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SO Review - Forty Years On


1965 was the year that Lyndon Baines Johnson was inaugurated 36th President of USA; Sir Winston Churchill, Richard Dimbleby and Albert Schweizer died; Edward Heath succeeded William Douglas-Home as Prime Minister; the Mont Blanc tunnel opened; television banned cigarette advertising; BP struck oil in the North Sea; Parliament passed a bill abolishing the death penalty for murder; UDI was declared in Rhodesia; Mikoyan was replaced as President of USSR by Podgorny, and the 70 mph speed limit on British roads came into force. So much for trivia. What was happening in 1965, as reported in SO Review?  The following cuttings from the magazine (Editor Bob Dwyer, Business Manager Alex Herbert, Advertising Manager Pat Tate) should give a taste.

 

The cover of the January edition number 217 carried a picture of a smiling Pat Loxton who had been voted ‘Miss Hollerama’ at what was referred to by the pseudonymous writer of the article (the clever money is on George Rokhar) as ‘the Accounts/Machine Accounting Christmas hop and booze-up.’ It would be unkind to give the names of the nine runners-up, but not the judges: Bob Norris, Harry Jackson and Don Folland.

 

The leading article began ‘1965 will not see us in Norwich but the joint discussions on dispersal will continue as there are many problems to overcome.’ The SO Singers’ Christmas Concert included readings by Jean Wrench, Tom Sergeant and Jack Pearson. The IPCS branch reported that their chairman, Eddie McKendrick was to stand down. Harry Teedon reported on a conference on the Automated Office which he attended with Vic Pratley. ‘It is estimated that in the USA there are 86 computers per million population; in the UK the figure is 13 per million. Computers are priced from £40,000 upwards.’ The CSCA Youth Viewpoint considered that ‘In the 20th century it has been found necessary for wives to work . . . the days of wives sitting at home doing their embroidery are over . . . these wage-earners will have difficulty persuading their husbands to move to Norwich as it is usual for the husband to have to work too, and it is hard enough for a middle-aged man to find a new job amongst the variety in London.’

 

Among the many sporting activities ‘Our SO football eleven, thrown together for the first time this season, made mincemeat out of the best talent that Air Ministry could muster . . . Jim Scott opened the scoring and a few minutes later Joe Bishop was unlucky when his shot was tipped over the bar.’ (The first and last time Joe ever tipped anything over a bar?). The final score was Air Ministry 0, HMSO 6, with J Scott, B Reader, J Bishop and B Walker the scorers, assisted by John King (who also played for Dulwich Hamlet when he wasn’t an EO on the typewriter section in Supplies). John G Smith reported that he was ‘pleased to announce that permission has been granted for club members to use the photographic darkroom at Cornwall House, after hours.’

 

February’s cover bore the stark words ‘Well done E2a and E2b.’ This was due to their efforts in paying the 3.5 % salary and pay increases in good time. ‘Basil Donne’ reported that ‘A machine which almost looks like a square robot has recently been installed in the Duplicating Pool. It is the Photodirect 705 from Addressograph-Multigraph which photographs, prints and develops onto a plate in one operation. This should lead to a great saving in time and in plate-making . . . possibly, before the century is out, the world of reproduction and printing as we know it will be completely changed. Who knows?’

 

Printer Norman Glenn joined HMSO Belfast in 1944 and wrote his ‘Antrim Glenn’ column for many years. His February article began ‘When Mike Lynn was transferred to Ireland, the land of his ancestors (well, with a name like that he must have Irish ancestors) he found many things which pleased him and made him feel at home. One thing he did not find was an Office Sports Club, and he missed this badly. Now one of the things that pleased Mike and made him feel at home here was the colleens, but taking them to theatres and dances every night was proving expensive and he decided the answer was to resuscitate the Sports Club . . . by some means he managed to organise billiards, table-tennis and darts.’ There follows a report of the first Christmas party held in the Club, available under plain wrapper for the usual fee.

 

‘Ex-Pudding King’s 95th Birthday’ was the cover story for March, showing ‘Edward Pendry celebrating in Oldham. He served in WW1 and subsequently for some twenty years as a paperworker at HMSO Chadderton. He is the oldest . . . member of the Northern Area Branch Retired officers Association. He was born in Gloucester but moved to Oldham when he was eighteen. Seven of his nine children are still living and he has eleven grandchildren — surely a wonderful testimony to that great northern delicacy, the black pudding, which Mr Pendry sold on Oldham’s Tommyfield for fifty years.’

