Research - The interviews

From the Grassroots is exploring the history of modern politics in Devon through oral testimony.  Using the accounts of activists, agents and councillors, the project is building a picture of the county’s major political issues and the dynamics between local and Westminster government since 1945. The recorded interviews provide a whole new perspective on the ‘day-to-day’ culture of local politics.

Through our interviews we have ‘given a voice’ to people at all levels of the political ladder who have contributed to the political history of the county. We have explored how politics has changed through the personal memories of individuals who participated.  Oral history is a powerful medium in which to discover how political cultures are nurtured through the interaction of individual personalities and experiences.  

Here, you can browse our material in two ways:

•    Through the individual biographies of our interviewees . You can hear clips from their interviews and learn a little about them and their experiences;

•    Through thematic articles. Over the project we are researching various themes that have influenced the human history of Devon politics, such as family tradition, religion, education, as well as the impact of political idols and doctrines.  You can find out more about some of these themes here.




Featured interview

    • Born 1928

    • Devon County Councillor

    • Liberal/Independent

    David Verney was born on his family’s farm in North Devon, which is still farmed by his family today. Moving to Bishop’s Nympton at a young age, he spent the rest of his life there, eventually farming just outside the village.

Featured theme

  • Labour’s landslide victory in the 1945 General Election swept away much of the remnants of the pre-war Liberal Party. Henceforth, British politics was set for the rest of the Twentieth Century to be a two party system between the Conservatives and Labour.  Yet the overall pattern since 1945 obscures regional variations.  Far South-West Britain is one of the regional peripheries that could be viewed as bedrock for the Liberal Party.

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