INTERVIEWEE: Professor David Lockwood
INTERVIEWER: Professor Paul Thompson
INTERVIEW HELD ON: 06/02/01; 22/03/02; 30/03/02; 05/04/02
6 February 2002
Tape 1 – Side A
PT: Could you say when you were born, and where?
DL: 9th April, 1929. Holmfirth, Yorkshire, West Riding. Now, at the scene of this infamous, awful comedy series!
PT: (LAUGHS) Yes! But what about your family, what sort of background do you come from?
DL: I don’t know! I mean, my sister would know that a bit more. All I know is, my mother was called Lockwood before she married, which is quite unusual. … I don’t think they were closely related, like cousins or anything like that, but there are a lot of Lockwoods around the area, not particularly in Holmfirth, but where Dennis comes from – Marsden – in that area. So …
I don’t know how old my father was when he died, but I think it was in about 1940. But I think the War had started. I remember him lying, he used to lie on the sofa a lot, because I think he had some strokes before he died of one. And there was this ranting voice, and he told me it was Hitler. That was before the War started.
PT: So you don’t really remember him very much.
DL: Not much, no. I remember … well, he used to be a cobbler, shoes. Well, he made shoes as well, he was sort of self-employed. When he came out of the Army he had trenchfoot. Before that, he worked in the mill as a dyer, before he went in the Army. And he lost his toes, you see, and I think, I don’t know whether it was in connection with that, but the Army trained him, when they demobbed him, as a shoemaker. And that’s what he … He had a little shop, which was triangular, at the end of a … it’s still there. Last time it was a takeaway! And it’s been several things, you know. I remember going there and taking him things – cigarettes, getting cigarettes for him – which he shouldn’t have been smoking!
PT: So the shop wasn’t part of the house, it was separate?
DL: Oh no, it was separate, quite a long way off. I think I may have taken him lunch or something like that, you know, a midday snack, [from] my mother. And it was by the side of the river, which runs through Holmfirth, and it always smelt of leather. It smelt quite nice. And people used to be popping in all the time. And I remember, at the weekends, he used to get dressed up, and he’d put this, like the Italians – or I always think of it as an Italian film star style – he’d sort of slick his hair back with, not Vaseline, but Brylcreem, or something like that, and it used to smell. So I did have some contact with him.
I can’t remember a great deal, because I think I was about 11 when he died, probably, and he’d been in bed, you know, for a year or something like that, or getting on for a year, and I, somehow, I didn’t get access to him, because he wasn’t in a very good state. But I knew it was going on, and that has always depressed me, I suppose, as an adult, but that … I always used to think that I would die when I was 50, like he did. I’ve inherited some of the same problems, and so has my sister. So that’s that side – Lockwood.
I don’t know what his father was, Lee would know. I think his father dropped dead at 45, running for a train, somewhere in Yorkshire. I don’t know what he was, actually. I’ll find out if you’re interested. Lee would, she’ll know.
PT: But you didn’t know him, anyway?
DL: I didn’t know my grandfather, no.
Then there’s my mother’s side, and they … Auntie Nellie lived just down the street, you know, a few houses away, and her husband died quite early, I think, of what, I don’t know. And she had one son, Cecil, who lived with her for a long time. So there was that. And then we had this house, and my mother came from a … her father was a … in Hoyland Swain, I think it was.
PT: Sorry, where?
DL: Hoyland Swain. It doesn’t matter, it’s sort of in the hills around – some distance from Holmfirth. And he, you probably know about it, he was a farmer, but he also mined coal. They had one of these mines that went … you can walk down into it. I never saw it.
PT: Yes. Drift mine.
DL: Yeah. But also he had a little farm. And she, quite early on, was sent to be a servant somewhere, and she ended up in a rather posh place in Holmfirth, I think it was a local entrepreneur – they used to go to Egypt in the winter, you know, winter, and things like that! So she … how they met, I don’t know. Lee, again, probably – because Lee had talked to her a lot, you know – and she’s on tape somewhere.
PT: Yes, that’s right, she is, isn’t she, yes.
DL: So I think they met, you know, around Holmfirth. And I think they were married before he went into the War, First World War. And he was stuck in the trenches at the Battle of Wipers [Ypres] as he used to call it! You know, it was a pretty prolonged thing. Somebody pulled him out because he couldn’t walk. And they had a boy, George, who died in the ‘flu epidemic after the First World War, I forget exactly when. And then some years later they had Joyce, and then seven years later, me. Whether I was an accident or not, I don’t know! So there was this … I know that, there’s a seven year gap between us, which is a long …
PT: So what happened to Joyce, then?
DL: Joyce left home quite early. She married a Methodist Minister, who’s still, he’s still alive – eighty something. He came on one of these Crusades, pulling a cart and banners, you know, they were Evangelical Methodists. And I think she must have hit it off, and she left … she got married quite young, about 18, I think. So that was … I would then be, what … 11. She left … some time during the War, shortly after the War had started. Why, I don’t know.
Because then we had to take in evacuees, or … well, I think they were relatives, actually, my cousins from London. And then, also to make ends meet, we took in lodgers. The ones I remember were a policeman, and the other, someone called Miss Mott, who, I think, had a big influence on me, because she taught at the Grammar School, and she married somebody, again, a local entrepreneur who made a lot of money, and they built the first sort of modern Scandinavian type house in … in Honley, near Holmfirth, and they’re still there. It’s all timber and glass. Anyway, she was there for quite a while, she was there while Joyce was still at home, I think, so it must have been right at the beginning of the War.
PT: When you say she was an influence, what do you mean?
DL: Erm … well, she used to talk to me … I think, at the time, whether I’d just taken the 11+ or not, well, the equivalent to the 11+, I don’t know, but she was exotic, you know. She was quite glamorous. And I think, you know, the policeman sort of fancied his chances, but he didn’t get very far! And she was educated, you see, in a way that … My sister left school at 15 or something like that, and worked as a secretary in the office at the Mill, one of the mills, so nobody in the family had had any education. She must have gone to university, I don’t know.
PT: And she encouraged you?
DL: I guess so, in some way. I can’t remember exactly how. She was a role model, that’s what they call a role model, I suppose, except she was a woman, and I didn’t really understand.
Then I had a very good friend next door, Garth. He died in his forties, and we used to go for long walks on the moors. Who else?
Well, next door was Mrs. Hinchliffe, and Mr. Hinchliffe, and he ran a car, a garage, and he had a motor car, and sometimes he took us on the … what you call “The Tops” – Pennines. And she was a very kind and forceful woman, and very supportive when my father died. You know, I would go and stay there, and she was a second mother really, when my mother was out, I don’t know why she was out, maybe she was cleaning or something … yeah, she took up cleaning.
Then there was somebody she cleaned for, just further on the road and down a little snicket, she cleaned for them, and he was an engineer in the … I don’t know what they made, somewhere in Huddersfield, and I used to walk their dog. I think he paid me for it, I’m not sure, but it was a horrible dog, it was one of these white things, a bull mastiff is it? Or some kind of mastiff. It has this blunt nose. And I, I mean, now, I realise I shouldn’t have been anywhere near it! But I used to take it for walks. And he used to talk to me about, you know, how he got on in the world and what you had to do.
So there were people around who, who were very supportive, both after my father died and when I was 11, 12, I suppose, and it was all very comfortable. It was during the War too, you see, and they had the Dad’s Army – Home Guard it was. (LAUGHS) It was an incredible show! A man called Mr. Sykes who had been in the Boer War or something! (LAUGHS) And he used to march around with these people! I used to think it was very funny! And air raid wardens and things like that. We were always collecting bits of metal and rubber and stuff, and I remember we used to have bins for it outside the shop in Holmfirth, on the bridge, that sold tripe. Why I remember that, I don’t know. It’s very odd, you know!
PT: And what about your relationship with your mother, then?
DL: Er … well … um … well, I mean, it’s a relationship … you know, ordinary … except she must have been working quite a lot, because, you know, he didn’t have any pension or anything when he died, and I suppose there was the shop – whether he owned it or rented it, I’ve no idea. So she used to go out quite a lot. That’s why I was with Mrs. Hinchliffe next door.
And then when I got into secondary school, grammar school, well, I left at 15, because I felt, you know, I had to help pull … pull my weight. And so I got a job. And my uncle, yeah, was another sort of influence, but I won’t go into that. I got a job in Honley, in a textile factory.
PT: Well, let’s not rush on too fast. Can I just go back about your mother? Did you then feel you didn’t have time to talk to her? Is that what you’re saying?
DL: Er … well, in a sense, that was true, because the house was crammed full. It was quite a big house, actually. I mean, it had two big attic rooms, and I was in one of those. And then there were the refugee cousins, and then when Joyce left home, I moved down into the other bedroom, and the policeman took that place at the top, and Miss Mott had a, what was, essentially, a sitting room and one bedroom on the second floor. And it had a big kitchen at the bottom. So the house was very full. My mother was very … she made meals for all these people, you see. And, at that time, it was, you know, I was going to school and … I had mumps, very badly. Yeah, I guess she was pretty preoccupied, and also going out to do a bit of cleaning on top of all that.
PT: Did you feel she was supportive to you?
DL: Yeah. I mean, I didn’t feel neglected, partly because all these other people were always around as well, it was like a big kibbutz, you know, for a while! And then the cousins left, they couldn’t stand it. They were from London. I hope I’ve got this right, I think they were cousins that were sent up. Then Miss Mott got married to the entrepreneur. And the policeman, I don’t know, he disappeared. And then we were on our own after I started work.
PT: And could you talk about ideas with your mother at all?
DL: No, I don’t think so. Or my father. Or my sister. Well, no, by that time she was pretty heavily into Methodism. Ideas, no. Nothing abstract.
PT: And you all went to the Methodist Chapel?
DL: Oh no, we were Church of England. I was confirmed in the Church of England, I sang in the choir, I mean as a choirboy, and all the rest of it. Very nice fun. There was a loose electrical switch in the changing room where we put our robes on, and we used to make a chain, and somebody would touch the switch and the electric would … (LAUGHS) And the vicar got quite … oh, the vicar, yeah! He was quite interesting, but that was … when I was Confirmed, that was later, when I was about 14, I suppose. And he’d been in the Army and we were supposed to have Confirmation Classes, and all he did was to show us his stamp collection, which was enormous, and his war relics –pistols and medals and things – and go on about the War! This was supposed to be an induction into the Church of England! And eventually, I was promoted to help him with the Communion, I had to hold something, I don’t know whether it was the platter with the things on, or the wine. I always remember, afterwards, we went into the little side room, and he explained that he had to drink the rest of the wine because it’s been consecrated, and it would be a sin to just throw it away! (LAUGHS) I hope this is going to be copyright or something!
PT: Well, you’ll have to decide what to do with it, yourself, David, actually! (LAUGHS)
DL: I mean, somebody could find out, because there’s only one Church of England vicar.
PT: Well, they all drink the wine, so I don’t think you’re saying anything very terrible!
DL: Anyway, that was the Confirmation Class. There were two of us, I remember, and we thought it was really jolly! So he was quite … he went on about the War, and reasons for the War, and things like that, so we did learn something! So it wasn’t, apart from my father’s death, which, as I say, was … well, I don’t know, looking back, I don’t know, it was a relief, almost, when he died, because he was in such a bad way. I mean, he had to be turned over all the time. And … I seem to remember the doctor came – the doctor lived just down the end of the road, actually, in a big house, and used to come quite regularly to the, you know, to see how they were getting on. And nurses and things, it seemed to be quite good provision. But he was in a bad way. Very bad way at the end, I mean, sort of paralysed, and he couldn’t speak properly, and incontinent. And there was this sort of rather, this distinctive smell, you know, somebody who’s ill like that, if you went into the bedroom. And there was no point in my trying to talk to him or anything, really. So, apart from that, and people seemed to get over it, I think I did, reasonably. Well, I don’t know about my mother … probably not as easily. It may have been one reason why my sister left, I don’t know.
PT: Do you think your mother, with all that kind of suffering, she was withdrawn a bit too, would you say?
DL: I don’t know. I don’t know.
PT: And you mentioned an uncle just now.
DL: Oh well, yes, he lived up a very tall street out of Holmfirth, and he wasn’t any intellectual stimulus. I don’t know what had happened to him during the First World War, maybe he was ill or something. No, but he was always complaining about the rations, you see. I mean, that’s why I remember him! He used to say, the meat … we used to go up there sometimes on a Sunday evening, you know, he’d say things like, “The meat …”, poke the meat and say, “This one’s scrimmed up a tree!” No, he was rather horrible. But what am I thinking of now? I missed that one. There was some other relative … maybe it’ll come back.
PT: What about the schools, David, that you went to, the first schools?
DL: The school was a Church School, St. John’s, attached to the [church]. I suppose it was very good really. The first teacher I had was a woman, rather big and impressive, and we … you know, reading, writing and arithmetic. And she was very strict. I think she had a ruler and so on, and then we just moved into another room for the next stage up. And the Headmaster, too, was very strict, but we, you know, on Friday afternoons it was more relaxed, and they had, I don’t know what it … but we called it “Creative” or “Free Time”, reading things that were more interesting. But his favourite trick that, if you weren’t paying attention, he’d walk up and down and … the back of the head like that! (LAUGHS) because we all had short hair, so … it wasn’t … And I used to go, walk up there, and then go back for lunch, and then walk back up again, so it was two miles each way, four times. I mean, eight miles! And nobody thought anything about it, rain or snow. And, well, I mean, there used to be a gang that came from another school, in the bottom. Why we went to that one, I don’t know, maybe it was because of the Church. And they came up the hill to our school, and there were often sort of fights, and I always remember we took to hiding behind a big gate of a big house, till they’d gone by – hoping they wouldn’t find us! But that was all part of … there wasn’t any bullying in the school as such.
