Hi-thereL Not much to report since the February GEN. As usual I attended the September meet-up at the Albion, Islington, (for a Lemon & Lime'.) and saw some of our former colleagues there. However, I left with several others at 2.30 p.m. to miss the evening rush hour. Those attending were:- John Bloomfield, Chris Broome-Smith, Dave Coles, Ken Denny, Steve Dickens, Dave Fairhurst, Roger Glover, Dennis Laing, Stan Mitchell, John Neil, John Reynolds, Roy Thurgood, Harry Vincent, Hedley Warner. The next meet-up is on Thursday 13th December. Now let's get on with your letters etc. Many deal with the move from Albion. Sam Hawkins ... Many thanks for your letter regarding the 3 monthly meet- ings at the Albion. When I visited the Albion in December I had no diffic- ulty in walking from Highbury station to the Albion and as for other locat- ions which might be more suitable I cannot say, as my knowledge of the Highbury pubs is at least 20 years out of date . .. Hedley Warner ... I agree that a change of venue is a good idea as the Albion is not easy to get to for these who have some problems with walking. As for a new location, the "The Swan" at Highbury Corner, seems to be the best choice as it is close to the Victoria Line. ... Karl Eastorpe ... I am happy to meet (when time allows) at a venue decided by the regular members. As I am usually only at the Christmas meeting the venue is really of no trouble to me ... Ray Potter ... Thanks for inviting my input on the "Albion". Personally, I think it is "past it's sell buy" and would favour the "White Swan". We use it for the Class of '63 reunions. There is a wide selection of Beers and Wines at cheap prices, no loud music, and a good selection of meals/snacks. Ilthink it is a good idea to make it easier for older folk to get to the venue and as the White Swan is close to Highbury & Islington station it would be better for everyone .. . Alan Williams ... Thanks for your message re the LTSSAC Reunion. I suppose that Queen Victoria would have told them to get a carriage, after all the Albion was originally a coach house; More seriously though I guess that age and mobility have to be a consideration as the years roll OH. I don't know other pubs in the area well enough to recommend any other. As a once a year man, I'll be happy to go along with what ever is decided but after Christmas 2007 . . . John Reynolds ... Thanks for your letter regarding the Albion distance from the Angel. Personally, I have always felt that we have not had good service from the Albion ever an-d a change could be for the better. As regards the distance, I do find it quite a drag but I wouldn't be put off coming to ther do" because of it. Pubs nearer the Angel are generally rougher and might be very noisy at Christmas. I would suggest that we give one pub we went to when it was pouring with rain and the Albion was closed. I don't know the name but it is on the corner of Cloudesly Road/Square. I think:; Chris-Broome-Smith ... Whilst I'm not against moving from the Albion'I think the timing of this move is very important. I think we should stick with the Albion for December and in the meantime agree the new venue and prepare a "relocation pack" These packs could be discretely distributed at 1 the December meeting so that all are suitably briefed for the new venue in March 2008.... Norman Froggett ... the last few months I have not been up to scratch, feel- ing very tired, losing weight, and during the last few weeks have had lots of blood tests. Originally my doctor said I was leading towards anaemia but this has now progressed to Leukaemia. A consultation with a specialist con- firmed this and has started treatment. So, hopefully this will slow progress. During the last two years I have written and competed a book "Far East Photo- graphy" 'Sixty years on' The book contains 144 Photographs with brief write ups taken during the time I was a Wireless Operator in the Royal Air Force. A posting to the Far East took me to India, Burma, French Indo China, and Hong Kong. During 1946 I was posted to Saigon where we took over Tan Son Nhut airfield from the Japanese. Soon after arriving I met a chap by thename of Frank Gay, who said he was a Cinema Projectionist from Yeovil, Somerset. Since I was a Cinema Projectionist from London we became very good friends. Frank and I were involved in building a cinema on the airfield and called it ' 'Odeon' to remind everybody of home. A little while ago I spotted an advert in 'Yours' magazine "Looking for news Odeon Saigon" It was Frank Gay my old good friend, he is still living in Yeovil, just 30 miles from Honiton. I managed to get his phone number, and the next day he visited me and we spent eight hours reminiscing our time together in Saigon. Frank left Saigon before me, and wrote to me to say he was in Rangoon. Aletter from me writing back is still in his possession, I read it again, telling him how the cinema was running, he had kept it for 61 years, quite an amazing re-union coupled with lots of