1 Articles relating to Charles Parker and his colleagues
2 Radio and television production
3 Organisations related to the CPA Trust
4 Academic sites relating to Parker’s work
5 People associated with Charles Parker or the Radio Ballads
- Simon Elmes: Charles Parker and Radio Documentary in Context
- Simon Elmes: The Authentic Voice
- Ian Parr: Janet Jones, one-time-PA to Charles, visits the Archive
- Brian Vaughton: The Birmingham Ballads
- Sam Richards: The Ballad of Ewan MacColl
- Graeme Brown: Charles Parker who gave a voice to the working classes
Charles Parker is well-known as the producer of the Radio Ballads (1957-1964) but he made many other programmes for the BBC including I Chose Where To Stand: The Life of Else Rosenfeld broadcast in 1963. Being involved in various political campaigns, he also produced some more subversive programmes like Off Limits, aimed at GI’s in Vietnam in 1970.
The BBC is no longer the sole source of programmes that we might identify as having a connection to Charles Parker. Such connections may be in artistic spirit or social content, and programmes are made by production companies for the BBC, or other media companies, or by the BBC itself or (rarely) by media companies from their own resources.
Resonance 104.4 FM includes a talk by Peter Cox about the Radio Ballads given in August 2008. The series of landmark radical works made fifty years earlier for British radio is discussed by the author of Set Into Song: Ewan MacColl, Charles Parker, Peggy Seeger and the Radio Ballads – duration 69:29
Falling Tree Productions and Smooth Operations have made programmes in recent years that are significant in the terms to which we refer in this page and are continuing to make further programmes of potential interest.
It has become Trust practice, where possible, to give advance notice of programmes that might be of interest to Friends of the Charles Parker Archive Trust and to people who might visit this site.
Friends of the Charles Parker Archive – this group was set up in 1981 at the same time as the Charles Parker Trust, and have supported the Trustees in various ways. In return Friends receive an Annual Report, are entitled to concessionary prices for publications in print or sound and are invited to the Annual General Meeting of the Trust.
Philip Donnellan was Parker’s colleague, friend and acclaimed film maker. His importance to the development of TV documentary and social understanding of post-war Britain cannot be underestimated. Here is an archive link to a website called Friends of Philip Donnellan which sadly is not currently maintained.
Banner Theatre, carrying on Parker’s documentary traditions. Parker was a founder member, and the Radio Ballads have been a major influence on Banner’s work.
Ewan MacColl official site, created and curated by his family in his centenary year
Set Into Song, site describing and enhancing the book written by Peter Cox about the Radio Ballads
English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS) has acted for over 100 years to preserve and promote the traditional song and dance of England. There are many resources in its Vaughan Williams Memorial Library. 2013 saw the launch of a major digitisation and cataloguing project culminating in The Full English Guide. The Full English catalogue includes the six collections which comprised the Take 6 project, the Sabine Baring-Gould material catalogued by the Devon Tradition project, and the additional collections covered by The Full English project itself.
Topic Records – traditional and contemporary folk music, from English, Scottish & Irish folk singers & musicians. In their 60th anniversary year the company released a brand new CD set of all eight Radio Ballads.
The Radio Ballads are covered on the BBC’s Radio 2 website with an account of their 2006 Ballads, and you can listen again to the originals through the “Listen Again” facility
Doc Rowe Archive and Collection – Doc was strongly influenced by Parker regarding the importance and potential of recording technology and an overall concern to document popular culture and the vernacular ‘folk arts’.
The Grierson Trust commemorates the pioneering Scottish documentary maker John Grierson (1898 – 1972), famous for Drifters and Night Mail and the man widely regarded as the father of the documentary.
Mudcat Cafe – full of basic information, with a good library of folk music and references.
Folk Roots – the “essential worldwide roots music guide”
Janey Buchan Political Song Collection at the University of Glasgow
The Working Class Movement Library is a collection of English language books, periodicals, pamphlets, archives and artefacts, concerned with the activities, expression and enquiries of the labour movement, its allies and its enemies, since the late 1700s. It references the work of Ewan MacColl.
Ruskin College Oxford‘s special collections include the MacColl/Seeger archive of folk-song and protest music plus associated literature and artifacts.
The Oral History Society is a national and international organisation dedicated to the collection and preservation of oral history. It encourages people of all ages to tape, video or write down their own and other people’s life stories.
Oral Tradition Journal – founded in 1986 to serve as an international and interdisciplinary forum for discussion of worldwide oral traditions and related forms. All back issues from 1986 to the present are now available online, open-access, and free of charge. The entire archive of Oral Tradition can be searched by keyword and by author.
Bournemouth Media School at Bournemouth University – the Centre for Broadcasting History Research
University of Central England School of Media
University of Teesside School of Arts and Media
Stirling University Library have a very good article on the herring industry in 1929
Scottish Fisheries Museum at Anstruther in Fife has a significant photographic archive and reference library
Leeds Archive of Vernacular Culture, encompassing the Survey of English Dialects, and the Archives of the Institute of Dialect and Folk Life Studies.
Tradition Bearers is a site including singers like Heather Heywood, Bob Blair and Terry Yarnell
Ian Campbell discography
“The missing Radio Ballads” – letter from Ian Campbell about A Cry from the Cut and The Jewellery.