18 August 2005 — Shirley Zagaglia We are sad to record the Norwich Evening News report on 17 August concerning the death of Shirley Zagaglia on 11 August 2005. Shirley joined HMSO in Norwich in 1978, and spent most her time as a Support Officer in Business Supplies.
27 August 2005 — From Tony Garrett I worked briefly in Atlantic House in the early 1970s under Peter Branfield, so one or two photos on the site have been very evocative indeed. I came across the site after wondering if Peter was still around, and found many old friends there, particularly remembering Nodge Carnegie, Philip Marriage, Bobbie Westaway and, of course, Dave Challis (with whom I still exchange Christmas cards, though I haven’t seen him for some years). I am still grafting at The Times, so if you read the newspaper you will inevitably see recent examples of my work, maps, drawings etc. But I must say that the typographic training I had at Atlantic House has stood me in good stead over the years, even in the computer age. My very best wishes to anyone who remembers me and a special message to Philip Marriage: do you still go for the pollo cacciatori?’
(This correspondence prompted some vigorous nostalgia from Messrs Garratt, Marriage and Arnoldi, will tales involving impressions of the vocal talents of Peter Pears, exploding Cow Gum tins etc. Tony has friends in Norwich, and visits occasionally, so watch out for him. Ed)
30 Aug 2005 — Monthly miscellany
Not the Publishing News
During the early 1990s a small group (possibly as small as a single HEO) of Publications staff with what we might call a less than respectful attitude to Management and all its latest works produced an underground magazine for circulation among like-minded souls. John Flynn was working in Internal Audit at the time, and doubtless acquired a copy by way of official investigation. The photocopy quality is too poor to reproduce, so if anyone has a good copy and wants to see some of it on HMSOldies, please contact the Editor. Meanwhile, we reproduce an item entitled ‘Phrases Teaser:’ ‘Who said that, or who regularly says that? That’s our teaser for this edition.
Put names to the following phrases:
1 With the best will in the world and with the deepest respect . . .
2 No overtime!
3 Our response should be provocative and action-centred.
4 They’re just not listening!
5 Hang on a minute — I’ve got to bale out this little lot.
6 If you go to the Friendly Lodge it will be seen that you are interested in the organisation.
8 Well, they can stuff it. I’m really at my wits end!
9 . . . . and I’m doing an NVQ . . .
10 The proofs are in the post
11 Don’t worry — by the time you reach the top of your pay ladder and have little or no headroom, we will have something else in place.
12 . . . I didn’t realise I had an action point . . .
The answers to this quiz sadly do not show the name of the officer responsible for the first quotation, but the others are attributed as follows. By the way, the Management of HMSOldies cannot be held responsible for any scurrilous, vengeful or plainly incorrect attributions made by the thankfully anonymous Editor of NTPN.
2 Jim McGregor
3 Chris Southgate.
4 Peter Wall (has this anything to do with ‘Walls have Ears’ or am I reading too much into all this?).
5 Phillip Brooks.
6 Hilary Lynn.
7 Pat Walsh (as Coronation Street’s Shamir — obviously an in-joke among in-jokes).
8 Most Publishing staff.
9 Jim Wretham (at least it did him some good — he’s one of the few left with HMSO).
10 Steve Ward (and he’s still saying it).
11 Eddie Perry.
12 John Hudson.
John Flynn’s annals also includes a list of Internal Audit staff. There are 47 names on the list, which does not go back as far as the days when Bill Lyon worked to Peggy Page (still living in Poringland, I hear) and before, nor indeed the New Audit days of Graham Heaford (currently with C&E Felixstowe, I think). In date order, with no frills as my fingers are getting tired and want to get themselves around a late-night Guinness and Horlicks, they are as follows, from 1964-1989: McGarry, Dungate, Burgess, McGregor, Bracken, Fullman, Burberry, DK Morgan, Lewendon, MF Wilson, Pirouet, MJ Betts, DK Coleman, JF King, AA Wilde, Seppings, AG Moore, Prochera, Low, Slaughter, Higenbottam, C Jones, Bullock, JL Betts, JW Rose, Hacker, Evison, Flynn, PS Griffiths, Ms JJ Archer, Howes, Milburn, Riches, Ms C Buddery, C Wood, D Carter, Billings, JB Roberts, J Rowe, Lewendon (typically he returned for another dose), Ms J Helbich, J Watts, Gollop, Graves, Larby, S Allen, Ms J Drake, Ricketts.