nostalgia ... John Sutton ... Earlier this year, my daughter decided that she needed to be "on-line". I have always ignored earlier pleas, remembering those email type messages, on the BT internal electronic mail system, that had to be read, and then deleted, upon one's return to the office, having been away for a few days. On the odd occasion, I had used the facilities of the internet off ered by my local library, but these had been far between, and did not just- ify the expense of having a personal account. Not only that, our first conn- ection box is in the hall, halfway up the wall where we have a telephone. I had visions of wires trailing through the house. But now we are in the 21st century, BT have come up with wireless broadband - no wires, and the phone can still be used whilst daughter surfs the WWW. So, we have taken the plunge, and it has all gone very well. I opted for the three month option of technical backup via a freephone number, with an Eng- lish helper who can take over the computer and do all the difficult bits for you. I thus ignored the offer of a BT person visiting to do the same thing for twenty pounds more for just the one visit, whereas the technical support is available all day, every day (The other arrangement was a 3p a minute call to India) BT tosses out "spam" for me, provides all the virus protect- ion etc, and I find that there is an ever increasing number of people that I can contact more easily via email, and order all sorts of goods from my home One of the things that I am seeking to do is to find alternatives to using 087 number (www.saynoto0870.com) is a great help. Barclays have just advised me that "....Calls to 0870 number will cost no more than 8p a minute, plus 6p set-up fee ... for BT customers" Iti'-s a rip off! ON a happier note, I am pleased to report another very successful bowling season, appearing in no less than 6 finals, and winning 4 of them. It's a wonderful pastime for people of all ages, but especially for older folk who are having to forsake the sports of youth ... Derek Brown ... Many thanks for the newsletter. Len Bovingdon's letter say- ing he had read my report on the fate of LMS and BMS brought back memories of the many practical trials he did for us on teleprinter rolls, ink ribbons and tapes. If I remember correctly the test message started "The quick brown fox jumped ..." and I should really remember much more given the huge number studied over the years to ensure the print was legible. What became of Test Section people none of us heard following our move to Birmingham, with contact with LTS people remaining in Studd Street and those on detached duty at places such as Crayford being lost. Would it be possible 2 for one of the former LTS people to write a short report on what happened to them once Studd Street closed down? I recall some were transferred to Enfield Factory and the story heard was they were not happy with the move. I did travel down once to Studd Street in either 1989 or 90 to meet Bernard Lowndes as we were doing work on Wood Poles for the Technical Owners at Alban Park. Otherwise, we were in contact with the QA people at North Star House, with George Mitchell being our principle contact. That ceased follow- ing the relocation to Martlesham. With the closure of the Bordesley Green Fordrough Lane site, some of the Birmingham Test Section people were offered jobs attached to Procurement Teams at North Star House, and they relocated their families to the Swindon area. Following this, several were then told they were surplus to requirements and made redundant. This happened to one of my former colleagues who elected to work in Swindon rather than Martle- sham. However, he was then told a mistake had been made and his services were still required but he would need to apply for his old post. At this point he told them what they could do with it and went off and got a much higher paid job in the cable industry'. .... Dave John ... As promised, I have concocted some recollections from my years in LTS etc ... You may re-call that we had an impromptu fire drill about the end of the normal lunch break period. On gathering at the appointed fire point for our group, we found that we were short of Messrs. Barrow & Whitt- aker. The correct procedure in those circumstances is to report to the co- ordinating officer that your group is not complete, with details. This I tried to do, only to find that the fire drill had been held without the co- ordinating officer present'. By this time, it was obvious that there was no fire, and it transpired that Steve & Tony were a few minutes late back and had been locked out at the Studd Street gate by the fire drill procedures. This left me with three choices, viz. Make it a disciplinary matter for the sake of a few minutes. Take the two aside informally. Address the whole group with a view to prevention of reoccurrence by either pre-arranging extended lunch break, or if stuck somewhere, ringing in, even if that meant being later still. At