John F. Burton
Head of the BBC Sound Library for more than 20 years, John Burton first became interested in wildlife at the age of nine, his curiosity fuelled by the BBC radio programmes Nature Parliament and The Naturalist. In 1946, John joined the London Natural History Society where he regularly attended talks by prominent naturalists of the time, such as James Fisher, Richard Fitter and Ernest Neale. Also a member of the Junior Bird Recorders Club, John Burton was invited to take part in a live broadcast from the BBC's Alexandra Palace in 1949 as part of Children's Hour with James Fisher.
1953 saw John join the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) as their first Assistant Secretary to the then Secretary, Bruce Campbell. John later left the BTO to read for a degree in zoology at Oxford University. Throughout this period John was a regular contributor to both The Naturalist and Naturalist's Notebook.
John Burton joined the BBC as Assistant Sound and Film Librarian in May 1960 and was quickly promoted to the head of the library in 1962. The early 1970s saw the development of sound recording and the uptake of stereo and John and his team embraced this new technology, developing new techniques to perfect the use of stereo equipment for wildlife recording.
During his time as Sound and Film Librarian, John also produced Sounds Natural, for which he interviewed personalities ranging from Bing Crosby to Spike Milligan, Eric Morecambe to Miss World, about their interest in wildlife. John Burton retired from the BBC in 1988.