Gwynedd County Council tape 15: interview for oral history project. Sample containing about 7805 words speech recorded in leisure context

2 speakers recorded by respondent number C376

PS2W6 X m (No name, age unknown, historian, Interviewer) unspecified
PS2W7 Ag5 m (Harry, age 92, Interviewee) unspecified

1 recordings

  1. Tape 104101 recorded on unknown date. LocationGwynedd: Caernarfonshire () Activity: Interview for oral history project Interview/reminiscences

Undivided text

(PS2W6) [1] Could I have your name please?
Harry (PS2W7) [2] , Harry .
(PS2W6) [3] How old are you Mr ?
Harry (PS2W7) [4] Ninety two.
(PS2W6) [5] Where were you born Mr ?
Harry (PS2W7) [6] Yorkshire, Morley, Yorkshire.
(PS2W6) [7] When did you come to live in North Wales?
Harry (PS2W7) [8] Erm September nineteen eighteen.
(PS2W6) [9] ... Where did you work in Llandudno?
Harry (PS2W7) [10] The er for the electricity the the council electricity supplier.
(PS2W6) [11] And where was that station ?
Harry (PS2W7) [12] That's down in erm er I don't [...] ... it's where the gasworks is and that's on erm ... I don't remember the road, the other end of the town.
[13] ... The gas the the gasworks and the electricity were both together.
(PS2W6) [14] I see.
[15] ... Was this th during the early days of electricity in the in the area?
Harry (PS2W7) [16] Well the electricity er er was originally er in nineteen hundred.
(PS2W6) [17] Yes.
Harry (PS2W7) [18] There when the er first electricity station was built.
[19] [...] it was in er going order when er I came.
(PS2W6) [20] I see.
Harry (PS2W7) [21] There were it [...] came under the North Wales ... electricity supply.
(PS2W6) [22] Yes I see.
Harry (PS2W7) [23] And that supplied the coast
(PS2W6) [24] I see .
Harry (PS2W7) [25] more or less.
[26] With the hydroelectric stations.
(PS2W6) [27] I see.
[28] ... How many people would be working there with you at the time roughly?
[29] Would you remember?
Harry (PS2W7) [30] In the electricity works?
(PS2W6) [31] Yes.
Harry (PS2W7) [32] Oh ... with the distribution there'd be some like some like over twenty or twenty five, twenty twenty five.
(PS2W6) [33] What was the nature
Harry (PS2W7) [34] Mr er er er Mr er and Mist er ... er ... his assistant was [...] .
[35] ... And then there were these shift engineers and myself ... er and the boiler room staff.
(PS2W6) [36] What was the nature of your work?
[37] What sort of things did you do ?
Harry (PS2W7) [38] [...] erm maintenance on the engine room and boiler room.
(PS2W6) [39] I see.
Harry (PS2W7) [40] On the plant.
(PS2W6) [41] Where did you live in Llandudno at the time?
Harry (PS2W7) [42] Er in erm here in Road.
[43] ... And then er ... no I beg your pardon that's wrong.
[44] I'd been away after that before I came to the electricity works here.
[45] ... I was working in Burnley putting in a big textile plant in.
(PS2W6) [46] I see.
Harry (PS2W7) [47] And from there er in I came back here in nineteen thirty eight.
[48] ... And should've gone ... abroad but I wouldn't go I er I er I had this position offered in the electricity works here then
(PS2W6) [49] Aye.
Harry (PS2W7) [50] Nineteen thirty eight ... and I s I was here about s ten years er the nationalization was in nineteen forty seven.
[51] ... And I er I went then when the na it was a nationalized ... this station was closed down and I went to Dolgarrog power station.
(PS2W6) [52] I see.
Harry (PS2W7) [53] And I was there till nineteen sixty ... when I retired .
(PS2W6) [54] I see.
[55] ... Did you have to travel from your home here in Llandudno to Dolgarrog to your work or did you [...] ?
Harry (PS2W7) [56] Oh yes I went on the bus.
[57] Er travelled on the bus.
(PS2W6) [58] Did you?
Harry (PS2W7) [59] I got many a lift you know with ... someone that were there.
(PS2W6) [60] How many hours a week
Harry (PS2W7) [61] But I st I stayed in Dolgarrog the first two years.
(PS2W6) [62] I see.
Harry (PS2W7) [63] To be near hand because I was on maintenance on call you see as maintenance.
(PS2W6) [64] I see ye ... How was the electricity generated in the ... Llandudno power station?
Harry (PS2W7) [65] Well er there were erm [...] reciprocating engines and generators on a positive shaft right through.
[66] ... But then you see ... the town was on er on er on D C. And they'd be at that time they they were beginning to change over to A C, the whole country's A C now.
[67] And to get onto the grid ... supplied by the hydroelectric stations.
(PS2W6) [68] I see.
Harry (PS2W7) [69] And so they put three sets of converters in.
[70] That was to convert from ... from D C to A C. ... to bring it er from A C to D C to bring er bring it into what the town was er being constructed for.
(PS2W6) [71] I see .
Harry (PS2W7) [72] That was until the grid got into proper operation and the then they got nationalized then they they transferred back onto A C. ... It was to bring it into line to s to keep the town supplied through all the er cables that were were being constructed for D C. They had to bring the A C back to D C. ... That was converters.
[73] Now there were three sets in the electricity works here and two in the substation down the town hall.
[74] ... And the converters is that th the er ... commutators on the converters got in a bad state and er the engin the er Mr asked me what could you do with them.
[75] ... Turn them Mr , Never heard of it.
[76] I said I have.
[77] I says and we'll do it.
[78] Oh yes he says you you get on with it.
[79] So I did.
(PS2W6) [80] Was it
Harry (PS2W7) [81] I
(PS2W6) [82] dangerous work?
Harry (PS2W7) [83] No, no
(PS2W6) [84] No?
Harry (PS2W7) [85] Oh no I we couldn't [...] .
[86] ... [...] I designed and made the drawings for some jigs and we made them ... I'd two or three men with me and they made these jigs and [...] them underneath the sets.
[87] ... And then ... took [...] er took the k took the tr the erm ... took the the saddle off and the lathe and and fitted it on top and then got special tools from Clarence Dock at Liverpool power station ... that I asked for, [...] tools.
[88] And they turned these ... they got grooves in ... where the brushes fit.