PT: And then from that school, David, what happened then?
DL: Oh, I went to the Grammar School. I must have had …
PT: So, how difficult was it to get to the Grammar School, at that point?
DL: I don’t know. Can’t remember.
PT: Do you remember taking the exam?
DL: No. I don’t, actually, because I didn’t know what it was. I don’t know, the Grammar School was in Honley, and I went on the bus there.
PT: It was where?
DL: Honley, which is just in between Huddersfield and Holmfirth.
PT: What was it like, then, the Grammar School?
DL: It was all right. For some reason, I was … I mean, something slightly humiliating in the way it was … it must have been means-tested for meals, and I had a ticket or something, and you had to go separately from the others, you know, to get your lunch, which is a bit … I don’t know, I mean, looking back, maybe I’m construing it that way, but I did feel that you had to sort of wave this and … We were in a minority. It was a nicely situated school, and I’m sure the teaching was very good.
PT: Were there any particular teachers you’d say were an important influence?
DL: No. Not really.
PT: So you didn’t kind of, as it were, take fire, intellectually, while you were at Grammar School?
DL: No. I was going to go into the sixth form, until I decided, you know, I had to earn some money. And for some reason, I don’t know why, it was English, I was put in the English stream, and they started off with Chaucer and the mediaeval, and I found that really off-putting. I don’t know who the other pupils were, but the, the teacher was very keen on this, and they were all lapping it up and … I don’t think I got on very well. And shortly after that I left.
I don’t know how I got this job. Maybe through this engineer, I think now, who I mentioned before. And I was supposed to go – it was called Victoria Textiles – and I was supposed to go “through the Mill”, where you did all the …
PT: Doing what in the Mill there?
DL: Well, I mean, the idea was that you did … it was a small outfit, it was just this man who was often not there, and his wife who was supposed to keep an eye on things, and she wasn’t there. So I was in the office most of the time, doing that sort of thing.
PT: Superintending, you mean, to some extent?
DL: Well, just keeping records and things, and they used to come in intermittently. But I shared this task with the foreman of the Mill, who was next door. He was quite a nice chap, a bit lazy. And then I, after that, I was supposed to learn how the machinery worked, and what they produced. I forget what it was they produced now. It was quite a small outfit. So the idea was that you then could go … So I was left on my own for long periods of time, staring out the window, actually, I had nothing much to do! But I cycled there from Holmfirth. Then what?
PT: How long were you there?
DL: Two and a half to three years. And then I was conscripted.
PT: So shall we take a break at this point?
[BREAK IN RECORDING]
DL: Yeah, I think so, because, you know, later on she had this dreadful Paget’s Disease, and sort of laying and things, and she never complained about it really.
PT: And you say she’s very brave?
DL: Well, yeah. I mean, to hold the household together and everything after my father died. And later, and Joyce left, you see, that was quite …
PT: Was she upset by Joyce leaving?
DL: I don’t know. I don’t know. I think she probably was a little, because she was still quite young and earning and so on.
PT: But did your mother become a Methodist because of the same man? Same preacher?
DL: Not my mother, she was Church of England.
PT: Sorry, I thought you said your mother got into Methodism.
DL: No, Joyce. I think she [Joyce] never went to the Church of England, the Anglican Church, I mean, she was always in there [with the Methodists]. And then these people came, and they came several times, and I think the second time she decided that was it. No, I mean, my mother came from a generation where you sit up straight, and even at 90, she was sat up, you know, like that. And got up in the morning and got dressed properly. I mean, she wasn’t strict or anything, but she just was very well-organised, and I guess that’s what I mean by brave. Yeah, she was somebody who was strong.
PT: Yes, well, obviously, some people faced with that situation would go under, wouldn’t they.
PT: So it sounds like the house, was it unusually big?
DL: Well, it was terrace, but it was one of two that went down, they had the ground floor, and then a second floor with two sitting rooms really, and the staircase went up the middle. And then there were two bedrooms and a bathroom, and then there were these two rooms at the top, which were more like attic rooms, but each one was as big as this, if not bigger.
PT: So, presumably, when your father was working, they were doing reasonably well?
DL: I don’t know. I suppose so, yeah. It certainly wasn’t where they lived before he went to the War, because they lived up the top along the Lumps [the hills, the Pennines]. I’m trying to remember this … other guy, maybe that will come back to me.
PT: What about Holmfirth as a community? Is it a little mill town in the moors, or something like that?
DL: Yeah. Pubs, fish and chip shops, chapels, that’s what it was essentially. It had a cinema. And it had a terrible flood in 1906 or ‘11, they have a marker up on … Yeah, they had a cinema, we used to go there on a Saturday morning. Had Bamfords Post Cards, famous post-cards. The chap who drew them has got a big obituary on a plaque. Had a railway, it stopped there. What else? A good service, road service. And then there were the Moors, of course. You woke up, and you were on the top of the Moors at Holme and so on.
PT: What did you do for fun when you were an adolescent?
DL: Well, walking, a lot of it, you know. Everybody was great walkers, so you got into the habit of it. Do for fun? Read. Listen to the radio. We were out of doors most of the time, an awful lot of the time. We always went off, follow the tramp, he had a fit, and we used to roam around without any worry about these things. I mean, he didn’t take me away, he was just wandering up one of the lanes, and I used to go up talking to him, and they found us sitting on a bench at the top of the … Oh yes, when we were younger, we used to go to Marks Bottoms, which was over a little hill, and it was a wonderful enchanted place that had a stream coming down, we’d find trout, and then … in a big mill pond it eventuated, I mean, it was woody and everything, and we used to build things there and catch trout.
Not in adolescence, no. In adolescence … the first thing I remember reading, I got it out of the local library, was Herbert Spencer’s First Principles, which I didn’t understand really.
PT: Why did you choose that book, then?
DL: I don’t know whether it was from the library. I mean, there was a stationer’s shop at the top of the street, not our street, but in the road in Holmfirth. At the back, they had a collection of books, and … it was in something called, I think, “The Thinker’s Library”, it was red, they had a whole series of them. And it might have been Miss Mott who … I mean, she didn’t say, “Go and read Herbert Spencer”, but she said, you know, “There are books there”, or something, and she used to go in there. I must have bought that when I started working – 15 or 16. So that I do remember that. I remember reading outside in the summer.
I spent a lot of the time outside. People had allotments for one thing.
PT: You didn’t have an allotment?
DL: No, but they used to ask for help and that sort of thing. So … I’m getting a bit exhausted now.
[BREAK IN RECORDING]
22nd March, 2002
PT: So let’s take up the story when you were called up. What happened then?
DL: Well, I got my call up papers and I went like a good boy! To Catterick, basic training, six weeks. And after that, I think I was assigned to the Intelligence Corps, and I went to Aldershot for several months, as I remember. What I was doing there, I was sort of mucking around mainly! No, they were waiting to see where to send people. And while I was waiting, I got put on a charge for going around Aldershot with the top button undone on my overcoat.
DL: Had to get up at four o’clock in the morning, polish everything, turn up at the gate of the barracks, for a week, I think. But then there were two lots of people they were sending – one lot they sent to Israel, because it was the time of the … I don’t know, the Iegunsweilumi or whatever they were called …
PT: Ah! This is 1947 isn’t it.
DL: Yeah. And, fortunately, I didn’t get sent there, otherwise I might have got shot. I was sent to Austria. I was sent to Graz, which is Southern Austria, near the border of Yugoslavia, and it’s the place where it was the first foreign performance of Shakespeare, in Graz, in 1608, believe it or not. Incredible isn’t it! And he was still alive. Which play it was, I don’t know. The Intelligence Corps was not an ordinary Unit of the Army. The discipline wasn’t … well, wait a minute, I wouldn’t say the discipline wasn’t strict, but we didn’t have any … We were in a schloss, a little schloss, I’ve got a picture of it actually, because when I went to Berlin a few years ago, I met somebody who was a professor there, and he asked me where I stayed, and I happened to have a photograph of it and I sent it to him, and he sent back a photograph of the place today, and it had a – we had a jeep outside the door, they had a Mercedes! We had a butler who served drinks at a little bar. The man in charge was the Regimental Sergeant Major, which is quite a high NCO, and all the rest were sergeants and corporals, and a lot of them, they were waiting to go to university, or something like that. John [Erickson] – just died – was one of them. He was a Professor of War History or something. Just saw his obituary recently.
PT: So, David, did you opt for this, or were you …
DL: No, you never opt for anything in the Army! You’re assigned!
PT: How were you chosen, then?
DL: I don’t know. Maybe because I’d done German at school. But that wouldn’t have helped in Israel! I don’t know, maybe … I’ve no idea. Perhaps they thought I wasn’t very good for anything else. I mean, my right eye has always been pretty poor, I wore glasses from when I was a schoolboy, which means … everything on a gun is right-handed really, and so I couldn’t see, you’re supposed to look down with one eye, and I couldn’t see the target very well. Not that that … I was at Aldershot, and then I went down somewhere in Sussex. I’m sorry, I missed that bit out – Uckfield – half way to Brighton … for some kind of Intelligence Corps training. And they didn’t have rifles, they had machine guns, Israeli machine guns I think they were. Oh no, sten gun.
Anyway, we eventually got out to Austria, and what we were assigned to do was, it was the process of de-Nazification, and we were assigned to find out who had been bad during the War. And I think I’ve told you this, there was a collective amnesia, nobody knew anything. They couldn’t remember, all the documents were destroyed and so on, and it was pretty futile. We knew they were all bastards, and they still are, Nazis, you know. It was the most pro-Nazi place on earth – Vienna and Graz. And then [I] hadn’t been there very long, I was there for two years, well, less than two, it was 18 months, and the policy switched from de-Nazification to anti-Communism, when the Cold War broke out, and so we were assigned to look at the Yugoslavs and that. So I remember, we went across the border to meet, I suppose, police, Yugoslav police, or our equivalent, and we had a meal and I must have eaten some raw pork or something, not properly cooked, and I got … I got paratyphoid B. I had to go to hospital in Klagenfurt, was there for a long time. They’d just brought out some kind of antibiotic … not modern antibiotics, but sulphonamide or something, and … I was visited, when I was feeling better, somebody from the Army Education Corps came, a sergeant, and he gave me Leo Hubermann’s, Man’s Worldly Goods to read. They were a Bolshy lot, the Education Corps. And I found it very interesting, and he talked to me about Marx and so on. So then I had sick leave here in England, and then I went back.
PT: So were there other people in that group you would have that sort of conversation about ideas with, out in Austria?
DL: No, not … not much. That’s the thing that stuck in my mind. This guy, John Erikson is his name, at Edinburgh.
PT: Oh yes, I remember him.
DL: And he was, he’d been there some time when I got there, and he was very sort of gung-ho, and he was already learning Russian, you see, and became a Russian expert. There was somebody called Inskip, who was the son of a General. If all these are still alive, I shouldn’t really be saying these things! He wasn’t very keen on the Army! So there were people like that. … I don’t remember any specific conversations about … So I got back, and I, I was unwell for quite a while, recovering from it, I was very weak and so on.
And about that time, somehow, it may be through the Army Education Corps, because I’d started doing evening classes in Huddersfield, I remember telling you, so maybe that’s why they thought I should go into Intelligence.
PT: I don’t remember about the evening classes, actually. What were they on?
DL: In Huddersfield, Geography and Economics. Oh, maybe I’ve got it wrong, maybe it was the Geography Teacher who gave me Leo Hubermann … maybe it was the Education guy who showed me Marx, Kapital I. Anyway, I think that’s probably the way around, because I must have told him I’d read this Leo Hubermann, the Education guy, and he said, well, something like, you know, “Look at the real thing”. I couldn’t understand a word! I seem to remember reading, because “commodity is a mysterious thing”, that stuck in my mind, the opening phrase. So … where have we got to?
PT: But can you just explain about these classes. This was when you were working in the Mill?
DL: Yeah, evening classes, yeah. Yeah, it was supposed to be the B.Sc. (Econ.) Intermediate Exam.
PT: So you had actually decided to get some further education? So how did that happen?
DL: I don’t know. Um … I … I read things like Herbert Spencer when I was … quite young – 18. No, before that. And there was a local bookshop in Holmfirth which had various things. And I told you about this school teacher, Miss Mott.
PT: Yes, you did. Yes.
DL: And so she probably encouraged me along that line. And since I was working in the Mill, and I was supposed to end up as a manager, I felt economics … the good and bad, you know. So, came out of the Intelligence Corps – got back to Graz, rather – and then I went back to Klagenfurt to take this exam for the entry to the LSE.
How I picked on the LSE I don’t know. Maybe the … I was still in touch with the Education people. And I took this, I travelled overnight to Klagenfurt, didn’t sleep a wink, and took this exam, two exams I think they were, and one of them you could write whatever you wanted, and I wrote about Nietsche, because I’d picked up a book in Graz on Nietsche.
