Industry: water, steel & energy

Camsey, Granville (8 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 8: Remarks on best wishes given to GC after lung collapse and hospitalisation whilst at Rugeley. [01:15] Remarks on work of contractors: CEGB spending considerable sums on engineering, partly coordinated centrally but with input and decision making by local staff; tight budgeting of older A station, need for large modifications to B station. [02:45] Story about Parsons prototyping electronic governor for turbines at Rugeley: GC later work restructuring Parsons for Siemens; description of function of governors; assistance of regional scientific support services; long term success of equipment; technological innovation at Rugeley. [06:20] Further remarks on contractors: daily feature of life; need to limit time for maintenance shut-downs; disagreements with industrial staff over use of contractors; John Hollinworth's strategy of using contractors for basic work but keeping technical roles in house; anecdote about contractors fixing a flooded sub basement; large number of contractors' staff on site; problems with thefts; anecdote about contractors stealing off each other; large amount of scaffolding required for boiler repair work. [12:15] Remarks on autonomy of power station manager: comparison of regimented life in a nuclear station and autonomy of coal station managers; CEGB regional management structure giving considerable autonomy to Director-Generals; regional support services; autonomy given to successful managers. [14:50] Story about GC reprimand over paying engineering staff extra during industrial staff strike: 48 hour national strike amongst industrial staff; GC determination to run station as normal; use of engineering staff to run station; best 48 period of running; GC cleaning facilities to avoid spurious objections from returning industrial staff; GC giving engineering staff double pay; GC discussion with Ratcliffe manager over CEGB personnel director scheme to shut down power station to appease returning industrial workers; [19:00] anecdote about GC disciplinary meeting over overstepping his responsibilities, ending with unofficial approval of Hugh Matthews; high autonomy of successful station managers. [21:20] Story about GC lunch with regional directors and Francis Tombs, GC later being told off for borrowing Tombs' glasses. [23:25] Remark on GC boss Hugh Matthews, the director of production: former marine; demanded high standards but supportive; influential figure in GC life; limited level of interaction due to autonomy of power station manager role, greater contact with regional group manager; sophistication of CEGB personnel system before later stagnation. [26:40] Remarks on Director of Production role: high standard of Matthews as director of production, contrast with poor situation inherited by GC when he became director of production in South East; high standard of North West Director of Production Roy Horton; post requiring engineering, leadership and management skills. [28:10] Remarks on Lee Hall Colliery: most output supplied to Rugeley A; intertwined nature of Rugeley and mine; influence on industrial staff attitudes in A station; association between miners and power station staff in Rugeley; problems with subsidence in area; GC lack of formal contact with mine and limited relations with local community, in contrast to practice of other managers. [31:20] Remarks on community relations: anecdote about power station providing lighting for filming of 'Songs of Praise'; story about visit of local landowner Geordie Boyle; anecdote about GC visit to Boyle at his home where GC discovered his love of embroidery; anecdote about GC running across Boyle in London, who was planning to buy a wood to allow CEGB to build a transmission live; GC limited interaction with community at Rugeley before promotion to London. [36:45] Remarks on: overview of challenges of managing a power station, understanding challenges and environment but taking a firm line where needed, toleration within CEGB for non compliance with hierarchy if successful; GC enjoying station manager's role but finding it stressful; GC long working hours and hands-on management style, visiting staff on Christmas Day, working weekends when needed.

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