Joy Campoli

Joy was born in 1912 and died in February 2010 at the age of 97. Her grandfather was James West, who started a bicycle shop and later a car business in the Upper High Street. She was educated at the Girls’ Grammar School and later at a Convent in Paris. Joy worked at the BBC where she met her husband Alfredo Campoli, an internationally acclaimed violinist.

The recordings were made on the 4th July and the 18th July 2007 when Joy was 95 years old.

A story of loss in WWI – Joy recalls her early life up to the age of five, the outbreak of the first World War, the move to Thame, the death of her brother through pneumonia and the death of her father in East Africa. Joy starts boarding school at the Girls’ Grammar School.

A grammar school boarder’s memory of Thame – Joy and her mother live together in Thame on the Upper High Street. Recollections of market day and the muffin man.

John Fothergill – Remembering the eccentric John Fothergill and the Spread Eagle Hotel in the 1920s.

A girl leaving school – finishing school in France – Joy leaves school at the age of 15 and then lives in Paris for a year studying at a ‘Finishing School’, which turns out to be a Convent. Tea is allowed for the English girls.

Secretarial college in London and off to the BBC – Joy gets a job at the BBC and is asked to take down in shorthand, Sir John Reith’s speech of welcome to the staff working in the new Broadcasting House building in Portland Place.

Entertaining the war workers – Alfredo Campoli was an internationally acclaimed concert violinist. During the war years he plays for the Council for the Encouragement of Music and the Arts (CEMA), which entertained troops and war workers.

The Elgar Violin Concerto – Alfredo’s mother is very ill and dies in her nursing home just before Alfredo is due to play the Elgar Violin Concerto.

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