PT: Which you read in German?
DL: No. No, I couldn’t have read it in German. Or maybe, again, it was the Education Corps who were supplying these things. And I remember, later, that somebody told me that … or maybe I got it back, a note at the bottom of the exam paper saying, “Leave the construction of 40-word sentences to the occasional Carlyle among us”, and that was from Lance Beales, H.L. Beales! What he knew about, I don’t know! Anyway, I got in. I was accepted. And then I had to find a grant. I mean, I was out of the Army. I went home and … and so I went to Leeds to discuss the grant which they’d set up for ex-Service people, which is why I always say I owe my career to Hitler! I wouldn’t have got out of Holmfirth otherwise. And he said, “Why do people like you want to go to university?” This guy in the local Council.
End of Tape 1 – Side A
Tape 1 – Side B
PT: You were saying that he thought people of your background shouldn’t be going to university.
DL: That’s right, yeah.
PT: That’s pretty amazing.
DL: Well, those were the old Hoggart days, you know, it’s way back – 1949 that was. So I went there.
PT: To the LSE, you mean?
DL: Yeah. And I’d only been there six weeks or so, I think, I was lodging up above St. Pancras, maybe about Finsbury Park, and I had appendicitis in the middle of the night, and was rushed into hospital at St. Pancras, and had it dealt with.
PT: Why don’t you talk about LSE, the people that taught you and so on, there?
DL: Yeah. Well, I was just going to say that I lived mostly different places in London, each term, to save money, because you didn’t have to pay them for the vacation. Sent my laundry home (LAUGHS) to be done! And went home in the vacations, you know.
But the people who taught me, well, the first person to teach me, I had a tutor, you know, Donald MacRae , gave me Ruth Benedict’s Patterns of Culture to read. Very erudite man, and you tried to be ambitious about references and so on, and he would correct you, or provide a superior reference and so on! He was a bit of a one-up man, but he was a terrific stimulus. It was usually after lunch that he turned up. Well, everyone knows that Donald was very fond of his drink and so on! But otherwise it was, you know, nine of the papers were in economics, I think, or economic history. No, there were five in Economics, and then there was Political Science, and Logic and Scientific Method, which you had to take, I think. And then there were Sociology papers.
PT: What, one or two papers, Sociology?
DL: Well, I think there were 12 altogether, and seven were compulsory, and one was a general paper, again, so there would be, what, four? I can’t remember what I … well, some of those were compulsory, like the Ginsberg course on History of Sociology, or Comparative Social Institutions. Then you could choose two, I think, and I did Jean Floud’s course on Stratification, and Bob McKenzie and Political Sociology. And that was it. So there were two compulsory courses. Ginsberg was a very good lecturer, but the subject matter was old-fashioned, I mean, he was still teaching Hobhouse and Westermaark. But other things, he taught Max Weber and Durkheim and so on.
But the influence of Talcott Parsons was already there, and Merton. Asher Tropp was the year in front of me, and he told me all about it, and lent me his copy of Merton, and so a lot of the education was as much subversive undergraduate education. And I think, already, by that time, I don’t know about Ginsberg because I didn’t have much to do with him, but people like MacRae and Gellner felt that there was a bit of a threat going on. But, like good students, we did the boring bits and the interesting. We couldn’t put too much Parsons and Merton into the essays and exams, certainly, so a lot of it was straightforward Comparative Social Institutions and so on, and we had time to go to other lectures.
There’s a guy at the swimming pool who says as he gets older, his feet seem further away. Well, that’s how I feel about Sociology now, it’s become so complex, all these special things. As undergraduates, even, we had time to do … Well, we did the Economics, most of it was Economics, and there were some very delightful … I mean, Robbins was a brilliant lecturer, and Meade, and a man with the machine, Phillips, who had the Keynsian Model machine and so on, and Beales … no, not Beales, Ashton, did the basic course in Economic History, and he was very good. But as I say, we had time to read bits of Anthropology and Psychoanalysis and go to lectures on feudalism.
DL: Well, they were on the bookshelves, serendipity, you know, because there was a course in Social Psychology, I think that’s one of the courses I did, or I went to. Hotopf and so … And there was some French historian, mediaeval historian, who came and gave his lectures on feudalism. What was his name? It wasn’t Bloch, it was the other one. It’ll come back to me – I hope!
PT: What was Asher Tropp like, then, as a lecturer?
DL: Well, he wasn’t a lecturer, he was a student.
PT: Oh, sorry, that’s right, yeah. And there was Jean Floud, and there was somebody else you mentioned.
DL: Bob McKenzie.
PT: Bob McKenzie.
DL: Yeah, he was very good.
PT: Yes. And Jean?
DL: Jean was very good, yeah.
PT: She would have been young then.
DL: Yeah. And she was very Left-wing at that time, sort of Marxist. Whereas Bob McKenzie was already in the BBC and so on, and a very good lecturer, very entertaining lecturer on British Politics , and Michels and all that sort of thing.
PT: And presumably you didn’t do a project as part of the degree, it was all courses?
DL: It was all courses, and essay. I remember doing essays for Donald, but I don’t think there were any others.
PT: Oh! Just exams? Lectures and exams.
DL: Yeah. Exams, yeah. And that was great. You know, you had all this time. Yeah, Donald was my tutor in the first year, because then it got specialised after the first year. And I don’t remember we had any classes in the second and third year. We must have done. I remember going to Jean Floud’s. Yeah, I think we did have classes, but they weren’t very frequent, they were something like every fortnight or something. And Basil Bernstein was one of my contemporaries. I think he took his exams the same year. And who else? I don’t know. I can’t remember. You know, I don’t have group photographs or anything like that, probably it would come back to me if I did.
PT: But in terms of your developing ideas, who do you think was most important then?
DL: Well, I don’t know. Well, certainly this … well, once we got reading Merton, you know, and middle range theory and so on, that was right.
PT: More what you read than the actual lecturers.
DL: Yeah. Yeah, well, they weren’t here, of course. And Lazarsfeld. Asher was very much into this. I mean, he was the conduit, had been a year above, I took what he said seriously. He was very anti-Ginsberg and so on … not anti-Ginsberg, but he felt it wasn’t the right thing to do. So that’s it, basically.
PT: And apart from being ill, what about your life outside the classrooms at LSE?
DL: Well, one year I lived in Earls Court, and the house was full of medical students really. One year I lived in Tufnell Park. Is it Tufnell Park? Yeah. In a house with a landlady, and there was another student from University College, who was doing physics, there were just the two of us, and she used to make very stodgy, what she would regard as “filling meals” – dumplings and things like suet puddings – it was practically incapacitating, you could hardly walk down to the cinema after that! And then I went out to Bromley. And I must have lived in other places as well.
PT: Mmm. Did you have much life, as a student, with other students?
DL: Other students, yeah.
PT: Did you do things together?
DL: Yeah, like going to the cinema and so on. I can’t remember very much now … because the terms were pretty intensive and, you know, by the time you got back to your lodgings … Well, I used to eat at the School, there was a subsidised canteen there, and so that’s where, I think, most of the social activity took place, and then split up.
PT: So who would your best friend, as an undergraduate, have been?
DL: Best friend?
PT: If you had one.
DL: Well, it’s very difficult. I mean, because you were out in your lodgings, and I wouldn’t say any of us … well, that guy from physics, in Tufnell Park, we were more or less thrown together. He was a very nice guy, he got a first in Physics at University College, and we talked quite a bit, but by the time we’d had these enormous meals, we sort of weren’t in for much cogitation! Drinking now, [I didn’t] drink until I became a post-graduate, and that was … or, you know, a lecturer even.
PT: Politics, were you interested in politics?
DL: Interested in politics? Not really, no. No, I wouldn’t say I was a political activist, no. Student Union, you mean that sort of thing?
PT: Or outside.
PT: Okay. So then you got your degree.
PT: Which was …
PT: A good one, though?
PT: Yes. And what happened next?
DL: What happened next was that I thought I’d got to earn a living. … Oh, what happened next is, I had a post-graduate award, London University Award in Economics. It was in Economics, actually. I got the Hobhouse Memorial Prize, which I shared with Norman Dennis. You know Norman Dennis?
PT: Yes, the Miner’s man, yes.
DL: Anyway, it was in Economics, and I started to do a project with Karl Freund and Marshall, T.H. Marshall, on arbitration, and eventually I did publish an article on it. But it was getting very difficult. I spent a year, almost a year on it, I think.
PT: So this Award was attached to the project, do you mean? You got the Award, and then you had to do that particular project?
DL: Oh no, it was an Award for doing well in the Economics Degree.
PT: Oh, I see.
DL: Because I did, you know, I did equally well in Economics as the other subjects, so … I think the only paper I got a second in was Applied Economics, all the others were a firsts. So, no, I could do whatever I wanted, I suppose.
PT: So you chose to … Was it as a sort of research assistant, you were working on the project?
DL: No. I was a Ph.D. student.
PT: Oh, I see, you’d become a Ph.D. student.
DL: Yeah. I decided to become a Ph.D. student. But it wasn’t a project that I felt was going anywhere, after a while, and … ’52, and I think it’s about that time … no, what happened then was, I thought, “Well, this is only a year’s grant, and maybe I shouldn’t do a Ph.D., maybe I should look for a job”, so, somehow, I applied to Unilever and ICI, both chemical giants – I don’t know whether I saw a Careers Advisor or not – they were day-long interviews, and you had to make little speeches in front of people, which I found excruciating. I got turned down by ICI, and I was offered a job by Unilever – as what, I don’t know, in the Personnel Department or something. Millbank, I remember it was on the Thames, great, this Unilever building. So I was on the verge of going to Unilever when Tom Marshall got in touch with me about an Assistant Lectureship. I don’t know how it was done. I remember being called for interview by Carr-Saunders up in the top room, what is it called, with a magnificent fireplace at the end. And he just asked about me, I wasn’t interviewed or anything, I didn’t go through … I, somehow, was appointed a Lecturer, Assistant Lecturer.
PT: So it was a sort of general conversation rather than a proper interview?
DL: On his part, yeah, I think so. I mean, then I was made a formal offer, to accept it. But I wasn’t interviewed by a committee.
PT: So it was Marshall who picked you out, though?
DL: Well, certainly it was Marshall who got in touch with me, yeah. Said, “Do you really want to go into business?” and so on. I mean, maybe I saw him and he said, “Do you really want to go?” I think Neustadt had something to do with it as well, because, I remember, they were very close, and Neustadt had read a lot of my papers, and he must have talked to Marshall. Whether David Glass was involved, I don’t know. Ginsberg was still there. So after that, ’52 that was. Was it? No, ’53 I was appointed. Or was it ’54? Anyway, by that time I’d written the piece on Arbitration and Industrial Conflict. Actually, somebody wrote to me recently and said how interesting they found it. But at the same time, I was … I can’t remember when these things came out. 1956 was the thing I wrote on Parsons. Was it? God! I really can’t remember! I’ll have to check it. I thought it was earlier than that. Asher Tropp was also appointed at that time … before me, I think. Then I decided to write this book on The Black-Coated Worker, write the thesis, switch the thesis, and I was allocated to David Glass.
PT: So how did that idea come to you, then?
DL: Well, he was doing this big project on mobility, and there were people writing on the professions – Kelsall – and higher Civil Service – and Asher Tropp was doing the teachers, and I thought, “Well …” I can’t remember, rationally, how it came about, but this was a group that was left, because nobody was doing the working-class, for some reason, and I thought I’d do the lower middle-class. I mean, I had to narrow it down. So that was that.
PT: So why was nobody doing the working-class, do you think?
DL: I don’t know. But Hoggart had written on the working-class about that time, hadn’t he. I think so. Well, I can’t remember. Jean Floud and Chelly Halsey were doing education in the middle-class.
PT: And Michael Young had got going, I suppose, hadn’t he?
DL: Oh, I see, Kinship in East London, I don’t know when all that was done. About that time, was it?
PT: Yes. Yes.
DL: Yeah, well, I don’t think David Glass thought very much of … he was very quantitative. In fact, he was teaching, as an undergraduate I went to one of his courses, and it was on Inequality and Genetics, and inheritance, you know, it was very odd, because he was later, he was very much connected with some biologists or geneticists at University College, though he, himself, was trained as a geographer. And he later got an FRS, well, I don’t know how, presumably because of his link between natural and social sciences. So he was my supervisor.
PT: What was he like, as a supervisor?
DL: Very encouraging. He’s a very private man, David. As a person, Donald would tell you anything. I mean, he didn’t gossip or anything like that, you know. And Marshall was even more reserved. David Glass, well, he encouraged me, in general terms, and … every time, I seem to remember, every time he’d see me, he told me to read this book about this clerk in London (LAUGHS). What is it called? The novel about about the clerk in London. And eventually I read it, about ten years, twenty years ago. But it was so annoying that he, every time he mentioned this, I’d say, “I’m not really …” (LAUGHS) for some reason … that’s not the book! So … But I didn’t see him very often.
Then, of course, by this time, I’d met Lee. She came over in … I mean, by this time I’d met Dahrendorf and Jay Shulman, and some other American, and we were living in Hampstead, in a flat which had belonged to Robert Graves, the top flat. I don’t know how we got it, I think Ralph Dahrendorf somehow …
PT: You mean Dahrendorf lived there as well?
