I.have been Publishing the main "Dave's GEN" since November 1988, amounting to around 34 issues, commencing when many of us were drafted to the Fulcrum outfit at Enfield.
Before that it was called the "Club Gen- which I took over in Summer 1978 from Stan Brede for 27 issues (three per year).
But even now I find it hard to write something for the Editorial!
So, let's get on with your letters etc.
Dave John... I am now heading for retirement(again), but this time it is
enforced by virtue of being 65 at the end of October. I shan't be sorry and am only hanging on to get the maximum out of the pension and AVC, which I have running in parallel.
My wife's health has improved considerably and she has spent two periods at home in Holbeach alone while I am at work. One of the things which have taken up a bit of time is e-Bay, which we are a little bit hooked on for the time being, but hopefully it will ease off
Much is happening on the technical front in the cremation industry, (I hope to print Dave's article on the subject. Ed) such as entrapment of Mercury, closer control of the emissions of dioxins (in most cases a by-product of a combustion process) and MCERTS. This latter one as far as I can gather, is a traceable standard of equipment accuracy and calib- ration. I seem to recall something like that in the past.
Roy Lawrance ... The photo of the Materials Section in the late 50s was interesting. Notice how many women there are in the group-a very civil- ising influence. What ever became of little Sheila Cox who used to coll- ect the equipment specs for the Materials Lab from the issuing window next to Group 2 in 1950? Her visits used to make my day until she turned me down because I was too old (at 21). When I left school at 16 in 1945 I joined the analytical laboratory and, even in those early days, it was 50% staffed with young women. I thought that this was the norm for work- ing environments and didn't realise until much later how lucky I had been- although it was an environment in which there was no point in try- ing to project a macho image. Those bright girls could quickly see through any male putting on an act.
Ian Torrence... Through the pages of the "GEN" a while ago I was contact-
ed by Norman Froggett because of our mutual interests in Cinema and
Theatre organs. We have joyfully communicated ever since with C.D.s he
has recorded being sent to me. Then in July I had the Pleasure of meeting
up with Norman and his wife Anne wlich was most enjoyable. Norman is
highly skilled in Electronics and Computers with an array of impressive
gadgets and equipment about the house. He plays his superb Technics Organ
for pleasure but the organ is also played by many organist friends who
visit them like Dicky Dunn, and all is set up to record CDs direct.
So, without Dave and all his efforts to keep the Newsletter going over the many years, contact between the members of a long obsolete Section would be lost. So, Good on yer Dave.
Norman Froggett ... Now heading towards the age of 82 years, and still actively engaged with many interesting activities with our local organ club, playing a fine organ and producing CD's and DVD's for myself and friends. One great highlight of this year was a visit by lan Torrance and it was so good to see him after a period of forty odd years. One of the main topics of conversation was,of course, the Test Section and many memories of our years there. The re-union was, of course, attributed your production of "Dave's Gen' which has proved to be a most interesting and informative piece of journalism received twice a year. I convey my thanks to you for this and say the same as other Test Section friends, "Keep up the good work Dave" May I also send my best wishes to all our colleagues who read 'Dave's Gen'
Colin Reader ... Phoned from Diss on Sunday 24th July to inform me that he was moving to the Philippines on Wednesday 27th July 2005.
Due to the Albion pub being out of action, the meet up on Thursday 15th September was held in the nearby Crown.
It was agreed that the next meet- up would be on Thursday 8th December to avoid other Christmas meet ups. Hopefully at the Albion, otherwise the Crown.
Those attending included:- Dave Coles, John Bloomfield, Dave Fairhurst, Roger Glover, John Neil, John Reynolds, Roy Thurgood, Harry Vincent, and Geoff Wigley.
