3. July – September 1973

July 1973

2 Monday

Did 2 days shift manager’s reports. Got ‘Safety’ today (magazine)- new look – needed too. Ordered some from J. (Joe) Chudzik. Made 5,277 tonnes of iron last week. Did NCR sheet and Receipts, Issues and Stocks. Photocopied them in steelworks office. Phoned Ted to say that I might be late tomorrow
morning (Liverpool on Saturday !)


3 Tuesday

Took mum to Willenhall, arrived at work at about 9:10. Ted had got the shift manager’s reports and the tickets. Copied NCR sheets and did coke yield. Someone from ‘Robinsons’ – from Newcastle – came in – v. interesting chap (John Sudder). Ted did practicaly nout while I went up to the general office for Archie. Walked back to the furnace with Mr John. J. Chudzik gave me ‘British Steelmaker.

Cashiers Office

TV : Saw Connors play (Wimbledon).


4 Wednesday

Got to work at usual time today. John came in – the furnace was ‘off’ this morning and afternoon to 2:30. Had dinner with him. After dinner he talked about his life in South Africa – money, drinking, fishing, unrest and so on. V. interesting. Walked up to casthouse and, later, bid him goodbye(*). Joe
Chudzik gave me a ‘British Steelmaker’ from May.

*(I think John Sudder must have been a consultant in ironmaking. I remember him distinctly talking about his time in Consett and then SA and that since it was illegal to take money out of the country he had to buy diamonds or gold and have it smuggled out when he returned to live in the UK)


5 Thursday

Did usual morning jobs. Saw John (Sudder) on cast house floor. While doing injury reports. Joe Chudzik – not pleased about stationery. Went to dinner and came back with Phil Davies. Said goodbye to John – he went back to Consett – 6 hr journey – at 12:30. Fetched Mum from dentists at 5:00. (Above Right: My impression of the fire incident as sketched in my diary – see 3 September)

TV: Saw Roger Taylor beaten by Jan Kodes in semi final. Saw ‘Warship’ about a valve and storesman, MI5 etc. in Malta
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6 Friday

Did usual morning work – load No. changed from 312 – 314. D. Hunter in today. Showed a rep from Norton & Barrow to a scrap truck on the ‘LMS’ sidings. Did some more minor injuries. Furnace taphole gun out of action this afternoon. ‘Steel News’ today – ‘Thrybergh Site Excavation’. Saw Penn Players (local play) tonight.Rubbish.

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July 1973

9 Monday

Could not open Highline box (box where tickets from the railway trucks were deposited). Ted opened it later on. Did Saturday’s and Sunday’s shift manager’s reports. Fred Skillington from Robsons came in today. Did NCR sheet etc. D. Hunter & T.A. Woolley in today.

TV: Saw ‘Play for Today: Three Fishermen. Yorkshire play about 3 men going fishing at Whitby – V. funny.

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10 Tuesday

Did the usual morning jobs. H/line box OK. Did coke yield sheets – hellish. Malcolm (Bacon?) and Phil (Davies) came into the office – after dinner – won a darts game ! Took NCR sheets etc. to Costs. Basic slag being unloaded in the stockyard ready for the shutdown. S. Beesley said “how many Fodens (Lorries) have we had at the dustcatcher?

TV : Saw D. Bogarde in ‘They Who Dare’. G.Hill : Tues. Documentary.

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11 Wednesday

Did Shift managers report etc. Plenty of Twywell tickets today. Slag bogie tipped molten slag all over the locomen’s cabin – burnt to a cinder. No one hurt. ‘Darted’ with S. Beesley and P. Davies. Sid got his new helmet. Dave Cresswell went to Weston-Super-Mare today. Got ‘Minor Injuries’ (report) typed out today.

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12 Thursday

Did usual morning jobs – pretty dull sort of day. Tore out a blank shift managers report (this was to take home and keep – which I did – only for it to be disposed of when my parents moved house ! How I wish I still had it). Had dinner with Phil Davies – beat him at darts – yesterday not today.

