Oral history of British science
Raynor, Frank (Part 14 of 18) An Oral History of British Science
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Interviewee's home, Abingdon
Raynor, Frank, 1922- (speaker, male)
Lean, Thomas (speaker, male)
Part 14: [39:16] Remarks on daily work at Harwell: daily journey to work, housing considerations; transport to Harwell, FR travelling by motorbike; informal day, start at 8:30, work in lab; supervision arrangements; developing equipment and fitting it too experiments; interaction with scientists over instruments; comparisons with working at Aldermaston, fewer time pressures at Harwell; Controlled Thermonuclear Reactions [CTR] group; security on site, comparisons with Culham security. [05:48] Remarks on working in Building 488: hanger like building filled with workshops and labs; colleagues, two chaps from electronics division, supervising engineer, electronics specialist SSO; division head in Building 347; developing modular equipment; little day to day supervision; job satisfaction; interference in equipment. [10:53] Remarks on interaction with physicists: coffee breaks discussions; physicists returning equipment when it failed, later set up of service group at Culham run by FR. [13:30] Remarks on: Culham service group's other responsibilities liaising with contractors for manufacture of designs; previous use of Woolwich Common establishment, previously including Nobby Clarke and division head Barnes, to build equipment; uniting of Woolwich Common and Fort Halstead teams at Aldermaston; Experimental Officers Peter Rose and Bill Black, who shared FR's lab at Harwell; split of group after move to Culham, expansion of workload; outside service groups servicing routine equipment, leaving specialist jobs to FR group. [18:16] Remarks on ZETA fusion power device: FR having little to do with it; popular perception of ZETA; lengthy time scales of fusion development and necessity of international work. [20:30] Description of designing instrumentation equipment: applying knowledge, visiting library; technical drawings; interaction with scientists over requirements. [24:45] Remarks on life outside work in 1950s and 60s: little disposable income; hobbies, family trips; FR joining Oxford gliding club in 1960s, FR enjoyment in flying, living near airfield pre-war but unable to afford to join Royal Auxiliary Air Force, FR building model aircraft as a child; music, enjoying big bands and jazz concerts; limited disposable income despite decent salary; [29:10] FR practising motor engineering on cars; social club at Harwell; socialising with colleagues, such as Ken Douglas and his wife Sheila, who moved in with FR wife whilst FR and Douglas were on trials; Ken Douglas death in 2010; Ken Douglas' children's careers, FR keeping in touch, death of Ken Douglas' son in car accident; friend Bill Black. [33:50] Remarks on: technical hobbies, radio control system for son's boat; FR encouraging grandchildren in computing, FR obtaining BBC computer from friend’s son who worked for ICL; FR building personal computers from components in 1980s; story about FR building electronic organ, anecdote about buying cheap, potentially faulty diodes, daughter playing organ for a pop group, FR building himself a second organ; anecdote about wife's opinions of his technical hobbies.
Interview with technician, Frank Raynor