Old Sawley, New Sawley and Long Eaton.[34:39] Describes the Awards for All project. [39:22] Is carrying on but getting round to the recordings is difficult. Did the original 12 and does the odd one now and again. Hard to organise and get people to agree. They are all life stories. There wasnt any obvious theme. Talked most talked about school days. [41:35] The local history society has been going 27 years, Graham Grammer set it up and is still chairman. Describes current issues and sketches from the pageant, based on 750th anniversary of the granting of the charter by Henry III in relation to the local area and the connection with the Attenboroughs. Richard Attenborough turned up and they raised enough money to build a memorial hall.

  • Description

    Life story interview with Judith Kingscott, former oral history lead at Nottinghamshire Libraries.

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