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This interview is taken from PN Review 84, Volume 18 Number 4, March - April 1992.

Brian Cox in Conversation Nicolas Tredell


Nicolas Tredell: Could I start by asking about your cultural and educational background prior to university?

Brian Cox: Reading mattered from the very earliest days. We had very few books in the house - my father bought H.G. Well's Outline of History in monthly instalments, and that and an encyclopaedia was all we had, so the Grimsby public library was important. I was very fortunate in that I went to a working class housing estate elementary school that was known to be about the best academically in Grimsby - and this was the 1930s, when such schools could be very good indeed. I then got a scholarship in 1939 to a co-educational school in Grimsby, so I was there during the war. I'm rather proud of the fact that it wasn't even called a grammar school because it didn't become one until the 1944 Act. I think the co-educational side of the school was very important in my development. The atmosphere in the school was excellent, but academically it was not a very good school and I learnt a lot about the difficulties, I think, of that kind of school. The grades that I got in what is now called 'A' Level are lower than those required for entrance to my English department, and I was very lucky really because in my second year in the sixth form I applied for London University and was rejected, but in those ...

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