TV : Saw ‘Warship’
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13 Friday

Did shift managers report as per usual today. Then did rest of associated jobs. D. Hunter not in today – on holiday for 2 weeks. Fred Skillington came in today – got him some sandwiches – and me too. Got some more scalecar sheets run off today. Asked Sue Mallen out – spoken for ! Going to pin ‘The Works and Their Divisions’ sheet up tonight. Going to see ‘Jack The Ripper’.

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July 1973

14 Saturday

Went in this morning. Parked opposite the garage under the high line 1st Time ! (There was a row of parking spaces under the high line allocated to senior management – not there on a Saturday!) Pouring with rain too. Did all the work and Don Lloyd arrived as I sorted the tickets – he came back from
Cleveland yesterday. Had a little trouble with the scalecar sheet.

TV : British Grand Prix – saw multi-crash pile up – live !

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“With a little more scrap,
a little more lime,
a lttle more heat
and a little more time,
the steel inside will be really fine”

First Hand Furnaceman, Irlam (anon)

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16 Monday

Dentist’s at 6:15 (Yuk!)

Rained this morning. Did the shift manager’s report. Stacks of tickets to do. Don Lloyd gave me a plan of Shotton works – v.good. Archie and Sid were in – Sid told us about Rushden – v.good. Played Ken Sudlow at darts – beat him – played Ted and P. Davies. Went to dentists – terrible – had filling and numb cheek!

TV : Saw ‘Tom Brown’s Schooldays’ Part I.
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17 Tuesday

Did usual morning jobs etc. Started to calculate the coke yield for 14.7.73. Hellish ! Played Phil and Ted at darts. Carried on with coke yield and ‘Ref.6’ – cost sheet. Went into Bilston around 4:00 pm to get watering cans (for oiling slag bogies). Poured with rain coming back.

TV: Saw last episode of ‘The Liver Birds’ at 8:30 pm.

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18 Wednesday

Iron tonnage mix-up on ‘F’ cast this morning – I was told 136.2 (tonnes) – it was 135.0 ! Did other usual jobs, tickets etc. C. Beesley has a cold. Went rifle shooting – 1st Time for me – with Ted’s rifle. Sid shot 95. Archie told Fred what to do with his ‘Sulpherem’ ! I don’t blame him. Mrs Barham rang to tell me I had an appointment with G. Davies tomorrow. Played ‘Scrabble’ tonight.

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19 Thursday

Did usual jobs – replaced Highline padlock (for the collecting box for truck tickets) – the first one was battered. Carried on until 9:50 then went up to G. Davies’ office – usual things said : “blast furnace is a dynamic piece of equipment”. Had dinner with C. Beesley – he beat me at darts too. Ted’s last day today (holiday). Went to barbers at Snow Hill (Wolverhampton).

TV : Saw Johnny Morris and ‘Warship’ about a sub on the bottom.

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20 Friday

Not too bad a first day since Ted went yesterday. Did usual jobs OK. Pig-cast yesterday 225 tonnes. Costs Dept wanted to know how much slag we’d made during the past three months, a little trouble with Tarmac invoices – sorted out though. Melting Shop shut down at 11:00 today. V. quiet in there.

TV: Saw ‘Jack the Ripper’ Pt. II

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21 Saturday

Went into work this morning fairly early – did all the usual work as Ted is not here. C. Beesley came in and chatted etc. Rained much today.

TV : Saw Dads Army, Mike Yarwood and Ironside.

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July 1973

23 Monday

Hellishly hard day today as Ted is away. Did all the Monday jobs 2 sheets etc. Paul came in and ‘helped’. Did the NCR sheet OK. Distributed the usual sheets. Saw J.McGraw “Common Imps”.

TV Saw ‘Tom Brown’s Schooldays’ and ‘Two Ronnies’

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24 Tuesday

Got in fairly early today did usual things – no iron analysis on the report (since Saturday actually). Painting ‘B’ furnace’s stack white today (undercoat – a silver topcoat followed). Got lever arch file for Quarry Sheets. Did Coke Yield and Coke Report for Costs. Did Return to Costs.

Went to ‘Roebuck & Harrows’ this evening with Keith.