[The rest of page 2 and the whole of page 3 on the copy of Dave's Gen I received through the post was unreadable apart from the bottom two lines which follow - WebEd]
I hope to publish next GEN in February. Until then a Happy Christmas: Dave Fairhurst, 31 Roedean Avenue, Enfield, Middx.EN3 5QJ 020 8804 1959
[This is page 4 - Web Ed]
I hinted in an earlier issue that the format would change, this may be the forerunner, but at 90 plus the future is a "little uncertain". I am now getting used to the big change in domestic routines and dining as I approach my first year as a Widower. There are many hints of advice which come to mind which may be thought to be pre- sumptuous but one I must mention. I would earnestly recommend settle Wills for both you and your Partner. On this point it was fortunate that we had updated ours when we were both in reasonable expectation of the future. If the reader of this "runs the house" the partner must be aware of the domestic routines such as settling bills at the correct time. If only one reader is roused by these comments they have been worth while Me-anwhile, on with familiar copies.
HISTORY or "CRACKERS"
You choose the rifle, either or both may strike you as appropriate (he's going nuts:). I was looking over some of my vast collection of past corr- espondence and other material such as Dave's GEN and El's and memories started to flow. I got into a "Play-Back Mode" and decided to dwell on them. I retired in December 1974 at aged 60. I now consider that was one of my most important decisions. I wrote my first "Willies Whimsey" - then rifled Retirement Progress Report No.1 for the Spring issue 1975 of the then Club Gen for the LTSSAC. Stan Brede of course was the guiding light of the production. It is quite likely that Dave also has a big collection of past copy. (Yes:-I have them all from CLUB Gen Summer 1978 as well as all the DAVE'S GENS) It would be useful to learn if snippets would be of interest in future copies. For myself, I find it intriguing to relive these old times. I freely admit that I am now one of the decl- ining collection of poor old "souls" not coping very well with modern instruments. A kind soul gave me an old spare computer with a lot of fun- ctions - but without an instruction book. I am able to tell the screen that "the fox in a hurry can jump over a dog" for example but output from there is nil. The correct version of the phrase however will jog the memory of many senior readers and the items they vested with it.
Bless you if you have read so far, I hope you have had some memories re-
kindled. Meanwhile, let us hope for a kind Winter and a Happy New Year.
I'll take my pills now.
In his letter dated 18th February 2005 Roy Lawrance wrote "Have just been
invited to attend a re-dedication of the memorial to the boys who were
killed by a V2 in March 1945 at my secondary school, the Tottenham Grammar
in White Hart Lane. The school, only built in 1936, was demolished in 1988
and replaced by blocks of student lodgings for Middlesex University.
Sixty years on, the memorial has been re-sited in the Bruce Castle museum and will be re-dedicated on MArch 15th. Here is my report on what happened that dat. The BBC asked me to put it on it's WW11 Web site.
After the enforced move from Harringay, we lived just off Church Street,
Stoke Newington for about a year until the damaged house was fully rep-
aired (alrost rebuilt). Some nights we were treated to VI's launched from
aircraft over the North Sea which seemed to come over the house at Chimney
top height. These attacks eventually tailed off but other attractions were
on their way. One day two explosions were heard from the direction of
South London and, because there had been no air-raid warning and no sound
of aircraft or doodlebug engines, rumours circulated that there had been
two severe gas explosions in the capital on the same day. The population
of London were soon to realise, however, that these "gas explosions" were
set to become a regular feature - the V2 rocket vengeance weapon had arr-
ived on the scene.
I was still attending Tottenham Grammar School in White Hart Lane, North Tottenham, at this time and was in the fifth form revising for the Gener- al Certificate of Education exams (GCSE equiv) which I was due to sit in tne spring of 1945. There were only two fifth forms of about 30 pupils each and tney occupied separate rooms in the upper part of a small side annex to the main school building.
