Industry: water, steel & energy

Holliday, Fred (4 of 14) National Life Story Collection: An Oral History of the Water Industry

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The British Library Board acknowledges the intellectual property rights of those named as contributors to this recording and the rights of those not identified.
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  • Recording date

    2009-08-13, 2009-08-20, 2009-11-16, 2010-02-09, 2011-02-02

  • Recording locations

    Interviewee's home

  • Interviewees

    Holliday, Fred, 1935-2016 (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Gilmour, Alison (speaker, female)

  • Abstract

    Part 4: [Session two: 20 August 2009] Description of research on herring and plaice at Marine Laboratory, Aberdeen. Description of research at University of Stirling: development of a 'sonic tag' to track trout in the University loch. Comments on impact of the rioting on FH's research. Description of research at University of Aberdeen. Comments on awareness of industry requirements for fish, aims of the White Fish Authority, beginning of fish farming. [10:11] Description of Cod Wars with Iceland. Comments on being in contact with Jakob Jakobsson. Comments on how current fish stocks in Europe could have been improved. Comments on the collapse of the fishing industry. Comments on adaptation of fish species, collapse of herring fishery in North Sea. [18:12] Description of sonic tags developed at Stirling, use of hydrophones. Comments on students working with FH. Description of comparable research conducted elsewhere. Comments on how it felt to be an academic and sharing research on fish energy use with others. [25:46] Description of research at University of Aberdeen relating to fish farming industry. Story about injecting own finger by accident while conducting experiments. Comments on ethical issues associated with research. Description of submarine developed to track fish using hydrophones, interest from Ministry of Defence in the project. Comments on article in the ‘New Scientist’ relating to submarine. Comments on ethical issues. [30:52] Comments on need to travel for research and impact on family life. Comments on children meeting interesting people such as Lionel Robbins. Comments on daughter's birth and birth of son during Aberdeen typhoid epidemic. Description of PH and FH's research conducted into water retention in pregnant women. Comments on water retention in fish. Comments on mother's visit to Aberdeen from Birmingham during typhoid epidemic. Description of feelings when daughter was born. [38:01] Comments on invitation to join the Natural Environment Research Council and Nature Conservancy Council (NCC). FH became Chairman of NCC when Sir David Savill retired. Comments on this rewarding role. Comments on nature conservation as a study of environment and genetics. Comments on NCC and other council members such as David Attenborough [DA]. Anecdote about DA and FH having breakfast in a Welsh hotel. Description of DA travelling in a hot air balloon to sample insects and spiders carried through the atmosphere. DA sailed balloon over Ochil Hills [?] and had a forced landing. Story about coincidence of DA's forced landing near FH's father and mother-in-law's house. Further comments about NCC. Comments on DA's views. [44:08] Comments on receiving CBE for services to education in Scotland, following work at University of Stirling. Comments on discussion with John Profumo while waiting to receive CBE. FH also received a knighthood for services to education in England. Description of mixed feelings when receiving CBE; opinion that JR deserved the CBE. Comments on FH and JR persuading Lord Asa Briggs to drop independent inquiry into Stirling. Comments on receiving CBE with PH and children. Comments on family's burden during Stirling disturbances. Mentions father's opinion of FH's university work. Comments on the Queen's remarks during CBE ceremony. Further comments on Stirling disturbances. [52:23] Description of lessons learnt following Stirling disturbances. Comments on concerns for future of University of Stirling and newspaper coverage from 1972-1974. Further comments on relationship with JR. [58:16] Description of invitation to join the board of Shell as a Non-Executive Director as FH began working at Durham University. Chairman of Shell: John [?]. Deputy Chair John Raisman's daughter was studying at Durham University. Mentions that Lord [Francis] Tombs, engineer, and Lord Cledwin [Hughes], politician, were also Non-Executive Directors. Description of duties. Mentions opposition to Shell plans to drill in the New Forest. Comments on failure to influence plans to dispose of Brent Field storage facility in the Atlantic Ocean. Comments on opposition from Greenpeace. Description of compromise made by Shell to recycle Brent Spar and associated pollution. Comments on environmental and social factors. Mentions review conducted later by FH into the dumping of nuclear waste into deep ocean. Reflects on difference between ideological belief and scientific fact. Mentions Greenpeace ship, Rainbow Warrior, which sank in Australia. Mentions coincidence that Rainbow Warrior was the research ship, Sir Alister Hardy [Sir William Hardy], which had sailed at Aberdeen. [1:08:42] Mentions acting the part of Non-Executive Director at initial Shell meetings; description of role. FH on Shell board for 19 years. Description of using Shell fees to assist students at Durham through a fund. Description of balancing roles at Durham and Shell. Mentions Shell donation to Durham University. Comments on lecturing at business school. Mentions Margaret Thatcher's visit to Durham University; Thatcher's visit to Teesside. Mentions Thatcher's acceptance of FH's suggestion to build a new Durham campus on Teesside. [1:18:47] Comments on joining Shell board. Story about sailing from Lerwick with a herring drifter. Comparison between Shell work and fishing industry. Remarks on importance of exploring natural resources through surveys. FH joined Oil Developing Council for Scotland and Scottish Economic Council; chaired by Michael Willie Ross, Secretary of State for Scotland, then Bruce Millan. Mentions Jack Cunningham, Oil Minister in United Kingdom government. Comments on the 'old boy network'. Mentions appointment to Chairman of the Northern Board of Lloyds Bank because Shell banked with Lloyds. Mentions appointment to British Rail board due to connection with Chairman Bob Reid. Remarks on how Shell board conducted itself at that time. [1:26:29] Remarks on Margaret Thatcher's election. Witnessing violence at collieries around Durham. Relates Secretary of State for Education, Keith Joseph's comments about squeezing the university. Description of Thatcher's visit to Durham, lunch with industry leaders. Story about Thatcher's response to complaint raised at lunch about government support. Mentions development of Teesside campus. Description of dinner invitation to number 10 [Downing Street], Thatcher's support for Durham University, and impromptu presentation made by FH at Thatcher's request. Remarks on miners' strike. Mentions HH's work as a vet at the time. Comments on collapse of communities in North East England, collapse of mining industry. Mentions going down pit at Sacriston. Mentions mixed feelings towards Arthur Scargill. [1:38:17] Comments on meeting Margaret Thatcher. Comments on New Labour and John Major. References Dylan Thomas poem, 'sweet as a razor blade' in relation to Thatcher. Remarks on impact of governance from London in North East England. Mentions commission on Scottish governance chaired by Kenneth Calman. Remarks on governance in England and impact on United Kingdom.

  • Description

    Life Story Interview with Fred Holliday, former chairman of Northumbrian Water Group

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