Ref NoOHP/99
TitleHarry Whewell
DateMarch 1998-November 2001
Extent2 minidiscs, 2 audio cassettes, 4 cds, 1 file, 9 AIFF files (2.18 GB)
Creator NameWhewell; Harry Hodges (1923-2013); journalist
DescriptionInterview with Harry Whewell, Northern editor for the Guardian. Conducted on two separate occasions, 12 March 1998 by Leslie Plommer and 2 November 2001 by Helen Carter. Also includes two data sheets containing biographical details about the subject and information about the recording.

Summary contents of interview (with rough timings):

Disc 1 - recorded 12 March 1998
Track 1
00.11 Brief outline of Harry's career by Leslie Plommer
01.11 Joined the Guardian in 1950
01.18 Describes the office atmosphere as open and friendly
03.06 Involved in coverage of the Labour Party Conferences from his early days
04.35 Being addressed by his surname by senior members of staff, public school feel
06.00 Paper rationing in the 1950s - trying to write as little as possible
06.19 In rationing time, newspapers were 10-12 pages in the week, 12-16 pages at the weekend.
07.40 Started work at 11am, first job was to discuss the previous days paper
08.00 Describes a typical day which finished in the office at 5.30pm and continued in the pub until 7.30-8pm
09.45 No telephones in the reporters room

10.30 Involvement with sub-editing his own work
11.34 Guardian presence at Labour Party Conferences
14.14 Division between editorial and advertising departments
16.22 Advertising in the paper and Suez crisis
19.16 Northern Ireland coverage from 1969

21.12 Coverage of the Coronation and trying to fly over London
22.40 Manchester had the best 'ethos writers' and these were lent to London
24.03 Guardian style of questioning was gentlemanly
24.36 Anecdotes about A.P. Wadsworth, editor at the time he joined
28.28 Working for Alastair Hetherington [Wadsworth's successor]
29.50 Hetherington and the move from Manchester to London

30.27 Hetherington, Gerard Fay [London editor] and the Profuma affair
32.45 Paper and social attitudes changing in the 1970s
36.25 The move to London and how papers can be distributed quicker from London
37.26 Increased readership in the South and by Nazi refugees from a professional background

Disc 2:
Track 1
00.52 Trying to increase readership by targeting University students
03.57 Discusses well-known back page writers
06.15 Anecdotes about Ms Linford, combined women's editor, features editor and picture editor

12.03 Describes the layout of the library where farewells took place
12.36 Anecdote about a previous colleague, Steven Parkinson
16.14 Everyone thought they could do the editors job
16.42 Unusual suggestions/inventions sent in by Guardian readers

25.04 Mary Crozier and reviewing commercial television
27.18 Employing new graduates to write for the Guardian in return for a credit in the paper
29.45 'Had a lot of laughs at this paper, Wonderful things happened'

Disc 3 - recorded 2 November 2001
Track 1

Track 2
00.25 Starting at the Guardian and being the paper's last cotton correspondent
02.05 Hired by Wadsworth
03.40 Paper rationing and 'tersid' writing
04.30 Worked on sloping desks - typewriter would slide down the desk as you typed
05.15 Started day at about 11am
05.43 At about 12.30 staff went out for a drink until approx 2pm
06.59 The Guardian was like 'the life of retired gentleman'
08.29 Common room atmosphere in the office
09.14 Lawrence Scott had tea about 4 pm and anyone could sit and talk to him

10.07 Writing articles by hand
10.58 Fewer staff in the reporting room after the war
14.04 Anecdote about Whewell and a Guardian London correspondent covering the same story

Track 3
00.09 Assistant Editor John Anderson's campaign to run haikus
01.50 Bernard Levin reporting on commercial television
03.40 Enjoyed covering conferences

Track 4
00.48 How carbon copies were hung up at conferences and reporters from other papers read them
02.10 Got 3s 6d tea money everyday - not everyone used this for tea
04.58 The move to London and what made the Guardian different from other regional newspapers
07.30 Circulation figures at the time of the move to London
09.38 Coverage of the Profumo affair

12.13 Alternatives to London printing
12.52 Suggestions for making the paper smaller with more intellectual content
15.26 Teletype setting system devised by a man Lawrence Scott met at Crewe station
16.00 Enjoyed visiting Universities and hiring people
19.41 Industrial trouble and strikes

20.15 Became news editor aged about 40
22.19 How Whewell was perceived as a boss
23.22 Guardian writing style and the style book
25.18 Shared an office with the Northern correspondent for the Times

Track 5

Track 6
00.56 Free trips on newly launched ships from Manchester
04.41 Most important stories covered were the elections
07.30 Feelings about the paper moving to London
09.23 Sending copy to the composing room through tubes or via wires and pulleys

11.09 Role as duty editor
15.25 Politics of the paper re. Ireland, Vietnam, Israel
19.50 The relationship between Gerard Fay and Alastair Hetherington

21.45 Ways of getting money into the paper [ends abruptly]

Disc 4:
Track 1
00.30 Anecdote about CP Scott and greyhound racing
06.08 Money making schemes and the possibility of a relationship between the Guardian and Granada TV
08.38 Proposal by Great Universal Stores to put money into the Guardian
Access StatusOpen
Access ConditionsAccess to recording via GNM Digital Repository


FormatElectronic record
CD recording
Printed document
Tape recording
Minidisc recording
CopyrightGuardian News & Media Ltd and Harry Whewell

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