The web site for ex employees of hmso


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The web site for ex employees of HMSO

Volume 1:

Information Circulars 2004-5

© Copyright HMSOldies 2004, 2005 including some Crown copyright material

HMSOldies comprises:
Reg Walker riter and wine correspondent
Philip Marriage inbetweener
Robert Stutely webmaster and everything the others have overlooked
Dave Martin social secretary
Information Circulars 2004

15 July 2004
Even as Gordon Brown and John Prescott were having their much-reported ‘Loch Fyne Meeting’ there came together a similarly disparate group embracing technology, art and the ability to find an excuse to get to the pub at all costs. Yes, this was the day upon which Robert Stutely, Philip Marriage and Reg Walker met in The Rushcutters, Thorpe St Andrew, to discuss the creation of a website for ex HMSO personnel. Unfortunately no minutes of the meeting exist, as the barman cleared away the beermat before it could be filed.

* * * * *

14 September 2004
A group of ex HMSO designers [photo] spent a fascinating day at the Type Museum, in Stockwell, south London. The museum holds collections of traditional typecasting from Stephenson Blake, woodletter type from Robert DeLittle, and ‘hot metal’ typecasting from the Monotype Corporation all housed in a series of Victorian buildings once used as a veterinary hospital.

* * * * *

4 October 2004

Initial page goes up on the web encouraging people to register.

15 October 2004 — From John Westwood
HMSOldies would definitely interest me, if they chat on EMAIL. Do they have that? Our little emailer does not get on to the Net easily, but I am used to emailchat! There must be a wealth of interest there.

15 October 2004 — From Jim McDonald
Great idea I hope it’s a success.

15 October 2004 — From Derek Rutherford
Looking forward to hearing more.

16 October 2004 — From Stan Church
Good idea! Why not have a Forum area where various subjects can be discussed?

17 October 2004 — From Adrian Young, (Canberra, Australia)
I worked with Philip, John Saville Dave Challis, John Westwood etc in London in 1970/71

18 October 2004 — From Michael Betts
I can offer a discount on beer to any HMSO oldie who may be interested! All I need is full name, address, telephone and email in order to be enrolled as a member of the Woodforde’s Club — and it’s FREE.

19 October 2004 — From Jennifer Hannaford
Can’t wait to read Progress again!

19 October 2005 — From Judy Tassell

Not sure that I like the idea of being an HMSO Oldie — more middle-agie really, or young at heartie, nevertheless looking forward to receiving my IC’s.

21 October 2004 — From Margery & John Elderton, France
Thank you for the information on HMSOldies, it should be fun especially now that the winter is coming and we have more time to ‘play’ on the computer.
21 Oct 2004 — From Robin Kelly
I am still looking after all building matters at St Crispins. Recently completed 36 years service! I will contribute an article reliving my experiences in the office.

22 October 2004 — From Sid Brooks (Pubns, Cornwall House)
Great. Great idea.

22 October 2004
A specially bound version of From Layout to Graphic Design: 50 years of graphic design in Her Majesty’s Stationery Office was presented to Clare Agate, Senior Librarian at the Heritage Centre, Norfolk and Norwich Millennium Library.

October 2004 Social Diary

Seen on the streets, inns and cafés of Norwich during the month: Peter Taylor (ex Accommodation Officer) still looking as if he could captain the local cricket team; Ray Fox (Work Study); Geoff Dickinson (Office Services); Sheila Blowers, Gill Johnson (both still with tSO); a fleeting glimpse of Albert During (Print Sales); Arthur Brunwin (DDITW) on a visit to see John and Ann Eason and other old friends, from his home in Portsmouth. He is still a regular visitor to Lord’s. Other sightings include Harry Teedon (ex TUSGS), George James (IP), Ruth Vivian (Welfare), Mike Taylor (PP and golf courses the world over), John Brooker (PP and cricket grounds the world over) and Gordon Cooper (Supplies).

