BBC Radio Leicester

The UOSH Midlands team was lucky to work with several collections of programmes from BBC Radio Leicester that had been deposited at the Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland on behalf of the East Midlands Oral History Archive. Some of these collections have been explored in previous posts, including the In Perspective, Platform, and Digging out the Past collections. This post therefore will give a brief overview of all of the collections from BBC Radio Leicester that were digitised and catalogued as part of the UOSH project. 

A photo showing someone on a set of steps looking through boxes in an archive
Looking through the Radio Leicester recordings at the Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester & Rutland.

The collections contain episodes from different programmes that were broadcast on BBC Radio Leicester. Below is a summary of these programmes: 

  • Digging out the Past – series focusing on Leicester’s local archaeology and history, broadcast between 1979 and 1989. 
  • Platform – series focusing on transport in and around Leicester, particularly trains, buses, and trams, broadcast between 1974 and 1989. 
  • The Midland Line – series for schools focusing on the Leicester to London railway line’s past, present, and future, broadcast in 1983. 
  • Leicester in the thirties – social history series for schools exploring life in Leicester during the 1930s, broadcast in 1974. 
  • Made in Leicester – series examining the history and current operations of different companies in Leicester through interviews with employees, first broadcast in 1980. 
  • Tape Machine: Time Machine – series looking back over ten years of BBC Radio Leicester (1967-1977) through extracts from previous recordings and interviews with individuals who contributed to the station over the decade, broadcast in 1977. 
  • Leicester Lines – series exploring the history of Leicestershire railways, first broadcast in 1976. 
  • Down the Fosse Way – social history series focusing on the Leicestershire towns and villages along the Roman road, the Fosse Way, broadcast in 1979. 
  • The Hunt – series exploring the history of fox hunting, first broadcast in 1975. 
  • In Depth – series featuring interviews with notable individuals and celebrities, broadcast between 1996 and 1999, 
  • Florrie and Ada – Christmas specials recorded by the live comedy act ‘Florrie and Ada’ whose shows highlighted the Leicestershire accent, broadcast between 1991 and 1993 
  • DNA Series – series exploring the discovery, use, and future of DNA, broadcast in 1991. 
  • Behind Closed Doors – programme exploring life in Welford Road Prison, Leicester, broadcast in 1980. 
  • Jazz Corner – series featuring live performances of jazz music, broadcast during the 1970s. 
  • In Perspective – current affairs series broadcast between the late 1960s and mid-1990s. 
  • In Concert – series featuring live performances of classical orchestral music and interviews with associated individuals, broadcast during the 1970s and 1980s. 

The Midlands team also worked with two collections comprising of recordings taken from multiple sources. 

  • The Alan McWhirr Collection contains various programmes and excerpts relating to the work and interests of the professional archaeologist and historian, Alan McWhirr. The recordings date from the 1970s to the 1980s. 
  • The Beck Case Archive consists of compilation tapes containing news reports, interviews, and features on the court case of Frank Beck, convicted child sex offender, sentenced in 1991. Beck was officer-in-charge of several children’s homes in Leicester during the 1970s and 1980s. The collection also includes recordings relating to the publication of the 1992 Kirkwood Report which detailed the findings from an inquiry into the management of children’s homes in Leicestershire between 1973 and 1986. 

For more information about the BBC Radio Leicester collections visit the East Midlands Oral History Archive website. You can also use the British Library SAMI catalogue to explore the sound collections further. 

Post by Elizabeth Gray.

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Colin Hyde

About Colin Hyde

Colin Hyde is currently managing the Sounds for the Future project, which is based in Special Collections. He has run the East Midlands Oral History Archive for many years.

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