Industry: water, steel & energy

Camsey, Granville (6 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 6: Comments on GC appointment to Heysham Power Station c1974 as deputy station superintendent: station superintendent HGR Jones, formerly superintendent of Trawsfynydd; CEGB personnel department skill at selecting future managers; enjoyments of returning to Lancashire; state of Heysham construction when GC arrived; admin officer Ray Harwood; GC learning about personnel selection through appointment of staff, elegant but bureaucratic nature of CEGB system, long term influence of Lord [Walter] Citrine on worker participation in CEGB management; [06:10] setting up of minutiae, such as post and banking arrangements, to run Heysham; anecdote about Irish construction labourers; setting up of administration arrangements at Heysham; tension between CGEB Design and Construction Division and plant operators; delays and budgetary issues in construction of power stations. [11:00] Comments on restructuring of power station management: historical origins of superintendent titles; replacement of superintendents with managers; discussions with EPEA; changes in shift organisation giving deputy managers responsibility for shift managers; relationship between engineering manager and deputy manager; comparisons with previous arrangements, which left deputy managers with little line responsibility. [16:55] Further remarks on Heysham: GC promoted away from Heysham before it was completed. [RESTRCITION 17:30-26:00] convenience of GC children being at Cheltenham Colleges. [26:45] Comments on CEGB and union advisory machinery: GC role in local negotiations; wider influence of 'Ferrybridge Five' and others at Ferrybridge power station attempting to develop alternative arrangements; reputation of Fiddlers Ferry as a difficult to manage power station, reputedly due to recruitment from Liverpool docks area; difficulties at Heysham; tightly controlled nature of work in nuclear power stations resulting in few issues, compared to GC later experience running a coal power station; [32:45] GC socialist inclination; Ferrybridge Five mistaken in their intents, a comparisons with Arthur Scargill; Lord Citrine's labour relation machinery excellence eventually inhibiting management action; limited powers of local managers to negotiate working arrangements at power stations. [39:10] Remarks on management training at Manchester Business School [MBS]: variety of people on course; wide spectrum of education; GC attending MBS twice, for a month's operating course whilst at Heysham and later for a 3 month executive development course; alternative of Henley management college and London Business School. [42:30] Story about International Atomic Energy Authority [AEA] 6 week workshop in Vienna, Austria, to determine international standards for reactor operation: difficulties in exercise; team made from a mix of nationalities, leading to cultural differences; learning experience for GC; anecdote about eating Sachertorte; anecdote about differences between GC and Indian delegate. [50:50] Comments on life outside work living in the Lune Valley: anecdote about increasing house prices in 1970s; difficulty finding a house, eventual home in village of Farleton; community atmosphere in Farleton; anecdote about daughter Elizabeth's schooling, excellence of Mrs Battey and Miss Dell; [55:50] farmer Towers' well established cattle herd; Towers' influence on GC son Jonathan enjoying country life; decision to send son to Cheltenham College boarding school; good relationship with school secretary Mrs Battey and her family after husband's death, Mrs Battey's sons all being successful in life; anecdote about Mrs Battey touring Lake District by bus in retirement; [1:00:25] Lancaster University professors in community; anecdote about 'Leaky Jim' the plumber; need to interest local community in Heysham power station; relations with medical group at Lancaster Royal Infirmary in case of nuclear accidents; more formal, established relations between power stations and local community at other power stations; pleasure of social involvement with community; need to build up relations between new power stations and local areas. [1:04:20] Story about Bob Peddie arranging for GC to visit Atomic Energy Research Establishment at Harwell to obtain fibre optics for reactor diagnostics; anecdote about extensive security clearance process, such as knowledge of Birmingham university course mates; description of coursemates, Hungarian Tom Kommely, French-Canadian Jean-Marie Anton Cote, Scottish Ian Macilray, Greek Stavros Olympious; anecdote about concerns over IRA involvement in Irish workforce; use of fibre optics in reactor diagnostics. [1:09:40] Remarks on life outside work in 1970s: work well paid, pressure from school fees; camping holidays in South of France, beginning a lifetimes caravanning; standard holiday arrangements altered to allow GC three weeks in the sun a year due to his medical condition; anecdote about debates with doctor in community over running of NHS; long lasting friends from community; regular church attendance declining; demanding nature of work; walking in Lake District; anecdotes about pets, mother buying son a goat, Muscovy duck; neighbouring woodwork teacher Noel Buller; [1:15:45] sports activities, such as five-a-side football with work; constant nature of work making hobbies impossible; wife's visits to son at boarding prep school near Oldbury; gardening; heavy expense of school fees; wife working weekends at boarding school in Kirkby Lonsdale, leaving GC to care for children; anecdotes about GC childcare; wife job as secretary in local small printing press; [1:19:50] GC father-in-law doubts over GC moves around country with work; GC mother wintering with them at Heysham;. [1:21:30] Remarks on power station social life: normal sports and social facilities at power stations not yet established at Heysham; annual dinner dance; squash and five-a-side football; CEGB encouraging socialising; sports facilities at nearby ICI including a golf course; growth of Heysham site in later years. [1:24:15] Remarks on careers in CEGB: need to move every job every 3 years to progress; need to be a station manager by 35; best jobs as Chairman of CEGB or as power station manager due to freedom of role; GC applying for jobs, becoming manager at Rugeley Power Station. [1:26:15] Remarks on nuclear power stations: close relationship between Hartlepool and Heysham power stations, dissimilar nature of most other power stations; group managers Hugh Matthews and Ray Garnet, who previously ran Sizewell power station; importance of Hugh Matthews to GC career development; high quality of Midlands Region on CEGB, producing figures like Arthur Hawkins and Jim Porteus; GC appointment as Manager of Rugeley Power Station, against his original hope to run Ratcliffe Power Station, the best in the CEGB. [1:30:20] Remarks on CEGB practice of awarding trophies to power stations to raise standards, first aid, football, and housekeeping competitions; anecdote about GC playing football as an apprentice.

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