Hufton, Neil (2 of 5). Food: From Source to Salespoint

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  • Subjects

    Manufacturers; Product developers

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  • Recording locations

    Interviewee's home, Northampton

  • Interviewees

    Hufton, Neil, 1947- (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Michael, Cos (speaker, female)

  • Abstract

    Part 2: NH describes scouting career; became Queens Scout. Mentions various trips; describes learning skills, gaining independence. Mentions learning to cook; gaining leadership qualities. [4:22] Describes becoming Queen’s Scout; reasons for leaving Scouts. [7:44] Describes subsequent memberships; school parent teacher association committee, school governor, etc. [8:45] Describes maintaining sporting activities until late 30s; still keen spectator. Describes enjoyment of cooking and eating; mentions favourite restaurant, Mr Underhill’s at Ludlow. NH describes cooking signature meal; mentions collecting Jamie Oliver [JO] recipe books; outlines JO’s reputation. [13:32] NH outlines 40 year involvement in food; stresses importance of quality and safety improvements. Outlines increased efforts in controlling quality; ease of creating public panic over food safety. [16:45] NH lists A levels at TGS; limited choices. Outlines importance of choice over subsequent career. [19:00] Describes careers advice at TGS. NH ambitious to become civil engineer; outlines reasons. Describes being advised to apply to Oxbridge, having gained excellent A level grades. Describes decision to return to TGS to take Cambridge entrance exams; necessity of gaining Spanish O level. Cambridge offer dependent on exam result; no interview. [24:12] Describes Mechanical Sciences BA; facets of curriculum. Describes enjoyment of final school year. [25:00] Describes applying for scholarships. NH offered ¹500 per year from British Rail [BR], conditional on working one year for BR prior to university. Describes BR interview at Marylebone, London. [28:25] Work included 6 months in Euston, in bridge design office, then 6 months track laying in Midlands. Describes grim hostel accommodation in London. Describes hostel facilities; rules. [33:00] NH describes meeting Stephanie Frances Jarrett [SH] at Christmas party 1966. Outlines large social group; NH aged 19. Anecdote about asking for date. Mentions seeing SH at weekends; NH relatively wealthy. Describes SH’s looks. NH describes his appearance; nicknamed Val Doonican [VD] at university. Mentions SH’s interest in The Rolling Stones and The Beatles. [40:10] Describes BR design office; mentions designing subway and footbridge. Anecdote about lunchtime interest group. Describes Euston office building and layout. Outlines working hours; formal dress code. Describes designers at 60 drawing boards. [44:35] Describes bridge design team working on minor projects. Outlines lonely existence in office and hostel; no social interaction. Describes drawing bridges, calculating specifications; NH competent, but bored. [48:00] Describes enjoyment working with Tyseley track laying gang; describes daily patrols of tracks near Birmingham. Describes enjoyment of walking track with Italian supervisor; mentions long lunches in Italian restaurants. Outlines works schedule; major work carried out at weekends. [50:56] Describes train accident at Tyseley; details massive scale of damage. [53:15] Describes supervisor liaising between emergency services. Describes assessing damage; intensive 48 hours. [55:30] NH describes protective work clothes. Mentions using detonators; outlines track safety procedures. [57:10] Outlines living with parents, dating SH; good social life in Solihull. Describes friendly treatment within gang. [58:50] Describes decision to leave BR in 3rd year at Cambridge; NH wanted career in Production. Outlines obligation to return to BR. Story about hostile meeting with Mr Rose, from Human Resources. Mentions cancellation of BR grant. Describes financial dependence on parents to complete university. [1:02:44] Describes student accommodation at St John’s College [SJC]; describes rooms at New Court. Second and third year rooms shared with Rik Mawes [RM] Describes views from windows. Outlines sets sharing system; explains staircases. Describes personalising furnished rooms; outlines services of bedder. [1:08:05] Outlines eating in hall; mentions fees. Describes rules; punishment for having women in rooms after 10pm. Explains how one could be sent down. Describes porter system; maintaining rules. Mentions short terms. Describes relationships between students and bedders. [1:12:15] Anecdote about Bob, Head Porter, and rugby club; relationship between students and porters. [1:13:49] Describes teaching structure; all in Engineering Department. Describes heavy lecture and teaching schedule; describes difficulty of keeping up. [1:15:16] Describes duties of Tutor, Director of Studies and Supervisor. Describes supervision group meetings; fear of admitting ignorance. Anecdote about incomprehensible lectures; intellectually rigorous course. [1:18:00] Describes Supervisor, Mr Pascoe [MP]; limits of MP’s interest. Describes learning from books; outlines mutual support with RM. [1:20:21] Describes effort to get Upper Second degree. Describes disenchantment with engineering; loss of interest. Outlines practical experiments; never worked. Mentions methods of achieving results. [1:22:55] Describes lecture halls; three formats. Describes copying from blackboards; little interaction with lecturers. [1:25:08] Outlines faculty system; describes two year groups, moving together. Outlines academic structure. Colleges totally residential; all academics had rooms in