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Discrete CollectionsThe Women's Library
TitlePyke, Dr David
Ref No8SUF/B/167
Box Fetch NoBox 1: Disc 34
Date19 Jul 1977
Extent63:40 mins
DescriptionInterview took place at the Royal College of Physicians, St Andrew's Place, Regent's Park, London.

Interview summary:
0:00 mins:
Family background: his parents, grandmother, aunts and uncles. His mother Margaret Pyke schooled at Conamur, Sandgate, and gained a 2nd class history degree at Oxford. After Oxford joined the WAAC as a recruiter. She met her future husband Geoffrey in 1915 after he escaped from Germany, married him in 1917-1918. Geoffrey raised money to found Malting House School at Cambridge, which she ran and which went bankrupt in 1929.

15:00 mins:
He was born in London in 1921, went to Malting House School at the age of three. The school and his parent's marriage failed. His mother Margaret Pyke became secretary at Hayes Court School. She joined National Birth Control Council, later the Family Planning Association (FPA), in 1930. In Second World War, editor of Land Girl. Sympathetic to feminism but not an extremist. Two stages to birth control movement, first involved Margaret Sanger in America and Marie Stopes in Britain, then the movement needed doctors on its side. Margaret Pyke ideal for that. Successful growth of the FPA. Lady Denman rich, well-connected and respectable; Margaret the organiser.

30:00 mins:
Margaret Pyke was well organised domestically, liberal about education, elegant and sporting, not mannish. In 1933 she contracted pulmonary tuberculosis, subsequently lived with Lady Denman at Balcombe. They were friends and political sympathisers. Margaret had no religion and, at the FPA, pushed against the church. Classless and concerned for the under-privileged.

45:00 mins:
She could defuse tricky situations. Became chairman of the FPA when Lady Denman died in 1954, until her own death. Controversy about birth control for unmarried women. She liked and respected doctors but not in committees. Birth control protagonists had to be tough. Her poor opinion of Marie Stopes. Senior doctors including the King's physician supported birth control early. Iain Macleod the first minister to support FPA. She appeared on the BBC and in The Times.

60:00 mins:
At the end of her life, Margaret Pyke satisfied. Pleased that he became a doctor. He joined the executive committee of the FPA and edited their magazine.
Access StatusOpen
Access ConditionsInterview recordings are available online and can be accessed at the link provided in this record.
Former Reference NumberTape 62
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