The BBC Recording History at Neill & Brown
Published June 13, 2017
Last week, staff at Neill & Brown were given the opportunity to take a place in social history as the BBC Listening Project took up residence at N&B HQ for the week.
A unique collaboration between BBC Radio 4 and the British Library has seen Betty, the Listening Booth, travel the length and breadth of the country since 2012. Hull’s UK City of Culture status has brought the booth to Hull and the East Riding in conjunction with BBC Radio Humberside for a 6 month tour, meeting people in and around the area.
We got talking to producers at the Beeb about our Centenary celebrations and the #OurStars campaign; they were very excited about how profiles honouring our staff members were so similar to what they were trying to capture with the Listening Project and asked if they could pay us a visit. They spent a whole week on site catching up with staff members and taking a peek into the relationships that are formed within our organisation.
A number of people at Neill & Brown have been here for many years and strong friendships have been formed within the doors of our HQ. The BBC was fascinated to know what stories had been created and what thoughts and views were formed within those relationships.
The first people through the doors of the Listening Booth were CEO, Peter Brown and MD, Colin Moody who reflected on how the business has developed and how transport and logistics have changed over the last few decades.
A number of pairs were keen to get involved even though a few people had initial worries about what to expect. Gavin Thompson, our IT Support Engineer said “I couldn’t think what Martin and I might talk about, but once we spoke to the producer momentum just took over”.
Peter Brown added, “it sort of became a natural conversation, although a glass of wine would have helped!
“I hope the future generations at N&B will have the opportunity to hear the conversations in future years and see what has changed.”
With such a diverse group of people came a real assortment of chat; from politics (with the General Election falling in the same week!) to families, hobbies and holidays.
Everyone who took part said that they found it to be a positive experience, SHEQ Manager, Stephen Abbott told me, “It was a privilege to be able to make a contribution to the annals of audible history. It was very refreshing to be able to actually sit and have a conversation without any distractions.”
Moira Brown said that she found the experience to be “therapeutic” and left her wondering “if your conversation will be heard by anyone in the future”, and that feeling of being part of history as a record for the future is certainly a humbling thought.
It’s surprising what you hear when you listen…
You can track the Listening Project via the BBC website here