least I could cover it that way. I chose the third option, and offened yourself & Pete Davis. I think you saw yourselves as being tarred with the same brush. You can please some of the people some of the time etc. We "got away with it" that time because of the failure of others, but it taught me one thing. It's vitally important to keep someone informed of your whereabouts at all times. If there are people missing during an emergency event, what do you do? Spend time looking for the authority, go back in and search or let those unaccounted for perish,if they are in there. It stuck with me, and in my last job, I always made a point of letting someone know I was leaving the building, even if itwas only going into the surrounding grounds. Since I retired from the crematorium, I have found it very easy to distance myself from it .... When I left BT, I set out to make a clean break, but the memories never faded, and when you wrote to ask if I wished to receive the "GEN" I was able to get back into the fold. For that I am very grateful .... Bill Walker ... In response to your request, I'll tell you about our village Harvest Home that we celebrated on the 24th August. Basically it is a harvest festival, but very different to those that I have known in that about 600 people attend, in a marquee, and all get fedll This year it was special because it was the 150th anniversary of continues harv- est homes - apart from the war years and foot and mouth. There is a group of about 20 people involved in the planning of the event and about 100 helpers on the actual day. The planning starts in January, again in March & May then monthly until August. After getting permission from the farmer and Somerset County Council for use of the fields, everything else has to be booked i.e. the marquee, tables, chairs, crockery, the fun fair, toilets, band, speakers preachers, evening entertainment etc. and then, the food. This amounts to a 1201bs cheese, a 6ft x 2ft harvest loaf, 5001bs of meat (salt beef. roa§t beef & gammon ham) 80 bowls of salad, 90 Christmas puddings, 2 gallons of cream, 60 loaves of bread, butter etc. The drink order is 40 gallons of 3 cider, 60 gallons of beer and soft drinks. In total 550 tickets are sold for the event as well as feeding all the helpers, the band and ambulance staff. The day starts with a parade, led by the band, to church for a service, after this the luncheon commences. There are 12 large tables, at th the head of each one the carver cuts the meat on to platters and the waiters deliver it to the guests, there are also waiters for the beer and cider, this course is followed by the hot Christmas puddings and bread cheese after they have been paraded through the village. Of course, there is the address by the Vicar and the local Bishop with speeches from the representatives of the agricultural industries. That is the end of the day for many people but the tea still has to be pre- pared, and the children's sports and fancy dress arranged and judged. After the crowd had thinned out, the marquee has to be re-arranged for the evening entertainment i.e. two stages, dressing rooms etc. All in all it is an amaz- ing day, and one that I feel privileged to have taken part in for the last 6 years. There are approximately 1500 people living in the village now and about the time of the WW2 there were 12 working farms in the village, but now there is just one. So, it is quite astonishing that this tradition carries on. There is a long history of when, why, and by whom all this started but I've gone on long enough, so at this point I will turn off WP. Wally Spooner ... Just a short note to thank you for the "GEN" which I enjoy even though I was only at Studd Street for a short time (10 years!) in com- parison to many of your contributors. I have stopped work in the "formal" sense last year and in common with many retirees, I seem to be too busy to do anything like getting a job. I spend a lot of time in the U.S. at a place I have in Florida near Disney - it makes a great break in the winter. The grand children consume a lot of my tine as I still enjoy sports, body permitting, and they are very active with 2 of the boys playing Rugby, mountain hiking with the younger lad - it's all quite strenuos. I still play a lot of golf competetively and managed to get into the county seniors played at Sandy Lodge ... Harry Jenn ... A lot more than usual has been happening to us since the beg- inning of the year. During December we approached a couple of Travel Agents for quotes to fly to Canada. This would be the third attempt, to visit both of our families in Canada in June/July/August. Since our last attempt the Insurers & Airlines have imposed such strict health restrictions, plus the extremely long flights and airport waits, you have to change aircrafts some- where as there is no direct flights from S.A. Betty and I thought it im- practical and possibly quite traumatic (and after consulting the families, although disappointed, thought so too) Within