Brown, Cynthia (6 of 31). Oral History of Oral History
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2014-01-20, 2014-02-26, 2014-04-02, 2014-05-22, 2014-06-03, 2014-09-16, 2014-10-28, 2014-11-26, 2015-01-07, 2015-02-17
Brown, Cynthia (speaker, female)
Wilkinson, Robert (speaker, male)
Part 6: [Session three: 2 April 2014] Talks about local Neighbourhood Centre. The school had a mobile classroom which was used by the community. Local history group started at the school. Cynthia was treasurer of the Neighbourhood Centre [and later Chair]. Describes the management arrangements and the activities that took place there including kick boxing. Wider structure and budgets of community facilities across Leicester. The committee did not employ or manage the staff, who were employed by the City Council. [12:47] Gave up the Chairs post when she started to work for the City Council. Development of the history group. The school initially offered space for the group to start. There was also a womens group during the day and the history group in the evening. Cynthia used to run most of the sessions as well as organising guest speakers. Used to borrow a minibus for visits. Lists some of the places they went to. The group ran for seven or eight years. Name of the group was Rowlatts Hill Local History Group. More about activities and history walks. Did eventually run out of things to talk about. [30:00] Gives talks these days to local history societies. Talks about present day local history activities in Leicestershire. Keen interest among village based groups. Some groups do struggle because of an ageing membership. [38:10] Had used oral history extracts from the Leicester Oral History Archive. Had used oral history in her dissertation. Her tutor suggested she explore procedures by funeral directors . She contacted the Co-op and Ginns and Gutteridge and interviewed staff. Did not know this was oral history. Interviewed them about practices around the first 40 years of the 20th century. One key interviewee was Arthur Gutteridge who explained how the trade worked. The Co-op let her look at their records. They started in 1936 and trade was very quiet for first six months, even though they could offer a comprehensive service. Cross connections between companies. Reflects upon the value of the research. Used pen and paper to record the memories. Undertook the research in 1986/7. Got a distinction for the work. Went on to research the role of cremation in Leicester. [1:05:35] Used her experience to get the job at Leicester City Council. Has given talks locally on the trade. Folklore and superstitions about death. Split in family businesses and loyalty to family firms.
Life story interview with Cynthia Brown, museum oral historian and former Project Manager of the East Midlands Oral History Archive