[89] Now they should be be perfectly plain, straight and we got a t I got a true cut on eighteen inches with a a [...] Mr was so ... so he made a special report on erm what I'd done.
[90] And I did the three sets in the er electricity works and the two [...] in the substation.
[91] And they were a complete success.
(PS2W6) [92] So how long were you working in the Llandudno power station?
Harry (PS2W7) [93] Twelve years.
(PS2W6) [94] And where did you go from here?
Harry (PS2W7) [95] Dolgarrog.
(PS2W6) [96] What ... powered the generators in the Dolgarrog ... power station ?
Harry (PS2W7) [97] Oh tha er that's er that's erm hydro ... water.
(PS2W6) [98] I see.
Harry (PS2W7) [99] Oh yes that's ... that's er more or less ... well it's the nearest approach to pe to ... to er ... what do they call it?
[100] ... Oh perpetual motion.
[101] ... It's continuous ... the water.
[102] Now that water comes through ... it starts er er from er ... [...] on two machines.
[103] High high high pressure ... and it travels thre three miles ... [...] is three miles long and a mile wide and they've never touched bottom.
[104] It's fed by underground springs.
[105] ... And when the heavy rain's heavy er it rises you see, well you've got to put more power, switch more power on to the machines down below in the station.
[106] We've got three sets, we've got four now ... there was another put in wh that one when I when I was [...] I [...] .
[107] That that one we put that in when I was there.
(PS2W6) [108] I see.
Harry (PS2W7) [109] That [...] ... a Francis turbine and erm ... er the er [...] generator ... that's a positive [...] .
[110] The water hits it you see well it isn't like steam.
[111] I've been in steam stations as well as steam turbines a long time since but with steam you can use it over again.
(PS2W6) [112] Yes.
Harry (PS2W7) [113] G passes through condensers. ... er and that er ... and then through the er through the coolers and it its got back into the boilers at the proper temperature.
[114] But with water ... once it's hit the f [...] wheel ... on the turbine, it's finished.
(PS2W6) [115] Yes.
Harry (PS2W7) [116] But it takes it er at at er with a pressure of five hundred pounds a square inch.
(PS2W6) [117] As much as that?
Harry (PS2W7) [118] Yeah ... but you can't get speed on ... on water turbines that you can on er steam.
[119] Now steam there's steam turbine er the the revolutions are are three thousand to the minute.
[120] Now on water you can't get them only on eight hundred about eight hundred and ninety.
[121] Or eight hundred or n eight or nine hundred.
(PS2W6) [122] How was the water conveyed down ?
Harry (PS2W7) [123] Through the pipes.
(PS2W6) [124] I see.
[125] How many pipes [...] ?
Harry (PS2W7) [126] Nine.
[127] They're nine foot diameter.
(PS2W6) [128] Are they as much as that?
Harry (PS2W7) [129] Er [...] coming from Dolgarrog from [...] when they start
(PS2W6) [130] Yes.
Harry (PS2W7) [131] and then there's big ... mesh ... wire meshes ... to stop any foreign matter coming through.
[132] ... They start at nine foot diameter.
(PS2W6) [133] Yes.
Harry (PS2W7) [134] And by the time the then the er diameter's reduced all the way in three miles and the the the drop is the drop is twelve hundred foot.
[135] ... That's ... down the mountain side.
[136] The last drop.
[137] ... And when it hits the turbines it's the diameter's ten inch.
[138] ... So you can imagine what's coming er pressure's coming.
(PS2W6) [139] Yes.
Harry (PS2W7) [140] All that weight of water's coming through all the time.
(PS2W6) [141] What was the [...]
Harry (PS2W7) [142] And then it goes it it runs away into the the the through the er ... bypass into the Con er er River Conway.
(PS2W6) [143] Now you said the pipes were nine feet in diameter?
Harry (PS2W7) [144] Yes.
(PS2W6) [145] What's ... were they made of metal?
[146] Metal pipes?
Harry (PS2W7) [147] Oh yes.
(PS2W6) [148] How [...]
Harry (PS2W7) [149] Hi high tensile steel.
(PS2W6) [150] High tensile steel.
Harry (PS2W7) [151] Oh yes.
(PS2W6) [152] How thick was the steel?
Harry (PS2W7) [153] Th er [...] ... inch inch and th inch and three quarters.
[154] ... Would be ... Well you can see them pipes.
[155] ... and the then there's flanged ... they're every ... six er every er twenty two feet I think it is.
[156] ... And then the flang the flanges.
[157] ... The flanges are two and half inch and then they're bolted together er corresponding er fluctuating bolts one after the other.
[158] All the way round and those bolts are eight ... eighty, eight by one and half and two inch.
(PS2W6) [159] Were these pipes examined ... by anybody?
Harry (PS2W7) [160] Oh yes.
(PS2W6) [161] Periodically or daily ?
Harry (PS2W7) [162] Oh ye yes th th erm ... [...] ... er [...] th er the hydro-electrical engineers ... London.
[163] They're the consultants for the hydro stations.
[164] ... But you know wh what they're getting now.
[165] Er it it's easi er Ffestiniog.
[166] All that water that goes th that goes down through the machines is all sent back to top ... [...]
(PS2W6) [167] Recirculated?
Harry (PS2W7) [168] Er oh yes er the er it's it's a permanent shaft right through.
[169] ... I can show you it.
[170] ... It's a positive shaft right through.
[171] [paper rustling] ... And it er [paper rustling] ... and the pumps ... the pumps at the bottom ... are one hundred thousand horsepower.
(PS2W6) [172] Really?
Harry (PS2W7) [173] That sends the water back to the top.
[174] ... [paper rustling] This is what it looks like.
[175] ... [paper rustling] That's the pump storage.
(PS2W6) [176] I see.
Harry (PS2W7) [177] There's the there's the turbine ... here ... and there's the generator and here's the pumps.
(PS2W6) [178] I see.
Harry (PS2W7) [179] That sends it back t back to the top.
(PS2W6) [180] Th that's the dynamo there on the shaft isn't it ?
Harry (PS2W7) [181] Yes, yes.
(PS2W6) [182] Yes.
Harry (PS2W7) [183] Yes.
(PS2W6) [184] I see.
[185] ... That's very interesting .
Harry (PS2W7) [186] They take er they take a bit of explain If you'd like to take that to look at you can do.