a few days, Carol & Gerard with the children had made a plan to visit us in early June for just over two weeks. Upon confirmation of the dates we went ahead to find a B.B.guest- house close by and hire a 6/7 seater car as our cottage and car are too small to accommodate us all. So, what with the booking and planning, it has been exciting but time consuming. Most of the trips are fairly local, and although they said they have come to see us, you cannot sit around and talk, especially when you have young teenagers. They would get very bored. It would be nearly 6 1/2 years since we said goodbye to them. Fortunately our youngest son-in-law has sent lots of "growing up pictures" of them, so it will not come to much of a shock when they arrive. One place we had planned to take them was the Krugersdorp Game Park (not the much larger Kruger Nat- ional Park) where they also have the "Big Five". The owner of the Park was taking pictyres of the lion compound with a new Digital Video camera given to hi. by his daughter, got out of his vehicle to get a closer picture of "his lions" (a rule we are always strongly advised never to do) One lion came closer and gave him a swipe and floored the man whereupon the other 10 lions rushed over and mauled him', to death. It has happened to over- seas visitors and is an isolated event, but these lions are on public disp- lay and it is now subject to an enquiry, with the possibility of all the pride being "put to sleep" having tasted human meat, it may cause them to be more unpredictable. We shall have to wait and see and it may be advisable to give this Park a miss. 4 RINGING THE CHANGES Ian Torrance How America Went to Southgate We may take it for granted these days, but the humble Teleph ne was one of the most revolutionary inventions in the 19th Century and it nearly got overlooked. When Alexander Graham Bell first demonstrated the instrument at an exhibition in Philadelphia, it was regarded by most people as nothing more than a toy. Thankfully, the Emperor of Brazil picked up the receiver and said "It talks" and Bell's fame was assured. For many of us living north of the Thames, it came as a respite from being confined to various Groups in Studd Street and the daily routine travelling to and from Islington, to go to some Contractor's Works for a period of 20 weeks. Apart from the change of scene one got a subsistance rate as well. One of those places was Group 8 based S.T.C. Southgate in a pleasant suburb in North London. Back in the 1960's and 70's the Southgate works consist- ed of large and small buildings scattered about, each a hive of activity that dealt with the manufacture of the complete range of telephone exchange and household telephone equipment. I was completely overwhelmed on my first visit there seeing a complex array of workshops employing 100's of people working on component parts such as selectors, uni-selectors, relays and coil winding and a host of other items. I remember well being taken around the works on a tour by Les Roberts. When J.Taylor & Sons had the 27 acre site making vehicle engines and went into receivership in 1921, the New Southgate site was bought by the U.S. company. Western Electric at a bargain price of £80,000. Westerns had become one of the largest manufacturers in America. The 1920's was a decade of immense growth in the telephone industry and the Post Office in Britain, formed by the goverment to run all the communicat- ion systems, not only Postal Services, but all the U.K. Telephone and Tele- graph networks which had the monopoly except for Hull in Yorkshire, who doggedly maintained its independence to this day. The then P.O. Engineering Department emphasised that the contracts and manufacturing of all equipment had to be in Britain and Western Electric Co. at Southgate became one of the main producers. But by 1926 Westerns was acquired by the International Telephone & Telegraph Corporation (I.T.T.) and the deal allowed patents and manufacture and know how to continue outside America and did so under a different name being The Standard Telephone Co. (S.T.C.) In the late 1920's P.O. Engineers and S.T.C. designed and supplied the Long Wave Radio transmitter Equipment for installation at Rugby. In their roll of National Network provider, the P.O. engineers were eager to find ways of cutting costs and improve the quality of communication. The new Strowger Automatic exchanges developed in the U.S. seemed the answer, a quicker syst- em as fewer manual operators were needed. The main suppliers under licence for these exchanges were General Electric, Automatic Tele & Siemens Bros. who were in direct competition to S.T.C. with more major manufacturers it was necessary to monitor the standard and quality of all the equipment prod- uced and so P.O. Engineers went to visit the various works including S.T.C. at Woolwich, South London. Later on. with falling charges for telephone calls brought about by tech- nological improvements, more businesses and households wanted to be