Catalogue description Betsy Miller (born c.1886)

This record is held by Birmingham: Archives, Heritage and Photography Service

Details of MS 4000/5/1/3
Reference: MS 4000/5/1/3
Title: Betsy Miller (born c.1886)
Held by: Birmingham: Archives, Heritage and Photography Service, not available at The National Archives
Language: English
Administrative / biographical background:

Betsy Miller (née Hendry) was born c.1886 and came from Auchterarder, Perthshire, Scotland. Both she and her husband,William Miller, an iron moulder, were active socialists. Their son, Jimmie Miller, later known as Ewan MacColl (1915-1989), inherited their political consciousness and had a full and prestigious career of political activity, performance, lecturing, music and song writing, and promotion of traditional music and the folk revival.


Betsy Miller talks about her own childhood and attitudes to her parents and older people for 'actuality' for the sixth radio ballad 'On The Edge' about teenagers in England and Scotland


(MS 4000/ 5/1/3/1). Other recordings of the same date were also probably made with the third radio ballad in mind and extend to discussion of her married life. The upbringing of Ewan MacColl features strongly in MS 4000/ 5/1/3/5-6 and her Scottish accent is demonstrated in


MS 4000/ 5/1/3/7. The recordings cover a number of subjects including attitudes to the young and the elderly, left wing socialism, poverty, the role of women, life during the two World Wars and emigration to Australia. The interviews are all conducted by Charles Parker who worked closely with Ewan MacColl on the radio ballads amongst other projects.


See CD recording of the sixth radio ballad 'On The Edge' originally transmitted on the BBC Home Service in February 1963. Accompanying written production documentation on the radio ballad is at MS 4000/2/92. See also recording of Betsy Miller used in a lecture at


MS 4000/ 5/2/7/11.


arrangement: The tapes are arranged as follows:


MS 4000/5/1/3/1 Interviews re BM childhood and attitudes Feb 1962


to her parents and older people for actuality for


sixth radio ballad 'On The Edge'


MS 4000/5/1/3/2-4 Interviews re BM childhood, married life and Feb 1962


attitudes to her parents and older people


[actuality for sixth radio ballad 'On The Edge']


MS 4000/5/1/3/5-6 Interviews re BM married life and upbringing of Jan 1969


her son Ewan MacColl


MS 4000/5/1/3/7 Interview of BM reading from Child Employment Jun 1969


Commission Reports, 1841; Scottish accent


MS 4000/5/1/3/8 Young people discussing the issue of their age nd

Have you found an error with this catalogue description?

Help with your research