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Retirements: 1970-1971

by Reg Walker

The overwhelming response (well, alright, the letter from Mrs Trellis) regarding the article ‘Retirements: 1976-1986’ has encouraged us to take advantage of this success by a follow-up article, innovatively titled as above. Again, all information taken from copies ofSO Review.

Many retirements were marked by a few words in columns such as Atlantic House Gossip  where the pseudonymous authors wrote somewhat enigmatically: ‘Mrs Connie Lardent left to marry and live in Devon. The typing pool will miss her, and so will the Cornwall Singers. Miss May Willington retired after 25 years’ service. Clive Furness, who joined in 1960, left, with some reluctance, to go to the National Cash Register Company.’ More space was given to Arthur Canham, retiring from Harrow Press after 33 years to a bungalow in Bournemouth. Doug Masson made the presentation, with Controller Harry Pitchforth present. IFOC Bob Aitken said a few words on behalf of the staff.

Jack Hall, ‘the genial Paperkeeper in Atlantic House Registry’ retired to a part-time job in Smithfield Market. Miss Phil Charlo retired in May 1970 after 38 years with HMSO — 24 of them in Establishments: ‘always beautifully dressed in various shades of blue, she has become something of an institution.’ Another institution was Percy Thorpe who retired after 21 years. ‘The son of a builder, he started life learning the printing trade, but the urge for adventure led him to join the Royal Marines 1928-1949, rising to the rank of Sergeant Major. After joining HMSO in 1949 he spent five years on Supplies Paper, a month in Belfast, then found his niche as Atlantic House Accommodation Officer. He retired to Hampshire to grow tomatoes, keep an aviary and do a little painting.’

‘In 1924 when young Kath Crisp of Wealdstone left school at the age of 14 there was little choice of work except Kodak, Hamilton the brushmaker, the Stationery Office Press or a factory which produced coffins. She chose Harrow Press and so started work at 7am for 12/6d per week. She stayed there for 32 years . . . Perhaps her happiest time was after promotion to Establishments in Atlantic House in 1956. On retirement (as HEO) Kath will look after her father, still active at 89. He too was at Harrow — as a patrol messenger — ‘he only wanted a job for a couple of years at the age of 63, before retirement, but must have liked the place because he stayed there until he was 82’ (take note, pathetic whingers who think that working to 67 is a fate worse than being deprived of cable television). ‘At the Atlantic House farewell we were pleased to see Miss Theo Coles, who left two years ago on transfer to the Board of Trade. We were also sorry to say goodbye to John Cresswell who had been with HMSO for over 30 years — for the last ten in charge of RB Reading.’

‘Mrs Jane Stokes retired in October 1970 after 33 years’ service: in Accounts and Contracts, of which she claims to be a founder member, Supplies and finally Publications . . . she had a rousing farewell in Atlantic House, with Nora Henderson (nee Fox), Ivy Lee, Jimmy Bates, Barbara Widdocks, Bill Walkerley, Barbara Brock and Pat Pavey . . . her job in the ‘weeding’ section is to be taken by Winnie Jenkins and she is to be replaced by David Milsom from Cornwall House who recently passed the CO/EO panel.’ John Block didn’t actually retire — he transferred, as EO, to the Ministry of Overseas Development. However, over the year a number of people retired from Basildon, many having worked in Shepherdess walk — Rhoda Warren after 33 years, Grace Haddon after 32 years, George Dickinson after 12 years. Jim Raine and Mrs Humphreys and Len Kerley (a Messenger aged 70) also departed. No doubt John Elderton (who was awaiting his EO posting at the time) would remember all those mentioned. Departures from Norwich were relatively rare in the early days of dispersal, but Bill Stewart and Paul Smith both left the Domestic Systems unit. Bill had joined HMSO Cornwall House in 1952, as a 17 year old from Edinburgh. Paul was, at 28, one of the Department’s youngest HEOs and took a job with Guinness (for anyone interested, he is currently the next door neighbour of John Cavell, who joined HMSO briefly from Inland Revenue post-privatisation).

‘There’s a vacant seat on the 06.58 from Brighton these mornings: FH ‘Guv’ Telfer retired, with presentation by Ken Hutchings in the presence of Eddie Sargeant, Bill Yendall and many others. Born in 1899, he became an order clerk (post WW1) in 1920. Harry Phillips was his first staff officer. Olive Jenvey MBE retired as Harrow Press Welfare Officer after 30 years, and JWE ‘Jock’ Eyres after 17 years as CRS. His previous service was with MAFF, and he served two years as Director of Manchester.