In London John Eveson and Dave Burchall are still with tSO (and Dave will be pleased that Crystal Palace are gaining a place in the premiership. We won’t mention Watford if Peter Mahoney — now print manager with Metropolitan Police — is listening). Nick Ballard, Carol Piper, Phil Battle, John Moore, John Davies — all ex HMSO — are buying print for Government departments in London and Paula Ronald (ex Belfast) is supplying stationery in Dublin.
Len Ellis, KJ Coleman, Phil Leach, Don Warman and Reg Walker were televised while competing in their annual feat of physical exertion at the Norfolk Pipesmoking Championship, Len finishing a worthy second. Steve Ward (tSO) tells me that he has seen Bill Williamson on a visit from his home in Spain. Other residents are Len and Ann Allen, David Poole and (part-time) Brian Ekers.
The Norwich Beer Festival brought out the usual socialites, many of whom had better not be mentioned in case they clocked back in late at St Crispins. Mike Betts, who co-directs Woodforde’s Brewery, would certainly not mind a mention. Doug Chinnery found time to visit during half-term from his teaching post Al Hynes was there, but Gerry Lucioli could not get time off from his job at BUPA (must book in with him for a liver transplant). Alan Cole might be slighted if it was suggested that he had missed this cultural event, so I won’t.
Up for an annual lunch were (in alphabetical order) John Balls, Paul Barnard, Bob Barnard, Les Birch, Alan Cole, Dicky Dunn, Dave Forbes, Graham Heaford, Paul Freeman, Clive Harrold, Eric Hendry, Mike Lynn, Peter Macdonald, Jim McDonald, Ed McKendrick, Dick Moore, John Moore, Vic Morley, Alan Pawsey, Chris Penn, Bill Porter, Derek Rutherford, Ken Rhodes, John Saville, Alex Smith, Tony Smith, Chris Southgate, Reg Walker, Derek Wintle.

Unable to attend on the day were Gerry Aldus, Geoff Bedford, Sarah Cossey, Brian Dixon, John Dole, Brian Ekers, George Furn, Ken Gooderham, Peter Jefford, Doug Kerry, Brian Lee, Alex Mackie, Brian Minett, Gordon Parfitt, David Pooley, Sam Rae, Don Ray, Mike Salt, Ken Sandford, Bernard Thimont, Carol Tullo (who is currently Controller of HMSO, working from the Cabinet Office and the HMSO premises in Colegate), Gavin Turner, Jim Turner (away on a Caribbean cruise) and Jim Wretham.

The party to celebrate Brian Cockram’s 60th birthday attracted dozens from his extended family and dozens more from his 30 years with HMSO (latterly with the ‘Supply System Project’ which oversaw the computerisation of order systems). Barbara and the Cockram children were there to keep him in control and they even managed to get the microphone off him once or twice after he had got everybody involved by organising a series of mass-participation events. He managed very well, despite (because of?) lack of input from Consultants (Peter Bennett, Linda Sharpe and John Norman, whose system are you configuring now?).
Around the room were spotted an ex Director of HMSO Scotland, now living in North Norfolk, Geoff Bedford. Since his time working in Belfast, Geoff had kept in touch with Miss Phil Collins, who sadly died recently. Geoff and Josie Lockwood are still heavily involved with the CSMA, and Geoff reported that Tom Johnson still has an interest in Britannia Rescue. Pat Brent (currently with Norwich City College), Pat and Geoff Sinden (Geoff is still a big jack in National Bowls), Don and Shirley Shackshaft, Tony Smith, Don Warman, were in attendance, and seen near the bar were Geoff Mickleburgh, Maurice Curtis, Rod Durkin, Reg Walker and their partners (in some cases their wives).

* * * * *

4 November 2004 — From Fiona Gunning
I worked in the Belfast Regional Office from 1983 and 21 years later am still here as General Manager for Banner. HMSO were based in IDB House in Chichester Street. We as BBS moved out of IDB in 2001 to our own premises and they have just pulled down IDB and the whole area is to be a major Shopping Centre. I work with a couple of people who were with me at HMSO and we still keep in touch with some ‘old’ colleagues from BS and Print.

