After leaving NEGS I served as an apprentice at BTH for one year 1952/3.
Of course I was accommodated at Coton House, from memory in the main house,
first floor room at the rear along with 5 other apprentices, whose names I struggle
to recall. Tony Eagle, was one and …Scott another.
I started with three months in the Foundry.
From memory the ground floor was all Iron casting. There was a furnace (induction) in the left hand corner.
a section for the apprentices on the right hand side. Turning 180 deg, and looking back down the foundry, I
think there were banks of vibrating compression benches for the production casting. And I suspect a section for larger
castings further down. The apprencices would do any small jobs the foreman could get for them, often making
The floor above was for the more exotic casting, aluminium, gunmetal, brass, bronze etc.
Mainly working on the ground floor doing black sand casting with iron. Spent a short time on the first floor, doing
Aluminum casting (motor end covers) this was rather more demanding than the iron casting.
Then six month in the Turbine fitting shop, overlooked by the gallery where Frank Whittles built his Jet Engine.
I was allocated to Frank Bennett (?) who had a bench around half way down off the main shop floor. Started of filing, scraping practice, (test blocks) plus drilling and tapping. Spent some time bedding down white metal bearings. Scraping off high spots found by testing with a form of carbon paper.
Then a final three months in the Instrument shop calibrating metres.
Recall having a serious falling out with Craddock over the last move.
He wanted to move me elsewhere (Machine Shop ?) and as an Electrical Engineering student though I should have
some non- mechanical experience. So went over his head, maybe as well I only stayed for a year.
Attended the Tech maybe one day a week, certainly evening (Friday, a bind as I tended to head off home for the weekend, which made for a very late train, after collage).
Recall lunches at the Pie Shop and more memorably the Railway Staff canteen just across the road.
One miserable evening after work, I totally failed to start it, after many attempts at kick starting and bumping it. no good. I finished up pushing it all the way back to Coton House, no mean feat as the road was anything but flat.
Although I sometimes rode home (to Sheffield) at the weekends, I would almostly take the train and leave my bike at the Station hidden. One time when I did go home on the bike I forgot to call home to tell my parents I had made it safely, and was rousted out of my bed by the housekeeper to explain to mum on the phome that I had forgotten.
After my year at BTH I moved on to Collage, Rotherham.