Audio library

This page serves as a directory of all archival audio material that the Archives Centre has published online. This is the beginning of a two part project; first we are publishing choice excerpts from our collections to highlight the breadth and depth of our audio holdings via SoundCloud, to raise awareness of what we hold and what is available to researchers remotely. We plan to expand these highlights over the course of the next few months. The second part will involve the acquisition of our own platform on which to make available audio (and other!) content, where we would seek to make the bulk of our digital or digitised holdings available. It is our aim to eventually make as much material as possible available in that fashion, subject to copyright arrangements, and to seek to review such arrangements where material can only currently be accessed in our Reading Rooms. This first step begins against the backdrop of COVID-19 and England’s third national lockdown, but we intend to continue with this, and other, initiatives to widen access to our holdings beyond the pandemic.

The items below serve as a glimpse into our audio holdings, but are only a small excerpt of a much larger whole. We hold close to 3000 audio files, both in the collections below and elsewhere, and have in the vast majority of cases already digitised them. Where that is the case, such files can be requested by researchers for private study free of charge via our standard document request procedures. This also applies to all our other audio-visual material, not just audio files.

Material linked from this page should be assumed to be copyrighted. If you want to use this for purposes beyond private research, such as publication, please contact us so we can advise on what permissions need to be sought.

Where appropriate, content advisory notices are present at the individual track level.

Collection: The Papers of Mark Abrams
Audio content: Mark Abrams interviewed by Dominic Abrams about his life.

Synopsis: Mark Abrams interviewed by his grandson Dominic Abrams about his life, including his family, childhood and education in London; his studies at the London School of Economics; his work on propaganda during the Second World War; and his career in social surveys, market research, and opinion polling.

View the catalogue entry
Listen to the audio online. An illustrated transcript of the audio (ABMS 7 1 2A) can be found here.

Collection: Churchill College Archives
Audio content: Oral histories of individuals associated with the College. Includes interviews with Natasha Squire (widow of Founding Fellow); John Moore (Head of Grounds & Gardens); Julia Boyd (wife of the College’s 5th Master); Terry Ambrose (agent involved in the building of the College site); William (Bill) Mullins (Honorary Fellow, architect of the College site); Dr Michael Hoskin (Fellow, former College Librarian); and Graham Pledger (former Deputy Head of Grounds & Gardens).

Synopsis: The College Archives holds a number of recordings made in the 1980s and 1990s with key Fellows and members of staff involved in the setting up of the College in the early 1960s and 1970s. These recordings are now being supplemented by further recordings which capture reminiscences of these early days of the College. More information on these recordings can be found here.

View the catalogue entry
Listen to the audio online

Collection: Churchill College Archives
Audio content: Audio tapes of Churchill’s speech at the tree planting ceremony at Churchill College, 17 October 1959.

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Listen to the audio online

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Collection: Churchill Oral History
Audio content: Interviews with two former personal secretaries of Winston Churchill

Synopsis: Elizabeth Gilliatt was one of Churchill’s post-war secretarial team, working for him between 1945 and 1955. Subjects covered in her interview include Churchill’s interest in racing and painting, the 1951 election, the stroke he suffered in 1953 and the Graham Sutherland portrait.

Kathleen Hill was his principal private secretary, working for Churchill between 1937 and 1945. Subjects include life at Chartwell and her work for Churchill during the war.

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Listen to the audio online

Collection: Chartwell Manuscripts
Audio content: Soundscriber discs, dictated recordings made by Winston Churchill, mainly when drafting the first volume of his war memoirs, “The Second World War”.

Synopsis: Includes discussions about the use of the SoundScriber machine (“it’s a great lesson against megalomania”); draft versions of the chapters “The Tragedy of Munich and “Air Parity Lost” from volume 1 of “The Second World War”: “The Gathering Storm”; and the poem “Death and his brother sleep”.

View the catalogue entry
Listen to the audio online

Collection: The Papers of Sir Robert Edwards
Audio content: Recording from Radio Cavell (Royal Oldham Hospital radio) labelled “Innovation Exhibition 1999, Birth of Louise Brown” containing an interview of John and Lesley Brown, speeches by Michelle Crossland (Vice Chairman of Oldham NHS Trust) and Robert Edwards at the unveiling of a plaque, an interview of Louise Brown, and an interview of Edwards at Kershaw’s hospital. Presented by Dave McGealy of Radio Cavell.

Synopsis: Radio Cavell Oldham Hospital radio programme on the 21st anniversary of IVF including interviews of those closely associated with the breakthrough, and a recording of speeches made at the unveiling of a plaque to commemorate the birth of Louise Brown (the first baby born through IVF) at Oldham Hospital. Interviews are with the parents of Louise Brown (John and Lesley), Louise Brown, and Robert Edwards. Edwards was the research scientist, who alongside Patrick Steptoe (medical doctor) and Jean Purdy (nurse and clinical embryologist), was responsible for the birth of the first baby born through IVF and set up the world’s first IVF clinic (Bourn Hall Clinic in Cambridgeshire).