8 Nov 2004 — From Eddie Gregory

I worked at the Parliamentary Press and would be interested in hearing how every one is getting on.

8 November 2004 — From Bob Allder (Ex St Stephen’s & Parly Press)
I organise a Christmas Dinner at Clerkenwell for ex press staff. The website would be very handy for publicising the event. Any ex-member of HMSO would be most welcome. This year’s dinner is on 3 December 2004 at The Session’s House Clerkenwell Green, London EC1.

11 November 2004 — From Jack Palmer (ex PP etc)
I retired 20 years ago and I have today received from Dave Forbes a copy of a notice regarding HMSOldies, my first contact with the old firm since I retired and I will be interested to know more. The circular mentions that you have a quantity of SO Reviews and many probably contain cartoons. The main topics relate to staff side and pay claims screwed down to one and a half percent. I used various names ‘Pobo’, ‘Egbert’, ‘Jack the Ripper’ etc. If you are interested I have several copies with the originals.

29 November 2004 — From Paul Barnett
As one thrown form the tops of the HMSO roof to a baying pack holding pitchforks and saying ‘Doom doom’, I would welcome the chance to read anything that Mr Walker has to say.

Social Diary November 2004
You can run but you can’t hide . . . our trained band of Celebrity Spotters and Paparazzi managed to spot the following famous faces, each of whom had obviously failed the selection board for I’m an ex HMSO Employee, Get Me Out Of Here during the month.

Just because you aren’t mentioned doesn’t mean you were not seen.

‘Mr **** was seen going into/coming out of/asleep in a Norwich Pub’ is hardly news. Penny Poole (née Johnson, now working for Norwich Union) tells me that her father Don Johnson (Computer Services Division, 1968) is doing well. Simon Gibbons spotted skipping to work for Astron, and Ian Webb bowling his hoop gleefully towards tSO. ERJ ‘Ernie’ Smith striding along Exchange Street (Estabs. Payroll 1966; S4). A welcome lift in the rain from Mr and Mrs Bob Dwyer (PP for what seems like eternity) and a sighting of Simon Back (OS) studying the Sainsbury’s delicatessen counter. Good to hear from PP’s Jack Palmer (still in Brundall — we must reproduce some of his SO Review cartoons soon). Paul Cunningham is replicating his training role at the City College. Dave Martin is, surprisingly, still allowed out without supervision and can often be seen still wondering whether Laurie Andrew will ever give him signing rights in P5B. Bob Laws was a ‘Computer Contractor’ in the days when such people were rarities, and he is still around (and for all I know may still be a rarity). Granville Reed is by no means a novelty — more an institution (he once told me I should be in one). He is in the Welsh Quarter of Bowthorpe (in the Dai Bachstreets).

A rare visit to the country (Wymondham) spotted Dave Ruffles (ex ITW and CCTA, but especially the Hort.Soc.) in his car and Hilary and Mike Lynn walking too quickly towards the Farmers’ Market to be caught. At last, someone spotted doing good works: Auriol Hughes (the conscience of PS for some of us) selling Poppies in Thorpe (‘Excuse me, sir, would you be so kind as to support the Remembrance Sunday appeal or shall I send the boys round to give you a slap?’ Or did I mishear her? Unreserved apologies if so.) Tom Bokenham, Alan Low, Jim Wilson, Shaun Cooper and his father Barry were all mentioned by Steve Ward and Robin Kelly (both tSO) when I saw them in sociable circumstances. Who remembers Eric Porteous who, with his late wife Olive, kept our buildings spick and span under the auspices of the cleaning contracts organised by Ron Sims and the late Bob Courteen?
Renato Bernardin (Publications Nine Elms) seen around the city, as was Howard Wheeldon (ex MOD, then an EO under Norman Parker (S4), finally resting in IT) on the very day The Guardian published one of his letters. Sue Whitaker (Labour Councillor; on the Hospital Board) has seen Annette Conn, Jill Ward, Marion Maxwell, Sue Ticktum, Sue Johnson. Phil Storey looking well at 81. I am sure he remembers more about appearing on the Dublin stage with Wilfrid Brambell than he does buying print finishing equipment in Reprographic Supplies.
An early application for information came from John Westwood, who joined Graphic Design in 1960 and retired as Head in December 1978. Coincidentally, his name also appeared in The Oldie (November 2004, page 53). Their ‘Anorak’ column could be summed up as ‘Confessions of a Meccano Enthusiast’ and contained these words:

‘. . . two of those Meccano men, Dr Michael Adler (an Israeli orthopaedic surgeon) and John Westwood (a British publishing designer) founded the International Society of Meccanomen, involving enthusiasts in over 32 countries. As John Westwood, a Quaker, puts it, ‘It is hard to make war on someone once you have shared the joys of invention with him.’

Thanks to Les Birch for spotting this item in deepest Caerphilly.

* * * * *

8 December 2004 — From Michael Hailstone
Well done, good luck. Best regards

12 December 2004 — From Brian Lambirth
Good luck! Everyone knows Reg Walker, he even has a DIGITAL radio! Cheers!

18 December 2004 — From Dick & Stella Moore
Looking forward to the launch. Best Wishes

December 2004 Social Diary
Twas Christmas Day in Cornwall House,

and the place was clean and tidy
The paperkeepers were eating their pancakes -

I’m a liar, that was Good Friday.
In the canteen a turkey was sizzling,

and to make it look posh I suppose
They fetched the warehouse barber in

to shingle its Parson’s Nose.
Potatoes were cooked in their jackets,

and carrots in socks- how unique!
A sheep’s head was baked with the eyes in,

as it had to see them through the week.
At one o’clock dinner up sounded;

the sight made an old P.O. blush
They were dishing out Guinness for nothing,

and fifteen got killed in the rush . . .

That’s enough of that — the ghost of Billy Bennett will be after me. He was one of the few people not in Norwich for the pre- during- post-Christmas sales, and I was another one (the pub over the road has a wonderful sale all year round, so I do all my shopping there) so the following sightings do not include those in the Boxing Day queue to get into Homebase.

In no particular order: Rod Chapman (ex PP) Brian Wilson (one-time DDS3) and Neil Hacker (ex Audit) were spotted in (separate) shops, and David James (ex Furniture) and Gerry Lucioli (ex PP) in the same licensed premises. Peter Taylor tells me he had had a call from H.A.Barrie (ex E Accommodation) who, at 91, is still in Strumpshaw. Others unable to hide were George and Jeanne Lesurf, Tony Bishop, Debbie Matthews, Arthur and Kath Holland, Jack Keating, Robin Kelly, John Marshall Jones, Bobby Nelson and Michelle Wright. Steve Ward had seen JLE Bishop, and Roy Plackett had lunched with CH Hughes, Allan Reid, and TG Smith. A call from Peter McAuley (ex HMSO Belfast Publications, now Deputy Principal at Stormont) brought news of Moira Fitzpatrick, Roy Dubois, Willie Smith and John Strachan. Dan Lavery is still running the tSO Bookshop, and ex-Director Vi Wilson wrote a note of her (as ever) busy year. Margaret Crawley is also continually on the go, even to the extent of learning a new language. Mary Eagles is still enjoying the country life.
The thirty-first anniversary of a traditional festive gathering saw printers Brian Lambirth, Mike Taylor, Dick Smith, Roger Nash, Brian Ekers, Glyn Jones, Roy Plackett, George James and Peter Bradbury in good form. Roughly the same anniversary for what is often known as ‘The Skinners do’ (actually it’s now ‘The Ship do’), and Mike Betts, Brian Puplett, Sue Whitaker, John Eason, Alan Cole, Rod Durkin and Peter Macdonald made the day trip from Norwich to meet, among others, Arthur Brunwin (ex DDITW, living in Portsmouth), John White (ex OMRS), RG ‘Basil’ Radford (ex CRS, living in Basildon) and Alex McLeod (PP London). Les Crawford and Ron George could not make it this year.