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25 Wednesday

Did usual jobs. No iron analysis. Started on ‘The Bible’. Went to dinner with C. Beesley and P. Davies. Sat out in the chairs later on. Water spurting over the cooling towers – can’t get the metal ladles there – problem.

TV : Saw ‘The Kids at 47A’

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26 Thursday

Did usual morning jobs – they’ve nearly finished painting ‘B’ furnace’s chimney. Had dinner by myself. Sid brought me a bottle of pop: ‘Purity‘ Lemonade. Showed a man from Kingsciffe (K.S.R.) to Archie. J. Downs (Buying) rang up about a discrepancy in stocks Millscale at 4:30. On the way home
screeched to a stop at ‘The Top’ (Penn shops) zebra crossing. Battled with NCR sheet to find discrepancy – at home too !

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27 Friday

Got Shift Manager’s book, did tickets etc. Did Scalecar book and so on. Steam being blown through a valve made a hellish row today. Got tramp elements since 21.7.73. Ted came in for his pay slip. J. Chudzik gave me some magazines – ‘Iron & Steel Engineer’ etc. Got the millscale business sorted out.

TV : Saw ‘Jack The Ripper’

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July/August 1973

30 Monday

Hell sir ! Worked solidly all through morning right up to 1:00. Fred Skillington came in this afternoon, Archie held everything up with his notes. D. Hunter’s postcard (and himself!) arrived today. Hope I’ve done the NCR sheet OK…

TV : Saw ‘Tom Browns Schooldays’

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31 Tuesday

Did coke yield, costs (return to) etc. Fairly busy all day. Had dinner by myself. Did report for Fuel Dept. G. Davies came in looking for David Hunter. Tunnel (between BF Office and main office area) flooded today.

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1 Wednesday/August

Did usual morning jobs, still got a bit of a cold – sniff! Did ‘bible’ and took the ‘Return to Costs’ to Costs. (Yesterday a man from Corby came by the way). Did some calcs. For D. Hunter.

TV : Saw Marlene Dietrich.
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2 Thursday

Did usual jobs etc. Did ‘bible’ (rates and %). David asked me to do B-S95 which I did do to which he said “excellent”. Listened to ‘The Archers’ at dinner time. Quite hot today.

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3 Friday

Last day before my holiday ! Did usual morning work. D. Hunter showed me the graph results of my work – v. good ! Furnace off today for valve change on No. 2 stove. V. interesting. Brought “Cool Reception For New Boss” cutting home (See STEEL NEWS Section).

August 1973

HOLIDAY ! Switzerland (Lucerne)

15 Wednesday

Well, back to the grindstone! Everything ok at work – brought Ted his cigars – very welcome ! Did usual jobs, H.Pearson came in, Archie on holiday, v. hot today – 90 deg F in the shade. Went to bed early tonight not too well.

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16 Thursday

Went in as usual, did shift manager’s book then went to see Mrs Barham – OK for 2nd year at Tech (college). Did usual jobs. Bill gave me a book about the Norfolk Broads, went to dinner and came back with Phil Davies, very hot again. Ted loaded his car with bricks for his garden. Photocopied 100 work sheets (?)

TV : Saw Cannon (new series) about a torch and fires etc.

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17 Friday

Did usual jobs, went up in stockyard crane – very interesting – good view. Got NCR sheets later on. (Friend) Keith phoned up – managed to meet him at 7:30 tonight.

TV : Saw last episode of ‘Jack the Ripper’

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August 1973

20 Monday

Got up at usual time approx. 7:20. Did shift managers report and got highline tickets, did scalecar books etc. Had beef and blackberry and apple pie for dinner. Did NCR sheet with Ted and distributed usual things this afternoon.

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21 Tuesday

Did usual jobs – gave Ted a box of ceegars ! His birthday. Ted did coke yield sold some raffle tickets, 5p a head. Fred Skillington bought one. The furnace was off this morning – taking up skip ropes and renewing Dustcatcher valves.

TV : Saw Dirk Bogarde film – “The Password is Courage”.