(PS2W6) [187] Thank you very much.
[188] I'll bring it back I'll keep it
Harry (PS2W7) [189] Er
(PS2W6) [190] safely for you.
Harry (PS2W7) [191] there's no hurry no hurry.
(PS2W6) [192] Thanks very much indeed.
[193] ... It's very interesting .
Harry (PS2W7) [194] Well in fact you could keep it if you want.
(PS2W6) [195] No I er
Harry (PS2W7) [196] I can get another.
(PS2W6) [197] No I'll bring it back for you.
Harry (PS2W7) [198] I can get another if you er
(PS2W6) [199] No it's
Harry (PS2W7) [200] [...] .
[201] But er it ... [laugh] it'd take a bit of time to er if er I explained it all to you.
(PS2W6) [202] Yes.
Harry (PS2W7) [203] How it's er how it's operated.
[204] You see the the inlet pipes and the outlets ... and this you can't see a thing of this, you ought to go and have a look at this place sometime .
(PS2W6) [205] I'd like to very much.
[206] I'd like to.
[207] ... Did these pipes ever break?
Harry (PS2W7) [208] Mm?
(PS2W6) [209] [cough] these these conduit pipes ... did they ever break at all?
Harry (PS2W7) [210] No.
[211] No.
(PS2W6) [212] Was there no accident at all with them ?
Harry (PS2W7) [213] [...] too solid ... constructions.
[214] This this is the main this is the er the station that wa was only opened in nineteen sixty seven.
(PS2W6) [215] I see.
Harry (PS2W7) [216] You can take that if you want.
[217] ... er er
(PS2W6) [218] Oh thank you very much.
Harry (PS2W7) [219] Now er in the in the ... [paper rustling] An engineer if you've any engineer friend engineering friends I could explain it all to you but it takes time.
(PS2W6) [220] Yes.
Harry (PS2W7) [221] If if you've if you've got [...] they'd be able to explain that to you.
[222] Because it's all ... it's all set out.
(PS2W6) [223] Er I take the the er dynamo itself in the powerhouse was erm [...]
Harry (PS2W7) [224] Well they aren't dynamo er a dynam a dynamo's obsolete.
(PS2W6) [225] Mm.
Harry (PS2W7) [226] They're er generators.
(PS2W6) [227] I see.
Harry (PS2W7) [228] Generates the current.
(PS2W6) [229] How how was the
Harry (PS2W7) [230] It's like like this you see.
[231] Er er er it's it's one magnet working a against another.
(PS2W6) [232] I see.
[233] Is there a coil of wire round it?
Harry (PS2W7) [234] Er oh yes the lot.
[235] You see the out the er the rotor ... and then there's the stator outside, it's massive coil millions of mi thousands of miles of wire.
[236] And then there's a gap between you see.
[237] ... The higher the the voltage the closer that gap is.
[238] ... You can't adjust it, it's way it's originally designed and made.
[239] ... And that produces the electrici the er electrical you can't see it of course but we know that, everybody knows.
[240] You can't see it but that's where it's generated in between the in between those two.
[241] ... That's ... now it's it's it's working ... the [...] is working against ... the power.
[242] ... You see ... [paper rustling] you see that's the generator ... and these are the these are the coils, that's the rotor that goes round.
(PS2W6) [243] I see.
Harry (PS2W7) [244] And the electricity's generated in the centre.
[245] This is all the apparatus that goes up to drive it.
[246] ... And then there's governors and all that sort of thing to regulate it, to keep it exact.
[247] ... To keep it in its place so all the engineers knows what they're doing.
[248] [paper rustling] ... Anyway if if you've any engin engineering friends they'd be able to explain that to you.
[249] I can do it but it'd take
(PS2W6) [250] Thanks very much
Harry (PS2W7) [251] a long time it'd take a long time.
[252] ... Ooh aye ... er it's it's er highly technical ... and I
(PS2W6) [253] Yes.
Harry (PS2W7) [254] I mean I I it's a long time since I left it.
(PS2W6) [255] There would be somebody on duty twenty four hours a day ?
Harry (PS2W7) [256] Oh yes.
[257] Continuous, they never stopped.
[258] ... It's a public what they call er Mr here used to say.
[259] It's a public service that must be kept going.
[260] They worked all night sometimes on breakdowns you know.
[261] ... They're inside boilers [...] and the coal passing through you know.
[262] ... But now in these big new super-stations like Drax in North Yorkshire, one of the biggest stations er in Europe, coal-fired and Ferrybridge ... in Cheshire.
[263] ... You see the coal now is pulverized.
[264] The it comes straight from the coa from the er mines and it's it's sent through chutes on these ... merry-go-round railways that go slow and they stop over this [...] and then it's all pulverized with heavy steel balls into powder and coal and into the furnaces it's just blown in.
[265] ... At a terrific pressure.
[266] And that's the furnace that creates the steam and the steam goes then to the turbines and a matter of half a million er ... Drax ... Drax power station and Ferrybridge ... their units are s s s half a million horsepower ... [...] half a million or six hundred five hundred million horsepower.
(PS2W6) [267] Tremendous.
Harry (PS2W7) [268] I used to have a little stick.
[269] ... [...] cherry wood.
[270] ... Oh I did all my all my working days I us I used to keep it keep it in my pocket you know.
[271] And er I could yes I could hear well then.
[272] ... I could put it in it were only about ten inches long and I I made it and tapered it erm on a lathe, I put it my ear and [...] side of casing and I could hear all what were going on inside.
[273] If there were a fault I could detect it.
(PS2W6) [274] Is that right?
Harry (PS2W7) [275] Aye.
[276] ... They've got instruments for doing it now but I used to stick to my bit of stick.
[277] They used to say, That bugger's coming here with his bit of stick.
[278] He knows more about it than what we know with these instruments.
[279] [laugh] [...] how they used to talk.
(PS2W6) [280] It was a primitive form of of stethoscope ?
Harry (PS2W7) [281] [...] was this thing going then
(PS2W6) [laugh]
Harry (PS2W7) [282] when I said that?
[283] ... I'm sorry er wh what were you say [...] ?
(PS2W6) [284] [...] It was a primitive form of stethoscope?
[285] ... Like a doctor's stethoscope
Harry (PS2W7) [286] Yes yes.
[287] Or er I used to use them too.
