Oral historians

Thompson, Paul (19 of 22).  Oral History of Oral History

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  • Recording date

    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

  • Recording locations

    British Library, London (Tracks 1-20) Poplar (Tracks 21-22)

  • Interviewees

    Thompson, Paul, 1935- (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Wilkinson, Robert (speaker, male)

  • Abstract

    Part 19: [Session nine: 28 April 2015] Minutes February 1986. Spring 1986 Labour History conference. Problems – Terry McCarthy of Museum of Labour History was asking for an unexpected charge and wanting to control the programme. 1987 International Conference. Presentation by Paul about the National Life Stories collection. Issues with Christopher Roads. Rodney Mace criticised Paul in the meeting about perceived lack of consultation. Idea of replacing the news section of the journal with a newsletter as a way of keeping a national perspective. Mention of an editorial group comprised Joanna Bornat, Rob Perks, Sue Place, Graham Smith and Ronnie Monk. Talks about cycling up to Arbroath to see Graham with a heavy recorder. Went to Turin to do some writing with Luisa Passerini. Talks about problems of co-working with her. [11:00] February 1986. Had been to see Jack Rose for funding for National Life Stories but only got a few hundred pounds off him. Future directions paper for the OHS. June 1986, changes in officers and proposals for action. Short termism of community projects. Regional oral history societies and their dangers. Potential for co-operating with the International Sociological Assn but no work had been undertaken the previous year. Concerns about a possible European OH society with its own newsletter. Role of Life Stories. Proposed oral history festival including a tour round industrial heritage sites. [21:45] Letter from John Saville (May 1986) re various issues including his imminent retirement for the chair. Paul considers why meetings were so difficult sometimes. Talks about offering the OHS £3,000 after his father died which paid for Vic Gammon. Issues around that which upset Paul and some of the money refunded. Relates, on changing generational style of argument, the attack on Stuart Hall by Edward Thompson which John Saville supported. [32:05] Conference at Vaughan College Leicester Oct 1986 about community work. Journal working group set up. Society committee minutes April 1986. Schools conference in the Autumn. Meeting about the future of Life Stories. Had been losing £1,000 a year for last two years. Proposal that the French partners would take over the journal and be distributed via the OHS. Brief discussion about international members. [39:18] Discussion about redesign of the journal. Rob Perks had a role in redesigning it. Autum1989 international conference at St John’s College Oxford. Difficulties of writing about equipment. Health conference in 1987. Spring 1988 conference to be held in Bradford on ethnic minorities. Letter of resignation from Vic Gammon as development worker November 1986. Issues of volunteers withdrawing when Vic was doing similar work for a salary. [50:00] Paul talks about not getting a chair at Essex because of the role he played in 1968. Mary Chamberlain resigning as reviews editor. Rodney Mace takes over as treasurer. November 1986 Rodney Mace said no discussion about National Life Stories in recent times. Vic took over as chair. [57:46] International conference in Feb 1987. Talks about National Sound Archive and Christopher Roads. Paul reports on National Life Story Collection. Cross section of ordinary people project never happened. Mentions a longitudinal study at Leeds University ‘Timescapes’ which had no rigor. Mentions Steve Peretz-Brown who became treasurer of NLSC. He wanted to lead a fund-raising collection of interviews with public nfigures but this was vetoed by the British Library and he killed himself. First chair of NLSC was Asa Briggs – not good at fundraising. Later chair was Martin Goff who was excellent fundraiser. Jennifer Wingate was good at networking. Through her they met the Governor of the Bank of England for tea. He gave some money towards City Lives. She also came with Paul to see Nicholas Goodison, then Chairman of the London Stock Exchange who was also a historian of the arts and crafts and furniture. He has been good at funding. Present chair is Jenny Abramsky who is a cousin of Raphael Samuel. [1:10:50] June 1987 Vic suggesting to revise the development committee and readership survey done by Rob. Reminiscence subcommittee. Proposed that John Saville be president for life and Mary Chamberlain as vice president. Letter from Vic to Paul about a meeting of the last general purposes committee about a row and the need to update the constitution and comments about Paul’s bequest. Paul’s letter of reply. [1:20:07] Lots of sub committees at this time. Steve Humphries wanting to resign to set up his own company. Sounding out the appointment of Rob Perks. Mentions the role of Brenda Corti in book reviewing. Proposal for a crafts conference between Joanna Bornat and June Freeman. Talks about recent ruling over academics publishing in independent journals. [1:31:39] Leaving the Mary Ward Centre. Recruitment of retired volunteers to help. Natasha had had a stroke which made life difficult. Proposals for an oral history annual published by Oxford University Press. Complaints about the direction of the annual. Letters from Joanna Bornat and Alan Ward. Reply from Paul to Alan Ward who was by now chair. Paul feels aggrieved the way the matter was handled. Decision to move on.

  • Description

    Life story interview with Paul Thompson, co-founder of National Life Stories.

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