Class movement

Ann Lanchbury was born in Coventry in 1940, one of five children. Her father worked on aircraft manufacturing at Hawker Siddley and Jaguar during the war before being employed by Jaguar cars in the postwar period. Her mother took part time work in local shops after the war. During this time Ann was one of a few girls in her local area to pass the eleven plus and went to Priory High, the girls’ grammar school. In the following extract Ann discusses the possibility of class mobility:

length of audio clip: 1 min 36 secs.

Hilary: Do you think it was possible to move from one class to another from working class…?

Ann: What you mean like becoming a socialist and then a conservative?

Hilary: Or moving from working class to the middle class?

Ann: Well this phrase working class always annoys me slightly, because I can’t see where the line comes and I can’t see how you can divine, divide, divine, devise any system that what make someone working class? Again to me it can only be financial and as a consequence disadvantages, that’s how I can only work it out because working class, my God, um, you know? People worked so desperately hard who, who earn lots of money, they work like stink and it’s rather arrogant of anyone to suggest that they’re not working class. So it’s got to be the only thing that divides everyone is money, it’s got to be in my books, I can’t see it any other way. Because if you’ve got money, lots of money, it perpetuates really because you’ll have been educated enough to earn the money and so it follows and it basically all comes back down to education and the ability to be educated and that depends upon finances again as far as I’m concerned.

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