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The Charles Parker Archive

The Charles Parker Archive is now featured on the Library of Birmingham website.

 Charles Parker photo
The Charles Parker Archive consists of tapes, production books, papers, correspondence and scripts for most of the programmes Charles Parker produced and the organisations in which he was active.

It contains a wealth of material for studying the culture of the 1950s-1970s - broadcasting, the folk revival, pop music, community arts - as well as contemporary social and political issues. Charles made programmes with blind people, Irish labourers, workers in China in 1972, Asian teenagers, protesters against the Vietnam War and other minorities traditionally denied a voice on the air on in historical records.
  • Lived 1919-1980
  • BBC Radio Producer, Birmingham 1954-1972
  • Founder, writer, singer, actor, Banner Theatre,
    Birmingham 1974-1980
  • Winner ITALIA PRIZE for Radio Documentary 1960
  • Specialist in Documentary Radio and Theatre
  • A pioneer of the Oral History movement
  • Producer, 1958-1963, The Radio Ballads and
    many other remarkable radio programmes

Charles Parker came to believe passionately in the value of the testimony of working people and the creative importance of 'the oral tradition' and its relationship to folk music. This became the key to his work in radio, theatre and in his extensive teaching activities.

After his death in 1980 a Trust was set up to administer the Archive. Cataloguing of the papers is now almost completed. There are also audio cassettes and CDs available for research purposes.