(PS2W6) [288] Did you?
Harry (PS2W7) [289] Stethoscopes, yes .
(PS2W6) [290] Did you really?
Harry (PS2W7) [291] Oh yes.
[292] But I used to th I er used to stick to my bit of stick.
[293] ... I got better results than what they did with their with their fancy gadgets.
(PS2W6) [294] What else can you tell me about er the generation of electricity in Dolgarrog?
Harry (PS2W7) [295] Ooh I could tell you a lot.
[296] ... Oh ... I could keep you going all day.
[297] ... There's some things that used to happen.
[298] ... Aye [...] going going flat out you know they're ... er heavy rains ... the machines are going flat out er at the s one night I I sat I sat er all night and ne nearly part of next day at side of one of governors, to make sure it didn't ... shift ... no more than a about a sixteenth of an inch.
[299] ... Er if it had gone over [...] would have thrown the whole lot out of er out of gear.
[300] ... They're that sensitive you know.
(PS2W6) [301] Are they?
Harry (PS2W7) [302] Oh they are, very sensitive is er is those machines.
[303] They are.
[304] ... Er
(PS2W6) [305] Apart from your normal work ... what did you do in your leisure er leisure time?
Harry (PS2W7) [306] Oh I'd a little workshop and used to make stuff.
(PS2W6) [307] What sort of things?
Harry (PS2W7) [308] Oh er I'd made one or two little machines and and machine tools and stuff like that.
[309] There's one on t on on the board er in the er engine room at Dolg at Dolgarrog in the machine room that I made.
[310] ... And I I last time I were there I went there for erm ... well ... to put it ... fairly straight ... I went to consult ... on something that'd been done.
[311] ... Ooh it was all [...] that that [...] do in these ... commu commutators that [...] .
[312] And I made them jigs and whatnot. ... [...] when they come to do it at Dolgarrog ... when they come to want them doing I said to the ... to the ... the chief engineer I said, he told me about they were going [...] get these commutators done here [...] machine.
[313] They're massive machines you know.
[314] ... [...] ... Oh he says ... oh I says, Well what do you do [...] ?
[315] Oh [...] stones ... made by Martindales.
[316] Now that's er that's er er a carborundum stone ... and it goes ... it fits on a jig at side of machine.
[317] Now there's the machine is g there ... the laminated copper ... er these commutators and it's on main shaft ... that goes right through the generator and the turbine.
[318] And they've got to be kept true.
[319] Now you'll never get a true surface with a commutator stone.
[320] ... With a com stone.
[321] Because it er er the machine was grinding the stone away the stone wasn't grinding the bra the cop the copper.
[322] I stuck to that theory all the way through.
[323] ... Oh yes it does.
[324] Oh no it doesn't, I says ... but you do your ow er have it your own way.
[325] But it made awful mess.
[326] And I told them about this job I'd done here.
[327] ... Oh he pooh-poohed it.
[328] ... I says, Well ... alright that mi er [...] very very nice chap to deal with and oh I I got on alright with him but he wouldn't have this.
[329] So ... oh after I retired ... some years, we have a dinner every year you see it'll be it'll be coming off in December.
[330] And it's er er we go to Ffestiniog power station to have a drink and then come to er ... er well we've been at Royal Hotel at Betsy-Coed [...] these last years or two.
[331] But anyway apart from that ... I said to Mr , he's the head over all the hydroelectric stations [...] over this erm I said Mr li ... these commutators ... I told him [...] doing the [...] .
[332] Oh, he says, I never heard of anything like that.
[333] He says, Next time we have them to do at Dolgarrog we'll ... send for you.
[334] ... And the maintenance engineer at Ffestiniog, Mr , I know him very well, he came here ... er like you did downstairs, come to see me one evening.
[335] ... Oh aye he says er ... you come up to Dolgarrog tomorrow?
[336] ... I said, Bit short notice isn't it?
[337] Well he says ... [...] want you to come and see this ... idea that we er how we do these commutators.
[338] I says what do you them with?
[339] Oh he says we [...] a jig and er ... a diamond tool.
[340] [...] that's that's no good.
[341] I says, That isn't same as what I said.
[342] We turn it er turn them [...] I said with a er cutting tool.
[343] ... Well, he says ... he says, We're we're doing it with a with a ... with a er a diamond tool.
[344] ... I [...] I went ... to Dolgarrog ... [...] came for me with a car [...] and Mr couldn't be there.
[345] ... But he asked me if I'd send them er er a full report of it after day after they'd done it.
[346] ... I wasn't doing it.
[347] I went to see er how they were doing it you see.
[348] ... Oh [...] .
[349] Er ... says er it would [...] that diamond tool were only sending dust ... copper dust.
[350] ... It should have been a a ... a sk erm a [...] copper coming off with turning tool.
[351] ... And I asked the man in the engineering [...] .
[352] I said, What speed are you going on?
[353] Oh, he says, a hundred.
[354] A hundred, I says, [...] no wonder the er it it you've made a mess on it I said.
[355] You have made a mess on it, don't mind me saying so but you have.
[356] I said I've come all way from Llandudno to see what you're doing.
[357] And after [...] write a report.
[358] ... Hundred I says d I says do you know how mu what speed I were running when I did them?
[359] At two thousand eight hundred.
[360] ... You want high speed ... and a er low cut for copper.
[361] ... Fine cut.
[362] Don't want to get [...] get a lot off you can't ... but you want the speed the high speed for laminated copper.
[363] ... You know th that's the end of th [...] .
[364] ... I said that ... I said, A hundred and you're only running at a hundred.
[365] ... Oh well alright ... and I told Mr about it.
[366] I wrote a report out for them.
[367] I says you're all er very er ... I says, Your method my method it's far and away in er er better than what your's is.
[368] ... And another thing I asked this engineer that were in charge of job.
[369] When did you start [...] this?
[370] He said yesterday afternoon.
[371] ... I said, And you're only a quarter way across?
[372] ... When will you finish?
[373] Oh, he said, We should finish tomorrow morning.
[374] ... That was fourteen hours.
[375] They wouldn't count in running at night.
[376] They weren't running at night.
[377] Not tha not the job like that.
[378] There got to be somebody there.
[379] ... Fourteen hours I said.
[380] D do you know how how long it took me to do them?
[381] I said, Four hours.
