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Appendix C: Personal Documents as Sociological Data

Chapters 3, 4 and 5 contain personal interpretations of aspects of north-east life, two (by Mark Benney and Sid Chaplin) dealing with the general characteristics of mining communities, one (by Bill Williamson) discussing a particular feature of north-east culture, the leek. All write on the basis of personal experience. Chaplin and Williamson grew up in and have lived much of their lives in the North-East, Benney was a southerner who during 1944-45 worked in the Ministry of Fuel and Power based on Newcastle, but spent most of his time in the Durham coalfield. All have their stylistic variants. Benney’s narrative is a thinly-veiled fictionalised account of his own experiences, written in the third person. Chaplin’s paper is based on a talk he gave to the Durham Sociology Department staff-graduate seminar. Williamson’s chapter was originally a talk on BBC Radio Three.