Anecdote Index





.....Young..Electrician..at..Cadby..Hall........ ...

(22) by John Burgess

I started work in the Cadby Hall electricians department early in 1947, when I was 14 and a half.

I remember that Lyons found power cuts a big problem, they took the bull by the horns and installed ten diesel alternators, (later replaced by three much larger ones). So much was going on around that time, the chronology escapes me now

I remember working on the installation of the power supply cable for LEO. That cable must have been about two inches thick, odd to think of the computing power we have today that will run on no more than a couple of torch batteries.

There were quite a number of young lads in the elect dept, and we more or less had the run of the entire site.

We never went hungry, you could nip up to the Swiss Roll oven room and find trays of product that had come through the ovens when they were a bit too hot, all crisp and very tasty. On hot days one could visit the Ice Cream (Polar-Maid) and get a foot or so before it was cut into the little portions for cones, then up on the roof for a bit of sun-bathing. 

So much water has gone under the proverbial bridge since then. I worked at first with a man called Aleck Mabe? Another name that comes to mind as a supervisor in the electrical dept, was Jack Humphries he was quite a dapper chap who had a penchant for Passing Cloud cigarettes.

Is there anyone around who can remember the Youth Club in that old cottage on the Hammersmith  Road?

it was run by a Miss Dale who had some involvement in the school we all (under eighteen) went to for one day each week. One memory I have at that time was a fellow student who had one of the very first ball pens a Biro and if you were very nice to him he would let you try it.

A whole bunch of us went to Westward-Ho for a holiday paid for largely by the company who fixed it all up. One day I was called up to the office to talk about "my conduct", I wondered if my trips to the ice cream dept, had been spotted! but no worry they just asked if I would like an extra months holiday, who would not? so they sent me and quite a lot of other young employees of to the Outward Bound Adventure School for a bit of character-forming. Goodness me that was a tough month, running, javelin, shot put, hill/mountain walking, rowing, sailing and a lot of other healthy pursuits

I remember how on a hot summer day, in June maybe, one might think winter was so far away. You would be having a roam around the Addison Mansions end of the site and get hit by a cloud of Christmas pudding. I worked on the Frood blast freeze cold room, three large fans that recirculated the air over the chiller gizmo!

I think I might have remembered the name of the man who ran the administrative side of the elect dept, I think it was a Mr Buckingham who worked in what was designated as NOB (new office block). This also housed the medical centre, the M.O. was actually called Dr Blood. Also LEO was in that building.

I left J.Lyons around 1955 and I worked for a number of companies all with an electro-mechanical aspect. One thing I must say is that the training at Cadby which was applied with a very light hand did me no harm.

My dad worked for over forty years in the Cadby Hall fitters dept. He did a number of very basic jobs and had a very happy life.


© John Burgess 2004