Industry: water, steel & energy

Camsey, Granville (15 of 16). An Oral History of the Electricity Supply in the UK

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  • Type

    sound

  • Duration

    00:43:25

  • Shelf mark

    C1495/09

  • Subjects

    Electricity

  • 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 15: Remarks on: CL&P CEO William Stones, former CEGB researcher recruited by Koodrie family; CL&P group manager Wally Meyers, whose son ran Littlebrook D in later years; GC returning from Hong-Kong after 1 year not the 10 originally expected, subsequent appointment of Australian as CEO of CL&P. [02:00] Comments on working at CL&P: 5.5 day week; GC and wife expecting to enjoy status, perks and salary of CL&P role, GC children settled at work or university; anecdote about company yachts; anecdote about GC objecting to secretary Connie Wong over perks of his position; anecdote about mansion being filled with chrysanthemums by company; GC quadrupling salary by move to CL&P; constantly mixing with expatriate community; GC and wife becoming uncomfortable with trappings of life in Hong Kong, amah A Chung, chauffeur Chen, and missing family; [07:45] difficult period in GC career; British Electricity International contacts, leading former CEGB colleagues to become aware of GC discomfort; supportive letters from Frank Ledger; phone call from Frank Ledger in run up to British ESI privatisation inviting GC to return to UK at CEO of National Power Thermal, to GC relief; anecdote about tendering resignation to Sydney Gordan, need to protect share price from a sudden GC resignation, GC turning down offer of higher salary; GC notifying Michael Clancy of possible resignation; GC resignation well handled despite flurry in press; [12:45] Hong-Kong power brokers, such as Hong Kong Shanghai Bank's [HSBC] Willy Purvis and Cathy-Pacific's Kewsick Brothers; anecdote about CEGB legal secretary Chalmers Carr, now of Coutts bank, asking GC for advice over joining HSBC; anecdote about Shroeders manager Nick McAndrew's view of GC's leaving Hong Kong; GC return home to Gerrard's Cross; anecdote about terrible state of home on GC return; GC returning to work at CEGB before privatisation. [16:20] Further discussion about GC time in Hong Kong: CL&P profit focus; CEGB having almost Japanese approach to profit as a result of doing something worthwhile; Hong Kong capitalist society; CL&P close attention to finances, 15% rate of return on capital investment, far higher than CEGB 2% return rate; GC first shareholder meeting; [20:45] CL&P experience vital in GC gaining future post as CEO of National Power Thermal as it demonstrated experience of private business to City; description of proposed National Power structure of Thermal and Nuclear companies; high values and standards required of CEGB senior staff, in sharp contrast to current misselling practices in financial sector and current electricity industry. [24:30] Remarks on CEGB culture: honourable values embedded in CEGB corporate culture; example of rare sackings over gifts from contractors; integrity of discussions; over-protective nature of CEGB of staff, leading to great expense on training and conditions; ethical and social value of CEGB practices; anecdote contrasting CEGB treatment of staff with CL&P. [28:20] Remarks on life in Hong Kong: socialising in isolated bubble; anecdote about discussions of status over chafferers and yachts; anecdote about a civil engineer's wife developing a great interest in Calligraphy, a rare example of expatriates 'going native'; anecdote about Lavish Burns Night celebrations; difficulty getting membership of high status Royal Hong-Kong clubs, GC membership of Royal Hong-Kong Golf Club; [34:00] limited contact with Chinese population other than staff; anecdote about GC dinner with senior Chinese engineers and afternoon tea with secretary Connie Wong on his departure; anecdote about amah A Chung's careful treatment for GC underwear; GC starting to settle in to Hong Kong before they left. [38:03] Remarks on political condition in Hong Kong: Governor Chris Pattern's strong stance on ensuring democracy after return of Hong Kong to China; Lord Kadoorie, Sir Sydney Gordan and other powerful figure's discomfort with Pattern's stance on democracy; Patten's one country two system compromise with China; power brokers, not democracy ruling Hong-Kong, a secret to Hong Kong's success; anecdote about ability to sack staff arbitrarily; many expatriates support for Hong Kong approach; anecdote about sacking of engineers over proposals to set up a union in CL&P.

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