DL: Yeah. There were three of us – he and I, and this American [Gene Harrington]. And Lee was living out in West London. Well, sometimes she was there, but …
PT: She had come to do what?
DL: She’d come to do an MA in Sociology, and she got assigned to David Glass, for some reason.
PT: Is that how you met her, then?
DL: Well, she says she spotted me from the balcony at the LSE and … I don’t know! I don’t think David Glass was all that keen, actually, because we were both his students, even though I was a lecturer – you know, nice Jewish girl! (LAUGHS) He had a very strong sense of ethnic identity, did David, and I think, you know, he felt, I can’t say really, but I had that sense that his Jewishness was very central to him and, you know, but … so maybe, I don’t know why he thought that … And I don’t know who told me that – maybe Norman Birnbaum who then had been appointed – Norman Birnbaum. And then went back to the States. And also, by this time, Edward Shils had turned up, of course, so we got Parsons. He ran a seminar, and I think we went to it. And he was awful to people, he reduced girls to tears, you know. And … he was very inspiring, because he had all these connections. Again, he was a bit like Donald, tremendously erudite. But I don’t think I went regularly to them, the lectures.
PT: What did you think of Dahrendorf?
DL: Well, of course, I was very close to Ralph, and we had this seminar called “The Thursday Evening Seminar”, which was a very subversive thing, and I know Gellner was very worked up about it. And Asher Troppe was in it, Chelly Halsey. It was called that because we met on Thursday evenings. And that’s when I read this Parsons article, I think, and he was then working on his Class and Class Conflict. Well, yeah, I knew Ralph very well, and his wife, of course. And then when he went back to Germany, we spent time there, and that’s where the wine flowed freely, in Gardiner Mansions it was called, in Hampstead. Ron Dore was part of the group.
PT: Amazing group of people.
DL: And the wine was cheap Spanish plonk, the most awful stuff! So we had parties and things. Ron Dore walking down the staircase, empty staircase, you know, not enclosed, I remember him going down there backwards, we were singing the Japanese national anthem, while he … I shouldn’t be saying this, because Ron is a close friend of mine! They were jolly times.
PT: And so Leonore was involved in this too?
PT: Yes. And were there other future wives around, or not?
DL: By that time, Ralph had met his first wife, yeah. And then we only, we only had the flat for a year, so we broke up, and he went, he was living opposite Harrods, you know, that was quite a way out flat which is when he met … God, what’s her name? She’s dead now, of course. She died. And the American and I were living in Highgate, and I remember that’s when Eisenhower, there was something about Eisenhower becoming President, or about the Korean War.
PT: But this was a big change, wasn’t it, sort of socially for you. This was a very convivial scene …
DL: Yeah, well, that only happened that … you know … I mean, it wasn’t like that all the time. No, I mean, we weren’t drunk or anything … just on special occasions. No, Ralph worked very hard all … you know, he was working full-time, he had his papers spread out on the floor in the house. And he did a lot of the cooking – onions and potatoes and frankfurters he used to get sent from Germany. Whereas Gene Harrington, that’s the other guy, the American and I didn’t do very much. But then he was a … Gene Harrington was also a graduate student, I don’t know why he didn’t do more, he probably couldn’t cook or something. So … yeah.
PT: Tell me why this seminar was subversive.
DL: Well, because it was mainly about Marx and Parsons and things like that. I mean, Marx wasn’t … I mean, Donald taught Marx, and so did … well, I don’t think Ginsberg did, actually, in his coverage, or not very much, and … Well, I mean, one reason, I’d always had this interest, going, you know, right back to Hubermann, and this sort of Marxist … and, of course, Ralph, at that time, was very much into Marx. His first book was about Marx and his Concept of Justice. So he was coming from a strong Marxist/Hegelian sort of background, and tried to figure out how it worked in the present day, which is really, you know, the origins of Class and Class Conflict in Industrial Society. And, you know, people like Raymond Aron came. Anybody with a big name who came to the School, was invited to the Thursday Evening Seminar, and it must have acquired some reputation for these people, because Parsons came to it, and other people invited. And I think this was … you see, Gellner and McRae were never invited. We didn’t invite members of staff, or visitors, visiting scholars. And that went on for some time, the Seminar, I mean, it went on for several years.
PT: What was Parsons like, then, as a person?
DL: Well, he was very polite, just like a New England gentleman really – small, rotund – and, of course, Ralph’s such a great authority that we hung on his every word. So we took him, afterwards, to the pub at the top of … towards Kingsway, towards Holborn, and then we took him into Soho, to a Turkish restaurant. Somehow, one of us had got this idea that everybody liked Turkish restaurants, and he was really very good about it all. … I think the talks were about six o’clock or something, and I think Shils came. Actually, during that time, he was at Cambridge giving the Martin Lectures, and I remember, we hired a bus, somehow, somebody hired transport and we all went up there to listen to him. Yeah, there was another person who was married to a very rich woman in Knightsbridge who was doing sociology … I forget his name now. Emanuel de Kadt was also quite a part of this. And, of course, his wife, at that time, she later became Dahrendorf’s wife, and actually, she’s his wife now. I forget her first name. I should remember! And Dorothy Smith was part of the group. Dorothy Smith, who’s now in Canada.
PT: Who was at Essex.
DL: Yeah. She had a flat there. I don’t know, some of them were more wealthy than others. She seemed to have quite a bit of money at that time. I don’t know. Anyway, I’m getting lost now.
PT: Well, let’s go back to The Blackcoated Worker. I’d be interested if you could say how you tried to approach that topic.
DL: Well, it was coming from this Marxist [view]…, that the working-class, it was a proletarianisation And then Weber – I mean, that group, especially through Ralph, well, Ginsberg … and Parsons, you see, it was all … Weber was coming in and how you fitted that in. And so the idea of some, you know, market work and status situation, that’s where that came from. Could I then find a useful way of organising facts? And, of course, we were all very influenced by Popper – I think I may have mentioned that somewhere.
DL: Popper, a tremendous influence, in the School.
PT: In what way?
DL: Well, very spectacular lecturer, he used to walk up and down the lecture room, and speak from behind you, and you felt as if you daren’t turn, you know, you had … it’s like a military exercise! He used to draw these diagrams, and bucket theories of mined and so on, and Kant spectacles, and he used to draw these pictures, and he used [to say], “As I said to Einstein”, you know, all this very … (LAUGHS) And it all seemed so organised, and you couldn’t have any different view, and you couldn’t afford to have a different view in the exams. Tremendous influence on Ralph, especially, well, and everybody. So the ideas were, you tried to falsify things rather than prove them: which also The Affluent Worker is a bit like that as well. … Lipset and Co. had done the thing on the Printers Union at that time, which was also a case of finding the leading case and looking at it. So that’s how it arose, The Blackcoated Worker. And David Glass put me, you know, he had a lot of material from the Social Mobility Survey, and he put me in touch with this public opinion man … I forget his name now. Not Seropa … an English one. And that was very useful. And I talked to various officials.
PT: So, basically, you were using Glass’s material and …
DL: Yeah, and documentary material, and journals. I was spending a lot of time in the British Museum and Lee did as well, in those years.
PT: I was wondering whether there was any point when you thought of doing your own fieldwork for that?
DL: No. I mean, that’s why when … Shils wrote something about Sociology, or British Sociology, and he took a very dim view of my book, because I managed to produce this without talking to a single … office worker. Because at that time he was very connected with Michael Young, exactly how I don’t know, but there was a close connection there, which went on into Cambridge.
PT: Yes, because they did a joint article together on the coronation, which they did in ’53.
And I see, it was when Michael was at Cambridge, was it?
DL: Yeah. And Michael wasn’t all that keen on lecturing.
PT: No, I know.
DL: Yeah, week after week, and I think, at one time, Shils did some of it. I can’t remember now. But, I mean, Glass had a pretty dim view of interviewing small numbers as opposed to thousands, and so I didn’t get any encouragement there. And, of course, Shils, I suppose, the work he did in primary groups in the American Army, wasn’t he involved in that with Stueffer. But anyway, I think he was keen on other people doing it, but I don’t know whether Shils, himself, did very much of this sort of thing. But, no … but then, it would have been … you see, I was teaching at the same time. I was teaching Marshall’s course in the evening at the LSE, it was called “Comparative Social Institutions”, so I had to learn a lot about Oriental despotism and feudalism and … that sort of thing, at vast speed, because I was bunged into it the first term I became a lecturer, and that went on all through the year. That was the main course I taught, actually.
PT: So you finished The Blackcoated Worker and then what happened?
DL: Finished The Blackcoated Worker. Then I wrote something on … the new working-class, with Tom Bottomore, who’d become Editor of the European Journal, which had the germs of The Affluent Worker problem it it. And then … oh yes, Asher Tropp got promoted, and I didn’t. By then that was 1957, and I felt a bit peeved, I suppose, because I’d written this, and Asher had thought I shouldn’t have published this article on Parsons, because it was attacking, or something or other, because he thought it was too extreme or something. And, of course, it became quite a well-known article. I suppose it was a bit cocky, you know (LAUGHS), to do that, to take on the giant, so to speak, and say it’s all flawed, but young people are like that, aren’t they? So whether there was that sop, or whatever, David Glass was well connected, and he said, “Well, there’s a Fellowship, Rockefeller Fellowship, and why don’t you …” … In those days, things were done in ways that they’re not now. So we went to Berkeley.
PT: You were married by this point, when you say “we”?
DL: Yeah, we were married in ’54. ’54 was it, yeah. ’54. It’s coming up, yeah.
PT: And then ’57, you went to Berkeley?
DL: Yeah. Ben was born by then. We were living in Earls Court again, underneath Bernard Levin. Well, not underneath Bernard Levin, underneath some air hostesses, and Bernard Levin seemed to visit! Because the stairs were open, and our flat was not enclosed, like it was on two floors. Yeah, so we moved there, … no, we moved into John Westergaard’s flat when we were first married, and then we moved to Earls Court. John Westergaard’s was in a not very salubrious part off the Edgware Road, so we lived there for a … Lee’s parents were very shocked when they came and saw it. The walls were all full of damp. Anyway, so then we went to Berkeley.
PT: What was Berkeley like, then?
DL: Berkeley. There for a … not quite a year, because then we went on to Columbia before we came back. Well, a bit isolating. Donald happened to be there, and Irvine Gould happened to be there. I didn’t … well, I had some formal title, Research Fellow or something, there, but I had no teaching responsibilities, so I used to go to seminars – Lipset and Bendix and so on – and got to know Bendix quite well. Oh, and some of the younger people – Robert Blauner and – I’d have to have my papers … I haven’t done any preparation.
PT: No, no, that’s fine, David.
DL: Neil Smelser and … and the younger people, and we saw a lot of them.
PT: So what did you think of Blauner, for instance?
DL: Very good, yeah.
PT: What about Smelser, then?
DL: Smelser was very well organised, you know. I’d met Smelser before, when he came through London, at the LSE, because he was, at that time, one of the leading Parsonians. Parsons was dead by then, I think. I think. Also went down to Los Angeles, because I knew Ralph Turner, who’d been at the LSE.
And then I went back to Columbia … Why, I don’t know! Oh, I think, because I could go anywhere I wanted with this Fellowship, so I’d planned to go to Columbia anyway, because it, you know, partly it was in New York and Lee’s parents … and also probably because Merton was there. [But] … it was getting on for out of term, and I don’t think Merton was there, or Merton was on leave, and the person teaching his course was Alvin Gouldner. Now, I’d met Alvin in, in … the Mid-West, because he was based out at Washington, and we drove back from California. Well, we took the train half way to … somewhere, and drove. I think it may have been St. Louis, stayed with friends there. And Chicago, we stayed in Chicago. No, before that, we went to see Gouldner, who was teaching in this Mid-Western College, it’s in the middle of nowhere! Very impressive guy Gouldner was, personality. And it just so happened that he was going out to Columbia at the same time as we worked our way East. So I can’t remember what I did on that first visit to Columbia, I guess we spent a lot of time in New York. We lived in Morningside Heights – not a very salubrious place, actually. I remember, Lee used to take Ben across to the Morningside Heights Park, I don’t think you could do that now.
[BREAK IN RECORDING]
PT: Well, you were just saying why you went to Berkeley.
DL: Well, Berkeley, yes, because by that time, the Class, Status and Power had come out, and Lipset was one of the main scholars attached, with Merton … so the thing got … and I think Bendix had also written something else. But I can’t remember the dates now, whether it was the book on Max Weber or something else.
PT: And then when you came back, you returned to LSE. For how long, how much longer were you at LSE?
DL: Not long.
PT: Which year did you go on to Cambridge?
PT: 1960, so that would be two years, I think? You came back in ’58, presumably.
PT: And so why did you decide to go to Cambridge?
DL: Well, the same old … David Glass was … there was a job going, I know, because Asher was talking about it, but it only rang faint bells. I mean, I forget … Oh yeah, we’d just bought a house in Muswell Hill, a nice house, overlooking London. Couldn’t afford it today, even to look at it! (LAUGHS) And the inside was rearranged, I remember, because Jean Floud came to dinner one night, and there was cement around, and she thought it was … Anyway, I don’t know, David Glass said, “You ought to go in for this”. And Ilya Neustadt and Marshall were very close, and Marshall was very close to Postan, and so was Ilya.