One lunch time, in March 1945, I had just left the school to head off down to the shops in Tottenham High Road and had reached the bend in the road from which the school just disappeared from sight. On the opposite side of the road were two large plate glass windows which suddenly bowed viol- ently inwards and then immediately sprang outwards with the glass shatt- ering and showering splinters all over the road. This was accompanied by a loud explosion from the direction of the school and running back I could see a column of black smoke which seemed to be rising from very near the form room I had left just a few minutes earlier. Reaching the tar-mac play ground, there were several boys on the ground but there were already teaching staff and first-aiders clustered around them. One boy seemed to have lost part of an arm and a second was bleeding from the back of the head and lying very still. There were others lying on the school field and then several more appeared with faces a mask of blood, apparently caused by windows in front of them being reduced to almost powder by the explosion but, miraculously, once their faces were wiped clean the tiny cuts sealed themselves. I went along to my classroom to collect my things and - what a mess! - no windows, no ceiling and very little roof. The door and wall, facing the holes where the windows had been, were pierced with arrows of jagged glass. At this point, my younger brother, who was in his third year at the school, appeared at the door. 'Hi', he said, "When I couldn't find you just now, I was convinced that you were dead" I could understand from the state of the room why he had got that impression and suspected he had been relishing the idea of not having to share a bedroom any longer.
What has happened to me since leaving BT in 1995 - such a long time ago?
I played the unemployment card for a year which helped me to take stock and also got me some interesting re-training. After that year I sort of fell into doing gardening. It started off helping out a friend who could not cope. She then recommended me to friends, etc and before I knew it I had a small business. After a while I then got a job at a local school as a Technology Technician, cutting and acquiring materials and repairing the equipment that the little darlings "somehow" managed to break; I say acquiring since very often no money changed hands for the materials. It's amazing what is available simply through scrounging and networking- Through this time the kids found partners and one pair have presented us with a most acceptable granddaughter who is now 9 months old and sharp as a packet of razor blades. A couple of years back I lost my mother and Sylvie lost both of her parents. A traumatic time in such a short period but also a release for them. With them gone there was nothing to hold us in London so we upped sticks last Autumn and moved to Bishop's Stortford which brought us closer to the rest of the family. Our time through the
Contd on page 11
[Here for the web version! - Web Ed]
winter has been focused on making the changes to our new abode that we
feel are necessary. It's strange that no matter how perfect a new house
is we always want to change it in some way.
Our immediate future is currently focused on taking a break in Australia to attend the eldest son's wedding in Cairns. He is living there teach- ing Engiish(sic) at a college for, mainly, Japanese students. Surprise, surprise his fiancee is Japanese.
Reading your latest "Dave's GEN" and contribution from Paul Hindell re- minded me of the occasion I was in Makro's when Paul's name was given out on the Tannoy. Gave me a funny feeling I can tell you: Also, I met someone the other day whom some of your readers may remember-Dicky Dunn. We were both at an amateur dramatics show in South Ockendon. He was in- stantly recognisable. We had a nice chat and it turns out that he teaches piano and still lives in Walthamstow. That completes my potted history so I suppose it's back to the grind once again.
Contd on page 8 [Here in the Web edition]
Adventures in Berlin (cont'd)
Enough of that thoughtful reflective stuff, back to the bright lights and singing tarts.
