Research officers: interviews

There were four research officers who formed, along with Peter Townsend and Brian Abel-Smith, the core of the initial research team: Hilary Land (at the LSE),  Denis Marsden, John Veit-Wilson and Adrian Sinfield (at the University of Essex). These research officers conducted the pilot studies and were involved in the planning of the main survey. Below you will find interviews with Hilary Land, John Veit-Wilson and Adrian Sinfield. Dennis Marsden died in 2009 after a long academic career, in the course of which he undertook a number of major and pioneering qualitative studies on education and the working-class, lone mothers, unemployment, and on couples and intimacy.

Professor Hilary Land

Hilary Land worked on the pilot study of large families and then on the survey development, including working on the sampling design. After working on the Poverty in the UK research, she continued her interest in family policies, from a comparative and historical perspective, and in feminist theories. She retired from the School for Policy Studies in Bristol in 2002 is now Emeritus Professor of Family Policy and Child Welfare. Her interview provides an authorative overview of the Poverty in the UK research study. It is in six parts:

  • Part 1: on her early involvement in the research project (14' 22")
  • Part 2: on relationships within the project and the development of the survey (16' 03")
  • Part 3: on the fieldwork and data handling for the project (14' 03")
  • Part 4: on the research outputs (14' 12")
  • Part 5: on lessons learnt from the project (8' 10")
  • Part 6: on the changing role of academia (8' 47")

Professor John Veit-Wilson

From 1964 to 1967 John Veit-Wilson worked on the pilot study of long-term sick and disabled men of working age, involving in-depth interviews with participants on a wide range of aspects of their lives. In 1965 he he was a founder of the Child Poverty Action Group and went on to be a leading figure in poverty research and policy since then. From 1967 to 1992 he taught at Northumbria University and then Emiterus Professor of Social Policy at the university. He died in May, 2020. In this interview, he provides a detail account of the research process for the pilot study and reflects on the study's subsequent impact. The interview is in three parts. Unfortunately the video is missing for Part 3 and for the last section of Part 2.

  • Part 1: on his involvement with the research (9' 17")
  • Part 2: on ethos and ethics (9' 08")
  • Part 3: reflections on the study (no video)

The full transcript (including for the missing video) can be downloaded below.

Professor Adrian Sinfield

Adrian Sinfield worked on the early stages of the project, in particular a pilot study into unemployment, interviewing 92 unemployed men in North Shields, carried out between July 1963 and July 1964. This was followed up by a further study of unemployment in North Shields in the mid 1970s. He went on to have long and distinguished career in social policy and is now Emiterus Professor of Social Policy at the University of Edinburgh. In this interview he talks about his involvement in the early stages of the project, his own subsequent follow up study of unemployment in North Shields and the impact of the Townsend work. The interview is in 3 parts:

  • Part 1: on his involvement in the project (9' 56")
  • Part 2: on researching unemployment (8' 17")
  • Part 3: reflections on the Townsend study (13' 04")



Tweet this page