Audrey Wood: Oxford Instruments and the shed at the bottom of the garden
Audrey and Martin Wood discuss how Oxford Instruments began at the Clarendon Laboratory and moved into their garden shed.
Did you work from home much?
MW: No, no, just occasionally. I didn’t have much room in the – in the lab to begin with. Later on I had a workshop more or less dedicated.
AW: You hadn’t got much room in the lab. You probably had much more peace to do a thing like that at home.
MW: Yes, yes.
When does Oxford Instruments actually start?
AW: 1959. Can’t give you a date because it’s sort of – wasn’t an actual date, I think.
MW: That was when I’d said to the man, Nicholas Cotie [ph], I said, ‘There are lots of people outside wanting magnets. Is it alright if I design …?’ And he was perfectly happy. He wanted to spread his technology, give them anything. I actually made some magnets for other laboratories in the Clarendon and then that got too big and machines got held up and other people in the workshop – in the research committee said, ‘These workshops are for us. Not for Newcastle Physics, or something.’ And I went to the Prof and said, ‘Look, I’ll take it out of the – out of the laboratory.’
Where did you actually take it to?
MW: Oh, I [inaud] built a workshop at the bottom of the garden.
AW: When we started actually making things much, it was – we had a shed – we built a shed at the bottom of the garden to do this [laughs]. It was a completely residential area and the chairman of planning lived opposite, so when this man – this retired technician used to come along and do a few jobs occasionally. And I remember one day when we had the wife of the chairman of planning to tea and I – in the garden, I think it was, it would be in the summer. And I saw Joe coming and I went down to have a word with him and said, ‘Joe, you’re the gardener [laughs], if you’re asked any questions.’
- Interviewee: Audrey Wood
- Duration: 00:02:26
- Copyright: British Library Board
- Interviewer: Thomas Lean
- Date of interview: 1/16/2012
- Shelfmark: C1379/58