Anyway after this hard days work we (our un-named and intrepid BT party) and as a
prelude to the nights entertainment, we were taken out by our hosts wined and dined,
then, on to the afore said Kurfurstemdam bar. In hindsight I guess it was a bit of a set
up. The size of our party more or less matched the number of gals draped rather
exquisitely round the place!! Never gave it a thought until now, honest. Well our
hosts looked after the champagne and other innocuous libations, and we all sat down,
rather weary from being on the go since 7.30am. Then, to my naive amazement, the'
gals drifted over and joined us. What drop dead gorgeous gals these were, Natasha,
Olga and others similarly and enticingly named, mostly eastern European luvlies that
would have knocked Julie Christie into second place in Dr. Zhivago. Well needless to
say, we all got our second wind as the company, the touchy feely conversation, not to
mention the refreshments got underway. The bar had a small raised dais, it seemed to
attract one or two of these lightly dressed ladies on to it, to commence singing low,
romantic lurrrve songs to our shared admiration and satisfaction. I cannot describe
the atmosphere, to give it the justice it deserves, but I'm sure you can imagine the
heady ambience in this small, intimate, warm and comfortable hostelry, with
accommodating company. Then a bath appears on this dais!! Then one of the gals,
with the assistance of her mate, strips off and gets in it!!! Music, water and suds all
over the option!! Then after an informative exhibition of how to wash ones bits, the
gals invite us to join them in their washday activities!!! Then our hosts leave, saying
that we are on our own from here on in!! (Sorry, poor choice of wording) We being
just slightly 'in drink' were rescued from our fates by our QA training, which came
shining through. Our 'hosts' were either trying to render us incapable for the all-
important, next days meeting or trying to compromise our spotless integrity. Sorry
folks and what an anti-climax, we left without sampling further delights of what I
would say was a spectacularly good clean show, but what an experience. I sometimes
look back and think, what if!!!! This was indeed a trip to remember. Thanks BTQA.
From that day on the 'Glove Room' never had quite the same appeal, although maybe if some washing powder could have be added to the tanks. No don't even go there!!? Enough reminiscing and exploits for one issue, I'll be back
Four years ago, I went for a routine eye test and was advised that the 'crossover' points of arteries and veins indicated a raised blood pressure. This was confirmed at the doctor's. However, although medication was not necessary, he advised that an annual check should be made. This I have done. This year the readings were high. I was not unduly concerned since I had had a very stressful morning. But subsequent readings were higher than any that I had previously recorded. By now, I had become anxious about the outcome, and could feel the adrenalin in my system at the time of monitoring. The doctor surmised that the high readings could be due to 'white coat hypertension' and I was given a full check on my blood and also an ECG. I am very pleased to say that the results were excellent.
I requested, that before embarking on a course of medication (no doubt for the rest of my life), that I be given an opportunity to reduce weight and monitor my blood pressure at home in order to obtain a 'normal' reading. Ten days into my diet has left me feeling hungry on occasions but resisting 'snacking', and also taking my blood pressure morning and night. In order to check the accuracy of the results, I have taken Joan's blood pressure. Joan knew her's was low, and was not surprised that her readings reflected this. My results are interesting only in so far as they vary so much! 1 shall be taking my findings and hopefully my new, lower, weight back to the doctor during November. My results indicate that the process is out of control? Will a mean and range chart assist the doctor, or should I produce a cumulative sum chart of the results m order to (fist decisions... What do readers think?
Contd on page 8 [Here on the Web edition]
Contd from page 7
I, naturally enough, have consulted various sources for
information on raised blood pressure (hypertension) and by far
the most interesting is that quoted in the medical section of
"Pears Cyclopaedia" The 2000 volume differs from the 1980
version only in that the word "Hypertension" is added to the
sub-title of "Blood Pressure" They both quote "It is not
being suggested here that high blood pressure is a trivial
condition, but it is for doctors to worry about rather than
patients: If you ever find out your own blood pressure,
never try to work out for yourself what the figures mean. It
is much too complicated:
Peter Donovan 1977 - 1991
I have finally succumbed to writing something for Daves Gen.
I joined the Studd Street "elite" in 1977 after year as an apprentice in East Area. Fellow joiners included Richard Cossey, Richard Leighton and lan Ditzell, We joined an existing TTA mob which included Gary Roberts, Danny Collins, Spike Jones, Dave Ealham, Matt Rowland and John Procter.
Our Training Officer was Mick Watson. I remember one day when someone thought
it would be funny to put two exploding cigarettes in the pack that Mick was smoking
whilst he lectured us (yes smoking in the office was allowed then). As soon as we
done it we regretted it but it was too late. Every draw Mick took from his cigarette
was mirrored by sharp intakes of breath from the wide eyed apprentice audience.