Information Circulars 2005

4 January 2005 — From Brian Currie
Unable to get to events nowadays, but always delighted to hear news of you all. Happy New Year!

January 2005 Social Diary
So who was found wandering the streets and byways during the month of failed resolutions and the almost irresistible temptation to stay in and watch old Ealing Comedies on the television? Among those who braved the outside world were Barbara Crowley, Ernie White (who worked in the Sovereign House warehouse in 1968) and his daughter Ruth (still working in St Crispins). Marie Blake (one time Sovereign House telephonist, as was her mother Molly Burgess). Rita Tuttle looking ageless. Pat Linehan and Derek Goddard looking fit.
Jayne Wilkinson surprised me with the news that, with the loss of a tSO contract, she had been made redundant. Steve Ward, Gill Johnson, Sheila Blowers and Robin Kelly still with tSO and Alan Low making sure the Royal Mail gets through. Mike Lynn spotted in Wymondham (he had recently seen Vic Bell and George Furn). Alan Justice retiring from Astron soon. Andrew Eeles still with HMSO (Colegate). Sandra Perry, Peter Bradbury, Gerry Lucioli, Tony Bishop (St Crispins security), Ken Gooderham, Musa Pinnock, Gary Turner all spotted through the wrong side of a pub window. Brian Hayes (who worked in Edinburgh and Manchester Print) is currently back in Norfolk.
So where was everyone else? Staying indoors, no doubt (see above) or taking a few weeks out in South Africa/Spain etc. To fill up the space, then, there is a picture competition. Who can name any of the 14 people shown in this photograph? The only clue is that it was taken in London in 1964, and ten of those shown worked for HMSO.

* * * * *

14 February 2005 — Funeral of Bob Carey

Sad to report the death of AW (Bob) Carey at the age of 83. He joined HMSO in November 1946, and worked for most of his service in Establishments Division/PS. The funeral was attended by Gordon and Jen Robbie, Connie Burgess, Chris Penn, Ruth Vivian, Tom Robinson, Dee Smallridge, Harry and Lucin Jackson, Bob and Valerie Barnard, Roy and Muriel Keavney, Sue and Ronnie Lea, Harry and Dorothy Teedon, John and Anne Eason and many old friends.

February 2005 — Social Diary
Recent visitors to South Africa, including Peter Macdonald, Alan Cole, Isobel Williamson report Norma Groom (ex Basildon) and her husband, who moved to Cape Town several years ago, are in good form. Brian Ekers still commutes between Spain (for the rain) and England (for the rugby). A sighting of Chris Fuller (one time Supplies Office Machinery; retired from CCTA). Liz Stokes (currently with Astron) with her newly-born son Liam; Charlie Newcombe (ex PP and IPCS committee) striding down Chapel Field Road and Geoff Sentinella (Laboratory) sheltering from the snowstorm. And was that Mrs FB Clark (who worked in Supplies during the early years of Dispersal to Norwich) walking down Dereham Road? Larry Lewendon (Audit, E&E) was not walking but sitting in Norwich Station, doubtless cursing the cancellation of the 0900 hours to London (too little snow on the line). Word comes over the wires from Denis Moloney who, against all expectations, is making an excellent living as a wide-boy (sorry, senior sales executive).

Interesting article in EDP about Major David Back, weapons expert and lifetime soldier, concluding with the words ‘there cannot be a finer example of a true English gentleman, nor a more modest one’. He is the father of Simon Back, who retired from Office Services more than ten years ago. Clover Moore (widow of Alex, late of Marketing) on an extended visit from her home on the Greek island of Thassos.

* * * * *

4 March 2005 — Launch Day
In years to come, how will 4 March be remembered? The birthday of those media stars Patrick Moore, Chris Rea and Patsy Kensit? The day on which the Kray twins were found guilty of the McVitie murder (1969) or the day Charlie Chaplin was knighted (1975)? The day on which EM Forster set out on his passage to India (1921)? No. It will go down in history as the day on which the HMSOldies website was launched, at 0835 hours. If you are late, the signing on sheets will be in the HEO’s room with only red ink available.
4 March 2005 — Derek James column in the Eastern Evening News
This [photo] was the scene in Norwich almost 40 years ago when this ancient part of the city was changing shape to meet the demands of the 20th century. The demolition men had moved in to pull down great chunks of the historic Stump Cross area — and Anglia Square was on its way. A major part of that development was the premises of Her Majesty’s Stationery Office (HMSO). And this was the way the site looked in November 1966 when the ground in Botolph Street had been cleared to build Sovereign House as the HMSO headquarters in Norwich.

