Showing 14 results

collections
Audiovisual materials
Print preview View:

Interviews with George Wyllie for the National Life Stories project, Artists' Lives

  • GB 249 GW
  • Collection
  • 2003 - 2004

Recordings and full transcripts of 6 interviews conducted with Wyllie by freelance oral history interviewer Jenny Simmons between 10 December 2003 and 15 March 2004. The interviews follow a 'life story' format, covering Wyllie's family background, childhood, education, work, leisure and later life.

Wyllie, George Ralston, 1921-2012, artist and sculptor

Scottish Oral History Centre Archive

  • GB 249 SOHC
  • Collection
  • c. 1981 - present

The Scottish Oral History Centre Archive is an extensive collection of oral history recordings focussing on the history of work, occupational health and the social impact of de-industrialisation. Most of the recordings originate from projects carried out by Scottish Oral History Centre staff and students but there are also large collections of interviews originating from other organisations, for example Glasgow Museums and the Scottish Working People’s History Trust.

University of Strathclyde | Scottish Oral History Centre

Conversations with workers at the former Linwood car plant

  • GB 249 SOHC 1
  • Collection
  • Original recordings, 1981-1985

A series of interviews with former employees at the motor manufacturing complex at Linwood, Renfrewshire, 20km west of Glasgow, Scotland.

Manufacturing activity first started at Linwood during WWII, under the government's shadow factory scheme, specialising in steel processing and gun barrels, managed by the Glasgow engineering company Beardmore's. After the war, the Pressed Steel company began to manufacture railway carriages, tractors, and body parts for cars and trucks. In the early 1960s, after government pressure, the Rootes car group built a new factory at the site, commencing the full-scale production of new motor-car models, including the Hillman Imp and the Avenger, massively expanding the Linwood site. The Linwood site was taken over by the American Chrysler corporation in 1967, and was again taken over by the French company Peugeot-Citroen in 1979. Following a prolonged period of financial difficulties and industrial unrest, the Linwood plant was closed by Peugeot in 1981. During its operation, Linwood was the only full-scale motor-car production facility in Scotland, employing 8,500 workers at its peak, one of the largest single manufacturing sites in Scotland. The former factory has now been demolished.

This project was a research project undertaken by Clifford Lockyer, an economist based at the University of Strathclyde, in the early 1980s. Lockyer had previously worked at the Linwood car factory, and in his own words, "sought to record the life of the Linwood factory from shadow war factory to closure".

The interviews cover the life-span of the entire plant, including a few workers who worked at the site during WWII. The evolving nature of the site, describing the varied work of the 1950s, is featured, including the production of car parts for Vauxhall, Ford, Rolls Royce, as well as the production of railway carriages, mostly for export, with India a main destination. The most significant development at the plant - the sudden move into full-scale car production in the early 1960s, and the resulting dramatic transformation of the site - is also strongly represented in the material (this expansion is often referred to in the material as a difference between the "south site" and the "north site"). Finally, the tumultuous years of the 1970s are also featured, including the events leading up to the plant's closure in 1981. Interviews cover a wide range of jobs roles at the plant, including operators, foremen, management, and trade union officials. A key division of labour at the site was between those operators in the "tool shops", and those who worked on the car assembly line "track", and both sets of workers are represented.

The overall flow of the interviews centres around the topic of industrial relations, which was Lockyer's specialist research area. Management policies, and their effects, as well as the changes in ownership are discussed by many interviewees. Management relationships with the shopfloor are frequently mentioned. Trade union activity at the plant is heavily featured in the interviews, and some interviewees describe their roles as shop stewards. Various industrial disputes and their consequences are also relayed in detail, including the trajectory toward plant closure. A large number of different trade unions operated at Linwood, and some workers describe the interrelationships and tensions between them, as well as the organisational structures and main personalities of each union group. Many workers also discuss their own attitudes and interactions with trade unions.

The Linwood plant was largely non-unionised in the 1950s, which some workers discuss, including its impact on working life. A strike in 1948, which led to the banishment of unions, is touched upon by a few interviewees. The unionisation process of the late 1950s, resulting in the comprehensive unionisation of the entire workforce, is featured in the material, including the impact on working conditions and management relations.

