Industry: water, steel & energy

Camsey, Granville (2 of 16). An Oral History of the Electricity Supply in the UK

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  • Recording date

    2013-04-18, 2013-05-02, 2013-09-26, 2013-10-22, 2013-12-10, 2014-01-14, 2014-01-28, 2014-03-17, 2014-04-15

  • Recording locations

    Interviewee's home, Buckinghamshire

  • Interviewees

    Camsey, Granville, 1936- (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Lean, Thomas (speaker, male)

  • Abstract

    Part 2: Comments on GC mother: weaver from Darwin, interest in Salvation Army after listening to band; surprised people by joining Salvation Army in distant London; Salvation Army background history; Salvation Army signing hymns in pubs to save souls and fund raise; [05:19] memory of grandmother selling home made pies to weavers; mother's financial troubles with hire purchase; mother wanting Granville to have a brighter future than working in mill. [06:43] Remarks on sisters: marriage to husbands met in Salvation Army; elder sister settling in Lower Darwin, younger in Southend; sister's families and connections with Salvation Army; GC niece and husband senior positions in Salvation Army; anecdote about strictness of upbringing and sisters intervening with mother to allow GC to go to a church dance. [09:55] Remarks on: family history confusion over whether mother was named May Bradley or May Unsworth; 1930s moral standards and the suicide of pregnant woman in Lower Darwen. [11:25] Comments on Big Harry's steam engine at mill: status of engineers in 1930s; anecdote about GC making a miniature steam engine couple to a dynamo; need to keep engine at constant speed; Harry's precision in oiling moving equipment; Harry's football playing. [15:15] Remarks on: GC late developer, not considering education important until aged 21; CEGB support for GC education; few girlfriends. [16:55] Remarks on parents: mother a powerful figure in GC's life; GC growing up without father at home; father's background in shipyard town of Sunderland Millfield; parents meeting at Salvation Army training; mother staying with GC and sister in years before death at 66; description of mother; mother's support for GC getting a good education and an apprenticeship. [20:28] Comments on apprenticeships: mother disproving of GC possible apprenticeship in Blackburn saw factory; GC failing apprenticeship test for Royal Ordnance Factory; GC British Electricity Authority [BEA] indentured apprenticeship arrangements; GC support for apprenticeships later in life as Freeman of the City of London; anecdote about mother's friend’s recommendation of power station apprenticeship due to supply of free overalls; interview in town hall including trade unionist; Lord Citrine's progressive approach to supporting labour force, later difficulties with process; entering a closed society of well treated employees. [26:25] Remarks on education and childhood: anecdote about being disciplined by school chemistry master Mr Entwhistle; anecdote about returning to Mr Entwhistle years later when GC had a master's degree; GC poor performance at school; practically orientated CEGB plant operator and plant attendant correspondence course; GC attending training school in Manchester as part of apprenticeship. [30:15] Remarks on electrification of childhood home: electricity bills; electric cooker making life easier; Blackburn electricity showroom and district office; mother working as senior office cleaner at CEGB district offices after mill closed; electricity showroom demonstrations of new household appliances. [33:33] Remarks on: 5 and half day week as a student apprentice; transport arrangements for getting to work at power station; GC pride at job in power station. [34:45] Further remarks on electricity at home: replacement of washing dolly tub with small boiler with wringer; anecdote about using the oven to bake a clay pot; contrast sparingly using electricity in childhood, compared to grandchildren and home help's profligate use of it; introduction of electric street lamps; electrification c.1948; anecdote about BEA said to carrying more passengers than the airline BEA. [38:28] Remarks on wartime in village. [39:30 pause] Remarks on hobbies in childhood and interest in making things: limited money; childhood games; GC first craft interest making a name tag in metalwork at school; GC later interest in crafts; teenage interest in model aircraft and miniature FROG engines; interest in painting and drawing; anecdote about repairing his bicycle; GC enjoying practical apprentice training from Dougie Simpson and Dougie Stuart at Bradford; [44:10] GC admiration for practical skills of craftsmen at Trafford Park power station when he was assigned there; anecdote about Trafford Park charge hand and station manager AV Smith praising GC's handiwork on a v-block; attraction to doing practical things with his hands, anecdote about repairing grandfather clock at home; anecdote about not being able to tinker with his electronics reliant Mercedes car; anecdote about GC making a new project every year at holiday home in France, this year a library chair for his daughter; influence of CEGB training on GC's practical skills; [49:18] apprentice training school craft fairs, GC winning a copy of 'Pear's Encyclopedia'; anecdote about GC grand children’s description of him highlighting his practical aptitude; filling retirement with craft hobbies; suspension craft skills are in the genes.

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