09 May 2009

The working lives of ancestors

From the late 1940s to the 1970s, both of my grandfathers, George and Harry, had arrived in Stafford, Staffordshire from different parts of England and went to work as engineers at English Electric.

It was quite an upheaval for my other family members, too, with new schools, new homes, and with local people who spoke with a different accent than my relatives did. George and Harry had very different accents from each other, too. George had a Devon accent and Harry had a Shropshire accent. George's wife had a London accent.

Stafford was a centre of heavy engineering. My grandfathers helped to build the huge bits of equipment called transformers that make electricity work in coal fired power stations. Perhaps that sort of work will not longer be required in the 21st century with the problems of global warming.

About Stafford

More about Stafford

Here is some background information about English Electric. Do you know about the work it did in Stafford?

Here are some scientific facts about transformers.

The engineering of transformers

Here is some information about power stations.

George had been in the Royal Air Force for over 25 years before going to work for English Electric. He was responsible for ensuring military aircraft were safe to fly during the Second World War and he reached the rank of flight sergeant.

Harry had been in a reserved occupation during the Second World War. He was responsible for ensuring that bank safes were, well, safe. After the war he had his own small business for a while, but difficulties arose owing to the alcoholism of his business partner.

More about how people experienced the Second World War in Britain.

Perhaps you have, or had, relatives or friends who worked at English Electric with my grandfathers, or somewhere in their earlier careers. You may have know them yourself if you worked at General Electric in Stafford.

If you live or lived in Shrewsbury, or the surrounding districts, are you familiar with the area around Sundorne Road? Perhaps you can remember a relative talking about having their radio batteries recharged in a shop near there in the 1940s.




A history of the battery

Harry loved working with radios and batteries, and I am sure he would have been fascinated by the technology of today.

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I especially appreciate historical insights.