Where are they all now, and do some of them still wear the Deacon Brodie ties on Fridays for fear of having to buy heavily in the bar?
Peter John Bradbury- 70 not out (but hardly ever in)
Peter joined HMSO Print as a ‘Post-War Open Examination Entrant on 20 February 1961 (the same day as Terry Whiston). On 30 August 2005 he celebrated his 70th birthday, and a few days before that he was invited to buy drinks for the Friday Club. Naturally, there was a near 100% attendance for this event. Roy Plackett also attended a birthday dinner for Peter at the King’s Head, Hethersett, on 27 August, and writes as follows:
‘Many old pals reflected upon the countless stories that saw our ‘Bradders’ overcoming disasters with hilarious consequences. Some great tales were retold, surely reflecting the hopeless optimism of the man, and would rival ‘Fawlty Towers’ if turned into a television sitcom. How he survived thus far in one piece defies all the odds, and lesser men would have sunk without trace! He has now reached legendary status.
The Friday Club rendered a nautical ditty, penned by TG Smith and Bradders was seen to wipe away a tear or two, which perhaps was unjustified as members were only a shade under-rehearsed, and allowance should be made for inebriation. During the performance, the Bradbury family looked on in deep trauma and observed proceedings with mutual incomprehension, as if they had left the real world behind them. However, the Friday Club felt that they had introduced some culture to the event, and much backslapping was observed on their way back to the bar. Jim and Ross Richardson made the ‘do’ from Manchester and Jim, who was also 70 in June, managed to collect sponsorship money for a sky diving parachute jump, which involves freefall speeds of around 120mph. This takes place on 4 September, and the mad fool will report how it went later.
A great night that lived up to expectations. Cheers, Bradders!’
What the Papers Say
Nothing much in the newspapers this month as regards HMSO staff. We hope that our Cuttings Service has not dissuaded them from writing to the Press (certainly hasn’t for Marguerite Finn, who now has her own website). However, the following item was spotted in an article on the open-air screening of films outside the Norwich Forum in the Eastern Daily Press on 19 August 2005: ‘Alfred Wiggins, 67, of Norwich — on his way home from a night out — thought it an excellent idea.’ You’re not safe anywhere these days, are you Alf?
Ivy Lee Notches Up Ninety
The legendary Mrs A Ivy Lee joined HMSO in May 1941, as a ‘34,000 Scheme Entrant.’ Although Ivy spent much of her time in Publications, the April 1952 Staff List shows that she was then a Clerical Officer in Supplies, listed on the same page as George Redman, Sid Greig, Bert Diver, Arthur Aldersley, Frankie Day, Ernie Thorp, Ron Barker, Mavis McGillvray, Paddy Epstein, Pat Walsh, Dick Laundy, John Nash, Len Reinbach . . . Luckily I can’t remember all the stories Joe Delaney told me on our Mundesley course in 1975. However, I am sure that many were told at her celebratory party. Judy Tassell reports: ‘Ivy’s birthday party was very well attended, but unfortunately we (Judy and John) were the only HMSO people there. The other guests invited were away on holiday at the time, so we had to fly the flag and of course drink her health in Champagne (many times) on their behalf. It’s tough, but someone had to do it. Despite having hip and eye operations in recent years, Ivy appears to be in excellent form and still goes to meet her friends regularly to play bridge. She still drives, although only locally and in daylight, and still lives in her flat in Sidcup. She tells me that she started work for HMSO in Princes Street in Westminster, but was soon relocated to Keysign House, which she says was a very popular move with the staff as it was situated opposite Selfridges.’
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1 September 2005 — Brian Daniels: Thirty Years On What were you doing in 1975? Watching the first episodes of The Sweeney and The Good Life on television? Listening to the UK entry for Eurovision Song Contest — Let Me Be The One by The Shadows. It came second, since you ask. We were liked by most of Europe in those days. Or were you dancing to the Number One hits of the year, including If by Telly Savalas; Bye Bye Baby by the Bay City Rollers; Sailing by Rod Stewart; Whispering Grass by Windsor Davis and Don Estelle; Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen. Speaking of The Queen, that is just what Brian Daniels was doing in 1975: enlisting into the service of The Queen by joining HMSO (Norwich) on 1 September. He has remained in Print ever since, transferring to tSO upon privatisation, and he generously celebrated the event by inviting friends and colleagues past and present to mark the occasion.