Elizabeth Gibson-Denney left her post as PA to DMS to open a children’s home in Thetford; Dorothy Swinson left Basildon after 36 years with Rep (her place being taken by Rita Ryan). Dorothy Withrington worked in Atlantic House photocopying unit and was ‘an example to us all, with her unfailing cheerfulness and kindness.’ I wish she worked for Ryanair or any insurance company these days. ‘In February, as a result of reallocation of duties at Balham, CPSA lost their Section Secretary John Raywood after seven years with HMSO.’ He was replaced by Tony Baker. In Basildon, Dorothy Swinson left after 37 years, her presentation being made by Director David Jamieson. Although not strictly a retirement report, the car accident which seriously injured Charles Bradshaw, Director Manchester RO, ultimately led to his leaving the office (he joined HMSO in 1935). ‘After 34 years with HMSO JI ‘Jimmy’ Jones, Director Belfast retired on 22 March 1971 . . . Controller Baylis presented him with photographic and fishing equipment. Jimmy joined HMSO as CO at Edinburgh in 1938 and following war service in the Royal Signals was transferred to London in 1947 . . . HEO Pubns Cornwall House . . . Supplies Atlantic House in 1952, then Superintendent Belfast in 1952 . . . Director 1960 . . .OBE in 1963.’

Jim Lemmerman, Paperkeeper, retired from Basildon and HC Jim Steward retired early after 22 years. He was originally a Printing Officer, but I remember him as one of the most helpful and knowledgeable members of CRS. He left to move to South Wales, but not before hosting a pubfull of colleagues at the Old King’s Head, just down the road from SSPP. ‘Bob Dance retired from P&B, Atlantic House after 15 years with HMSO . . . he was a most agile man and surprised many by performing a somersault at a Christmas party, when approaching the age of 65.’ He was given a toaster and a cheque. Look, I know this is all supposed to be about retirements, but I’ve just seen the following, written by JJ in August 1971: ‘This is the first news to come from Gateshead, even though we have been open for three years . . . we have just over 250 people working here now . . . and have recently said farewell to Duncan McNeill, Deputy Senior Works Manager, who has moved back to his native Scotland, and we welcomed Andy Baptie from Norwich’ (I think he would have preferred from Scotland via Norwich, but never mind) ‘and by the time this is published our examiner, David Scott, will be married.’ Sorry about the diversion. Back to the retirements.

Basildon again — ‘All from Addressing, Julia Westoby, Molly Edwards and Elsie Clutterbuck left in July 1971, and Harry Smith — CO in Editing — a couple of months later. With Molly’s retirement there was the severing of a long link with HMSO — her aunt, Miss F Edwards, (90 years of age in 1971) was a Duplicator Supervisor when she retired in 1946. George Calver, DDRep, presented Molly with her cheque. Consequential supervisory changes resulted in the upgrading of Joan Dagnall to Chief Supervisor, Barbara Kenny to Supervisor and Betty White to Assistant Supervisor. ’31 December 1971 will see the end of an era for HMSO and for Staff Side in particular when Arthur Barham retires from Technical services after 35 years . . . 13 on staff association work . . . Arthur remembers scrambling into HMSO through the 1935 Open Examination for Technical Clerks Printing, the first examination to be held since before WW1 . . . he leaves behind a sense of gratitude to the staff of HMSO where he never felt any lack of co-operation where this was necessary, nor any difficulty in gaining co-operation when this was called for.’ Happy days. I also remember Arthur as a most helpful and patient HTO when dealing with a clueless EO in Supplies who had to buy ‘things for Printing Machines.’

Gee Street does not get too many mentions, but Janice Ryan left her temporary typist post at the same time that Mike Craft left for Cornwall House (‘a synonym for retirement in the popular mind’ according to anSO Review  bard). Also mentions of Harry Suttle, Bill Godden, Rosemary Nelson-Ward, and Noel Warr are sending memory-shivers down my spine. Back to the front: under the heading ‘Miss Winnie Carlton retires’ one E Shepley writes a glowing valedictory from the depths of one of the four Manchester Canteens. ‘The presentation was conducted by Ella Coyle, Acting Director. As she handed over the tea service, tea trolley, clocks and items of stainless steel etc, she was closely watched by the Director, Charles Bradshaw. It is a reflection of the esteem in which Miss Carlton is held that Mr Bradshaw, still suffering from injuries received in a car accident, should insist on attending the ceremony.’

Only two years, but enough for now.
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