Sound clips from a selection of interviews have been made available in a number of formats. These all have a brief synopsis of the sound clip, together with a link to the individual's interview summary.
We provide the files in two different sound formats, WMA and MP3. We recommend listening to the WMA files as these will start to play instantly (known as streaming audio). To do this you will need Windows Media Player, this is available for Windows, Macintosh and Solaris computers. Alternatively you can choose to listen to the MP3 files, this will download the files to your computer first before playing in your MP3 software.
To listen to the files you just need to click on the appropriate link below, the MP3 files are higher quality than the WMA files. Please note however, that the sound clips were originally recorded onto mono audio cassette tapes and have subsequently been digitally encoded, thus the sound quality may be poor in places. The clip length is also displayed.
Describes class division in railway carriages and at local church: lists different types of people sitting in particular positions in the Church according to their rank. Also describes behaviour of vicar to different classes of churchgoers, especially his disdain for the lower class. Interviewee conveys resentment to attitude of upper/middle classes.
Conveys resentment to the superior attitude displayed by members of upper/middle classes to himself and his class (lower class). Illustrates this by a particular story of a local shopkeeper (baker's) response to him wearing a new suit. Refers to who he perceives to be so called social superiors, e.g. the rich; intellectuals; doctors, vicars. Includes example of social address between classes.
Story of class division:describes superior attitude of local lady (of property owning class) as she paid visits and inspected to tenant workers in their homes.
Example of mother's social aspirations- perceived her self to be above those around her-this attributed to her background in service. Example of this in her assessment of husband's occupation on a school form-example of class identity based on dress: school did not believe daughter to be child of a 'top labourer' because of how she looked and subsequently altered the description on form.
Perceptions of class distinction; himself a member of the manual working class refers to story of a funeral of a county property owner who had made particular and exclusive instructions for his funeral in terms of whom should attend. In the event, diversionary 'liquid refreshments' led to burial by those not of his own kind.
Reluctant to define social classes but eventually describes members of different classes; uncomfortable talking about the subject of class; describes stories of his resistance to conforming to behavioural etiquette (e.g.: tipping cap; curtseying) expected between classes.
Describes some small differences within his working class neighbourhood: some poorer than others; some had tendency to drink beyond their means; but denies that there any within the class that thought themselves better than others.
Describes having servants; in terms of moral guidance for servants, believed her mother interfered too much; though on the whole they were allowed to do as they pleased in their time off so long as they were back on time; glad when developments in modern household and equipment meant no longer need for servants; describes problem of privacy, never having house to oneself; having to cease conversation when maids came in the room for fear of gossip.
Story of migration of his distant ancestors within Scotland and then of his grandmother's family emigrating to Canada. His great, great, great grandfather a tailor from North Units; notes how there was a tailor, blacksmith and shoemaker in every district because there were no shops; gives details of size of families in terms of number and ages of children; voyage to Canada: grandmother's family rowed to a boat anchored in Loch Done; went from Scotland to Belfast and then to Quebec, Canada. 7 weeks at sea. Settled 150 miles from Montreal; taken through bush and given 1/4 of acre of land; had to clear forest-inexperienced in this; only the father spoke English; no islanders local in community; describes hardship in her life; story of cooking on the peat stove; visited his grandmother in Canada in 1923 and saw her on several occasions over next few years, when he got most of this information. She raised a family there and never came back. States that the reason for migration was because they were crofters and landowners could evict them if they did not pay the rent.
Story of how at age 16 he left Castlebay in the islands and went on the journey to Leith, via Edinburgh to join as a steward on the fishing cruiser "The Brenda". Was given the job because the commander of the boat had asked the local school master to recommend someone to him. Notes how its a long days journey on about from Castlebay via Tobermory to Oban. Leaves Castlebay to a rousing crowd of school friends at 3am in the morning (girls and boys) . Boards steamer to Oban, no steerage, cabin expensive so slept in bowels of ship among the coils of rope. Off the boat he met a policeman he knew from Barra. This man saw him on train to Edinburgh Waverly. Details of how in Edinburgh he took cab to place of work in Leith, cost half a crown-his last- so cabbie let him off fare. Details of meeting work colleagues in Leith.
Hebridean man recalls emotions when abroad (at sea), and how he would cry when he was on his own, privately of course so no-one would see; these feelings wore off “bit by bit”.
Hebridean man asked whether he regretted leaving Glasgow: response was a resounding “no”! This was not because he disliked the big city or the noise but because he had always had the ambition to be married on Barra or Vatersay and to make his “headquarters” for life there.
Mill owner describes rigid, ordered divisions among his working people: spinners, twisters etc. Sharp division between weavers and spinners: example of segregation on a coach trip and barrier to marriage between these groups; nomenclature for more general class groupings: working classes; professional; upper/middle; county people; notes relative differences between these groups. Describes defining features of upper, landowning classes, especially leisure; this is contrasted with attributes of mill owning class.
Mill owner describes forms of address used by himself; to his family and used between social groups in the mill.
As young lad bought sparklers, papers and matches to sell to the gentry around the Stock exchange, Fenchurch St in the City of London; police didn't like the boys selling sparklers because of the fire risk; describes how they were dressed without shoes or socks when among the gentry. Details of the prices for selling them, what they received in return and profit. Such scheming in all its forms brought in money, he said he earned more than his father.
Perception of class and position in society; prevalence of poverty in the villages -symbolised in this narrative by role of soup kitchens; emphasises that this was not something one would want to experience again.
Family moved frequently from house to house; says it was because of his mother, if she was not satisfied she would move to what she thought was better; this was possible because it was easy to find a house in those days. Describes practice of moonlighting among tenants of rented properties -would let unpaid rents pile up and would then move on.
Migration influenced by employers: his family worked at the mill in Oldham; were put in mill-owned cottages and charged exorbitant rent; in protest there was a strike at mill, which was settled but grandfather, father and 2 uncles were not allowed to work in mill or locality-blacklisted in Oldham. At this time Bolton textile mill opening - uncle got posted as first over looker there and father and grandfather followed him.