PT: Postan being professor at Cambridge?
DL: Yeah, of Economic History. And so eventually …
End of Tape 1 – Side B
Tape 2 – Side A
30th March, 2002
PT: We got to Cambridge. So it would be very helpful if you could explain the situation in sociology in Cambridge, at that time.
DL: Well, there wasn’t a situation! I mean, I forget. I think John Goldthorpe had been appointed to something – a short while before, the previous year or something – either to an Assistant Lectureship or a Fellowship at Kings. I don’t know which came first. So there wasn’t any. What he was doing there in that year, I don’t know. I don’t know exactly how the initiative to start sociology came about, but I suspect that Fortes, and the then the Provost of Kings – Noel Annan – was quite important, and the Economics Faculty was behind it. And people like Postan. So it all began very much from scratch. Marshall was there, and during the year that I arrived, which was I think the winter of ‘59/’60, he was giving some kind of lectures in the evening. There weren’t many people. He was just talking about where sociology fitted into the social sciences, I think.
So it all began from scratch. There was Michael Young, myself, John Goldthorpe … it began with John Goldthorpe, myself, Michael Young and Hopper. We were all …
PT: Michael disappeared, didn’t he, fairly soon?
DL: No, he was appointed at the same time as me.
PT: So how long was he actually there?
DL: Erm … I don’t know. Well, I do, because I’ve got a letter here from Michael Young, saying something about … I was just looking at it … oh, there’s something there – August ’64. I don’t know what it was about, there must have been a piece in the Sunday Times. What it was about, I can’t even remember. It says something about persecution.
PT: “I never felt myself persecuted. At Cambridge, itself, my sociological colleagues were always friendly and helpful. I did not resign my University Lectureship at their insistence, but because I wanted to return to Bethnal Green”. Yes. And that’s ‘64.
DL: And he sent me a copy of it, you see, down there.
PT: But that would be sometime afterwards, wouldn’t it, because I don’t think he was there very long.
DL: No, he mustn’t have been. I didn’t realise that. That must have been about three or four years.
PT: Anyway, were you trying to start a new degree? Was that the idea?
DL: Well, yes, it was within the Economics Tripos, and there was an introductory course of lectures, which I gave, and then something called “Social and Economic Relations”, which was taught by the three of us – Michael, and John Goldthorpe. Michael taught something called “consumption”, and John, “the firm”, and I taught mobility. I think it was mobility. And the idea was that you had an economist and a sociologist teaching the course, which seemed quite interesting, and the questions set in the exam were supposed to show how the two things related, and it fell on the students to really show what they could do with this, which I sometimes thought was asking quite a lot. But they did very well on it, and I think they found it quite interesting. So I gave this preliminary, it was the preliminary year, to a mass audience. But I’d been teaching something like it at the LSE, so it was just a change of venue.
PT: So it was very popular, in fact, when it was introduced?
DL: Well, the subject was very popular, whether I was popular, I don’t know! I told you I met Tony Atkinson, not too long ago, when he was moving from Cambridge to Oxford, or back again, and he said he attended those lectures. So I waited for him to say something! (LAUGHS)
PT: Something positive!
DL: Yeah, yeah. So it was an optional course, I think, that. Or was it part of the Prelims? I can’t remember now. No, I think it was compulsory, because then it led into this Social and Economic examination. So you know how compulsory courses are regarded, and then all the teaching was done in the Colleges, of course.
PT: So you were also doing tutoring?
DL: Yeah. Yeah.
PT: Did you find you were getting good students?
DL: In the College?
PT: Mmm. This is teaching sociology, or broader than that?
DL: No, it was just for the sociology paper. Well, John Child was one of my first students. He was very good anyway, he got a first, and now he’s Head of the Business School in Cambridge, I think he went to Aston originally, and then came back. Some of them at St. John’s … St. John’s is very big on rowing, of course, so some of them sort of drowsed off! (LAUGHS) They were very nice people, and so it didn’t really matter. So that, the teaching was done there as opposed to Sidgwick Avenue, for the lecturing, and the research, of course, was done at Sidgwick Avenue.
PT: And how did you think that sociology was viewed by the other faculties in Cambridge, at that time?
DL: Very positively, on the whole. I mean, well, they had Parsons over at one stage. Oh no, that was before they had Parsons. They had Holman there, and somebody else, as visiting people. So they were, you know, looking at it experimentally, with a view to establishing it at some point, I think. I think the economists, well, the anthropologists were very positive. And we didn’t have much to do with the historians, of course, in the economic side, but most of the economists were, in their different ways. Richard Karn was very nice. And Noel Annan, of course, was in the politics side of it. Aubrey Silverstone, St. John’s, and Robin Matthews, they were very … And I think the difference from the LSE was that the idea of doing research, especially empirical research, at the LSE at that time, apart from Glass, who I wasn’t in contact with initially, because I was an undergraduate and first year postgraduate, it wasn’t looked on as really important, whereas I think, at Cambridge, there’s much more of a scientific ethos, and, of course, we got this grant fairly soon, from what was then the DSIR – the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research.
PT: So can you talk a bit about how you decided to do that project, and who was involved in creating the idea, and so on?
DL: Well, John and I, I mean, he came from Industrial Relations, that was his speciality, and we talked about it quite a bit, and then we wrote this paper on “Affluence and the British Class Structure”, I think it was, quite soon after we got there. I don’t have the dates. I was going to bring the dates of these things down, but it was quite early on. And I think this caught the attention of various people outside, like I got letters from Crosland, who was then Secretary of State for Education, and Peter Shore, and Phelps-Brown …
PT: Phelps -Brown was an economist – was he at LSE?
DL: At LSE. Yeah. But he was Head of the Prices [Commission], this thing that regulated income policy. So, of course, the people at the Department of Applied Economics [DAE] knew that we were thinking, but we hadn’t done any research, and the next thing, out of the blue, a man called Cherns, from the DSIR rang up and said could he come up and talk? And we took him to lunch at the Arts Restaurant, above the Arts Theatre, and he came up with the idea: “Well”, he said, you know, “the Department of Scientific Research would be interested in financing something on the …” So that’s how it came up.
PT: So the initiative came from them.
DL: Yeah, I think so. Yes. So that’s where the money came from. And originally, of course, we’d thought of doing it in Bedford, the reason being that it was closer to Cambridge, but then we discovered it was complicated by having a large Italian group of migrants, so we went to Luton. So the first person, I think, to be appointed, was Jennifer Platt, and then shortly afterwards Frank Bechhofer, and Michael Rose. Maybe Michael Rose came at the same time as Jennifer, because I think he had some connection with John; he was also at Trinity, so he was used to … And she’d been at Girton or something, Newnham. Then Bechhofer; and then Rosemary Crompton came later on. So that was, essentially, the team, and they did most of the interviewing. John and I did some of the interviewing, but getting over to Luton, in the middle of teaching and everything, was quite something. But we tried to do some, to get a feel of what it was like.
PT: How did you feel about interviewing, then?
DL: Oh, very … you know, I found it very interesting, because these were assembly line workers, and our interview was in-depth, and I suppose because Vauxhall was very co-operative, so I suppose they liked getting off the line for … (LAUGHS). They didn’t make them do it, and as far as I remember, they didn’t make them do it in their free time, they allowed them to come. The sample was quite small, which many people criticised, but it was a target at samples, and with depth interviewing.
PT: So did you feel the culture was very similar to what you knew yourself from Yorkshire, or different?
PT: In Luton, when you were interviewing.
DL: Luton. Oh, it was very different, yeah. I mean, we obviously went round Luton and talked to various local people, I don’t think we had any strong impression.
PT: What struck you, personally, as different?
DL: Well, that it was an up and coming place, because the automobile workers were relatively well paid, and it seemed to have been booming and everything. There’s a brief description in the third volume about this.
PT: Yes, but I was just wondering about your own feelings about it really.
DL: Erm …
PT: One of the things that’s admired particularly, is the plan of the research. How do you think that evolved, the idea of choosing the extreme case? How do you think that evolved?
DL: Well, I suppose Popper’s influence, you know, try and disprove something, so you take the most affluent workers you can find, and see whether they’re turning middle-class. And some time before, I’d written something with Tom Bottomore on … what was it called? “The New Working-Class”, which said you should look at the different levels, the economic relation and normative, if you wanted to spell this out. That came out in The European Journal of Sociology, in 1960, I think. So that provided some kind of framework, and then we toyed around with it, and I think we produced one of these Lazarsfeld type, you know, cross-classifications. I think so. And the idea of instrumentalism, you see, I mean, John was quite interested in that, I think. But it’s so long ago! It’s 42 years ago!
PT: I know! And so, just when you think about yourself and John, what do you think was the difference in the input, intellectually?
DL: Oh, I don’t know, because beyond a certain … whilst we got a grip on this in, you know, in the affluence of British class structure, then it seemed to be pretty well delineated, the problem. And so we were more interested, at that stage, in getting down to the research, getting on with the research.
PT: Yes. But, I mean, it does seem quite striking that John comes with this knowledge of industry, you’ve got the David Glass ideas about social mobility, so that would seem to be two of the …
DL: Well, no, I wasn’t interested in mobility so much.
PT: Well, class, you were interested in.
DL: No. I mean, I had quite a bit of contact with Germany at that time.
PT: Yes, she [Jennifer Platt] mentions this.
DL: She mentions this. And there was a man called, who wrote a book on Das Gesselleschaftsbild arbeiters, which I found very interesting, and he invited me to go to Göttingen, and that’s how I did this “Working Class Images of Society”. And there have been several more, I’d have to look it up, I can’t remember the details. But there was a woman, as well, who had written on this. So there were people in Germany writing on the Gesselleschaftsbild – the images of society – you see. But that’s a different … the stage at which we began the research, we hadn’t written that. And then John wrote something at the same time, I think, on the area of instrumentalism …
PT: So you’re suggesting these theoretical German ideas come in a bit later, you mean?
DL: No, they came in from before that.
DL: Yeah, in about 1960. But John had also been very much engaged with French Industrial Sociology.
PT: Anybody in particular there?
DL: Oh gosh! Well, you’d have to read his paper. And I think we refer to some of it, Villiner, I think, was one. I mean, dredging up these names is something that I find exhausting, so I’m not going to try and do it.
PT: Not Touraine?
DL: Well, yes, I think he was, and so there were all these things feeding in, but once we thought we’d got a grip on it, at that stage, when the research began I don’t know, it was, you know, keeping up with the fieldwork, and getting the stuff organised and so on, and I think it was then, when we came to write the books, that we resumed this thinking about how are we going to present it and so on. And the first volume was on Industrial Attitudes and Behaviour, and John was primarily responsible for that. Of course, everybody – not just he and I – but Bechhofer and Platt, they also had a hand in the writing of this … suggestions along the way. The thinnest book, The Political Attitudes, I was delegated to do, because that was one of the big problems, because it was fairly small and very well defined. And then The Affluent Worker and the Class Structure book, the third one, I think it had input from everybody on the team, so … and we were sort of working beyond this, I think people would say it was all very negative, negative finding. So there is an element of more positive speculation there. But I think we thought that … that was the whole point of it, you know, this is how science proceeds, And Jennifer, in [that article] there, quotes me as saying that we shouldn’t have bothered going ahead with the research, because once we’d written Affluence and the Class Structure, it seemed everybody was convinced that … embourgeoisement wasn’t a viable idea.
PT: And you had regular discussions, Frank was saying.
DL: Oh yeah. Oh yes, we met every week, at least once a week.
PT: And what would you be talking about? Ideas, or just the practical stuff?
DL: Both. We got some very … Jennifer is a very intelligent person, and she got very involved with this. And, I mean, of course, they were seeing, they were doing the interviewing, of course, and so the material, they had it in their minds, as it came through, and so they could feed that into the discussion. And yeah, I remember that we met in my room for some reason, at the end of the DAE corridor which overlooks Selwyn Gardens, that was quite peaceful. And Michael Rose and Frank Bechhofer, and Rosemary, when she came, you know, they’re not just research slaves, assistants, they were really up and coming academics in their own right, especially at the end of the period that they worked for us. And we were very lucky, you know, they stayed all that time, and, you know, I can remember doing some of the computing with Frank, with the old machine where you put the cards in, the counter sorter, in the basement of the DAE, and watching the cards going in, and then you think, “Well, let’s try it another way”. When you saw where the cards were falling, even before we counted, you know, the count came, we could see the shape of it. So it was quite exciting.
PT: Could you just talk about the different people, in terms of their character? I mean, maybe start with Frank? I mean, what sort of a person was he?
DL: Well, you know Frank.
PT: Yes. Yes, but I was wondering about your perspective.
DL: Um … well, very sober, German. Didn’t get easily … But Jennifer was much more volatile, in a way. Mike Rose was what you might call a bit cynical. You know Mike?
DL: Mike, you know, he had a … which was very useful, because if people got too … Mike would always draw them back in. And Rosemary was very, always very positive and, you know, going forward. They were people that didn’t get on each other’s nerves too much, although they were different. I don’t know what people think of me, and John, because you have, you know, trials and tribulations in a research team like that, especially when you’re meeting two or three times a week and things might not be going well at one stage, and some people have ideas which other people think are slightly off beam, and all the rest of it. But they’re all terrific people. All of them.
