Charles Parker


Work on the Charles Parker archive at the Central Library was recently completed and it’s being launched (as it were) at the AGM of the Friends of the Charles Parker Archive on September 28th. All are welcome.

Charles Parker was a pioneer of radio broadcasting and oral history in the 60s and 70s and did most of work in Birmingham with figures such as Ewan McColl and Peggy Seeger.

At his death in 1980 he left a huge archive illustrating all aspects of his life and work including correspondence, notebooks, transcripts of lectures, production books, articles, over 4,500 recordings of speech and music, and a library on the oral tradition, drama, music and politics. He was involved in anti-racist activity from the late 1950s and this is reflected in the collection which also includes rare and significant material on Gypsy and travelling communities. During his research he became increasingly aware of the ill-treatment of travellers and the prejudice which existed towards them. In 1969 a controversial eviction from a site in Birmingham led him to form the West Midlands Gypsy Liaison Group to campaign for travellers’ rights with his long time collaborator Phillip Donnellan.

The archive will be available on the Connecting Histories website and in the library while the AGM takes place at 6.30 pm on Friday 28 September in Conference Room 4 at Birmingham Central Library. For more details contact Pam Bishop on 0121 244 3513 or p.bishop [at]


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