The working conditions of the workplace and the everyday routines of a car factory are highlighted. Interviewees discuss their own daily routines and the organisation of their particular work section. Some interviews go into detail about payment arrangements, including the "piece" system, and bonuses. The introduction of a nightshift in the 1960s is also mentioned. Health and safety risks are very occasionally alluded to. Workers discuss their own attitudes towards their job, their frustrations and motivations, and how this changes over time. The interviews feature discussion on day-to-day problems and difficulties at the site, commenting on production and design problems, as well as quality control.

Since many interviewees worked at the Linwood plant for many years, interviewees often comment on the rise and fall of the Linwood plant over time, making allusions to the wider economic and business climate. Interviewees chart the dynamics of changing workforce morale, changing work practices and changing management attitudes over time, and try to pinpoint "where it all went wrong", reflecting on reasons for the gradual demise of the Linwood plant and the motor industry in Scotland.

Finally, a handful of interviews feature the topic of women in the Linwood workforce. Women were typically employed in a few roles at the site, but changes to this configuration are also mentioned. One interviewee discusses how many women labourers were employed at the site during WWII, undertaking roles vacated by men. Another interview discusses how - in the late 1970s - women were employed in significant numbers in jobs which previously were exclusively performed by men, including on the car assembly line "track". At least one interviewee is a former female worker, who reflects on the lack of union representation among female workers.

Lockyer, Clifford, b. 1946, economist

Conversation with Cordelia Oliver

  • GB 249 SOHC 10
  • File
  • 3 May 2005

Recording and transcript of unidentified male interviewer (possibly Neil Rafeek) in conversation with Cordelia Oliver, Glasgow, 3 May 2005.

Oliver, Cordelia, 1923-2009, journalist, painter and art critic

Conversation with Jim Scullion

  • GB 249 SOHC 11
  • File
  • 9 February 1999, 1916

Unidentified female interviewer in conversation with sports illustrator and social worker Jim Scullion of Coatbridge. The interview focuses on football and on the interviewee's support for Celtic Football Club.

  • sound recording (0h 52m 48s)

Side A

[00:00:14] Introductions.
[00:00:47] Describes going to first football match; tells story of sneaking into Cliftonhill ground and being chased by police.
[00:02.21] Talks about who he went to games with.
[00:03:12] Talks about different areas of Celtic Park from which he watched games.
[00:03:47] Describes how he began to support Celtic as a child.
[00:05:03] Talks about family members’ support for Celtic.
[00:06:10] Talks about how he supported Celtic because his male relatives did; describes attending his first Celtic game; tells story of not realising it had started as there was no radio commentary by David Francey.
[00:07:18] Talks about how he now attends games with his children.
[00:07:26] Talks about female family members’ attitudes to football.
[00:08:12] Talks about whether it is acceptable for women to attend matches; describes bad language and behaviour at matches; remarks that he did not notice females attending when he was young, but saw families once he moved into the stand.
[00:10:29] Talks about facilities for men and women at football grounds in 1980s and 1990s.
[00:11:44] Talks about Celtic Football Club’s importance to him.
[00:12:38] Talks about the players’ importance to him.
[00:13:47] Describes his admiration for player Danny McGrain; mentions Kenny Dalglish and Billy McNeill.
[00:14:31] Talks about whether today’s players deserve high salaries.
[00:15:39] Mentions he is not a member of a supporters’ club.
[00:15:44] Describes when and why he became a season ticket holder.
[00:17:21] Talks about annual cost (season tickets, strips, videos) for himself and sons to support Celtic.
[00:18:04] Describes attitude to this cost.
[00:19:35] Talks about why he is not a Celtic shareholder.
[00:20:50] Describes pre- and post-match rituals when he was a child; tells story of arriving after kick-off because father and brother spent too long in pub; mentions getting Times and Citizen with pictures of players inside and being lifted over turnstile.
[00:22:34] Describes pre- and post-match rituals for himself and sons now; mentions difficulty of parking and exiting car park after matches.
[00:23:43] Talks about food eaten on match day.
[00:24:10] Talks about clothing worn to games; describes tradition of not entering ground until he sees someone he knows, otherwise team will lose.
[00:25:17] Talks about putting off family events to attend football and tells story of pregnant wife accompanying him to game when two weeks overdue.
[00:26:44] Describes atmosphere of Celtic Park when he was a child; mentions merchandise sold outside, including pictures of President Kennedy and (player) Johnny Thomson; describes supporters’ singing before, during and after match.
[00:27:50] Describes how atmosphere differs now; mentions that singing used to be deafening every week.
[00:29:37] Talks about routine of coming into ground with sons.
[00:29:51] Talks about team huddle being most special moment of the game, and final whistle the most hated moment.
[00:30:39] Detailed description of attending Celtic v. Albion Rovers at Cliftonhill, just after Celtic won European Cup in 1967; tells story of getting Lisbon Lions’ autographs and meeting Jock Stein and Jimmy Johnstone.
[00:33:39] Talks about how importance of supporting Celtic has increased for him over time.
[00:33:56] Talks about whether his support for Celtic causes arguments with friends, family and strangers.
[00:34:47] Describes how attending football with sons has enhanced his relationship with them.
[00:35:54] Describes attitude to fellow Celtic supporters; mentions his annoyance at abuse given to Rangers player, Dave McPherson.
[00:37:12] Remarks that he has friends who are Rangers supporters or ex-Rangers players.
[00:37:52] Talks about Celtic’s 1967 European Cup win; describes family events on that day, watching game on television and celebrations afterwards.
[00:40:03] Talks about Celtic’s 1979 league win on last day of season.
[00:40:38] Talks about Celtic’s 1985 league win at last game of season against St Mirren.
[00:41:37] Talks about winning domestic double in Celtic’s centenary year and mentions Roy Aitken.
[00:42:29] Talks about importance of winning 1997-1998 league cup and championship and preventing Rangers from winning 10 league championships in a row.
[00:43:41] Talks about a game in November 1998 when Celtic beat Rangers 5-1; mentions another game where Celtic beat Rangers 7-1.
[00:46:31] Talks about what he sees as Celtic’s greatest achievement.
[00:46:46] Recording ends.