 

IPCS came up with some famous names following their annual election of officers. ‘We find ourselves extending a welcome to Norman Frost, Ron Parsons, Sinclair Simpson and Jim Berry, all of them coming onto the committee for the first time. Frank Grigson returns after a year’s absence . . . Peter Vivian takes over as chairman . . . other officers are Len Bourton, Les Pettet, Jack Palmer, Bert Waller, Brian Whitefield, Andy Hunter, Bob Dwyer and Dick Smith.

 

More names filled the Netball column: Valerie Barnard ‘our reliable and hard-working secretary . . . comes from Bexley in Kent . . . and last May we were pleased to witness the marriage of Valerie to Bob Barnard, our coach and treasurer. Susan Bloodworth, our star centre from Gloucestershire . . . is leaving at the end of the summer for Canada. Pat Breden, Susan Davies, Una Gallagher, Janet Gray (captain, and the only Londoner in the team), Karen Hordyk, Pat Large, Joan Mitchell, and Avril Price. On the topic of young women, the Camera Club featured a picture of Carol Aston of Supplies. She was soon to become the wife of Martyn East.


The bridled horse featured on April’s cover had neither title nor comment. A subtle allusion to the leading article, perhaps. It was headlined ‘Overtime: a necessary evil?’ A letter from ‘Disgruntled, Basildon’ made reference to the recent non-Industrial pay settlement with the words ‘Who can wonder at a slight look of envy from their Industrial colleagues. Some men are lucky if they take home £11 each Friday, to keep a wife and family. Women receive much less. It makes me wonder, is this a case of class distinction between non-Industrial and Industrial Civil Servants?’

 

Harold Pickford took the cover in June, under the heading ‘AC2 Retires: Mr and Mrs Pickford resting on the Teak Seat which they chose as a retirement present.’ Inside we were told that he had ‘entered HMSO at Manchester in 1920 from whence he was transferred to London, where he served in Accounts and in P&B.’ We were also informed that ‘The Pakistan Order of Quaid-I-Azam has been awarded to Mr FA Lonon, formerly of Clivedon Road, Highams Park, in recognition of his services to Pakistan. Mr Lonon is on secondment from HMSO to the East Pakistan Government as a Colombo Plan technical advisor to the Government Press in Dacca.’

 

The leading article was concerned with shortfalls on EO to HEO and CO to EO promotion boards. ‘We cannot accept that out of 66 candidates seen by 4 boards held this year only 13 were considered suitable for promotion to the next grade.’ Meanwhile the SO Singers (est.1945) were tackling Vivaldi’s Gloria.  ‘The solos and duets were very well managed by Valerie Bailey, Pamela Hewitt, Maud Rix and Barbara Went. Good support was provided by Rober Husson at the organ.’ Meanwhile the Basildon Dramatic Society rendered a performance of ‘Six Maids a-Mopping’ featuring Vi Moore, Jean Rickett, Ann Fudge, Rene Thurwood, Ellen Pressick, Irene Dodd, Shirley Basham and Gwen Owen. Probably a better night out than Harry Edwards found The Solid Gold Cadillac  at The Saville: ‘A deplorably bad play. Margaret Rutherford tries desperately hard to infuse life into the play, but is completely defeated by its ineptitude. Sid James as the politician who befriends her has nothing worthwhile to do.’

 

‘Local Netball Champions’ featured in July. ‘After enjoying their most successful season for a number of years in the local league, HMSO Manchester netball team . . . qualified to represent the North Western area by winning a regional tournament. In London, they fell to the eventual winners, LTR, by six points to five.’ And, by the way, HMSO football club were 2nd division champions in 1965.

 

By September the Editorial Board had changed. Jim Richardson became Editor and Bill Yendall Business Manager. The cover picture of a Tower of London Beefeater was perhaps a subtle reminder of what people would be missing when they dispersed to Norwich. Anyway, they would be spending fewer hours at the desk, as the working week had recently been reduced by one hour.

 

There was a combined October-November edition (with a photograph of a large bear on the cover). The big news was of the HMSO Horticultural Society Autumn Show. ‘Jack Hulbert had a particularly fine vase of small cactus which gave him a merited first. Chrysanthemums were also much in evidence with Jack Payne gaining two firsts and a second in the three classes. The best exhibit of the show was judged to be some very fine desert apples entered by Vic Anderson. One unusual item which caused much speculation and query was the entry of kohl rabi by CE Whitehouse. Jim Turner, AC2, presented the prizes.’ In Basildon there were staff changes with the retirement of Frank Hillman MBE, the appointment of David Robertson as D4 and the return of Fred Frogley to his old post of D3 from 18 months in ITW. Jack Palmer provided a report of his visit to the Cotswold Collotype Company.

 

With no December Review to hand, that is the end of the news for 1965. 

 
 


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