[382] ... And another thing what what our commutators were eighteen inches.
[383] ... Yours is only nine at Dolgarrog.
[384] ... He got a fright.
[385] ... And they got a fright when they got my report and all.
(PS2W6) [386] What were the wages like?
Harry (PS2W7) [387] Mm?
(PS2W6) [388] What were the wages like?
Harry (PS2W7) [389] Oh they were erm ... er nothing like they are today you know of course.
[390] But er on standard er engineering standards they were alright.
[391] ... I think I'd ... er when I retired I think mine was somewhere about round about twenty pound.
[392] That were in nineteen sixty.
(PS2W6) [393] Twenty pound a week was it?
Harry (PS2W7) [394] Yes.
[395] ... Today er on that job they'd be be getting about three hundred.
(PS2W6) [396] Yes.
Harry (PS2W7) [397] Previously that were the average average wage for er a skilled man.
(PS2W6) [398] When you first started with the electricity board in Llandudno
Harry (PS2W7) [399] Oh er
(PS2W6) [400] what were the wages then?
Harry (PS2W7) [401] Three pound.
[402] ... That were in nineteen thirty eight.
(PS2W6) [403] Was that a good wage then?
Harry (PS2W7) [404] It was then.
[405] ... Yes.
[406] Yes it was a good wage then in nineteen thirty eight.
(PS2W6) [407] Was there a lot of unem
Harry (PS2W7) [408] Three or four pound.
(PS2W6) [409] Was there a lot of unemployment in the area ... in nineteen thirty eight?
Harry (PS2W7) [410] Er er not a great lot.
[411] ... [...] erm ... nineteen thirties there was.
[412] ... Course I were away then working, I were putting the bi the big plant in in Burnley.
[413] ... And then ... wages then for a labourer that er ... er assistants and stuff like that we only come to about two pound.
[414] ... And when I put that plant in ... I wanted some ... I wanted some ... well more or less labourers to work wi work with the fitters.
[415] ... I wanted six.
[416] ... There were about six hundred turned up.
(PS2W6) [417] Really?
Harry (PS2W7) [418] Unemploy were bad in Lancashire in er in nineteen thirty you know.
[419] ... They went on their knees nearly to get jobs.
[420] ... Well I couldn't take I couldn't do nowt about it at all so I went to see t head of firm and ... Aye, he says, it's bad, he says, we don't know to do [...] things like that.
[421] ... It were bad where erm ... Have I been talking in that thing all time?
(PS2W6) [422] You have indeed. [break in recording]
(PS2W6) [423] Mr ?
Harry (PS2W7) [424] Mm.
(PS2W6) [425] C when you first came to Llandudno you were eighteen years of age as you said.
Harry (PS2W7) [426] Yeah oh I was er I was [...]
(PS2W6) [427] Can, can you can you tell me something ... about the Llandudno area during that time.
[428] Erm [...]
Harry (PS2W7) [429] [...] very ni and and er ... the [...] Road you know with a bridge
(PS2W6) [430] Yes.
Harry (PS2W7) [431] [...] it was a level crossing there.
(PS2W6) [432] Yes.
Harry (PS2W7) [433] And er it was all fields ... right up er [...] .
[434] ... There were no main ro well there was a road but ... nothing like it is today.
[435] ... And there was a Yorkshire firm ... covered it covered that road ... tarmac or something they said, It'll last twenty years.
[436] and it lasted about thirty.
[437] before they came and did it again.
[438] ... And all and another thing ... I tell you th this this is worth knowing ... I've seen ... you won't credit it but I've seen a rowing boat in Street.
[439] ... In December nineteen eighteen.
[440] The floods.
[441] ... And the hi high tides.
[442] And these seas here er nearly met ... from the promenade and the west shore down here.
[443] It were flowing down the both ways down [...] .
[444] And it was coming down ... the side streets ... erm ... by er Hotel er ... what's the name of that street?
[445] ... What's the name of that street, opposite Church?
(PS2W6) [446] [...] Street?
Harry (PS2W7) [447] Mm?
(PS2W6) [448] [...] Street?
Harry (PS2W7) [449] No no that's round post office.
[450] No coming off at promenade down into Street.
[451] ... Well there's several roads comes down into
(PS2W6) [452] Yes.
Harry (PS2W7) [453] Well I saw there by the [...] what's now, it was [...] in them days, I've seen a rowing boat mm ... in there in Street.
(PS2W6) [454] Dear me.
Harry (PS2W7) [455] That were in December nineteen eighteen [...] .
[456] That's a fact.
[457] ... And there wasn't the defence the water defences, tide defences on the west shore then that there is now you know.
(PS2W6) [458] No.
Harry (PS2W7) [459] It were more or less open [...] tides the high tides used to come over and down here, it all used [...] .
(PS2W6) [460] How deep would it be?
Harry (PS2W7) [461] Oh I er I couldn't tell you ... be a couple of feet or something like that.
[462] Might be a bit more.
[463] Of course it subsided after a while but ... oh there were some storms then that winter.
[464] This er winter nineteen eighteen.
[465] ... [...] . ... Dear me.
(PS2W6) [466] What else can you tell me?
Harry (PS2W7) [467] [...] Well I er I ... I don't know I could tell you a lot if I could just bring it to mind.
(PS2W6) [468] What about entertainment ... in Llandudno?
Harry (PS2W7) [469] Well ... there was a big reunion er you know for all the m all the soldiers [...] all the sold came back out of the war.
[470] In the Palladium after it we soon after it were built.
[471] Ooh the they had er it we it were built as a proper music hall was that you know.
[472] Palladium.
(PS2W6) [473] Was it?
Harry (PS2W7) [474] They had some big musical shows there.
[475] ... On er the manager outside with er a tall hat on and his frock coat and the [...] made a lot to do about him.
[476] And butchers next door where you know where shoe shop is on [...] street [...] , well grocers were there on that corner and th when we come here [...] there were hams and bacons hung up outside all night.
(PS2W6) [477] Really?
[478] All night?
Harry (PS2W7) [479] You wouldn't see them today.
[480] ... Yes all night.
[481] And Corner well er it it's turned full circle has it were when we came and then er there were other firms ... they did away with some part of the shop.
[482] And the corner was the Northern jewellers but it's back to again.