Side B

[00:03:59] Interview resumes. Talks about it not really mattering if Celtic win or lose and how Albion Rovers fans are probably better football supporters.
[00:04:37] Describes his inability to support another club, even if Celtic were relegated.
[00:05:39] Sums up what Celtic means to him.
[00:06:15] Interview ends.

Scullion, James, b. 1954, sports illustrator

Glasgow dock workers oral history project

  • GB 249 SOHC 18
  • Collection
  • 2009

Oral history project, conducted in 2009 by David Walker of the Scottish Oral History Centre at the University of Strathclyde on behalf of Glasgow Museums, interviewing those who had earned their living working at Glasgow’s docks. A total of 17 men were selected as suitable for the project but in the end only 12 participated, with some becoming ill and others unavailable for interview. Although a smaller cohort was used than originally intended it did provide a representative sample of workers with experience of most of the docks that operated along the Upper Clyde at Glasgow and its environs. The group also had experience of many of the jobs undertaken such as electrician, plan maker and superintendent stevedore, plater, winch operator, checker, and crane driver. One additional respondent was interviewed who had never worked at the docks but had lived at Shiels Farm and had witnessed the opening of the still operational King George V dock in 1931. The average age of those interviewed was 72 with birth dates ranging from 1926 to 1947. All of the interviews were conducted at the respondent’s home with one exception which was conducted at the Scottish Oral History Centre.

The interviews were semi-structured in style which allowed the respondents to talk beyond their working lives. Hence the testimonies provide evidence of the daily work and conditions in which their working lives were undertaken but they also touch on other aspects of their lives, including family relationships, early job opportunities and trade union activities. The respondents were not only generous in donating their memories but also in providing photographic images which help illustrate the people interviewed, the types of ships that they worked on, buildings now demolished, and tasks undertaken such as handling large steel slabs, grain, coal or scrap iron. Although each interview was conducted separately there was some overlap in the recollections mainly due to the fact that many of the men knew each other as workmates and inevitably they were exposed to similar events in their careers.

University of Strathclyde | Scottish Oral History Centre

Singer strike, 1911

  • GB 249 SOHC 2
  • Collection
  • Original recordings, 1988

Conversations between members of Glasgow Labour History Workshop and former Singer employees, discussing working conditions and the strike at the Singer sewing machine plant in Clydebank, Scotland, March / April 1911.