connec- ted to the system. The upsurge in demand put pressure on engineers to come up with more radical ideas. S.T.C. working in close cooperation with its French Associated Co. Le Material Telephonique, they produced transmission and reception of Very Short Wave which they termed "Microwave" From that, S.T.C. and the French connexion produced Pulse Code Modulation (P.C.M.) in 1938. Certainly after WW2 telecommunications went on leaps and bounds. In 1991 S.T.C. was bought by the Canadian global giant - Nortel (Northern Tele- coms) producing state of the art communication systems. Who would have thought all those years ago when we tested and inspected equ- ipment that people of all ages would be walking along a ny street in Britain talking into hand held mobile phones - now so common and with such small devices, be able to do text messaging and take photos; The first hand held mobile phone was the Motorola Dyna Tac in 1983. How we have advanced over 5 the years from the days of PABX, 65 Lines Switchboards and the old fashioned types of Telephone, the 262 and candlestick 150's. Going to Contractors Works like S.T.C. enabled us to be part of the scene all those years ago ... Cliff Bourne ... For our birthdays in September, Barbara and I went with SAGA to Peru - home of the Incas some 600 years ago.We flew from LHR to Madrid, thence to Lima in Peru with Iberian Airlines some 12 hours in the air. Customer care was not paramount on the airline's agenda,so be warned. The first impression one gets during our first stay in Lima was of very few traffic lights and very many car horns, but very few shunts at the road junctions. There were two tours, one around the old city founded by Frans- ico Pizarro in 1535 and one around the modern city, culminating at the Nat- ional Museum housing artefacts found during excavations. We were surprised to find that there were at least 3 or 4 civilisations before the Incas who only came to prominence circa 1400. One of these, according to Spanish chroniclers, worshipped a strange figure called Viracocha, who was lightly skinned, and hirsute who created all life there was from Chile up to Boliv- ia and Columbia. He came after the Flood, had a Christlike figure with followers and had reed boats like the Egyptians. Initially, the Spaniards were accepted as descendants of this God, with their beards,cloaks, horses. We flew south to Arequipa (arry keepay) the name coilles from the Quecha language meaning 'ok lets stop here' This language is still spoken in the Andes and in the Amazon. Again we toured the city and stopped at the Cath- edral, built on the ruins of an Incan temple, as all the Churches are. Inside the Cathedral down the sides we saw the trapezoidal windows, wider at the bottom than the top, built to withstand earthquakes with the locking stones each made to fit so close to its neighbour that no cigarette paper could enter. All stones in Inca buildings fitted the same way. Peru is on the famous Pacific Rim in the earthquake belt as say California. From there we flew N.E. to Puno near Lake Titicana around 12,000ft and 270 miles long being the largest fresh water lake at that height. There are villages on the lake, which are made from floating reeds, Uros was one such. Very strange and spongey walking on it. The reeds are added to as the island sinks and then abandoned when it touches bottom and water comes through. It was here that we saw smaller but identical reed boats to those they have in Egypt. The Quecha people also built pyramids like the latter which were not as durable as they only used mud bricks, adobe style. The centre of the Inca Empire, down into Argentina and up into Bolivia, was Cusco north of Puno. It was from here all the famous trails went, along the mountain tops linking all the Empire. Many archeological sites were seen, the most impressive was the one at Sacsayhuaman pronounced by me as sexy- woman. Temple sites either side of a huge parade area with all stones on the bottom around 50 tons, with very few on top. It was here that they fought the Spanish until everything was exhausted and they left to fight a final battle at another site. The stones remaining were too heavy to move by the "conquerors", one is over 200 tons, thus they can be seen today. Near Cusco is the awe inspiring Machu-Picchu site at some 6000ft. The site is reached by train from Cusco in 3 1/2 hours or in 5 or 6 days along the Inca Trail entering Machu-Picchu fro.m the Sun Gate in the mountains. We had our first glimpse out of a coach window driven by a Hara Kiri Peruvian. He felt he had to ascend the 22 bends in something of a record. The site is 5 sqkms and discovered by an American in 1911, untouched by Spanish hands. Many things amazed me, the number of rooms all roofless, the terraces with the odd 2000ft drop where you can put the weeds, the water issuing from the mountain for the last 600 odd years, the sun dial inclined at exactly 13 degrees to the Summer Equinox - also the site is exactly 13 degrees down from