Industry: water, steel & energy

Camsey, Granville (3 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 3: Description of steel shod clogs made and worn in village of Lower Darwin in GC youth: differences in style for male and female clogs; sparking clogs by scuffing them; value of clogs as footwear in mills; anecdote about use of butter to fit new clogs; clog dancing. [04:00] Remarks on close community of village life: anecdote about Big Harry and village policeman maintaining discipline; richer Pomfrot family; GC not having holidays; town council providing entertainment in parks in wakes week; GC memories of not having money for Blackburn fair; listening to Dick Barton and Tommy Handley on wireless; attending secondary school in Blackburn; visit to Blackpool for athletics meeting in teenage years; anecdote about GC's mother's alarm that he would be sent to Manchester for training. [10:20] Remarks on apprenticeship: amazing opportunity for GC; CEGB valuing its work force and their training; influence of Walter Citrine on CEGB valuing of staff progression; GC being sent to Whitebirk Power Station in Blackburn after Trafford power station; Whitebirk Power Station machinery; GC amazement at skill of fitters Jack Dawson, Harry Warmby, Norman Macleod; anecdote about Jack Dawson's surprise at GC skill at Lathe thanks to training school education. [14:10] Remarks on technical education: GC late developer, benefits of CEGB discipline; GC attending night-school at Blackburn; education and training officer John Vaughn Harris; weekly wage; GC scoring distinction in Ordinary National Certificate [ONC]; GC resitting English exams; scholarship for Higher National Diploma [HND] at Salford Technical College; generous support by CEGB for HND. [18:59] Remarks on HND placements: placement at Efficiency and Test department in Didsbury; Dan Drake's skill with mental calculations; anecdote about GC surprise at staying at hotel on a visit to Ince Power Station; placement at Roseneath grid control centre. [20:22] Remarks on: GC attending course on local consultation and negotiation at training centre at Buxton; comparison of value of CEGB negotiating machinery to GC in early career with its later problems; anecdote about walking to Buxton in the snow after the bus broke down; anecdote about GC surprise at prostitutes around Mosside YMCA; anecdote about YMCA warden's wife Mrs Torrington setting up dancing lessons with local nurses school; GC early views on career in ESI; anecdote about GC going dancing with friend Joe Adams, and meeting future wife; anecdote about mother deploying daughters to investigate future wife; GC marriage aged 21; GC realising that he needed a university education to progress in CEGB, and working harder academically to win a distinction at HND. [27:05] Story about GC giving vote of thanks to Christopher Hinton at an award ceremony in Manchester after the completion of HND. [28:25] Remarks on: early married home supplied by mill owner Jack Ward; CEGB sending GC to student placement at manufacturer Richardsons Westgarth in Hartlepool; anecdote about GC objecting to accommodation in Hartlepool and booking himself into a hotel instead. [30:55] Story about GC going to placement at Brown, Boveri & Cie in Switzerland after discovering that Richardsons Westgarth used their designs. [32:08] Remarks about CEGB support for GC education: GC attending Birmingham University to study diploma in thermodynamics with Professor Bannister; CEGB finding a job for GC wife in project offices in Bournville to support them; anecdote about Regional Director Robert Peddie reaction to GC desire to study nuclear physics; GC studying masters degree in nuclear physics, a point of distinction later; Professor Bannister arranging support for GC through Clayton fellowship. [36:30] Comments on apprenticeship: medieval nature of indentured apprenticeship conditions; outline of apprenticeship, on job training, eduction and placement arrangements; anecdote about placement on a collier; craft apprenticeship training school at Bradford Power Station under Dougie Simpson and Dougie Stewart; education at Newton Heath technical college; green apprentice overalls; introductory lecture on behaviour and safety; [44:26] anecdote about GC horror at apprentices shoplifting on a visit to Buck & Hickman's tool store in Manchester; anecdote about safety lecture from Olympic weightlifter; anecdote about voyage on collier in rough seas. [46:44] Stories about visit to Lake District outward bound course: scooter crash with friend Jack Vippam on journey to camp; competition with group of German campers, including early morning swim across Windermere; anecdote about German friend posting him Lederhosen. [50:55] Remarks on apprenticeship: lack of link between practical and academic eduction at night school in apprenticeship; GC pride in being an engineer; anecdote about GC recent visit to Dresden Volkswagen factory; GC reflection on nature of CEGB education; night school teaching on Coriolis effect; value of metrology master Mr Miller's metrology workshop providing standards to Trafford park industry; anecdote about high precision of a pair of metal cubes. [57:20] Description of learning to file and make bearings at Blackburn power station; anecdote about GC personal intervention in scraping