This large office went on to play a major role in Norwich life — employing around 3,000 people at one time — for nearly 30 years before it was privatised in 1996. It had been established as a Government department way back in 1786 to procure stationery ‘with economy efficiency and the curbing of private gain’. It was originally staffed with 15 men, two women, two horses — not forgetting a cart. When its headquarters moved to Norwich, starting with an advance party in 1967, there were more than 7,000 staff across the country. Over the 210 years of its existence, more than 100,000 people have been employed by the organisation, many of them in recent times living in Norfolk.

Why am I telling you all this? Because there is now a website where ex-employees, contractors, suppliers and customers, from anywhere in the UK and overseas, can keep in touch with old friends and colleagues and indulge themselves in the harmless occupation of reminiscence.
‘There is no charge and all contributions will be welcome,’ said Reg Walker; of Norwich, who is the editor of HMSOldies.
An Evening News photograph of the office helped to inspire former workers to set up their own site. The website went live at 8.35am this morning — in memory of the historic ‘signing on time’ at HMSO. All you have to do is log on to and all will be revealed.
© Archant Ltd Eastern Counties Newspapers

4 March 2005 — It’s here (or do I mean it’s over?)
So launch day has been and gone with good publicity in the Eastern Daily Press and Norwich Evening News, plus a welcome pile of complimentary Emails. But where are the criticisms, nit-picks and insults? Has the electricity gone down where Brian Lee lives? Has Gordon Robbie ‘forgotten’ that it’s his turn to put a shilling in the meter again? Has Peter Macdonald lost the Post-it note Karen Sullivan gave him, telling him how to switch on his computer? If that doesn’t provoke them, nothing will. And, just to let you know, not everything you think is written by a certain person is actually written by that certain person, if you know what I mean. Those of us who had to produce ‘drafts for senior management’ know exactly what I mean.

Anyway, back to those Emails, some of which have been summarised to protect the guilty. Editorial responses, where printable, are in italics, a sloping type introduced by Aldus Manutius of Venice c.1500. Did I ever tell you about the time that I was a Printer?

First off the blocks, all the way from the Bypass Protest Picket in Long Stratton, was AD (Dave) Martin, who struggled in just before the red pen appeared. Typically, he asked an awkward question before the Senior Paperkeeper had even got the kettle on: ‘Are we ex HMSO or former HMSO? When Nixon was impeached in the USA, they considered an ex President as being sacked, and a former President having had an honourable discharge.’ So we’ll stick with ex then.
Paula Ronald wrote from Dublin (wipes away tear and reaches for stout friend) where she is doing well, working for a stationery company. Her husband Mike (one time Edinburgh Warehouse management) has won a work prize which will take them off to Puerto Rico (West Indies) for a holiday. She signs off with the name she had when she joined IDB House, Paula Love (HMSO 1984-1997). Stan Church (BS) copied his kind note to John Wilson, Terry Bligh, Ian Hatfield and Harry Currie to urge them to contribute, and we had better not take the eye off the Design ball as both Ken Arnoldi and John Saville are on the case. And Jack Palmer (PP, Tech, SO Review cartoonist) passed on the information that he has sold his boat at laSt You can stop saving now, Brian.
Time for an unedited quote, from Paul Radbourne. If I change any of it, I will be hauled up in front of the Board for discrimination against residents of Cromer or somesuch. Anyway, he writes:

‘So far it seems mostly the more senior people who are contributing (well, who else has plenty of time on their hands?) so I thought you would appreciate something from someone who actually did some real work! (funny, up until then I thought I remembered him). I started with HMSO in 1988 as an ‘umble AA working with Hilary Goreham in Supply. The same year I became an AO, with the tremendous responsibility for ordering rubber stamps! I stayed after privatisation, joining the procurement team as specials buyer, but decided in late 1999/early 2000 that perhaps life in the private stationery industry was not for me, so I left and I am now research manager for British Industry magazine (and also now a qualified Doctor of Zoology since 2002). Ron Harper (ex PP) works alongside me. Plus I also see you occasionally at the traffic lights on Tombland. Kind regards, Dr. Paul FMC Radbourne M.A., F.R.Z.S.

Dear Paul. Thank you for your kind note. I remember the first time you spoke to me. I was about to make some sort of presentation to a retiring/sacked/pregnant/lottery winner in S4, proudly wearing a new (to Oxfam) Marks and Spencer suit. ‘Here he comes’ you said ‘in his Management suit: big checks for the guv’nors; small cheques for the workers!’ Took me ages to get you out but I managed it. I knew you would do well, but I’m genuinely impressed at how well you did. When I see you in Tombland with a bundle of newspapers I assume that you are just delivering, then sitting in The Close with a quart of White Lightning (sorry, that’s just me). I will tell Alan Cole, who I am sure will be pleased to hear of your advancement as a result of his benign management training. And yes, we all continue to take the credit for the work of others, long after ‘retirement.’ All the best to you, and to Ron.
The shy and retiring Marion Maxwell contributes: ‘Congratulations to all . . . do you take advertising, as I could offer free IT courses to the Oldies, giving them something to do in their retirement!’ and yes, I checked four times, she really does say FREE. ‘Seriously, I am hosting a meeting of the PCS retired members’ association here at St Andrews in Norwich (opposite Churchills Tobacconist, just down from Delaney’s Bar. Well, how else do you give directions?) on Monday, ably run by the veritable Vince Fitzgibbon. Would you like a photo? (Yes please, Marion. And one of Vince as well, if we have to).

I don’t know Rick Edwards well enough to insult him, but I’m sure that could change given the doubtful company he used to keep. I quote: ‘I joined HMSO in July 1979, in PP Atlantic House, as a CA working for Trevor Priddle and Eddie Sargeant. In 1980 I went to Hansard Press as a CO, moving to the Publications Centre as a Programmer six years later, and moved to Norwich with tSO in April 1999.’ Talking of printers, another current tSO employee John Eveson (currently doing things the Mandela Way) says ‘I have some old SSPP photos to give to Robert in the next few weeks. There is also one of a group of fine old (can’t make out this next word) at Harrow, including Ken Jagelman (who I see was born in 1922. Does anyone have any news of him for John?), Martin Grant, Trevor Priddle, and a very hairy me.’

Andy Taylor joined HMSO Norwich in 1975, and did well to survive in Office Machinery. It must have been hell trying to get an opinion out of those shrinking violets Burgis, Whitaker . . . sorry. He writes: ‘Glad to see you’ve got the site up and running . . . although there are one or two Oldies on the Friends Reunited site it’s great to have one that you don’t have to pay a subscription to — or will you be releasing the bad news on subscriptions later? (over my dead body- if you get paid, you have to take responsibility, and I don’t want to start at my time of life). After spending a couple of years with a local housing association, I am currently working for Plastic Building Supplies, near Norwich Airport. I keep bumping into Brian Puplett of DD Health and Safety Supplies (either on his way to the golf course or another booking as a Prince Andrew decoy?) and occasionally see Mike Betts but only if I get the chance to drink in the Fur and Feather. Good luck . . . I will forward a few photos . . . regards to everyone that knew me.’
So that’s about it for day one. Those of you thinking that this looks like a Norwich-based self-indulgence among a group of people who know each other too well now have the ideal opportunity to correct this. How about some articles about the early days of Gateshead Press? RB6? OMRS mechanic, Salisbury Plain? BIS (New York)? HMSO Cairo (or was that just CW Blundell?). Anyway, there’s news from further afield coming up . . .

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