PT: What about John, himself?
DL: Well, John’s a Yorkshireman like me.
PT: Does that help, then?
DL: Well, I think it does. You know, we come from within about 20 miles of each other. I mean, he was born in Goldthorpe, and I was born near, locally, not too far away.
PT: So you felt you understood him?
DL: Well, yes. And we also worked so closely together that, you know, after a certain point, you couldn’t tell, you know, who owed what to whom. But don’t forget, I mean, that was only part of the life in Cambridge, a lot of the time was taken up in the College, and that was one of the benefits I said, you know, Cambridge had it over LSE, as I understood it in terms of sociology, in being positive about empirical research. The other thing was that I was no longer mixing with sociologists, because even at the LSE, people’re a bit like Essex, they’re all the economists in the Common Room, whereas in the College, of course, there weren’t any other sociologists. And I was just looking through, this morning, trying to refresh my memory, here they are, look, there’s the Master and Fellows, October 1967, that’s just before I left. So, I mean, … Aubrey Silverstone was a Fellow, he was one of the economists, very nice chap, applied economist. Robert Hind, who was a biologist, me, then Jack Goody, Watson.
PT: He was a significant figure, wasn’t he.
DL: Yeah, very. Brogan was there at the time – this Brogan.
PT: Hugh Brogan.
DL: Yeah. Pelling. Yeah. Renfrew. Well, he was an archaeologist. MacFarlane, I didn’t know much … he was quite junior, you see, they’re listed in terms of seniority. So I saw a lot of Jack, I saw a lot of Silverstone. Bamburgh, I saw quite a lot of, he was a philosopher, just died last year. The Master was very nice – Boyce-Smith. Welford was a psychologist. Yeah, A.T. Welford.. You see all the scientists there, very distinguished, like Paul Dirac, and Fred Hoyle and so on. It was very heavily scientific.
PT: Did you chat with Fred Hoyle in those days?
DL: Not Fred Hoyle, but it wasn’t difficult to talk to Dirac.
PT: And you enjoyed College life, then, did you?
DL: Well, it was a change, you see, yeah, it was a real exemption from the, from the Department of Applied Economics, and it was a completely different setting. You weren’t surrounded by sociologists. You even found they talked about their rose gardens, like Dirac. Bamburgh was very, you know, quite interesting. But they didn’t talk shop, so you felt …
PT: You liked that?
DL: Yeah. And the food was very good at St. John’s! So it was a completely different life from LSE, commuting in from Muswell Hill, and being in that Sociology Department, which wasn’t altogether a happy one.
PT: So you felt the atmosphere was much happier also?
DL: Well, I don’t know about the relations between economists, there were quite a lot of economists and, you know, I don’t know enough about it, but there were frictions within the Economics Faculty, but it’s a big Faculty, and it didn’t affect the sociologists. I mean, we saw people socially – Michael Young and John Goldthorpe, a certain amount. Philip Abrams then replaced Michael Young, I think, before he went to Durham.
PT: So, socially, would you see most … outside the College, would you see most of John and Michael and Philip, or were there other friends?
DL: We saw Silverstone, and some of them were people that Lee got to know, their wives and so on. [Prof D.G.] Champenowne [economic statistician], I remember I saw her. You know, no, it wasn’t all just sociologists. Philip Abrams were very sociable, he and his wife they had a lot of parties and things, so I remember going there, most definitely. So that was before she went off with …
PT: Brian Jackson.
DL: Yeah. So that’s just about it, I think.
PT: Okay, right. Why don’t you just say the last thing? Why did you leave Cambridge? It sounds so nice, why did you want to leave in the end?
DL: Erm … because I spent the year in Columbia, when I was there in l966-67, I think it was. Or was it just before the student outburst in Columbia? Because I got an invitation to do Merton’s, he was on leave, and he suggested me as someone to do his course on, I forget what it was, it was Sociological Theory. I’ve got it somewhere, what I did. So I went to Columbia, it wasn’t quite a year, it was just for two semesters, which was the most I can get out of it. So that was a big Department, self-confident Department, going somewhere and so on, whereas Cambridge was still, we were still in the Economics Faculty, and not quite big enough to get out, I suppose. It wasn’t that I felt negative about Cambridge, it was just that, “I’ll do anything. I’m not going to stay here. We’ll go somewhere else”. Because I was having invitations from lots of places. I won’t go through them, but lots in this country as well as this …
The first time I came to Essex, we came over to look at it, and it was raining, and we got lost up by the barracks, and we thought, “No!” But that was early on, because Peter Townsend was writing. And then a couple of years later, we sort of … again, and so we came over, and I saw Wivenhoe, I thought it was quite nice, and it was going to be a big Department. … And I was worried about getting sucked into more administration. I didn’t do any administration in Cambridge, but John did, you see, you’re in for at least one year, if not two, you’re the Secretary of the Economics Faculty Board, which was quite a … And Sloman said, “Oh, well, you’ll never have to do it, there’ll be ten professors”, or something. Of course, just the year after I arrived, I was Dean of Social Sciences, and with an exploding university – the Pam Thompson affair.
DL: And there wasn’t much for Lee at Cambridge, she was teaching at Lucy Cavendish College at a certain time, and …
End of Tape 2 – Side A
Tape 2 – Side B
DL: And Mike Anderson was one of those students. He was one of the first students actually.
So, yeah, and, of course, at that time we had … Harold was born … he was born in Cambridge, so we had the three children. The money was attractive.
PT: But so, at the previous point, you were saying that you thought there might be more opportunity for Lee over here, you mean?
DL: Well, there’d be more opportunity to teach what I wanted to teach.
PT: No, no, for her, though.
DL: Oh yes, yes. Well, I don’t know, at that time. No, I don’t think we thought of it in that way, but obviously, in Cambridge, it was extremely difficult, if you’re not in the system. But, of course, a lot of wives do that sort of tutorial work, and, you can have this semi-detached existence. I don’t know, it’s a combination of reasons I suppose. I mean, when you start getting, you know, invitations all at the same time from Sussex, Edinburgh, and here and other places, then it begins to make you think, “Well, perhaps I should …” I’m sure if nobody had, then I would have stayed in Cambridge. But it was a time when sociology was expanding like that …
PT: An exciting time, in fact.
DL: Yeah. Well, I mean, yes. Exciting, in terms of what was being done. Yeah, I suppose so. So, and at that time, going back to the LSE, well, I mean, there was a chance of that, but they didn’t … I’d been there, you know. And John, I don’t know what he was … he must have been feeling something of the same. It was very … I think there were steps being taken in Cambridge, towards expanding the sociology, and I don’t know how it all originated – one never knows with these things. But, you see, John went off to Nuffield at the same time, or shortly after I left, so he must have felt, “Well …” … It was getting to be, it was still teaching in the Economics Tripos, and yet it wasn’t clear what was going to happen and so on. I mean, we didn’t leave with any bad feeling. I’ve got a whole file full of letters here from people saying how sorry they are that we’re going. And so Abrams had gone to Durham, John went to Nuffield, and the other chap, the American, disappeared long ago. So I don’t know who they got in there. I can’t remember. Well, Giddens came shortly afterwards, and somebody at St. John’s, I remember … and then there were the people that came to the DAE Research Programme, the Sociology and Policy Research Programme..
So that was the end of Cambridge. I went back some time … I didn’t go back, but actually, I was a member of the Department of Applied Economics. There was a Committee to set up, I was the Chair, to investigate the Department of Applied Economics, or to make recommendations for its future. So I … I went back from Essex for that, and that took a couple of years – not full time, but …
PT: What years are we talking about, then?
DL: What years are we talking about? ’85-’87.
PT: And how did you feel that sociology had developed since your absence?
DL: Well, it hadn’t, because it was still located in the Faculty of Economics. Because the Committee concluded it would be advantageous in transferring sociological research from the Department to the supervision of the Social and Political Sciences Committee. That’s the research that was going on in the DA. Obviously there was a Social and Political Sciences Committee already then, because … well, who was there? They appointed the anthropologist, Barnes, of course, to the Chair, and Giddens was there. So they all got transferred to that. Then the other main tie was that, the Chair, filling the Chair. I forget when that was.
PT: Mmm. What, this is later on in this Report?
DL: Yeah. When Giddens was appointed. And I’m not saying anything about that.
PT: No. Okay.
DL: But quite interesting though.
PT: Well, maybe when we switch this off! Well, thank you very much, David, for that.
5th April, 2002
PT: So you were going to say something more about the origins of the ideas for the article?
DL: Yeah. And I think I got a pretty good idea. I mean, apart from our own ideas, for one thing, this idea of “Images of Society”. Ralph Dahrendorf, I’ve got a footnote, was the first to draw attention to the similarities of the work of Popitz, Villiner, and Hoggart.
PT: That’s Richard Hoggart?
DL: Yeah. I mean, what Dahrendorf said was that there are some people who have a hierarchical, some people have a dichotomous view of society. That’s as far as he went. But through that reference to Popitz, I think it must have been through Dahrendorf, I got in touch with Popitz, who wrote the book on the Geselleschaftsbild arbeiters – Image of Society. So that’s, that was quite important, not so much what Dahrendorf wrote, but the reference to Popitz and Barth. And then, on instrumentalism, which is quite important, it says here …
PT: This is The Affluent Worker? No, it’s not.
DL: No, this is “Images of Society”.
PT: Martin Bulmer, is it?
DL: Yeah. “Present paper of extension of earlier statements”. And, as I say, “John Goldthorpe and I worked together so closely on the wider problem of which this paper is a part, that I find it difficult to say where my thoughts end, and his begin. Although you may not fully agree with my interpretation, the present essay derives much from a paper of his entitled, ‘Attitudes and Behaviour of Car Assembly Workers’, which will be published shortly in The British Journal [of Sociology]”. Now, where did this idea come from? That’s instrumental collectivism, instrumental attitude to work, so I look up The Affluent Worker, and it’s here, “Instrumental Orientation”, and the two key references are to Robert Dubin, an American Industrial Sociologist, called, “Industrial Workers’ Worlds: A Study of the Central Life Interests of Industrial Workers”, in Social Problems, 1956; and then mentions, “We take this concept”, John says, “of calculative involvement, along with those of alienative and moral involvement from Amitai Etzioni, A Comparative Analysis of Complex Organisations”. I remember that book made a big impression on us, because he had this typology of orientations. So I’m not saying that’s the definitive origin of all these ideas, but it’s sort of, you know, things flowing in, and I know John was influenced by Joan Woodward’s work on industrial industrial organisation, I forget the [title], Management and Technology –Industrial Behaviour – Is there a Science? And, you see, she wrote that in 1964. And, you see, also Blauner was writing his book on Alienation, 1964, and before that, Work Satisfaction and Industrial Trends, and there was Chinoy, which is not listed here … oh yes it is, Automobile Workers and the American Dream, which was an application of Merton’s ideas.
PT: But that’s on a different sort of level, though, isn’t it?
DL: Yeah, that’s whether American workers assimilated the American Dream, but I think he took the automobile workers as the most extreme case of possible alienation, because that came out … that’s wrong, it says 1935 … 1965, somebody hasn’t read the proofs properly, because Blauner came out [Alienation and Freedom] that’s right, ’64. And if you look in John’s index at the back, Blauner gets a lot of references. But I can’t remember now. I think the more relevant work is Dubin, who is not very well known nowadays. And Etzioni, who is still a very prominent figure, isn’t he?
PT: In a different way. You didn’t meet Etzioni?
DL: Yes I did, yeah, when I was at Columbia.
PT: What was he like, then, as a person?
DL: Very intelligent, very lively, full of ideas, plans. I suppose an American Michael Young in a way, except … you know, he was a New Yorker, and a completely different person. Very excitable and very interesting. Anyway, we’re back at Essex, aren’t we.
PT: And Blauner, did you meet Blauner?
DL: Oh yeah, I met them all in California. But Chinoy was dead by the time I got … I was going to meet Chinoy, but he died early.
PT: And what sort of person was Blauner?
DL: Very nice. And he stayed at Berkeley. And then there was Bennett Berger, who wrote, Working-Class Suburb, I think he was at Berkeley at the time. I’m not sure, I’d have to look it all up. But it’s long ago. And Gouldner, of course, I knew quite well. I found a post-card the other day, from Southern Italy, the beach, wishing me a good summer. And I think that’s the day, the time he dropped dead on the beach. He’d just acquired a new wife. I saw him in London just shortly before that, in all places, the Russell Hotel, you know, in Russell Square, with all this red drapery! Completely out of character with Gouldner! Well, yes, Gouldner was quite important in Industrial Relations for a long time. I don’t know whether John … you know, I ought to have done some homework on this to do it properly.
PT: Can I ask you, then, one of your most famous articles is the 1966 one on “Sources of Variation in Working Class Imagery”, in what sense is that a step forward, do you think? What was really novel about that?
DL: Right. Just to say Gouldner is down here in the index. Yeah, well, yeah, I’m sure. Patterns of Industrial Bureaucracy, I remember that now, that made a big impression … yeah.