[483] And they were er er erm [...] house higher up they were Italian [...] like Italian [...] they did coffee you know you could smell them grinding, and hams and old old style grocery shop, tea and all that sort of stuff.
[484] ... Oh er lovely shops were them.
[485] ... They were.
[486] ... Aye they were and er [...] ... [...] come in [...] ... [...]
(PS2W6) [487] What was Llandudno like during the summer holiday periods?
Harry (PS2W7) [488] Oh it was it was full.
[489] ... Always full of visitors.
(PS2W6) [490] Where did they come from mostly?
Harry (PS2W7) [491] Oh er the Midlands and down the south.
[492] Some used to come year after year you know.
[493] Us some used to come and take o take houses o down [...] west shore, take [...] take these houses for a month, bring their own ... er bring their own servants and ... er own footmen and I don't know what besides.
[494] ... Oh they did that the er there were er ... lot of wealthy families used to come here.
[495] ... Will you excuse me I'll have to go ... can you take that off ?
(PS2W6) [496] Cer yes certainly.
Harry (PS2W7) [497] I'm I'm just going to toilet.
[498] I I won't I won't be a m [break in recording]
Harry (PS2W7) [499] [...] ... The old minstrels you know, black and white minstrels.
(PS2W6) [...]
Harry (PS2W7) [500] The they were niggers here when we came here at first.
[501] And they used to go and er th [...] odd ones er and they used to go to the houses in the street, there were a chap er down th er that street opposite the er er the [...] every morning.
[502] ... And the were another er blind man, they used to say that he wasn't blind you know ... and he he had er [...] old fashioned bassinets ... prams you know.
[503] And he had a gramophone in.
[504] And he used to go to these houses [...] Dunoon and them and er all the way down and around the promenade ... around the south parade and er and he used to go these houses with all these [...] and then there were some er black and white minstrels ... in the valley.
[505] They used to go out in the morning to these houses, then they'd give a performance on the sands.
[506] And then in the [...] valley in the afternoon.
(PS2W6) [507] How many minstrels was there in the group?
Harry (PS2W7) [508] Oh there'd be a dozen or sixteen perhaps.
[509] Proper b blacked up proper they were well thought of you know.
(PS2W6) [510] Yes [...]
Harry (PS2W7) [511] [...] ... what did they call that man he er we used to have them at Pierhead as well.
[512] ... Th [...] er Alex Munro but that were years after.
[513] But when we came at first there were these erm ... there were these er street ... street musicians you know.
[514] They used to go and [...] whole lot of these houses round about here have seen them.
(PS2W6) [515] Yes.
Harry (PS2W7) [516] Er one with a cornet every morning down there.
(PS2W6) [517] What else
Harry (PS2W7) [...]
(PS2W6) [518] What else was there in the form of entertainment on the promenade?
Harry (PS2W7) [519] Oh the there wasn't much.
(PS2W6) [520] Was there anything for the children?
Harry (PS2W7) [521] Er oh yes there was.
[522] Punch and Judy of course.
[523] ... There were always that there.
[524] ... Aye.
(PS2W6) [525] What what er
Harry (PS2W7) [526] Codmans.
(PS2W6) [527] Oh yes.
Harry (PS2W7) [528] Aye er th though that were about er and then they used to have Sunday evening conc a bandstand and the town band every every evening, and Sundays singing you know.
(PS2W6) [529] Did you used to go and listen to them?
Harry (PS2W7) [530] Oh aye I went many a time in them days yes.
[531] I used to come here for weekends and I used to come home at weekend and holiday time.
[532] ... And then er ... oh I often used to go to the pier concerts you know, Sunday night, Saturday night and Sunday night because they [...] tiptop musical concerts.
[533] The good orchestra.
(PS2W6) [534] Ho
Harry (PS2W7) [535] The [...] nearly fifty in that orchestra.
(PS2W6) [536] How much did you have to pay to go in?
Harry (PS2W7) [537] One and er ... it were one and three into pictures.
[538] Cinema er er ... er Savoy and Palladium and then that other in er Mostyn street.
[539] What did they call that?
[540] Princess.
[541] Princess.
(PS2W6) [542] What sort of films did they show?
Harry (PS2W7) [543] Mm?
(PS2W6) [544] What sort of films did they show ?
Harry (PS2W7) [545] Oh the old time films you know like there were ... sometimes you get one occasionally on television now.
[546] Like Good Companions and ... and er these a lot of these musicals and musical comedies.
[547] Oh they were very good too.
[548] ... Oh yes.
[549] And orchestral concerts.
(PS2W6) [550] Who
Harry (PS2W7) [551] That's what I like to see.
(PS2W6) [552] Who were the popular film stars in those days?
Harry (PS2W7) [553] Well I don't know as I d I d ... although to tell you the truth I've always had a weakness for pictures ever since I was a boy.
[554] ... Going to t and I used to go every Saturday night here.
[555] Either to the Astra or to the er Palladium.
[556] And they used to tell me at home [...] .
[557] Er my wife's mother used to say, I don't know how you can go sit in pictures all that time.
[558] Er I I us I used to go by half past five, have my tea early and didn't come out till about nine o'clock.
[559] And then I went to British Legion to have a drink.
[560] But er ... and then when television come ... her mother was sat over it all times and she used to tell me about going to pictures.
[561] [...] erm you know Ronald Colman er he were a a good artist in them days.
[562] And Good Companions that were er, they don't make stuff like that today.
[563] The rubbish that's on television today er it's scandalous I call it.
[564] ... To what er they show some of the old films like they had in them days ... some of these circus pictures ... and travel pictures ... Now I'll tell you something ... that's rather remarkable ... I'll I'll b tell you as briefly as I can.
[565] ... When I one time when I was wounded in France ... I was on the Somme you know.
(PS2W6) [566] Were you ?
Harry (PS2W7) [567] And Ypres ... and them places.
[568] Paschendale was later, one of my cousins was killed at Paschendale.
[569] But one time er I'd been er I were wounded and I 'd come out of er they bring you to casual clearly stations, thousands ... [...] got into one ... I [...] in this ... ward er [...] tents and best way they could you know [...] and nurses there and all.
[570] So near the line ... [...] they're the only ones that went ne near front line.
[571] But anyway I remember one time and it er I think it was Christmas time, and there was a German ... they brought Germans in just same as us you know ... Fritz.
[572] And he were in next bed to me, the truckle beds you know.