View the catalogue entry
Listen to the audio online

Collection: The Sones Barnard Collection: Audio podcasts and related materials for the book When There’s a Woman in the Room
Audio content: A selection of 5 interviews concerning Brexit with Anne-Marie Morris MP, Dr Lisa Cameron, Rupa Huq MP, Lucy Allan MP and Sharon Hodgson MP.

Synopsis: SOBA 2 2: “Have the ERG blown it on Brexit?” Anne-Marie Morris MP (Conservatives) reacting to PM Theresa May offering an “olive branch” to Jeremy Corbyn MP, Leader of the Opposition, over Brexit by offering a ‘soft deal’ or customs union.

SOBA 2 3: Dr Lisa Cameron MP (SNP) reacting on why PM Theresa May did not speak to the devolved assemblies about Brexit discussions but did include Jeremy Corbyn MP, Leader of the Opposition. Dr Cameron also reviews her recent work on “Lucy’s Law” (against puppy smuggling, farming and third-party sales), cancer support and “Dump the Scales”, campaigning for support for eating disorders.

SOBA 2 17: “Does the UK need a written constitution?” Rupa Huq MP (Labour) reacting to the legal appeals against prorogation of Parliament, the relationships between the legislature, executive, and judiciary, and the jeopardising of the rule of law.

SOBA 2 22: Lucy Allan MP (Conservative) on her question to PM Boris Johnson on the partial closure of services and downgrade of Telford Hospital A&E as well as the impact of Brexit negotiations on day-to-day work on ministerial portfolios.

SOBA 2 23: Sharon Hodgson MP (Labour) on how she voted on the Brexit Bill, which included a border in the North Sea and was given only two to three days’ scrutiny in parliament. She discusses how to reconcile representing a Leave constituency with the provisions of the bill.

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Listen to the audio online

Collection: The Papers of Baroness Thatcher LG, OM, FRS
Audio content: Speeches by Mrs Thatcher at her old school, KGGS Grantham, 1982 (THCR 6/2/4/30A); at the conclusion of the Saving the Ozone Layer conference, 1989 (THCR 10/4/83); an interview with Robert Shepherd on Iain Macleod and political philosophy, April 1989 (THCR 10/4/98); and two press briefings given by Bernard Ingham (Mrs Thatcher’s Chief Press Officer) on the Conservative Party leadership result, November 1990 (THCR 10/4/197.

Synopsis: THCR 6/2/4/30A: Talking about her memories of her time at the school, and its first headmistress, and learning Latin ahead of applying to Oxford University. Transcript available here.

THCR 10/4/83: Mrs Thatcher’s remarks raising awareness of the threats to the global environment and the need for international cooperation to overcome these challenges. Transcript available here.

THCR 10/4/98: Mrs Thatcher had a policy of helping authorised biographers of former colleagues. She had worked closely with Iain Macleod and served in Cabinet with him before his untimely death. Sandwiched between official engagements, her interview gives a brisk summary of Macleod’s career and political philosophy. Transcript available here.

THCR 10/4/197: Ingham briefed the press at the Paris G7 Summit, 20 & 21 November 1990, following the results of the first round of the Conservative Party leadership election. These interviews took place shortly after Mrs Thatcher said that she would let her name go forward for a second ballot, although she would eventually withdraw her candidacy on 22 November. Even at a time of great stress for Ingham, there is a great deal of humour in his handling of the press corps. He is certainly happy to confirm that “the French pay” for the conference dinner at Versailles of “soup, lobster, chicken foie gras, cheese nougat glacé, Montrachet 85, Churchâteau Margaux 78 and champagne 83”. Transcript available here.

All transcripts hosted by the Margaret Thatcher Foundation.

View the catalogue entry (THCR 6/2/4)
View the catalogue entry (THCR 10)
Listen to the audio online

Collection: Other Deposited Collections Relating to Sir Winston Churchill
Audio content: Speech by Churchill at the 1952 Jubilee Dinner of the Association of HM Inspectors of Taxes

Synopsis: This private recording of an after dinner speech given by Churchill at the Jubilee Dinner of the Association of HM Inspectors of Taxes in May 1952 captures a more informal and relaxed example of his public speaking.

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Listen to the audio online

Collection: The Papers of Michael Young
Audio content: Phyllis Willmott’s oral history interviews with Michael Young about his early life, 1915-53

Synopsis: Michael Young in conversation with his long-time friend and colleague Phyllis Willmott about his early life, including his childhood in Melbourne and London, his education at Dartington Hall School and the importance of his relationship with its founders Dorothy and Leonard Elmhirst, his studies for the legal profession and at the London School of Economics, his experiences during the Second World War, and his working life, particularly at Political and Economic Planning and in the Labour Party Research Department.

These interviews contain occasional discussion of challenging subjects and may not be appropriate for some younger listeners.

View the catalogue entry
Listen to the audio online. See also this presentation by Archivist Sophie Bridges on Michael Young and Phyllis Willmott and her research guide to the oral history interviews.