bearings when manager at Rugeley Power Station; anecdote about GC learning value of care needed to take apart and reassemble power station instruments from Dougie Appleton; GC learning welding from welder-fitter Norman Macleod at Whitebirk power station; [1:03:50 pause]. Comments on Whitebirk Power Station: staff numbers; anecdote about Freddy Forest's coal shovelling expertise; GC cycling to work from Lower Darwin; clocking in arrangements; attending night school by bus; upgrade to white overalls when GC became a student apprentice; anecdote about GC riding car to work with power station superintendent Harry Parker, deputy superintendent Harry Mitchum, mechanical engineer Baker, and operations engineer; [1:07:40] anecdote about Trafford park power station asking Harry Parker to send GC back to play in football final; overtime arrangements during summer maintenance programme; anecdote about trying to leave work promptly to meet girlfriend; [1:11:50] description of Whitebirk power station; description of working of cooling towers; anecdote about GC early job cleaning cooling tower sprays; difficulties with bargies who supplied coal; GC repairing cranes used to transport ash; terrazzo panels in operating floor laid by Italian craftsmen; [1:15:50] description of overnight condenser cleaning job, with generous overtime arrangements and opportunity for informal sleep; description of removing hand hold caps on boilers for boiler tube inspection, anecdote about Jack Dawson telling GC off for working too hard; informal easy working arrangements on power stations, later destroyed by pay and productivity schemes. [1:19:40] Description of moving grate under boilers used to supply coal and louvre arrangements to move ash away. Description of difficult process to clean louvres under boilers, anecdote about informal snoozing arrangements on the job. [1:23:07] Remarks on: abnormal conditions money [ACM] paid for unpleasant jobs, disagreements between union shop steward and management over ACM; anecdote about GC attempt to reform ACM conditions when he became a station manager; anecdote about breaking windows to escape carbon monoxide poisoning in boiler houses; little attention to health and safety early in GC career; CEGB institutionalising arrangements for lifting heavy equipment; anecdote about inspection and arrangements for issuing lifting equipment; [1:28:40] dirty nature of work as mechanical engineer in power station, compared to clean work of instrument engineers, shift engineers, and turbine operators; cleanliness of nuclear power stations later in GC career. [1:31:15] Remarks on typical shift during apprenticeship: power station maintenance arrangements; log books; arrangements for handing over shift; staff involved in running a power station; increased centralisation of control; Whitebirk power station central control arrangements, contrasted to previous local control; quiet, routine nature of shift work; busyness when things went wrong; experienced engineers' intuitive ability to diagnose problems, which GC lacked due to regular change of job; [1:36:20] anecdote about GC first synchronising turbine to Grid; description of floating boiler safety valves with Harry Warmby; intuitive knowledge of senior engineers in making technical decisions; operator controlling boiler pressure; description of recommissioning boilers and floating safety valves after maintenance. [1:42:04] Remarks about GC excitement at apprenticeship: enjoyment in engineering; GC enjoyment at making and mending things in retirement, except electronics; increased academic ability, but preferring practical engineering tasks. [1:45:05] Remarks on GC colleagues during apprenticeship: Lancaster power station apprentice Jack Winmarsh from a grammar school; rough types from Clarance Dock power station; manager Phil Holbrook's anecdotes about Clarence Dock power station; Padiham Power station apprentices; all apprentices white and English, in contrast to Lancashire mill work force; one other apprenticeship gaining scholarship to Salford. [1:48:33] Remarks on power station staff: Jack Dawson's opinion that apprentices may have been over taught; CEGB caring for staff, and only taking willing and helpful people; little far left wing trade unionism; problems with unions during 1970s construction of Fiddlers Ferry Power Station; loss of state industries destroying workplace culture. [1:51:48] Remarks on: power station's sports teams; first aid competitions; power station first aiders; CEGB death record; description of accidents causing deaths at Littlebrook and Aberthaw power station investigated by inquiry chaired by GC in later career; [1:56:45] CEGB inquiry procedures and membership, directed at finding out cause of accidents; hilarity of first aid training during apprenticeship. [1:58:53] Remarks on CEGB wage rates: apprentice wages; overtime; rises in salary; shift worker's payments; power of EPEA [Electrical Power Engineers' Association] under General Secretary John Lyons, winning generous wage increases for professional engineers; [2:03:43] GC not thinking about salary much until he became more senior; GC purchasing house whilst working at Trawsfynydd; GC mother's pride at GC's apprenticeship, career progression and notes in local press.

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