This week I ended up on BBC Radio Lancashire talking about textiles, Lancashire Folk and an old 78rpm record. I have absolutely no connection with Lancashire and the textile industry (as far as I know) so this was a bit of a surprise.
The only link was a 1950’s 78rpm record called ‘Lancashire Speaks’ which I wrote a blog post about. Social media intervened and this is how I ended up on the radio talking to Ted Robbins and Andrew Schofield from the North West Sound Archive.
- Saturday 16th March – I find the ‘Lancashire Speaks’ record amongst the collection that belonged to my wife’s Grandparents. I do some research on Cyril Lord who issued the record but draw a blank.
- Sunday 17th March – decide to write a blog post about how the record is an interesting early example of getting local people’s voices heard by remote decision makers. I also offered the record to a good home as an example of social history.
- Monday & Tuesday – conversations on my twitter account with people commenting on the blog post and suggestions of who might be interested in the recording. The North West Sound Archive got mentioned three times so I send them an email.
- Wednesday & Thursday – email and telephone conversations follow with Andrew Schofield from the North West Sound Archive. The record isn’t something Andrew is aware and they would be interested in a copy. At this point neither of us has listened to the recording.
- Weekend of 23rd & 24th March – I source suitable material to package this now precious record and send it to the NW Sound Archive at Clitheroe.
- Tuesday 26th March – Phone call from Andrew, he’s received the recording safely and it works. Two minutes of Lancashire Folk speaking about the textile industry, directed at Members of the Houses of Parliament. A bit of ‘hiss’, but what do you expect for a 60-year-old recording.
- Wednesday 27th March – emails and phone calls. Would I be prepared to talk on BBC Radio Lancashire about the recording? Gary Scott had picked it up via my blog post and they would like to talk to me. Now who is going to turn down an offer like that? Not me!
- Thursday 28th March – I get to speak with Ted Robbins and Andrew and listen to the recording for the first time. You can have a listen to the whole interview here (skip to 47-58mins). Hopefully I will have the digital recording of the Lancashire Textile Workers soon which I will add here.
One of the Tweets suggesting I contact the North West Sound Archive. People were very helpful.
So what happens next?
In Lancashire – hopefully people get in touch with the Ted Robbins show or the NW Sound Archive with some more information and we can fill in a few more of the gaps in information.
In South Wales – The only connection we think we have with the record in my Wife’s Grandfather, George William Ridgwell, who was in the Metropolitan Police (1921-1962) and the Inspector at the Houses of Parliament during the 1950’s. We think that he may have acquired the record during this time. It would be interesting to know.
Has social media helped in solving this mystery?
Thinking about the alternatives I probably wouldn’t have bothered doing anything other than putting the record back in the box. With relative ease I wrote a blog post which ended up with an interview with the radio station at the heart of Lancashire. I don’t think alternative methods would have achieved such wide coverage. Here are some numbers (imagine what we could have achieved if I was really good at this sort of thing):
- My original ‘Lancashire Speaks’ blog post was viewed almost 200 times,
- Through twitter links to the post have been shared 35 times
- BBC Radio Lancashire has over 200 thousand listeners a week
So, what’s the PONT?
- Blogging and social media have helped me to share a bit of social history which otherwise might have remained ‘lost’ in a box.
- It might help piece a few more bits of the jigsaw together, in Lancashire and some family history back here in South Wales.
- Is been great fun. I’ve spoken with Ted Robbins, Andrew Schofield and created a bit of excitement in work and with the family and friends.
One final thing. Cyril Lord was an interesting character. I’d love to know if he really did have a cameo appearance in a Batman episode as the ‘Carpet King’.
Photo Source: Ted Robbins from BBC Radio Lancashire. http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/robbins