[573] ... Er the next bed to me ... and he he were trying to talk to me and I er he [...] ... and he wanted one of my buttons of my tunic.
[574] Gun buttons.
[575] The Royal Artillery had a regimental [...] button.
[576] ... So I [...] give him one [...] here you are er I says you can have it.
[577] I says what you gonna give me?
[578] ... Ooh he says [...] his pocket, he ga he got a German field postcard out.
[579] ... You know we had we had field postcards in all them days.
[580] And this were a er field p his regiment with his regiment on, and he wrote his name on ... and where he came from.
[581] [...] in Hanover.
[582] ... He wrote this on p .
[583] And I had that in my pocket for years.
[584] And then ... when my wife died and I had to sell all you know it disa er I think er it got away with er some old stuff you know.
(PS2W6) [585] You lost it?
Harry (PS2W7) [586] I think that's where lost lost it.
[587] ... But there a sequel to it.
[588] Long after I came to the army as I were telling you I used to go to pictures, I were in the S in the Savoy down Mostyn Street one one night I went ... and there in the programme there was this old ... er travel picture er some town or other th .
[589] And th that that night the travel picture came on and it said [...] Hanover.
[590] And it c all come to me then.
[591] I remembered that German lad at er sat at side and I gave of one my gun buttons and he gave me this postcard.
[592] ... [...] , Hanover.
[593] ... And a beautiful ... town you know.
[594] Showed all all about it.
[595] [...] remarkable that I [...]
(PS2W6) [596] It was.
[597] You never got ... round to going over to visit him then?
Harry (PS2W7) [598] No I er I said er if I'd have kept that postcard it there were his address on you see I could have f I could have found him, but ... no.
[599] ... But you know when I when I c last time I came from France and I came a came across the [...] widest part of the channel ... er I got done once ... I had a B written on my board and then they come and ... crossed it out.
[600] And I [...] back up the line I had to go.
[601] But some months after when I was er I were badly hurt th that last time.
[602] I got it round here you know.
(PS2W6) [603] In your head?
Harry (PS2W7) [604] Aye er and er ... I got to the [...] now ... [...] on the [...] and ... steamers [...] go so far up, past Le Havre at the mouth ... Le Havre we disembarked when we went out to France first time and we took guns and all sorts.
[605] [...] . But coming that time I was dumped in a ... in a field.
[606] Thousands wounded you know, you couldn't get you into these into er huts, they were army huts you know er and taking them in er out in rain and er best best you could.
[607] But even eventually I got in.
[608] ... Oh I could tell you a lot about this but I'll I'll just tell you a little bit that's all.
[609] ... Er we came ... I was er ... the doctor put a big B on my board at back.
[610] Blighty.
[611] ... Oh I'm alright for [...] I'm going this time.
[612] ... And they didn't cross it off.
[613] ... There were one night [...] the door ... and we'd been in quarantine you know for th that three weeks.
[614] But that's where there's a lot more stories attached to that.
[615] He said ... he shouted my name out.
[616] Be ready for England at two o'clock.
[617] Ooh.
[618] And it were er early evening then.
[619] And I were ready.
[620] Got my uniform on and everything.
[621] I could [...] walker, I were a walker.
[622] I could walk you know.
[623] I wasn't I were only bandaged up.
[624] ... And we crossed from [...] to Southampton.
[625] That's th the widest part of the Channel.
[626] ... And night before they'd sunk a hospital ship.
[627] U-Boats.
[628] ... We came across in broad daylight.
[629] ... [sniff] ... We got to Southampton alright.
[630] And I'd written the postcard on boat er they gave us all postcards to send home.
[631] But I [laugh] er I never wrote it till we got to t other side.
[632] ... And I wrote it w because we ... there was a new Great Western I remember this quite we , new Great Western hospital train on, ... double engine ... on platform at Southampton.
[633] Wonderful train.
[634] Six [...] ... six [...] of beds.
[635] ... And the corridor down and kitch two or three kitchens that were ... we we went er I asked one of th the attendants ... I got a I grabbed the [...] another chap with me we [...] we'd come across together.
[636] He said, Let's get in here and we got in, he got into one bunk at one side and I got in to t other.
[637] Right level with the window.
[638] ... You know you could see out onto platform.
[639] ... And we went from there from Southampton to Aberdeen.
[640] ... That's a long way, fifteen hours on the train.
[641] And it only stopped once and that were at er unless it stopped to change engines somewhere, perhaps it would, but it stopped in Birmingham for twenty minutes and what a twenty minutes it were.
[642] They let the people in you know ... ooh my ... by time we set off I er it were like Christmas.
[643] My bunk and [...] all the others were piled up with stuff, cigarettes, chocolates, money, magazines ... anything you could wish for. ...
(PS2W6) [644] What
Harry (PS2W7) [645] They'd have given you their [...] if they could.
[646] ... We'd all er er just come from France you see.
(PS2W6) [647] What regiment were you in?
Harry (PS2W7) [648] I was in the Royal Field Arti Royal Horse and Royal Field Artillery.
[649] We had horses in them days.
[650] ... And I could ride like a red indian.
(PS2W6) [651] Really.
Harry (PS2W7) [652] I used to like riding.
[653] [...] I did that.
[654] ... Er [...] on these [...] sections when they have to er rejoin up after being away you see.
(PS2W6) [655] What happened to your horse?
Harry (PS2W7) [656] Ha?
(PS2W6) [657] What happened to your horse?
Harry (PS2W7) [658] Oh I don't know, you'd a fresh horse every day.
[659] You never got same
(PS2W6) [660] Oh did you?
Harry (PS2W7) [661] horse twice when you were training.
[662] ... No [...] .
[663] That's another story I could tell you it'd er er make your hair curl.
[664] ... Mm.
[665] [...] isn't time to tell it now.
[666] But er ... when we when that er train I er had I'd written the postcard for home and I asked a lady [...] if she'd post it for me.
[667] She says, I certainly will.
[668] ... I says, I haven't got a stamp.
[669] Oh oh good grief she says you don't need stamp.
[670] [cough] [cough] There were books of stamps all up and down your bed and cigarettes and money and any everything you could [...] think of.
(PS2W6) [671] How much was the postage for a postcard in those days?
Harry (PS2W7) [672] Penny.
[673] ha'penny.
(PS2W6) [674] Ha'penny?