Eventually, Micks third cigarette of the morning exploded with a loud crack. Somewhat surprised he stormed out of the classroom to compose himself. He then returned to read us the riot act and stated in no uncertain terms the serious consequences of any further childishness. We all looked at eachother in horror as we knew there was another exploding cigarette in the pack! If I remember rightly, Matt Rowland cracked and advised Mick that he might want to look at his pack for a further surprise. Which Mick duly did and removed a suspicious looking fag. Unfortunately, he obviously took out the wrong one as we found out in the afternoon that Micks lunchtime cigarette down the pub had exploded all over his companion (the training TO whose name escapes me) and burnt a hole in his shirt. We had a whip round for the shirt and Mick was big enough not to take any further action.
Early memories include going to Sally Abel Harry for our cheques on Friday. Sally (although I am sure we would never have called her by her first name) was also renowned for her strict interpretation of expense claims and would produce a map and ruler to ensure fair play. I also remember rushing to get in before the line was drawn on the book on the first floor.
Lunchtime card schools were popular. I played "Blob" with Steve Dickens, Phil Jones and Alan Amand who had this lethal toaster which consisted of exposed grilling wires upon which he placed some bread and cheese and when it set fire it was done. He would eat this with a whole raw onion as if he was eating an apple.
I also had the privilege to play football for the TO's (Testing Officers). The team at that time included: Johnny Knight, The Cat (Geoff Wigley), Alan Williams Mel Ellis (in Mcenroe headband), Steve Polin, Phil Jones, Steve Dickens, Topper, Dave Hayes, Gary Roberts, Bob Wilson, Mick (Tim ) Lewis, John Maynard, Graham Hill, Ron Gillis, Al Greenberg, Bob Carter, Carl Eastthorpe, John Lavelle and Tony Peluso.
During one friendly game and after a scuffle/ fight I had with an opposing team member in a game at Market Road AstroTurf, Al Williams (our captain) was asked by the refto have a word with me. Al took me to one side and suggested I should punch a little straighter from the shoulder.
Cricket was another sport in which I represented Studd Street. - It was really only another excuse for a beer. The team consisted of some of the footy team plus Mac McGovem, Mick Crumpton, Steve Conrad and Lloyd (second name unknown). Lloyd was a great player and we won the second division one year mostly due to his solo efforts.
Some of the best stories from my years revolved around Barry Gordon. Barry was always up for a challenge (especially if there was money to be earned). This resulted in many "eating contests" where .we would challenge Barry to eat or drink a certain amount in a certain time. The outcome was either us handing over money to Barry or a bilious attack in one of the metal bins that frequented the labs.
We also "paid" Barry to allow us to throw snow balls at him on Studd Street roof. Barry appeared in 3 full length coats. Gloves and and safety helmet and was tied to a post on the roof. A group of us who had paid 50p a man then pelted him with snowballs. One (John Procter) missile broke his safety helmet!
Studd Street was also great for wind tips. Myself and Danny Collins were Barrys (fee paying) passengers as we were both Essex boys. One lunchtime we wired up his car horn to a switch we could control from the back seat. On the journey home that evening we bibbed his horn when it was most embarrassing for Barry. For example when policeman were around or when lorries overtook. This resulted in Barry trying to drive with both hands in the air to show he wasn't bibbing anyone up. It was also raining at the time and Barry assumed he had water in the loom and offered the opinion that the horn seemed to sound whenever he turned left. Guess what? After he said that, every time he turned left we bibbed the horn all the way home. This carried on for two days before Barry buried his head under his bonnet on the way home and appeared with the offending wiring in his hand and a look of fury on his face.
