Between 1981 and 1988 I carried out a series of oral history recordings as part of my PhD research on the town of Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire. I was a student in the Institute of Dialect and Folklife Studies at the University of Leeds, and for the first year used a Uher 2000 Report-L reel to reel tape recorder provided by the Institute. This was a high-quality machine, "albeit one" I wrote in my PhD thesis, "which would not recharge and recorded a buzz unless you kept your hand in the right place: try that holding a microphone and a cup of tea".
In the summer of 1982 I bought a Sony TCS 310 audiocassette recorder, which was my primary machine until 1985, when I bought a Sony Walkman Professional with a Sony ECM 929LT microphone. This became my primary machine, and audiocassette my master recording format, with some VHS video recording later. Between 1981 and 1989 (I continued recording in and about Campden after the award of my PhD) I made some 210 recordings.
Apart from my first year, when I was supported at the University of Leeds by the Rotary Foundation, as a Rotary Foundation Scholar (thank you, Rotary Foundation), I was a self-funded student. A number of things follow from that, including lack of funds during the research and a five figure debt at the end of it (which took at least another decade to pay off). The immediate relevance of this is that I usually didn't have resources at the time to give copies of their recordings to interviewees, which I would do as a matter of course now; and that, as the digital revolution has progressed, and digital has supplanted tapes, I haven't been in the position to have the tapes digitised by an outside professional.
In The Campden Tapes Project I hope to be able to return a copy of their interviews to the original interviewees or, possibly more likely in many instances, to their copyright heirs - children or families who survive them. Almost all of my Campden recordings were made before the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act of 1988, which came into effect on August 1st, 1989, and none are covered by copyright forms. Under the terms of the 1988 Act, copyright in the content of the recordings (what the person actually said) lasts from 70 years after the year in which they die or died, and passes first to their heirs and then to their heirs's heirs, becoming more diffuse and difficult to trace as time goes along and generations ramify. I still don't have the resources to do the kind of tracing and tracking required, and through this webpage hope that interviewees' family-members and friends can help to do some of that work for me. Under the terms of the 1988 Act, copyright in the recording remains mine for 50 years after the date of the recording itself, and copyright in anything I said (all of my questions and comments) remains mine and my heirs for 70 years after the date of my death, which - at the time of writing - hasn't happened yet. I hope people will respect both these copyrights.
So, if you are a copyright holder or know someone who is, please get in touch. As I digitise recordings I will include their details below. If you have a reasonable Internet connection I can send you an mp3 copy without cost, although I would be grateful for a signed and completed copyright form for my records. If you would prefer a copy on CD, I would be grateful for a contribution to the costs of that, as well as the completed copyright form. It is important for legal reasons that you are able to demonstrate that you are, indeed, a copyright holder, and I hope you will understand that I won't be able to provide you a copy of a recording unless I know you are entitled to it. I realise this is beginning to sound a bit convoluted, and I apologise for that; but people were generous with their time and memories when I imposed myself upon them as a student, and it is important that we all recognise and honour their rights, as well as one another's.
If you are a friend or relative who might know the copyright holder, please let them know about this project. And apologies in advance for any slow responses on my part; the limited resources of my student and post-student days has never entirely faded away.