His first Technical Officer, Peter Staples made it, as did other retirees — Joe Bishop, Bob Nelson, David Berwick, Derek Regnier, John Payne, Reg Walker. A solitary representative from today’s HMSO was Lynda Marshall, and from current tSO Julie Pointer, Liz Hart, Michele Staple, Nodge Carnegie, Phil Wilks, Jim Marshall, Steve Ward, Tony Johnson, Mike Yemm, Paul Harvey. Representative Astron-auts were Cathy Mason, Sandy Butt, Ian McCall, Dave Owen, John Rollason. Apologies for those I missed — the glare from Brian’s solid gold commemorative pocket watch blinded me. Or was it from his pint glass?
Others could not make it due to Annual Leave, the need to keep their jobs, or plain forgetfulness. I know why Corinne Barker was not there — I saw her in Sainsbury’s later in the afternoon (I did not make myself known, as I always wear a bag over my head when I’m in there).
Steve Ward — Half a lifetime with HMSO/tSO A good week for what, to some, might be called the tSO Annex, with yet another celebration (good to see a firm still capable of celebrating the work ethic). This time it was Steve Ward, ex professional footballer, current professional printer. Unbelievably, he reached the age of 50. If you think he looks young for his age, you should see his wife Jayne, who added some sophistication to the event, with their seven year old daughter Molly. Steve joined HMSO 25 years ago, so he now knows where half of his life has gone.
I turned up late, and things were in full swing. Many of the attendees at the Brian Daniels event were there — Jim Marshall, Phil Wilks, Paul Harvey, Joe Bishop, Bob Nelson, Mike Yemm and Tony Johnson Also conspicuous were Robin Kelly, Ian Carter, Alan Low, Pauline White, Corinne Barker, Keith Champ, Steve Whitnell (up from Nine Elms), Darren Rayner and Liz Hart plus several friends not connected with either HMSO, tSO or even Print . . . Good to keep up your outside contacts. You never know.
14 September 2005 — St Crispins, Norwich An unexpected invitation to sample the excellent wares still provided by Nigel in the Atrium at St Crispins had me thinking that they might want me (as Vice Chairman of the Pipe Club of Norfolk) to perform the official opening ceremony for new bus-shelter style Smoking Ghetto strategically placed in the car park and ideally situated as a night shelter for local itinerants. But no. They seem to be waiting for Ken Clark to do the honours as part of his forthcoming Leadership tour.
The entrance hall has been remodeled splendidly, doubtless reducing Robin Kelly’s budget to nothing more than a bag of golf balls. Speaking of Office Services personnel, I am pleased to report that Sean Cooper got married this Summer, and is happily commuting by bike and train from Lowestoft to keep the building from sinking under its weight in disposables.
My visit coincided with a report in the Eastern Daily Press headlined Bosses set for shares sell-off: strong set of half-year results at office supplies firm. The firm in question is Office2office, sometime Banner Business Supplies. HMSO used to call it Business Supplies. Or Supplies. Or Supply Division.
The article continued: Directors and senior managers . . . yesterday announced their intention to sell part of their multi-million pound shareholding . . . with pre-tax profits up 19% at £5.7m before share option and exceptional costs, on turnover up 5% at £75.5m. The business floated in June 2004 and since then its shares have risen strongly from 178p to 284.5p, valuing the company at some £105m. Directors and senior managers currently held 23.8% of the total share capital and intended to sell up to a quarter of that holding. Mr Peck (Chief Executive) said that the company had taken 5000 sq.ft. of extra space at its Norwich HQ to cope with the growth in staff numbers. Office2office now employs 250 people in Norwich and a further 555 across the UK.
The HMSO staff list dated 1 April 1990 shows Supplies Division with total staff of 516 out of an office-wide total of 2223.
17 September 2005 — Doreen Luer The sad news that Doreen Luer had died, aged 87, was reported in the Norwich Evening News on 21 September. A private family cremation followed by a Thanksgiving service for Doreen’s life was held at Bowthorpe Road Methodist Church, Norwich, on Thursday 29 September 2005. Doreen joined HMSO in October 1936, and was a stalwart member of Establishments/PS Division following dispersal to Norwich.
