The Richardson Tapes Collection

Scope and Content

Collection of oral history tapes on the history of Coventry. The collection comprises c65 reel to reel tapes of interviews conducted by Richardson as preparation for publication of his book the 20th Century Coventry. The collection also includes a small number of printed transcripts, and a small amount of correspondence relating to the publication of the book, and to a research project undertaken by Richardson on the social history of the British Motor Car Industry. Major subjects covered by the tapes within a Coventry context include: agriculture, art and artists, aviation, Coventry Belgrade Theatre, bicycles, building, Coventry City Council, education, engineering, industrial relations, Labour movement, legal profession, Massey Ferguson, motor industry, religion, textiles, union activities, Walsgrave, wartime, watchmaking.

Administrative / Biographical History

Kenneth Richardson first went to Coventry in 1945 when he joined the staff of Coventry Technical College on his return from war service as a Captain in the Ordnance Corps in India. He subsequently moved to the Lanchester College of Technology (later the Lanchester Polytechnic and now Coventry University) when it opened in 1964. On his retirement, in 1977, he was a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Politics and History.

Dr Richardson was born in Ilkeston, Derbyshire, in 1912, the son of a professional footballer. Educated at Ilkeston Grammar School and Trinity College, Cambridge, he obtained his doctorate in 1965 for a thesis on Thomas Atwood, the Chartist. His published works include Twentieth Century Coventry, The British Motor Industry, 1896-1939, Coventry: Past and Present and contributions to the Dictionary of Business Biography.

Reference: Kenneth Richardson, Coventry: Past and Present (Phillimore. 1987).


The tapes and transcripts are arranged A-Z by interviewee. The correspondence files are arranged chronologically.

Conditions Governing Access

Open. Access to the Lanchester Collection is by arrangement with the University Librarian, Coventry University.

Acquisition Information

This collection was deposited in the mid 1970s.

Other Finding Aids

A card subject index and an A-Z transcript of the tapes may be consulted at the Lanchester Library.

An authority record exists for Kenneth Richardson (GB 152 AAR 1888).

Conditions Governing Use

There are no restrictions on the use of this archive, apart from the requirements of copyright law.


Further deposits are not expected.