Reg Walker writes: Harry Teedon joined HMSO in 1954. I first met him when he was promoted to EO (P5a Cornwall House vice Alex Laing) then again in the early 1970s as S6a (Supplies Office Machinery typewriter purchase, working to Angus Griffiths). From there he became Staff Side General Secretary, and he kindly chose me to perform his retirement presentation in the late 1980s as I was one of the relatively few left who knew some of his (mentionable) history. Dorothy Teedon joined HMSO in 1964 and worked mainly in Print Procurement. Harry has contributed this reminiscence involving Controller Clifford Baylis (which dates it around 1969) and several other grandees, some of whose names I have omitted (I am not as brave as Harry) as I have had to reply to their stinging minutes before and no longer get paid to relive the experience. Here goes then:
Mixing with the mighty
by Harry Teedon
Soon after he became Controller Clifford Baylis chaired a weekend seminar entitled 'The Way Forward'. All the top brass attended – well who could refuse? Pat Kennedy (the SCPS/SSGS who used to cycle up and down the Lancashire hills for exercise) and I attended as representatives of Staff Side, and a most interesting weekend it was. A well-known Regional Director (we'll refer to him as RD) had five or six 'babies' in his bag – bottles of fine malt whisky to you and me. Each Director gave a presentation of his ideas. Charles Blundell (the only Director, I think, to publish an entire autobiography – entitled 'Gluepots' – in 1991) in particular was brilliant – I always admired his intellect, but as regards financial 'carefulness' he would not mind my saying (in the words of my old dad) 'every time he got hold of a penny the Queen gasped for breath'.
One person played it for laughs BUT the Great Man was not laughing – he marked his scoresheet whilst the rest of the group sniggered behind the backs of their hands. Henry Roe, then near retirement, gave a competent and interesting presentation. He it was who advised me not to laugh too loudly at the claptrap spouted by some. Greg Dyke's 'cut the crap' campaign would have been appropriate. One who was obviously asleep when a question was shot at him was woken by RD's shout of 'Wake up John!' The Great Man marked his scoresheet, too.
On the Saturday evening a select band gathered in RD's room, and I was among them. I found it most interesting to note who was not there. The merits of the five or six Malts were compared. I learnt at Daddy's knee to open my mouth only to imbibe the beverages, otherwise to keep it shut. As the evening drifted on into the early hours many of those there had never learned the lesson, and most interesting it was! The party broke up when the bottles were empty and, yes, I found my way back to my room to sleep the sleep of the innocent!