Industry: water, steel & energy

Holliday, Fred (13 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 13: Comments on 1984 work as Chairman of the independent review of disposal of radioactive waste at sea. Description of procedures used for dumping low and intermediate level nuclear waste in the Atlantic south and west of Cornwall. Mentions Greenpeace response. Mentions other committee members, including Peter Taylor [PT] from Political Economy Research Group, Friends of the Earth. Secretaries from the Natural Environment Research Council. [03:19] Mentions Michael Heseltine, Secretary of State for Defence. Description of committee findings, recommendations to government. Mentions colleagues PT, William Waldegrave. Comments on time commitment; meetings in London; visits to Dreg and Sellafield. [08:03] Comments on detailed study of coal conducted in 1978-1981. Remarks on usefulness of this experience to Chairman role at Northumbrian Water. Comments on Suez sale of Northumbrian Water, joining AIM market. Comments on feeling comfortable in role, relates previous experiences. Comments on separate Finance Director and auditor roles. [17:30] Comments on balance sheet at time of launch. Mentions Finance Director’s idea to sell steady income from Environment Agency. [19:56] Comments on appointment of FH's successor as Chairman. Description of gifts received upon retirement; mentions research fellowship given to Durham University at Teesside. [23:10] Reflections on career: comments on significance of time at Northumbrian Water, description of work, comparison to Vice-Chancellor role and colleagues at Durham University. Reflects on retirement and effects of age. Mentions keeping up to date with scientific journals, reading the Financial Times and Le Monde. Mentions desire to study medicine and the brain; mentions grandson. [31:27] Comments on potential for international takeover of Northumbrian Water: mentions Cadbury takeover, comments on Canadian stake in Northumbrian Water. Comments on need for government to keep a golden share of utilities. Mentions Scottish Water. [38:18] Reflects on plan to leave final Directorship. Comments on teaching quantum cosmology; importance of teaching to FH. Description of retirement plans and being a 'modest guru'. Description of having a stroke and lecturing before visiting doctors. Comments on medical report. Comments on possibility of future strokes. [45:35] Comments on reflecting on upbringing with children and grandchildren. Mentions being on the Polytechnics and Colleges Funding Council. [49:25] Comments on meeting Margaret Thatcher and relying on instincts. Story about having dinner with Thatcher and others, including PH; briefing Thatcher on North East England for 2 hours after dinner. Mentions TC in relation to Thatcher. Comments on relationship with Heseltine. Comments on parents and wishes to involve parents more in visit to Buckingham Palace. [54:40] Comments on thoughts about writing an autobiography. Mentions growing interest in family history. Description of messages FH would like to convey in autobiography. [00:57:19 – 00:57:45 SECTION CLOSED UNTIL 01-01-2072] Reflections on interview process; recalls school days and enjoyment when teaching.

  • Description

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

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