Clydeside industrialists began to introduce scientific management practices in 1910. The Singer sewing machine plant in Clydebank became the site of the first explicit confrontation between capital and labour in Scotland resulting from the ensuing reorganisation of work processes. Within two days of twelve female cabinet polishers going on strike, the Singer works became paralysed as the majority of the 11,000 workforce joined in.

University of Strathclyde | Scottish Oral History Centre

Greater Manchester Asbestos Victims Support Group oral history project

  • GB 249 SOHC 30
  • Collection
  • 2014 - 2015

Oral history project, conducted in 2014-2015 by Nigel Ingham of the Open University on behalf of the Greater Manchester Asbestos Victims Support Group, interviewing members of the Group.

There were 7 interviews in total and the collection comprises audio recordings, full transcripts, summaries and photographs for all interviews.

The interviewees comprise 5 women, widowed through mesothelioma (an asbestos-related disease), and 2 men who at the time were current sufferers. Of the 5 widows, 3 had been bereaved for up to 10 years, while two others lost their respective loved ones in the previous 12 months.

The interviews cover life story details, the social and economic context in which asbestos exposure occurred, the patient journey with mesothelioma, as well as the individual, emotional, family and social impact of the disease. Heavy industries such as textile mills, power stations are featured in the material, as well as shops, schools, and other 'lighter' contexts. The trades of those exposed to asbestos include electrical engineering, painting and decorating, joinery, shopfitting, bricklaying and tiling.

Geographically, the material predominantly covers Lancashire and Greater Manchester, but also references London.

Temporally, the material covers the decades following World War II up to approximately 2015.

Greater Manchester Asbestos Victims Support Group

Oral history project on the changing work identity of Govan's shipbuilders c. 1960-2016

  • GB 249 SOHC 33
  • Collection
  • August - October 2016

Oral history project conducted in 2016 by Rory Stride as research for his undergraduate history dissertation, ‘“Proud to be a Clyde shipbuilder. Clyde built”: The changing work identity of Govan’s shipbuilders, c.1960-present.’ The collection comprises interviews with seven men who were employed as shipbuilders between c.1960 and 2016 at Govan’s three shipyards: Alexander Stephen and Sons, Fairfield’s, and Harland and Wolff. The interviews were conducted in a variety of places across Glasgow. The interview questions were semi-structured and largely directed by the responses of the participants. Topics discussed include trade unions, working conditions, occupational injury, masculinity, politics, staff camaraderie, redundancy and periods of employment at different companies. There is a focus throughout the interviews on indicators and expression of masculine identity including alcohol consumption, paid employment and macho attitudes in the yards. The interviews also cover the workers' interactions with the trade union movement, focusing on their experiences of strike action. In addition, some of the key episodes in the Clyde’s shipbuilding history during the twentieth century are covered including: the closure of Harland and Wolff; the closure of Alexander Stephen and Sons; the Norwegian company Kvaerner’s takeover of the Fairfield yard from British Shipbuilders in 1988 and the withdrawal of Kvaerner from Govan in 1999 which threatened the existence of shipbuilding on the Clyde heading in to the twenty-first century.

Stride, Rory, fl. 2016, student at University of Strathclyde

Asbestos-related diseases in the West of Scotland oral history project

  • GB 249 SOHC 4
  • Collection
  • Original recordings, 1998-2000

27 interviews with sufferers from asbestos-related disease and/or members of their families. Sound recordings and transcripts (17), transcript only (10), or sound only (1). Also questionnaires.

Anonymity was assured to all project participants. Only Owen and Margaret Lilley (SOHC 4/14) opted out.

One recording had been mistakenly aggregated with this oral history project but was found not to relate to asbestos. As a result , there is no interview with the reference number SOHC 4/12.

McIvor, Arthur J., b. 1956, social historian

Coal miners and dust-related disease oral history project

  • GB 249 SOHC 6
  • Collection
  • Original recordings, 2002, 2004-2005

Oral history project "Coal miners and dust-related disease" aimed to reconstruct the story of the human tragedy of coal miners' respiratory disease. It sought to "write the history of 'black spit' from its early discovery by Scottish physicians in the 19th century, through to the official recognition of coal workers' pneumoconiosis in 1942 and on to the campaigns to recognise bronchitis and emphysima as industrial diseases in the second half of the twentieth century that culminated in the landmark legal judgement in January 1998".