colleges. Mentions astrophysicist, Professor Fred Hoyle [PFH] at SJC; outlines meeting academics at college social events. [1:30:16] Describes tutor, lawyer, John Hall [JH]; archetypal academic. Mentions suicide of JH; possible reasons. Outlines discussing interest in politics of college with JH. NH describes being on Junior Common Room [JCR] committee; outlines committee issues. Describes JCR rooms and activities; popularity of The Magic Roundabout television programme. SJC male only; outlines imbalance of women to men. NH still seeing SH. [1:36:19] Describes dangers of SH staying in NH’s room. [1:37:28] Describes Duke Humphries Dining Club [DHD]; outlines meetings. Explains background to DHD name. [1:39:40] Describes RM; now Director of the Save The Children Fund [SCF]. [1:41:18] NH mentions availability of drugs; never interested. Regret not experiencing drugs. Describes drinking habits; mentions getting drunk twice a year. [1:43:09] NH doesn’t recall Director of Studies. Describes discussing changing course with JH; reasons for continuing with engineering. Importance of establishing career. Mentions supportive parents. [1:45:56] Describes holiday work experience with JLA; course requirement. Describes 7 weeks, as camp counsellor at Camp Swago [CS]; Jewish holiday camp in USA. Describes 5 week tour of USA by Greyhound bus; lists itinerary. NH describes SC tasks; outlines meeting fellow travellers. Mentions beautiful countryside, enjoying cities. Mentions differences between coast and middle America. Describes segregation; little contact with black people. [1:52:36] Describes relationship between Cambridge residents and students. Outlines DHC outings; describes subsequent careers of members. Mentions Aubrey Adams [AAd]. [1:54:42] Describes decision to apply for graduate training schemes; lists premium companies. Describes interest in Production Management in consumer goods environment. [1:59:40] Describes the Milk Round structure; meeting potential employers. [1:01:43] NH outlines describes detailed application forms. Describes having required qualities for employers; attended three final interviews, Unilever, Procter & Gamble [P&G] and Clarks Shoes. Describes choosing between Unilever and P&G offers; reasons for preference. Outlines Unilever product range. [2:06:50] Details Unilever selection board; tests, group exercises and individual interviews. Describes Unilever House at Blackfriars. Outlines limited knowledge of Company; advantages of Unilever career to NH. Mentions brands; Stork Margarine, Persil, Walls sausages, Walls ice cream, Gibbs toothpaste. NH interested in lifelong career. Describes paternalistic big companies; compares Unilever and P&G histories. Outlines interview preparation. Describes competitive interview group; mentions buying interview suit. [2:15:20] Recalls interview priorities. Recalls subsequent feedback; mentions feeling clever. Mentions attitude to interviews [2:17:51] Describes P&G interview; more challenging to NH. [2:19:10] Describes Unilever feedback from psychologist. NH outlines questions asked to interviewers. Outlines potential work locations. Describes Unilever offer; technical entrant into two year graduate recruitment scheme. NH placed at Van Den Bergh [VDB] Stork Margarine factory at Bromborough, on the Wirral. Mentions speed of offer; describes telling friends. Outlines pleasure of parents; good prospects and salary. [2:23:12] Mentions recent engagement to SH; describes excellent relationships with SH’s parents. Anecdote about asking consent for marriage. [2:25:30] NH describes his parent’s negative reaction to engagement; social and size issues. SH at Sheffield teacher training college; NH outlines SH wasting secondary education. [2:28:11] NH describes marriage plans; mentions initial house share in Neston. NH and SH had no money; difficulty finding marriage home. Describes rented flat, in house conversion owned by Mrs Holbeeck [MH]; describes very basic facilities. Describes MH collecting rent. Outlines house location; describes grim house interior. Hot water once weekly; 2 single beds. Describes saving hard; few treats. Anecdote about miserable night out in Birkenhead. [2:34:10] Describes Stork factory location, office building, production area, chemical plants. Describes chemical plant; processing vegetable oils. [2:36:45] Mentions first day. Lists output; Stork, BlueBand, Spry, White Cap and Echo margarines. Early days of tub margarines; most still solid blocks in packets. [2:38:07] Describes hierarchical VDB structure; segregation by rank. Describes Works Director’s office. describes Director, Don Clark [DC]. Outlines hierarchy of coats and hats. Outlines Senior Management’s [SM] long lunches. Describes status of trainees; potential SM. Describes DC as King of factory; factories run as fiefdoms. Visitors permitted by request; mentions DC’s successor, Tom Parry [TP] refusing visit from Technical Director. [2:44:48] Describes meeting DC; brief summary of site and history. Mentions DC’s rare visits to factory floor; DC’s accountability for production. Importance of DC having the right 12 SMs. [2:47:10] NH describes first placement, in Factory Organisation Department [FOD]; advantage of working in FOD. Anecdote about meeting boss, Dr David Robinson [DR]; 5 people in department. Describes relationship with DR; lessons learned in 12 months. [2:50:52] NH describes office layout; administrative support. NH shared office with Alistair Stewart [AS]. Mentions factory tannoy system; telephones. [2:54:20] Describes tour of factory; 2 production halls, for retail and industrial margarines. 18 production lines. FOD’s task to amalgamate halls and introduce palletisation system.

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