the Equator and finally the fantastic views in any direction - how did they get these stones, the usual 50 tons or so, up here? Our last stop was right up north on the Amazon at Iquito (ekeatos) a camp some 2,300 miles from the mouth of the Amazon and 1300 miles from the source of the river. It holds apparently 20/25% of all the world's fresh water, 6 the river that is not the camp. Every year in May they mark the stairs up to the Camp, before the river ebbs. We were there at its ebb and it was still 3/4 mile wide, last year it was nearly 2 miles wide in May due to the El Ninjo effect on the Andean Glaziers. We saw grey dolphins and pink dolphins, and were taken to a camp, but not the village of a tribe of natives who dem- onstrated the use of 6ft blow pipes. They were about 4^ft but they hit the 4in pole set up in the clearing, modesty prevents me telling you that I had one go and did the same and quickly returned the said weapon before I embarr- assed them. On our return to the airport at some ungodly hour of the morning and in the dark, Jack the Lad our boat driver managed to hit a log in the river and lost his propeller, still musn't grumble. We got back to LHR some day or other after Lima, but what an experience! P.S. I'm off to buy a couple of Alpaccas. Now follows the third part of lan Boniface's diary. After the 'Cardboard Box' it was back to the TN Room and the sounds of the buzzers of the combination test sets. Hands up those who remember themi Not for long though as I was sent on a Youths A Course at an area training school in Sydenham. This was great as it was much nearer home and so much reduced fares to work and we were also paid three shillings (15p) a day sub- sistence allowance. Suddenly I was rich and to add to my new found wealth we had a pay rise from 38 shillings a week to 43 shillings. (I cannot include a picture but the rest of the wording to it is as follows) ... but the other students on the course were mostly from the "Areas" and so apart from what was taught, we were able to make new friends and learn about what life was like in other parts of the Post Office. The course itself con- sisted of learning about the basics of the telephone network such as cabl- ing and we did a lot of practical work like Jointing and plumbing under- ground cables which were lead covered and needed waterproof joints. The best part was the jointing and tensioning of overhead wires where we learnt how to climb telegraph poles, -using leg irons, after checking them for rot to ensure they were safe to climb. These poles were shorter than the real thing but still gave a feeling for the process. Practicing tensioning the copper wires and making joints to enable the signal to pass round the pole to the next section, while suspended at the top of a pole, was quite an experience. After six weeks of this it was back to Studd Street and spending three hours a day commuting by train and No.43 bus or underground again. I was still partnered with Cyril Hawes (poor Cyril), we were teamed up for most but not all our time as Y2YC's. My next excursion from Studd Street was to Group 7 Goswell Road where the Post Office led the world in recycling. The state of the art process for which the two SE's, Horace Liquorice and Bill Turner and their staff, the 'Graders' were responsible, consisted of applying Rozalex to their hands and marking items recovered from the 'field' with dabs of coloured paint. The items to be graded were laid out on tables by Supplies Department staff and then the graders would examine them to decide how they should be dealt with. A dab of white paint to indicate reissue (for Supplies Department staff to clean and put to stock as 'new' green for minor repair by the Factories Dept, red for major repair and blue for 'old and useless'(sold as scrap). The Fact- ories Department had a representative in the person of Sammy Dark who would follow the graders and agree or disaree with the grader's decision. The triumvirate of Supplies, Factories and Engineering Departments were known as the Joint Examiners although I never saw anyone examining a joint (Honest Officer;) Or had the term not been hijacked in those days? Many years latter I found myself again posted to Group 7 (now at Kidbrook) as the AEE and Sammy Dark was still the Factories Department representative although he retired two weeks after I took over. He never said if this was because of my arrival! I hope to conclude Ian's article in the next GEN. 7
1 Bill Holland 4 lan Torrance 7 John Reynolds 2 Mike Goulding 5 Cyril Hawes 8 Brian Chignall 3 Bob Crampton 6 lan Boniface
This photo, sent in by Pete Parry, had no names on the back.
I only know 2 or 3.
Oddments According to a BBC news sheet there are plans to phase out the traditional lightbulb by 2011, announced by Environment Secretary Hilary Benn.
Bus queue etiquette for students. Foreign language students visiting the Isle of Wight are to be taught how to queue for buses! 8
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