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