Harry (PS2W7) [675] Ha'penny ... postcard.
[676] ... Penny for a letter.
[677] ... [...] overseas th er the forces are are all free.
[678] There no nothing to pay on them.
(PS2W6) [679] No. [break in recording]
(PS2W6) [680] What's the chapels and churches in Llandudno?
Harry (PS2W7) [681] Well majority er then in them days we were Welsh they are they are English, they're English erm Congregational Christ Church and then there were the English presbyterian across the road.
[682] ... But the majority were Welsh churches.
(PS2W6) [683] Have there been many changes ... in church and chapel attendance ... since then do you think?
Harry (PS2W7) [684] Er no I don't think so.
[685] ... No they're very er ... [...] .
[686] ... Er the er ... of course it is more or less Welsh district than [...] they're they're very well attended is the Welsh churches.
[687] And the er ... there's there's er ... one one of them two of them had to close down.
[688] ... Er close and then they moved to er help other churches you see.
[689] You see there's there's the baptists in er Street, that that had to close to make way for er for all that shopping area, Boots and whatnot.
[690] ... That was er ... that was the baptists.
[691] And then there's St across the road that's very popular is St .
[692] And there are all these er ... singers in in er summertime ... special services.
[693] ... Oh yes erm ... er [...] that was the Welsh church that closed.
[694] ... I don't know of any more.
(PS2W6) [695] How long have you been here in Plas-y-Dre now?
Harry (PS2W7) [696] Mm?
(PS2W6) [697] How long have been here?
Harry (PS2W7) [698] Plas-y-Dre?
(PS2W6) [699] [...] in Plas-y-Dre?
Harry (PS2W7) [700] Four years.
(PS2W6) [701] Four years.
Harry (PS2W7) [702] It's very er it's it's a good thing [...] look how nice [...] isn't it?
(PS2W6) [703] Can you tell me something about it?
[704] Is it [...]
Harry (PS2W7) [705] Oh er well it's it's well ru Well very well conducted.
[706] And very well liked.
[707] ... And very good staff indeed.
(PS2W6) [708] You're very happy here?
Harry (PS2W7) [709] The yes, they look after you your slightest wants.
[710] You only need mention it and it's there.
[711] ... They look after you for everything.
[712] ... The [...] er they're exceptionally good.
[713] ... And that was a, that was a good er ... I didn't know nothing about that you know until they er gave me.
(PS2W6) [714] What's that ?
Harry (PS2W7) [715] It was it was in the pa [...] television.
(PS2W6) [716] Oh yes.
Harry (PS2W7) [717] It was in the paper about it, er the presentation you know in er the Royal Artillery Club.
(PS2W6) [718] Are you telling me it was presented to you by the Royal Artillery Club?
Harry (PS2W7) [719] Mm?
(PS2W6) [720] Are you telling me it was presented to you
Harry (PS2W7) [721] Yes.
(PS2W6) [722] by the Royal Artillery Club ?
Harry (PS2W7) [723] By the by the regiment not by this Club.
(PS2W6) [724] Oh I see.
Harry (PS2W7) [725] By the regiment.
[726] And I had a nice letter from the ... commanding officer ... the Royal Artillery.
(PS2W6) [727] That was nice for you.
Harry (PS2W7) [728] Yes.
[729] About two years since they gave me that.
(PS2W6) [730] And it's working alright.
Harry (PS2W7) [731] Ooh fine er yes.
[732] I've no trouble with it.
(PS2W6) [...]
Harry (PS2W7) [733] Yes.
[734] They made a nice presentation ... made a nice er nice do with it and then they er ... [...] quite a few there.
[735] There's one at er one man in er Wrexham belonging to the disabled soldiers and sailors ... looks after you ... they come and see you you know, they come here.
[736] He'll be coming here anytime now that man.
[737] Mr [...] ... he had a lot to do with this ... and the Royal Artillery Club here had ... and er ... I thought it were a nice gesture.
(PS2W6) [738] Very nice.
Harry (PS2W7) [739] Oh it was.
[740] Yes.
[741] ... Yes they look after you.
[742] ... They do.
(PS2W6) [743] Well you're looking very well.
Harry (PS2W7) [744] Aye well ... I don't whether I told you I had a er I went on a holiday ... to the er ... beginning of September.
(PS2W6) [745] Did you?
Harry (PS2W7) [746] Then I had a blooming fall.
[747] ... No ... old war injury you know.
[748] And it made it ten times worse.
[749] ... They shouldn't wi all the money they spend on des designing and er whatnot and the the big shops [...] .
[750] And then they went right across the centre of the shop two steps, no guardrails, nothing.
[751] Down I went.
[752] I thought I'd broken my leg.
[753] ... And I'm still under doc but I still hurt you know.
[754] ... I can't walk half as well as I could.
(PS2W6) [755] No.
Harry (PS2W7) [756] And I were doing very well.
[757] I walked whole length of Street first day we there.
[758] And then I were jiggered.
[759] ... I couldn't go nowhere.
[760] ... No er ... [...] I th I thought Mr [...] had been here before now, but he's a very busy man you know, he'll be coming.
(PS2W6) [761] Yes.
Harry (PS2W7) [762] They don't neglect you.
[763] No, no.
[764] ... No.
[765] Have you seen that picture?
(PS2W6) [766] Yes.
Harry (PS2W7) [767] Aye.
(PS2W6) [768] I have been looking at it.
Harry (PS2W7) [769] That's that's one of t .
[770] And this this'll be interesting if you er if you've any engineering friends friends that'll
(PS2W6) [771] Do you want it back?
Harry (PS2W7) [772] No, no you can keep that.
[773] I can get some, get another.
[774] I go to Ffestiniog sometimes you know.
[775] And I'll be going there in December all being w
(PS2W6) [776] It's awfully nice of you.
[777] Thank you [...]
Harry (PS2W7) [778] Oh yes
(PS2W6) [779] [...] goes to the museum.
Harry (PS2W7) [780] Yes.
[781] Oh yes.
[782] ... Have you got to know all you want?
(PS2W6) [783] I think so.
[784] I'm overwhelmed with that [...]
Harry (PS2W7) [785] If er if there's owt else you want to know you can always come in come in or I'll come and see you [...] [laugh] either way.
(PS2W6) [786] Thank you very much indeed. [recording ends]