Industry: water, steel & energy

Holliday, Fred (6 of 14) National Life Story Collection: An Oral History of the Water Industry

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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 6: Comments on Northumbrian Water transition from public to private ownership; need to satisfy economic regulator Ofwat. Mentions roles of customer council, Environment Agency, shareholders and investors. Comments on share price fluctuations. Comments on Ian Byatt [IB], Head of Ofwat, previously Lecturer in Economics at Durham University, and his wife, A S Byatt. Compares Northumbrian Water and South West Water challenges. Remarks on Northumbrian Water staff. Story about writing to The Times about plumbers. Remarks on entering the Water Industry, father’s opinion. Mentions reliance of everyone in the North East on Northumbrian Water, describes new policies implemented. [08:50] Description of teaching at local schools; stories about responding to pupil’s comments. Story about keeping bees, sharing honey with pupils. Description of initiatives to support local community. [16:00] Description of board members, meetings in Newcastle, presentations to analysts. Mentions interactions with staff. Comments on sewage treatment works at Teesside. Comments on water supply to Essex, Suffolk, North London. Description of headquarters at Newcastle, and subsequent headquarters at Durham. Description of call centre activities. Comments on water sampling for purity and presence of microbes; public health responsibility. [25:14] Description of role as board member; specialist knowledge of various Directors. Description of role as Chairman: being approached in public, visiting different sections of the company, writing articles in company newspaper about company and FH’s personal life. Mentions newspaper winning award based on FH’s articles. Mentions company connection to charity Mencap through sponsorship of safety campaign. [34:45] Description of aim to give ‘human face’ to company and promote community ventures; be recognisable in the community. Description of aim to be approachable to staff and have committed staff. Story about response to floods in Hexham, mentions how local community knew John Mowbray. Remarks on need for good relationship with customers. Description of Hexham incident due to flooding of River Tyne, implementation of temporary water supply. Description of emergency response. Description of interaction with public while handing out water bottles. Mentions initiatives to thank Hexham community after the flooding. [47:02] Description of Northumbrian Water company structure prior to French takeover. Comments on need to answer to shareholders following takeover. Comments on continued ethos of public service at Northumbrian Water; comparison to Shell.

  • Description

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

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