It was a Friday, why any Company would want you start work on a Friday I have no idea – but this Company did at that time. .
Just years four years earlier I had commenced an Apprenticeship with the CEGB (Central Electricity Generating Board) as an Electrical Fitter, serving most of my apprenticeship at the Portishead Power Station, around ten miles from Bristol. This was the 1970’s when the Trade Unions were at their strongest. At Portishead a Tradesman didn’t leave the workshops to do any work unless he had a Fitters Mate to carry his tools. Coming out of my “time” as an apprentice I was offered a post on shift at Portishead – I took the job, fully aware that it was a challenge for any apprentice to get a start as a Tradesman. Companies didn’t have to offer you positions – but within the CEGB any vacancy had to be offered first to any apprentice coming out of his time. My opportunity came because Barry Helps, a fellow apprentice who was a couple of months older than me, turned down the opportunity to take the job – and he left Portishead on the day his apprenticeship was completed.
The move on to shift was a challenge – being the only Electrical Tradesman on nights for not one, but two Power Stations, Portishead “A” and “B”. So when Jess Bacon, a member of the Ladies Group at BDBC (Bedminster Down Boys Club) made me aware that there was a vacancy for an Electrician where she worked, at Bristol Water, I decided to apply. It was based at their Bedminster Depot on Bishopsworth Road, a five minute walk from the family home. I was interviewed by a gentleman called John Taylor, and offered the post the following day.
And so commenced my love affair with the local Water Company – Bristol Water. The year was 1974, and it was January. Fast forward to January 2018, some 44 years later and I’m preparing to call it a day and joint the list of the “retired from full-time employment”. My journey with Bristol Water has stemmed some forty-three years. Between 1974-79 and 1989 -2018 as an employee, with a ten year gap in-between, during which I was either self-employed or in a Business Partnership (M&E Services), and undertaking a significant amount of work for-Bristol Water.
To say that I have seen significant changes in Industry and more importantly within Bristol Water through that time would be the preverbal understatement. This is a memoir that hopefully captures those changes but importantly relates those changes through the stories and experiences of my time as an employee.