Archive Pioneers | Saviours of sound at the BBC
CHANNEL | Radio 4
FIRST BROADCAST | 01 September 2007
DURATION | 57 minutes 28 seconds
When BBC secretary Marie Slocombe was told to clear out a pile of old records in the late 1930s, she was dismayed to find items featuring the voices of George Bernard Shaw, Winston Churchill and GK Chesterton among those lying on the floor. In this programme, radio historian Sean Street reflects on how Marie Slocombe's decision to keep and organise those early recordings laid the foundations for the BBC's archive, now one of the most significant broadcast collections in the world.
Tasked with designing a cataloguing method for her embryonic library, Marie Slocombe rejected the more traditional Dewey system for a bespoke structure more suited to the world of radio and based on that used at the US Library of Congress in Washington DC. The result was a formidable arrangement of cards placed on circular metal racks that came to be known in Broadcasting House as the 'iron curtain'.
You can hear more of Marie Slocombe's story elsewhere in this collection.
Lynton Fletcher shows off the BBC Sound Library to a literary audience.
Lynton Fletcher and Marie Slocombe on the BBC's growing collection of historic recordings.
In conversation with the first BBC Sound Archive librarian.
From page boy to chief producer over 45 years at the BBC.
The story of the temp who started the BBC Sound Archive.
How a boyhood hobby led to pioneering recordings of the natural world.
Creating, making and archiving sounds in the 1930s and 40s.
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