Industry: water, steel & energy

Holliday, Fred (7 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 7: Description of daily duties as Chairman, Northumbrian Water: mentions role of secretary, Susan; discussions with Chief Executive and Finance Director; work for charity Water Aid; visits. Comments on staff reaction to privatisation of company. Comments on staff confidence in company at Northumbrian Water in comparison to at British Rail. [10:14] Description of dumping sewage sludge using sewage ships MV Northumbrian Water and MV Bran Sands. Remarks on this process: locks up carbon, adds to food chain, not socially acceptable, made illegal. Description of sewage treatment works at Teesside; remarks on shifting of burden from the sea to the land. Remarks on philosophy of waste disposal and surfers and bathers’ responses. [18:55] Comments on family living arrangements when FH worked for Northumbrian Water. Description of PH’s work partnering FH at Durham University; PH’s popularity. Description of programme to release red kites into North East England with English Nature and RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds); PH’s role. Description of inviting colleagues to Royal Shakespeare Company productions and hosting dinners with cast. Further comments on PH’s role. [25:32] Story about Prince Philip’s visit to sewage ship at Teesside. Comments on Prince Philip’s wartime work navigating ships between River Tyne and River Forth. Remarks on Prince Philip’s enthusiasm. Comments on Prince Philip’s personality, comparison to Princess Anne. Comments on Princess Anne’s visit to open Weir Valley water treatment works; mentions Edward Hammer of the Scots. Story about Princess Anne’s visit. [30:02] Description of change in role as Chairman of Northumbrian Water following French takeover; comments on sale negotiations. Comments on flying to Paris in private jet. Examples of bids made by Lyonnaise des Eaux: water supply for Sydney Olympics, sewage treatment works in Australia, water treatment works in South Africa, water supply in Soweto. Mentions support from French Embassy staff. [38:55] Comments on resistance to French takeover of Northumbrian Water; staying in role to support staff. Mentions Executive duties assigned despite being a Non-Executive Chairman. Comments on use of share options as pension fund. [42:05] Description of first visit to Paris after takeover. Mentions Etienne Davignon (Director) addressing FH in French. Remarks on French industry and French government working together. Description of French board meetings, lack of debate; comparison to meetings in the United Kingdom. Comments on input from French board members at United Kingdom board meetings. [49:20] Description of relationship between industry and government in France in comparison to United Kingdom. Comments on learning about the Suez takeover at the board of Lyonnaise des Eaux. Mentions that Gaz de France has since merged with Suez. Comments on utilities market in France. Remarks on Suez takeover at the time. Remarks on French focus on nuclear power and water in comparison to United Kingdom focus on oil and gas. Comments on environmental policies at Northumbrian Water; FH shared Shell environmental policies with French colleagues. Remarks on French attitudes to environmental policies. Description of environmental impact surveys. Remarks on sale of land in the United Kingdom by the French.

  • Description

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

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