Memories of the British in India Oral Archive

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Twenty-eight oral history interviews concerning the British experience in India during the British Raj, recorded by the India Office Library & Records [subsequently the Oriental and India Office Collection, British Library]. Interviewees include British civil servants, officers of the Indian Army, businesspeople, legal and medical professionals, and their families.

Administrative / Biographical History

Memories of the British in India was an oral history series recorded by the India Office Library & Records [subsequently the Oriental and India Office Collection, British Library]. The India Office Library & Records interviews followed recordings conducted on the same subject by the BBC radio series 'Plain Tales from the Raj' (1974) and the British in India Oral Archive Project (1975-1976) which was based at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London.

Arrangement

Interviews are arranged in the order in which they were sent to SOAS Library by the British Library.

Conditions Governing Access

Sound recordings currently unavailable at SOAS Library due to preservation reasons. Researchers can access copies of these recordings at the British Library Listening & Viewing Service. For more details see www.bl.uk/listening or contact listening@bl.uk / 020 7412 7418.

Closed

Acquisition Information

Donated to SOAS Library by British Library; India Office Library & Records between 1983 and 1984.

Conditions Governing Use

Private study only. For publication or broadcast please refer to Archivist.

Copyright held by British Library

Custodial History

Interviews in this collection were previously classified as part of the 'British in India Oral Archive Project' collection [ref. OA2]. They were reclassified in September 2014 as a separate collection to reflect that this set of interviews originated from a different source.

Related Material

SOAS Library holds 'Plain Tales from the Raj' collection [ref. OA1], containing seventy-five oral history interviews recorded by the BBC for the radio series 'Plain Tales from the Raj' (1974), covering experiences of the British and Indian individuals who lived in India during the period of British colonial rule.

SOAS Library also holds 'British in India Oral Archive Project' collection [ref. OA2]. The 'British in India Oral Archive Project sought to build upon the recordings conducted for 'Plan Tales from the Raj'. This collection includes 61 additional oral history interviews with British and indigenous inhabitants of India, covering the pre-Independence and post-Independence periods, conducted between 1975 and 1976. Includes interviews with a wide cross-section of people, including key figures such as Earl Mountbatten and B.K. Nehru, as well as civil servants, army officers, and railway clerks.

SOAS Library also holds 'India: A People Partitioned' collection [ref. OA3]. Oral history interview recordings conducted for the BBC radio series 'India: A People Partitioned', first broadcast in 1997. The interviews document the social history of the Partition of India and its effect on people across South Asia. Interviewees include prominent political and cultural figures in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, but the majority of the interviews are with 'ordinary' people of Muslim, Sikh and Hindu heritage whose lives were affected by the events surrounding Independence and the Partition of India in 1947.

Location of Originals

The India Office Library & Records Interviews collection [Reference: C63] available at the British Library Listening & Viewing Service, comprises 125 oral history interviews conducted for the British Library India Office Library & Records division. These include the original recordings for the twenty-eight interviews held in the 'OA4: Memories of the British in India' collection at SOAS Library.