What’s new? Well, I don’t know! I can’t remember! Well, as I said, Dahrendorf pointed out this dichotomous image of society, and the hierarchical one, and we were interested in the intermediate groups. It was the privatised worker, the traditional worker, the aspiring worker, that’s right, isn’t it. I seem to remember. So it was that middle section of workers we were trying to locate. … I mean, a lot of it was speculative. It says in the footnote, that I arrive at it via reading some of the interview material.
PT: In the article, you mean?
DL: It says here, yeah. Mmm. Middle-class and proletariat, that would be the dichotomous ones – the deferential and the privatised, that’s right, the privatised and deferential. And I think what was novel about it was tying into the work situation here, with sort of rather interesting pluses and minus – that’s Lazarsfeld coming out! And tying it up, especially, with the community structure – interactional status. So I think that was the, getting them located in terms of … I mean, it was over-schematic, obviously, because people then started to find traditional workers who weren’t in that particular slot or something, but it …
[BREAK IN RECORDING – gardener arrives]
PT: So you wrote the article and then the book came out, and I’m wondering how far what you found began to influence the way you thought about social class?
DL: How far that influenced … you mean later on?
PT: Yes. I’m sort of wondering whether we could just go on talking about this, the way your concepts of social class changed, because that remained, perhaps, your predominant interest, didn’t it?
DL: Yeah. Well, I don’t think The Affluent Worker did, particularly. That was very much a one-off thing for both John and I. He didn’t go on to do any … He was already into social mobility by the time he left Cambridge, or he was getting into it, by the time he went to Nuffield. It was, as I say, the last time that a Mertonian-cum-Popper targeted study, was to try and disprove something.
PT: But there was an enormous amount of material that you collected in terms of interviews.
DL: Yeah. But it’s all been deposited, hasn’t it?
PT: Yes, I know. But I’m wondering how far that might have influenced the way you thought about social class.
DL: No, I don’t think so. I mean, social class … in a global sense, rather than in a Luton sense, no, I mean, it was still Marx and Weber.
PT: Yes. So, then, how did your ideas change over the next rather long period, up to Solidarity and Schism, is it possible to summarise that?
DL: Yeah. Well, I mean, I can see that I wrote something in 1970, “Race, Conflict and Plural Society”, that was … it was Zubaida who asked me, I told you before, people asked me to do things, and he wanted me to write something about race, and I wrote about that, and tied it up with Gramsci, who I was interested in at the time. It’s very difficult to remember what I said now, I’d have to read it again.
PT: So that was an attempt to incorporate race into a Marxist schema?
DL: Um … no. It was the problem presented by race to a Marxist schema, that I was writing about, and not the only one. I’ve just noticed, in ’70, I also wrote this preface to The End of Equality, by David Lane, tiny little thing. I wanted to. But I was quite interested in the Soviet Union. Then I wrote a piece on mobility – I’ll come back to why I’m telling you this, later – for the New Society, “Ten Years of New Society”. And then I didn’t write anything again until 1981, except for one thing.
That was when I was here. So that’s a matter of nine years or so, some of which I’ve now got the dates. I was Head of Department, I was Dean in the School of Social Studies, 1969-70; Chairman of the Department, ’70-’72; then I was a member of the ESRC, ’72-’75, which took up quite a bit of time, actually, because I was also Chairman of the Sociology and Social Policy Committee. But in the seventies, I think it was this upsurgence of Althusserian Marxism which I found a completely dead end sort of thing, and it was quite strong at Essex in various ways. And at that time, I think I started to draft Solidarity and Schism, and that took me about 12 years or more to write, but I was writing in between doing these other jobs.
How did the class idea change? This, the only thing I wrote, in ’74, was for T.H. Marshall, in Sociology, that was for his 80th birthday, a few pages, which made me look at Citizenship again. And I think that then led me into the sort of thinking that really culminated in this paper I wrote, only a few years ago, on “Civic Integration and Class Formation”. That is, instead of starting with class and seeing its impact on macro society, you start with the key institutions in a macro society, and look how that impinges on class, and how the interaction takes place – broadly speaking. So I think I was probably working towards that all the way through. I mean, I’d written an earlier paper on that sort of thing, for Berlin. But when I look at this, it’s not very much I’ve written at all! (LAUGHS) I mean, again, gender and stratification, I wrote something on “Class, Status and Gender”, but it was always mainly around with class and status and things, but it was race and gender this time. And Rosemary Crompton asked me to write that. Then the thing I was quite proud of was “The Ethics of Fatalism – Durkheim’s Hidden Theory of Order”, that was for Ilya Neustadt’s retirement, I think his festchrift, which Giddens asked me to do – not that particular piece, but he asked me to write something.
PT: So how did you relate gender to your way of thinking? How does it fit in, really?
DL: You’re asking me the most embarrassing questions again! It’s not something that’s in my mind at the moment. I’d have to look at it. I think, at the time, there were people who were saying gender is like class, and I think I took the view that it wasn’t at all like class, and it was more to do with status. I can’t remember. You know, that was 1986 – 14, 16 years ago. Because, I mean, that’s not something that’s been of central interest. But it keeps getting reprinted, in the collections.
PT: So then you finally got the Solidarity and Schism …
DL: I did, yes. And that’s the only thing that I’ve ever done for its own sake.
PT: You mean that’s the only thing that you weren’t commissioned to do?
DL: Yeah, just about. Or it wasn’t connected very closely with The Affluent Worker team, or The Blackcoated Worker, which was my Ph.D., and I suppose, at the time, I thought I ought to get a Ph.D., because that was becoming the thing to do.
PT: Okay. Now, about Essex, and it’s a long period, but were there any people, do you think, that were important, intellectually, to you, at Essex?
DL: Well, I was very interested in the work that Peter was doing on poverty and relative deprivation, I suppose. Um … well, and, of course, when Althusser came along, people in the Department, like Wolpe, and Ted, to some extent, I was led to read Althusser. But, as I say, I thought it was pretty much a dead end. Well, it’s very difficult, because Alasdair MacIntyre was on his way out at the time, and so I didn’t see a great deal … he was also Dean of Students. Soon after I arrived, the University erupted, and that was the Pam Thompson affair – she’d failed by two marks, for an optional language exam, and she was black, and it was all in turmoil, and I was at the centre of it. And, of course, Alasdair was at the centre of it too, as Dean of Students, and so we didn’t see very much of each other. And shortly after that … well, not shortly after, but he then very much retreated, I think, to his own work, for a year or so, and then he left, then he went to the States. So, then Art Stinchcombe came, of course, and I found him very stimulating. And Brian Barry in Politics. So, and then there were people came from Nuffield – Duncan.
PT: Duncan Gallie.
DL: Who was very much the sort of person I was, in terms of his interests and style. Then Gordon.
PT: Gordon Marshall, yes.
DL: Yeah. Who else?
PT: You had quite a group, really, of people with similar interests.
DL: Well, and David Lane. And George.
PT: George Kolankiewicz, yeah.
DL: Yeah. I mean, it was … it’s not so much that there was any antipathy with anybody else, it was just that they were closer because of their interests and style of working. Dennis, of course, I knew.
PT: Dennis Marsden, yes.
PT: And Howard [Newby]?
DL: Yeah, Howard. But then Howard had gone, almost, by the time … He’d become Head of the Data Archive, hadn’t he? And then he became very much London-oriented. Yes, I did see something of Howard, but he … and, of course, David Rose, they were doing that book on Class in Britain [Property, Paternalism and Power: Class and Control in Rural England], he and Gordon and David and Colin Bell. Stan Cohen I knew very well. Oh, I liked Stan, he was a friend, close friend, but our work was different. So it’s difficult to tell what you get from people who are, you know.
PT: One or two of these people are among the pioneers, so I’m wondering whether you could describe them. What about Dennis, as a personality?
DL: Well, Dennis is like John Goldthorpe, he was a Yorkshireman too, so there’s always an affinity somewhere there. I mean, not something you talk about, but there is a … I don’t know, I’m getting rather racial here now! (LAUGHS) But, you know, it’s a matter of culture and upbringing isn’t it, I mean, you don’t say anything, you don’t use a lot of words. Well, Dennis lived in Wivenhoe too, so I saw a lot of Dennis, yeah. I thought he was a great character. And yes, his work on Education and the Working Class I found interesting, but he was more interview-oriented, wasn’t he, in-depth, you might say, whereas we’d never done any in-depth interviewing. The Affluent Worker interviews were quite extensive, a large number of questions, but I think Dennis was the sort of person who was able to coax out of people, things, in a more informal setting, which I don’t think we attempted to do. At the end, there was, in the interview schedule, something about, “Any other comments you’d like to make?” and so on, but I don’t think that was Dennis’s style. He just talked to people very informally, which is a great gift. So who else was there?
PT: Stan. What about Stan Cohen, then, as a person.
DL: Well, he’s just such a nice person, isn’t he! (LAUGHS) And we also have an affinity with someone who was Head of the Department quite soon, and you know, sort of special relation between people who have gone through the Headship of the Department. I don’t know, you’ll have to bring me a list of people who were there. I mean, there’s Judith Okeley. I was quite friendly with Judith.
PT: What about Colin, then, did you have much to do with him? Colin Bell?
End of Tape 2 – Side B
Tape 3 – Side A
PT: Colin Bell, he went fairly soon, didn’t he?
DL: Well, from ’68 to ’75, I was tied up with various administrative jobs fairly heavily.
PT: Exactly. Yes. I was going to ask you, David, since you mentioned it again, did you enjoy administration at all? What did you get from it?
DL: Well, you know, even the social sciences in the middle of all that, I didn’t like it at all. I mean, I felt torn between the School and the Department. I had all different views on the Pam Thompson affair, at the top level. And I was completely inexperienced in that sort of work. So I was glad to get out of it after a short period. I think probably they thought I … I was like Byers! Had to go, or something, because it had been such a mess! But it really was a very troubled episode, and it showed the University didn’t have a grip on this, it wasn’t attuned to this new type of event.
PT: What, you mean the new student militancy?
DL: Yeah. Well, ’68, yes. I mean, I’d seen it brewing in Columbia, but there I was on the other side, so to speak. The students there, the graduate students, invited me to talk to them, and they really didn’t want to hear what I had to say about whoever it was, they wanted to tell me all their grievances and so on, and so I was getting that from them, and that was just before the major explosion at Columbia. So we came back in ’67, was it? Yes. In ’68, I was in Essex, and it happened again, only I was on the wrong side, if you like! And then it was going on, as you remember, right through to ’74 wasn’t it, some of them quite lively events, with Peter down there under the podium. So, I was working my way into a new job as Professor. I was involved in these as Dean, Head of Department, and Member of [ESRC] Council in London, so I wasn’t … I was also teaching …
PT: How did you like teaching at Essex then, or not?
DL: Well, it’s the same as anywhere else. I mean, I’m not … I was never very keen on lecturing. I don’t mind teaching. I prefer to teach second year students. Well, I’d never taught first year, except in Cambridge, because they were still open-minded in the second year, you know, the general courses in the second year, and I enjoyed that in the form of tutorials, classes, but at that time you could have five or six, and have them in your room, and that was very nice. But I didn’t enjoy, I never enjoyed lecturing very much. Never knew whether I had enough to carry me through, or too much, you know, to fit into the 50 minutes. So I saw people in the interstices, so to speak, of other things.
And it was at the time when the Chair came up, of course. That was just before Colin left, which must have been in the seventies, ’73, or something like that. But Stan got the Chair. Colin left, as I remember. Am I right? He was very annoyed … to put it mildly. And because it was also quite prominent in the Noel Annan Investigation of the events of … was it ’68? I think it was.
PT: Yes. I think so.
DL: Because somebody in the Department had said that Alasdair and I just never spoke to one another. And I think it was Colin who wrote to the paper or something, and told them it was all rubbish, because I used to go out to dinner with Alasdair and his wife at that time, at Ardleigh.
PT: But Colin, I mean, as a personality, how would you describe him, then?
DL: Well, very loyal to the Department and the subject, I think. Yeah. But obviously also very ambitious, reasonably so, and … I don’t know, he and Howard were very closely related in their work, and I think their view of things. I don’t know. You’ll have to ask Howard. Have you talked to Howard?
DL: You’ll have to interview Howard!
PT: I’d like to!
DL: But by that time, Howard had become head of the Data Archive. He went off to Australia, didn’t he, and I didn’t see him again for ages.
PT: Yes, that’s right. Colin did, yes, that’s right.
DL: Well, he kept writing. I remember I got a letter warning me not to go to India, and I went to India in 1974, to Delhi, and various other places, and Colin wrote me this letter about having stopped off in Bombay, and it was just an impossible place to be, and I would get horrible diseases and all that stuff!
PT: He’s entertaining, isn’t he.
DL: Yes, he is. And I can see why he’d be good as a Vice-Chancellor, he’s very stimulating.
PT: But you did get to like administration a bit more as you got older, didn’t you? Or is that wrong?
DL: Well, I did it at the ESRC. … Robin Matthews asked me to do it. He’s an old friend from Cambridge. And at first I didn’t want to do it, and then he said … No, that was quite interesting, because you were dealing with research applications most of the time. The Council work I didn’t enjoy all that much, the big Council Meeting. But then I didn’t do any, of course, until I became PVC.
PT: Which you did seem to like, I remember.