20 September 2005 — From Pat Kennedy
Dear Reg, Firstly my congratulations to you and your web development team for a superb effort in producing the HMSOldies website and for your editorial excellence in stringing together all the contact messages of contributors in such a readable format.
I am grateful to Jack Palmer, a former Deputy Director in Print Procurement, for letting me know of the existence of the HMSOldies website. Jack was a prolific cartoonist contributor to the pages of SO Review for several years. He cartooned under the guise of various non-de plumes while I tried unsuccessfully to emulate him, but produced a drawing rather than a cartoon, under the pen name of YorkY (my identity revealed at last!). During my eleven years served in Norwich in Print Procurement and Supply divisions, I served for three years as the General Secretary, Staff Side (GSSS), succeeding Harry Teedon. It proved to be a very hectic post-dispersal period, following the highly successful dispersal from London operation in 1968. Publishing the monthly SO Review gave the Staff Side and a succession of Editors some many headaches in dragging copy out of reluctant contributors. Contrary to popular belief, the editorial page was the responsibility of the GSSS who had to burn midnight oil at home to produce a factual and interesting piece. I recall on one occasion having to provide the Editor with copy for eight of the twenty-four pages. In those days the magazine was printed by Leslie Pierce a retired HMSO Printing Officer, who produced each issue on a letterpress machine in his garage!
I hope your memory banks and those of your readers can just about remember me! I faded from the Norwich scene in 1979 on promotion to Manchester, succeeding Jim McDonald as Assistant Director Manchester under Richard Dunn.
A succession of Manchester directors seemed to flow above me in the twelve or so years I remained in post (longer than Margaret Thatcher served as Prime Minister), including Bob Norris, George James, Alan Cole, George Rokhar and Alex Mackie, who finally saw me off at my retirement do in October 1992 after 33 years with HMSO. My wife and I moved to St Albans in 1995 to live nearer to our daughters. Best wishes, Pat Kennedy.
21 September 2005 — From Pat Kennedy Dear Reg, Thank you for stirring my memories of a bygone, but exciting age with HMSO. I have looked up the Christmas 1968 Review — the cover drawing still brings a smile to my face. Philip Marriage may recognise the Letraset letters that Graphic Design gave me on one occasion (used offcut sheets with a few letters left on unused), I used the offcuts, shading etc in several subsequent cartoons. Now that you know the identity of YorkY you will be able to cull all my drawings done for the Review over about a five or six year period from the late 60s to the mid 70s. I still hold most of the originals and might look up some of my favourites for submission to you for possible use. Best wishes from Pat Kennedy.
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October 2005 — Unsolicited Recommendations It’s getting to that boring time of year when we slap on the goose-fat and sew ourselves into the Winceyette undergarments. Or is that just me? Anyway, we thought it might be useful to set out recommendations for Accommodation, Restaurants, Bars etc. (UK and overseas) which might be of interest to those among us who have to travel away from their own kitchens on occasion. No commercial advertisements will be accepted, and no liability for food poisoning, overcharging, fleabites etc encountered.
To kick off, most of you will know that, as regards central London, the Civil Service Club in Great Scotland Yard offers excellent accommodation / food / drink, as does the Union Jack Club in Waterloo — anyone who has ever served in HM Forces or any Government Department is entitled to stay there, as I did recently (excellent double room £89 per night — breakfast extra). The Waterloo/Cut/Lower Marsh/Doon Street area has been smartened up/spoilt depending on your point of view, but the Evening Standard had it right in recommending Masters Superfish of 191 Waterloo Road (keep going southwards from The Old Vic): This is a traditional fish and chip emporium just south of Waterloo station. Large portions and good light batter. Good enough to have become a favourite stop-off on the way to the West End (020 7928 6924). I was last there some 10 years ago, and went again in October 2005. Best f&c I’ve had for ages — mushy peas, wallies, onions, reasonably priced bottle of house wine, huge piece of cod, friendly and incredibly speedy service. The place was full (but not too full) of taxi drivers, couriers, and families going to The Old Vic. And reasonably priced. There was so much that it took me half an hour to get my post-prandial pint of Guinness through it in The White Hart, Cornwall Road. Too much information?
