Thompson, Paul (2 of 22). Oral History of Oral History
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2012-11-22, 2013-03-11, 2013-05-23, 2013-07-12, 2013-08-13, 2013-09-18, 2014-09-01, 2014-12-02, 2015-04-28, 2016-03-31
British Library, London (Tracks 1-20) Poplar (Tracks 21-22)
Thompson, Paul, 1935- (speaker, male)
Wilkinson, Robert (speaker, male)
Part 2: When did the term ‘oral history’ first used? Came from America. In summer of 1969 when he started at Essex he used the term ‘the interview method in social history’. Although ‘oral history’ was already being used in America, the movement came about independently in the UK. American version was totally different interviewing ‘great’ men. [02:06] First meeting of the committee that had been set up was on the 30th of January1970. Suggestion of setting up a newsletter. Letter from George Ewart Evans. Paul mentions that at the 1979 international conference they took a coachload of delegates to Suffolk and met George with some of his interviewees. Patrick Saul sets up an advisory panel and talks about ‘non aesthetic speech’. Letter from Brian Harrison about his college servants article for the new newsletter. Letter from D Jenkins about a study of the social structure of a rural area in south Cardigan. Letter from John Marshall (May 1970) about his own work on vanished trades. Letter form Colin Moreton doing some research on Warwickshire villages. John Widdowson and Peter Tillett Sheffield Extra Mural Studies. Paul was asked many years later c 2000 to go up to Sheffield to give an opinion about the collection. Museum at Lincolnshire Life interested. University of Lancashire History Dept. Museum of English Rural Life at Reading had some tapes. Barrie Trinder – Methodists in Shropshire. Letter from John Widdowson about collecting dialects. School of Scottish Studies letter had 3,000 original tapes then. Hamish Henderson did some work on social life - majority of the collection was in Gaelic. Eric Cregeen’s work and he became involved in the Society. Access is a problem at SSS. Alun Bruford stopped Paul taking notes when he was listening to a recording. Thea Brown folklorist from Exeter University. [21:03] St Fagan’s recording folksong, corn milling and dialect. David Edge. Letter about twisted tapes. Note on the December conference setting up a steering committee Paul Thompson, George Ewart Evans, Stewart Sanderson, John Saville, John Marshall, Theo Barker. Patrick Saul. People felt that there should be an informal structure. Letter from Theo saying John Marshall and Dennis Gerouot from the BBC are doing a Radio 3 series on oral history. Another letter from Theo saying that J Geraint Jenkins wants him to talk to a branch of the British Association. 15th October 1970 letter from Theo Barker asking for the newsletter to be sent out from Essex as BIRS are too slow. Letter from John Marshall about having clear subject headings around interviews. Letter from George congratulating Paul on the first newssheet. Letter from Theo about the radio programme and a linked course and using it for publicity purposes. Thea Thompson met Tony Green at the course organised by the BBC. More about the course in September at the Langham Hotel. Letter from John Marshall about a meeting which included Theo Brown from Exeter, Norman McCord from Newcastle, Christopher Storm Clark at York. The discussion was around a federal archive system involving a number of national organisations. This was part of the BBC course. Theo Barker suggested Paul approach the SSRC about their attitude to oral history and a national co-ordination possibly. Paul mentions about the idea of a southern oral history centre which didn’t get anywhere. Talks about SSRC and funding. Special conference set up in 1972 to evaluate oral history. The Society was formed in part to agitate for funding and the newsletter became the Journal.
Life story interview with Paul Thompson, co-founder of National Life Stories.