DL: Yeah. Which Martin [Harris]’s … you know, I felt I owed the University, because I hadn’t done anything for a long time, and I had no idea what was involved in it. And it’s interesting work because you can actually do things, and make things change and happen, which you can’t as Dean, and Head of Department, except within your own little fiefdom. I don’t know why I say “little” … But it was quite interesting in a very full way.
PT: And how did you feel about the ways that the Department was changing? Because there was this period you were talking about, when there was a core of people who were interested in social class, but that seemed to change, didn’t it, and turned towards a lot more interest in gender and so on. How did you feel about that shift?
DL: Well, I never felt so attached to the future of the Department that it was a personal tragedy for me. It’s nice to have people around. And, of course, Mick Mann was – we haven’t mentioned Mick, he was there for quite a bit of the time, on and off – I got on very well with him. And you know, I got on with my own work, insofar as I did. I must have been going through a somnolent period or something, in the mid-seventies. I remember I did a lot of cycling then.
PT: Oh, I remember you cycling, yes.
DL: Yeah. So what the Department did, of course, the Department is so big that nobody could control the shape of it, and I suppose it was answering to what were current changes outside the Department. Of course, John Scott came, he is big in [social class], and Lydia [Morris], at that time, well, I think she still is, she does work of that kind. And Miriam [Glucksmann].
PT: But do you feel happy, in terms of thinking about what sociology should be doing as a discipline? Do you feel happy with this much broader approach which has developed?
DL: Well, I just got the catalogue from Routledge yesterday, and there’s tons on culture, there’s tons on media. Less gender than there used to be. There’s still a lot of gender. Class has gone completely out of it, and industrial organisation is very tiny. Education isn’t very prominent. Social Policy isn’t very prominent. The big things are culture and media, and I don’t know what to make … Neither of them has really appealed to my intellectual sense. I don’t know what the problem is, unless culture is a new word for what was called the “Sociology of Religion”, I imagine. That’s gone. That went early on, which I thought was a big mistake. Because at that time, I was getting very interested in Durkheim, so maybe that’s all covered by culture. I don’t know. But media seems the big thing. I don’t know what it’s got to do, really, with sociology. What do you think?
PT: You can interview me another time! (LAUGHS) No, I think you’re saying, if you had an opportunity to shape the way sociology was going, you would re-introduce class as a main focus. Or is that wrong?
DL: Well, I think, you know, whatever is the fashion, but it’s not so much class as a subject in a Department of Sociology, it’s a fact of life out there. What we’re going through at the moment is exactly how Marx described the cycles of production and capitalist economy, that you have got over-investment, over-production capacity, and now it’s being run down at an enormous rate, until the demand picks up again. I’m not saying that that’s the last word, but unless you understand that is the central feature of these societies, then you can’t understand how people are reacting to it in different ways. So you’ve got to start with these big central institutions, and citizenship is another, you know, that makes capitalism work between the two of them. You’ve got to understand that. And it seems to me, if you’re introducing students to media and culture and, you know, whatever – identities and all the rest of it – you’re losing touch with the real world. So it’s not so much whether I want class and, of course, I would like it, some people have been doing it, but it doesn’t matter if it’s going on, and if you don’t grasp it, then you’re not in touch with what’s happening in the world. You’re in touch with what’s happening, I don’t know, in Brixton or somewhere, and music and self-identities and so on. Whereas what is actually happening in Brixton and Bermondsey, and wherever you want to live – Newcastle – is all turning by the shifts that are going on in capital, the capitalist economy, reined in by institutions of citizenship. That’s all I’m saying.
And, therefore, it’s a matter of indifference to me now, especially at my age, whether … But people are still studying these things. Like Lydia is, she sent me a paper recently, she’s concentrating on Europe and immigrants and asylum seekers and so on, and how they’re incorporated, or not incorporated, into civic institutions, and I think that’s the sort of work I like to see – not so much on class particularly, although class is an element of it. So John has … his main contribution has been in the social mobility field, and he’s left that now, and his latest book is on social theory, I think. He’s gone into rational choice theory, because he wants an action scheme or a theory that will deal with these macro data, like mobility data, and micro. So that is quite interesting. That has been a, something that has come from outside and so on, but that’s the opposite end to your culture end.
And it’s just that there seem to be so many journals devoted to these topics, and so many … I mean, if you look at it, it’s hard to know what they’re saying at the end. You read through the article and you don’t know what they are up to. That’s my impression, anyway. But, I mean, I haven’t talked to anybody here about it. And, you know, what’s-his-name up the road – Mike Roper – I suppose you might say, “Well, what about him? He’s in culture, masculinity and so on”, but that’s a very specific thing of how managers are identified in corporations, which is, you know, part of class. I suppose it’s part of the stratification, differentiation of people. But I don’t know, perhaps I’d better not say any more about it. I don’t know enough about it, really, to make a comment.
PT: No, no, it’s very interesting, what you’ve been saying. Can I just ask you, within this sort of schema you’re describing, do you see race or gender as having also fundamental importance, or not?
DL: Well, race has got to have, hasn’t it. And, I mean, now, of course, religious differentiation – ethnic differentiation really. But it’s always been a problem of how you deal with this. Schumpeter wrote an article called “Social Classes in an Ethnically Homogeneous Environment”, and that’s because he didn’t know how to incorporate ethnic identities into it, so he just said, “All right, we’ll sort of bracket them off”! (LAUGHS) And I think that’s been a problem ever since, with class analysis.
Now, we know that what correlates with social mobility, class position, we know that certain ethnic groups – Chinese and Indian, in this country – are way up above the indigenous white population, and we know that certain other ethnic groups – the Bangladeshis, who have come from the same Continent – are at the bottom. And we know that Indians are Hindus and Bangladeshis are Muslim and so on, so there’s obviously something there. And it’s partly that they come from different parts. I mean, a lot of the early Indians came from Kenya, and they were already well-educated, it’s not just that. The Chinese, also, have this upward mobility. So that’s just about what you can say – that it does impinge one on the other, it works both ways.
I’m sure that, obviously, Muslim attitudes to girls is not going to do wonders for their educational mobility, I don’t think. Maybe I’m wrong. And at the same time, the fact that the Bangladeshis were recruited to fill the low-level jobs up North there, they’ve now gone, is all part of this capitalist environment I’m talking about, massive shifts going on. Now, some of the most interesting … the main jobs of women are cleaning – office cleaners and personal cleaners – and also in these call centres, enormous numbers, half a million or something like that. And miners completely gone. So you’ve got to look at all these changes. And who does those jobs? Well, we know that a lot of the Caribbean women were recruited into some of these low level care jobs and so on, and they work in hospitals, a lot of them work bringing round the meals and cleaning the floors and so on. So it’s all interrelated, and there are fascinating topics there, but it’s not the sort of thing I’ve been doing. I’ve been looking at the sort of, if you like, the old Schumpeter problem, with a bit of Marshall’s citizenship tacked on. But people are doing interesting work. What the real, whether there is a solution, whether ethnic relations are like class relations – I don’t think they are, I mean, partly because so many of them are tinged with very deep religious sentiments, which class relations usually are not. This is what ??Vaggoner has been trying to say, and it’s very interesting that there is a notion in class relations as well, like fox-hunting, sex status relations – men on horseback in coloured coats, you know! That’s what it’s all about – back to the conquest in uniform! (LAUGHS)
And, I don’t know … gender is another thing. I mean, I’ve written something on gender, but I don’t consider myself, in any way, anywhere near competent to say anything about it, but it does seem to have diminished, not importance, but its salience in the literature, all these things, you know?
PT: I don’t know, no.
DL: So where do you think class has gone?
PT: No, no, no … it’s me asking you!
DL: Oh, you’re asking me, yes … well!
PT: Well, I think that’s a splendid answer, David. Can I round off just with two questions? One would be, of all the things you’ve written, which do you, now, looking back, feel most proud of, or pleased with? Which would you want picked out?
DL: Well, I think … were you in Halsey’s sample?
DL: The teachers of sociology or something. Well, there was a question there about social integration and system integration, and I think that really was original, in a way. But these things are never original, because Lipset had been writing about political legitimacy and efficiency, you know, which is more or less saying words along the same lines. I think that created a lot of interest, as much abroad as here. And then, apart from that, I don’t know, I think The Blackcoated Worker was quite a good effort, though again, we acquired an interest in the subject the … the work is not being done in that area, but it was for a long time.
PT: And then you look at your time researching, writing, I’m wondering which you would think of as the worst and the best times, in terms of experience, not the intellectual achievement, but more the experience.
DL: Well, I quite enjoyed doing the work for The Black Coated Worker because I worked in the British Museum most of the time, and it’s very pleasant. And, of course, after a certain point, my wife was also working in the British Museum, so it was very like a family library! (LAUGHS) And then The Affluent Worker was very pleasant because of all these very stimulating people that I talked about last time – very. Solidarity and Schism was a lonely path, a long lonely path. It took years. And sometimes I thought I’d never finish it. And so, yes, I wouldn’t want to go through that again. I mean, people talk about how wonderful it is to do these things, but I don’t think they’re always entirely truthful you know, some things really take it out of you. I think it’s working on your own that’s the most difficult, isn’t it. Do you think?
PT: Yes. I think I’m allowed to answer!
DL: Well, if you say, “I want to do something”, and that gets bigger and bigger, and you think, “Well, it’s go so far, I’ve got to finish it now”! (LAUGHS) And if it’s a very broad-ranging thing, then other things are changing all the time that you have to address yourself to, and still keep hold of the steering wheel. Not easy.
DL: But, you see, and then I worked with David Rose, I say deliberately “with David”, because he was doing the work and I was Chairing the Committee, and that was very nice, and intellectually challenging, we had contact with a lot of people outside the academic world, like civil servants, Public Opinion pollsters, and that was very enjoyable. So the moral is, work with other people if you can stand them! (LAUGHS) It must be awful if you’re working with somebody and it becomes very fractious, and then it collapses. It all collapses and then you’ve wasted all that time, you know.
PT: And outside work, what have you enjoyed most, do you think?
DL: Outside work?
PT: You’ve talked about cycling.
DL: At one time, yes, I became a cycle fanatic, and I was able to take bikes apart and put them together again and all the rest of it, but I don’t know … it became a bit of an obsession of mine. Well, most recently, music, I’ve been listening to more music. I don’t know. I mean, what do people … have these wide interests and feel totally deficient in some way? Travelling, I’ve always been travelling. Travelling, yes.
PT: Which of the journeys have you especially enjoyed, then?
DL: Well, I’ve been to India twice, you know. Egypt we decided to go with my father-in-law and his wife, that was very good. That was organised by the British Museum, and we still have, as a friend, the man, young man who took us around. I don’t think you can do that now. I mean, not because of the situation in Egypt, but because of the cost. It was incredibly cheap to do it.
PT: India, you were working?
DL: Yes, in Delhi, yes.
PT: And that made quite an impact, I seem to remember.
DL: Made an impact on me, yes.
PT: Yes. In what way?
DL: Well, it’s the first time I’ve been in a country where I was, evidently, in the minority. And I say “very evidently”, because the Sunday after I arrived, I went down, they told me there was some big jamboree, with lots of elephants coming and so on, and about two million people turned up at the Red Fort, and I was looking down on it, and I suddenly realised I’m the only white foreign person, Western person, that I could see. I didn’t feel worried or afraid, it’s just that it struck me for the first time that that was so. Then, I mean, all the usual things about India and horror stories and things. I think it’s a terrific country, the fact that they can remain a democracy after all these years when others have not, others have failed … I mean, okay, it’s not the most perfect democracy in the world, but even getting together all those votes – you can imagine, the transport and levels of literacy they’ve got. And, of course, we went to the States quite a lot, especially in the summer when the kids were younger, to Lee’s parents. But I don’t have any hobbies like building aeroplanes or whatever! No. I can not do anything quite easily! Reading …
PT: And you said the grandchildren are important.
DL: Well, yes, of course they are. But they’re children. (LAUGHS) Well, you don’t want too much with children, do you! (LAUGHS) Yeah, they’re delightful – in small helpings! I thought when I retired, I might read a lot more, but, of course, my eyesight is not as good. I mean, I can still read, but my eyes get very tired now, so I’m not reading all these elevating books, edifying books that you should be reading. In fact, when I go to the library here, I always pick the ones with big print – not the ones for the near blind – but, a lot of the paperbacks I just refuse to read. No, when I say I don’t have anything outside work, you do have a life outside work, but it’s not filled with things that are worth talking about.
PT: And this really is the last question. So what would you think have been the best and the worst things about your life as a whole?
DL: Oh, I find that very difficult. Well, meeting my wife. Completely different person, I mean, completely different origin, you know. The worst thing? I don’t know. I suppose last year, when I discovered I had to have two major surgeries. I mean, immediately sort of getting through one and thinking, “Oh, my God, that’s gone well”, and then there’s another one more severe, coming up. And that was an unpleasant year. So these are personal matters.
PT: But you’re well past that, anyway, actually.
DL: Yeah. These are purely personal, but you asked me.
PT: Yes, that’s what I meant, yes.
DL: As opposed to the end of the War, or something like that!
PT: Yes! Okay. Well, thank you very much, David.
DL: Thank you, Paul.
PT: That’s great.
DL: I hope it’s useful.
End of Tape 3 – Side A
Side B is blank
END OF INTERVIEW