And while you are down that way, Borough Market, a thriving quality food market open on Fridays and Saturdays with stalls specialising in organic produce, delicatessen, cheese, wines, meats, game, fish, and imported foods; Spitalfields Market (breakfast at the S&M café, with bubble and squeak) and The Imperial War Museum (memories of WW2 evacuation — very evocative) are all very much worth a visit.
2 October 2005 — From Barry Palmer in Canada
Hi guys, hope by now you saw the picture of Jan and myself at Niagara Falls this summer, it was a real thrill meeting after our first meeting 46 years ago and there was a lot of history to discuss. It also appears that we both spent some time this summer travelling and in spite of the heat wave we both managed to find heavy rain. The five of us went to Thunder Bay at the western tip of Lake Superior as we had never been that way before and it took two days of driving to get there. I took the opportunity to give Bonnie some driving lessons towing our 26-foot trailer and she did very well. Scenery is marvelous up there but the wild life was hiding from us all except for one lonely wolf. We also went to an Indian pow-wow on the way back — very interesting. It is a treat to get away from the traffic, as it is very congested around Toronto, just like London. My son came back from B.C. and is now living with us, with his dog, which is like a small horse. He drives tractor-trailers and thought he might get more work here and he would also like to get back into computers. I seem to have hurt my back gardening and it is affecting my left leg as well so I’m having trouble walking too far at the present. Two kids are back at college and one at high-school now — seems to be never-ending (school), not like when we were growing up and went to work at 15-16. I should have more time as retirement is approaching very fast (15 months). Hope you all great summers. Barry
October 2005 — From Dave Poole Reg, Met Roy and Brenda Plackett here in Spain in October and was informed of the HMSOldies website, so you can expect some input from me from time to time. Had a few drinks with Roy [photo], tried to teach him how to order beer in Spanish. I think its going to take a while, he seems to be a slow learner — could be short term memory loss of course. Once I have digested all the information on the website I will be in touch. Adios, Dave Poole.
4 October 2005 — HMSOldies Worldwide I have little understanding of the Black Art that is computer technology, but there is a website which tells us how many ‘hits’ the site has received over a given period. I know that there is a strong element of ‘robot’ access, mainly from the USA, which is used to send us unwanted (if not unwelcome) advertisements for what, for propriety’s sake, I will call ‘Gentlemen’s Aids’ but surely that does not account for the widespread interest indicated by the following statistics taken during the month of August 2005:
USA: 1443 hits*
Great Britain: 659 hits
Sweden: 41 hits
Canada: 8 hits
Australia: 6 hits
Saudi Arabia: 6 hits
Poland: 5 hits
Ivory Coast: 3 hits
Uruguay: 2 hits
Philippines, Brunei, Bahrain, Pakistan, Malaysia, United Arab Emirates, Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Germany, Senegal — one hit each.
Surely we can’t have ex HMSO people in all of these countries? If not, why the interest? We would very much like to know. I might even conduct a world tour to all the places involved, on expenses of course, if HMSOldies Management insiSt Or perhaps I should just visit Ireland, France, Italy and Greece to find out why they haven’t bothered. And why hasn’t Albert During told his relatives in The Gambia about us?
*Some of the hits that appear to come from the USA are likely to be users of AOL and other ISPs (Internet service providers) that route the traffic via the USA. [RWS]
4 October 2005 — Stationery Office Golf Society Gordon Robbie writes in to identify his Uncle Norman and Aunt Wilhelmina (both ex ITW Cornwall House in the early 1960s when the ‘mystery dancing couple‘ were photographed by Brian Whitefield).
Gordon adds: ‘I see a piece from Brian Puplett in which he refers to me as the ‘big-hitting Secretary’ of the Stationery Office Golf Society. Flattery will get that boy anywhere! It leads me to record, however, never being one to hide my light under a bushel, that I recorded a winning 40 Stableford points at the recent tSO Golf Society meeting at Reymerston, including a brilliant birdie four at the par five 18th — a long straight drive right up the middle, a brilliant three iron to the edge of the green, a delicate chip and run to three feet and a single putt. That was on a Friday, however, and Sick transit gloria Monday. C’est la vie.
Incidentally, the Golf Society would welcome new members from among the HMSOldies readership, if any of them feel inclined. An approach to me for details would be very welcome. We have had our last meeting for this season, but 2006 is in the planning stage, and new faces would be very welcome at our AGM in the Royal Norwich Club House on 23 November 2005 at 1800 hours.’