Of a reported number of 52 interviews undertaken, 27 survive as sound recording and transcript (14) or transcript only (13).

University of Strathclyde | Scottish Oral History Centre

'Doctor's orders' oral history project

  • GB 249 SOHC 64
  • Collection
  • 2017 - 2019

Thirty interviews conducted by Stuart Bradwel as part of the Wellcome Trust-funded PhD studentship at the University of Strathclyde ‘Doctors Orders’ – Type 1 Diabetes and the Consultative Relationship, 1965-2002.

Whereas early physicians approached Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus (T1DM) in the paternalistic fashion common to mid-twentieth century practice and expected strict obedience to prescribed treatment, in 2002 the Dose Adjustment for Normal Eating (DAFNE) programme was initiated. This reconceptualised the professional as a remote source of support while encouraging those with T1DM to take an active role in determining the character of treatment, adjusting their own dosages of insulin and dietary intake as necessary on a day-to-day basis. Consequently, the traditionally passive ‘patient’ was transformed into a legitimately meaningful actor with the power to refine therapy according to their own subjective values and priorities.

The project investigated the nature of this transition from physician- to patient-led care in orthodox T1DM management, making particular reference to a process of ideological evolution within the medical profession in light of growing evidence that an empowered patient-body led to superior clinical outcomes. There is little printed evidence concerning the lay-experience of T1DM, while professional volumes tend to be heavily editorialised. Consequently, oral history – from both those with T1DM and professionals – was identified as a promising methodological framework with considerable potential to produce valuable evidence. A total of thirty interviews (19 with people living with type 1 diabetes, 7 with healthcare professionals, and 4 with professionals with the condition) were conducted between 5th May 2017 and 3rd July 2019.

Bradwel, Stuart, PhD student at University of Strathclyde

Chemical workers oral history project

  • GB 249 SOHC 7
  • Collection
  • Original recordings and transcripts 2004-2005

Eight interviews conducted by David Walker in pursuit of his doctoral research on ‘Occupational health and safety in the British chemical industry, 1914-1974’ (PhD thesis, University of Strathclyde, 2007: http://strathprints.strath.ac.uk/6429).

The oral history project was designed to capture the human experience of working within the British chemical industry. The desired outcome was to find respondents with a range of job descriptions that had worked in different types of plant. Although comparatively small, the cohort interviewed represents a good coverage of the industry in that the plastic, chromate, explosive and fertiliser sectors are all represented.

In total, nine respondents were interviewed with one, Richard Fitzpatrick, being interviewed twice (Mr Fitzpatrick was 87 years old at the time and grew visibly tired during the first interview). Three respondents from Cheshire (who were related to one another) were interviewed as a group. Normally interviews were conducted on a one-to-one basis in the homes of the respondents although wives and other family members were also present in all cases, with the exception of one of the anonymous respondents from Dumfries who was alone.

The average age of those interviewed was 71, with birth dates ranging from 1917 to 1945. The employment histories of the respondents ranged from the late 1930s to the late 1970s.

All those interviewed were asked standard questions at the outset such as the respondent’s name, date of birth, where they were born, if they had brothers or sisters, if they had children, at what age did they leave school and what was their first job. Thereafter, in a relatively unstructured manner questions were asked of the respondents about the experiences they had in connection with the chemical industry.

With the exception of one former manager of a chemical plant all the respondents had worked as process workers or were related to family members who also worked as process workers. Why no former directors or technologists came forward to participate in this study cannot be explained by reference to the design of the recruitment material. One reason that may explain the general problem in recruiting respondents was made by two former process workers from Dumfries who admitted that their former colleagues had seen the recruitment article published in the local press but had refused to make contact because they were fearful that Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) would stop their pension if they talked to an outsider. Although ICI would not take such a step it is nonetheless interesting that former employees of the firm offered this as the reason for not sharing their memories.

Walker, David, b. 1956, historian

Men's work in heavy industries in Glasgow oral history project

  • GB 249 SOHC 8
  • Collection
  • Original recordings, 2005

Conversations between Neil Rafeek and witnesses of working life in the Clydeside heavy industries.

Includes notes and draft publications relating to a project about the working culture and notions of masculinity in Clydeside heavy industries.

University of Strathclyde | Scottish Oral History Centre