Boredom was sometimes a factor and I was always impressed with the inventive ways we found to keep ourselves amused. One activity we ventured on was to write letters to the Sun Newspaper for which you got £10 for a "Star Letter" and £2 for any other letter printed. Good money in those days. Steve Conrad, Dave Hayes, JeffMeyers and myself worked out that if you finished a romantic story with either "we have been married 50 yrs since" or "we married 3 weeks later" you were onto a sure winner. We composed four letters and got a Star letter and one other printed. Obviously for the scam to be completed and for us to get our money we had to put our real addresses on the letters. The sting in the tail was that Dave Hayes' local paper had seen the story and wanted to send round a photographer for a picture of Dave and his wife (who should have both been in their 70's according to their letter). Daves wife advised them they did not want any publicity and politely declined the offer.
I also enjoyed the Supplier visits and had time at Southgate, where I first heard (I mean met) Mel and Benfleet where my earliest memories are of me as an 18 yr old walking nervously along a massive factory production line full of women whistling and jeering. Also Crayford - Where they had one area where you could buy broken tools for pennies and another area where you could replace broken tools with new ones!
Most of my Studd Street days were spent on the Microwave group whose members included- Glen Travell, John Triance, John Lavelle, Paul Quinn, Ted , Eric Littlejohns, Keith Parker, Dave McNeil, Martin Waite, Ray Martin, Joe Fielder. It seemed that most of the work consisted of a war on dry joints.
I saw a picture of John the Cleaner "New towels for Old towels" on the LTSSAC web site and was reminded of when he mentioned that he spotted a sexually adventurous couple "performing" by a window that could be seen from a certain toilet window every morning. The next morning there must have been forty people in that particular loo at the appropriate time. And yes it was true!
My last group as a TO in Studd Street was in the Fibre Optics bungalow with Brian Martin and Dave Levett and Lynsey Paulding. I used to Swim at lunchtime with Brian. Believe it or not he also introduced me to making Jam.
One year I attended the Union Conference at Blackpool where Steve Dickens dis- owned me for some grossly politically incorrect behaviour which involved reading the Sun and wolf whistling a female speaker at the conference. That was the end of my political career.
I am still with BT and have had a number of careers within the company. I rejoined QA (via an interview with Joe Molloy) to escape "Enfield Factories" and have had roles in Reliability Assurance, Procurement and am currently in Product Management. I still deal formally with a number of ex Studd Street folk, Including:. John Lavelle; Steve Conroy (Brians Son) ; Ron Fielder (Joes Brother); Dave Hitchman (Micks Son); Steve Dickens. Also Mel Ellis and Al Williams in their consultancy capacity; And regularly see Graham Hill, Tony Peluso; Richard Cossey; Bob Wilson, Joe Fielder (Rons brother) and Mick Crumpton in my current offices at Brentwood
I meet up with Gary Roberts, Steve Conrad, Colin Fitzpatrick, John Lavelle and John Triance for the occasional beer and I always try to make the Albion do at Christmas.
I don't know of any other ex London BT outfits that are still attending re-unions in such numbers and for so long after leaving. This is partly due to the great camaraderie that exists but is also largely due to Daves Gen. Thanks for keeping it going.
The son of Jim Wise has sent me this photograph. In his letter he says that his father is 3rd from the left. Jim Wise died 25th April this year.
Finally, lan Torrance has sent me a list of sayings:
I'll print some to use up tha-s remaining space!
Remember, once you get over the hill, you'll begin to pick up speed.
I love cooking with wine. Sometimes I even put it in the food.
If it weren't for STRESS I'd have no energy at all.
Whatever hits the fan will not be evenly distributed.
Never be too open minded, your brains will fall out.
If you look like your passport photograph, you probably need the trip.
Bills travel through the mail at twice the speed of cheques.
A balanced diet is a cookie in each hand.
.. that's it. Dave.
For those who might be interested "Dave's GEN" will be reprinted on the LTSSAC website together with some pictures of the past at:- www.ltssac.org
Dave Fairhurst, 31 Roedean Avenue, Enfield, Middx. EN3 5QJ Tel:020 8804 1959
This site, http://www.ltssac.org/ © LTSSAC