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22 Wednesday/August

Did Shift Manager’s report and other jobs. Sold a few tickets (raffle – rifle) to Traffic office. Calculated with D.Hunter the ‘Blowing In’ burden and cost breakdown. Took up the rest of the day. Sid Beesley found his licence is three months overdue !

Had a bath and saw the news – letter bombs etc.

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23 Thursday

Did usual jobs – Shift Managers book etc. Ted took the tickets over to the Traffic office – and sold all ten books of his own raffle. Got the ‘Steel News’ today – Brymbo’s blast furnace on the front. D. Hunter gave me a copy ofend of 4th Campaign paperwork.

TV : Saw ‘Cannon’ – Nerve gas under and in car.

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24 Friday

Ted did not come in this morning – took his banger in for M.O.T. Bought a bottle of lemonade with my dinner, listened to ‘The Archers’. Went to the Training Centre and got Wulfun (college) form filled in, got Ted his Premium Bond. D. Hunter not in today. Packed for tomorrow

HOLIDAY : Norfolk Broads with friend Keith from Saturday 25 August to Saturday 1 September – highlight: seeing the latest Bond film ‘Live and Let Die’ at cinema in Great Yarmouth)

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September 1973

3 Monday

Got up at usual time, went to work around 8:00. Did tickets – Ted did report. Baggot delivered mail – my postcard included ! Did NCR sheet etc. Discussed coke problem. Near Stan Bull’s office – FIRE ON TOP PLATFORM! Fire engine arrived as I left. Hope all is OK.

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4 Tuesday

Furnace is OK. Fire doused without causing too much damage. Fce off all day for maintenance. Did coke yield and return to costs. Did ‘bible’ this afternoon. Took car to Hadleys (garage) – dynamo bracket busted !

TV : Saw ‘Commanders’ – Eisenhower – v.good.

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5 Wednesday

Took car into Esso garage this morning – dynamo done OK ! Did the tickets – Ted did shift managers book. Mr Bromley (from HQ) came today. Bristle brushes up at the furnace (?!!). Ken Sudlow’s house I went to – collected 2 ‘steel’ books (wish I still had them!!)

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6 Thursday

Did shift manager’s report this morning. Furnace still going alright after 12 hour stop on Tuesday. S. Beesley back from Cornwall today. Rode in Leyland ‘Boxer’ cab, loaded some bags on a pallet! Spent most of the day ‘up the furnace’ (tuyere change at taphole).

TV : Saw ‘Cannon’

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7 Friday

Did usual jobs. Went up the furnace to get ‘Minor Accidents’ out of the road ! Took some sandwiches to the quarry for dinner. Hot day (blind down). Worked for Archie – R. Bailey phoned.

TV : Saw ‘Hadleigh’

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September 1973

10 Monday

Went to work fairly early today. Dull day compared to last week’s hot sun. Did 2 shift managers reports. Discussed coke discrepancy* with David and Archie – skip counting should be the best method. Coke was 249 tonnes out today! Distributed sheets to usual persons.

*There was a mysterious discrepancy between the consumption of coke on paper and actually used. In the end we believed there were more skips of coke charged to the furnace than recorded.

TV : Saw ‘The High Chaparral’ – ‘The Guns of Johnny Rondo’ (“Sixteen holes and sixteen souls by the guns of Johnny Rondo…”)

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11 Tuesday

Did the usual morning work. Ted did the coke yield and Ref 6. Took them up to Costs, D. Hunter in today. Went to dinner with Sid Beesley. Ted doing his Standards for D. Hunter. Went up the furnace – ‘fly away’ taphole – got no locations. Bought home telephone directory (works old one).

TV: Saw ‘Spy Trap’

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12 Wednesday

Did usual jobs, furnace off most of today. Did tuyeres today for D. Hunter. Had dinner with P. Davies. Found a minor injury up on the furnace ( must have been an incident requiring recording). Not much doing, hot day. Channel Tunnel gets go-ahead.

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13 Thursday

Went in as per usual. Did shift managers report etc. Did some medical note work. Had dinner working – they let me pass. Did some ‘averages’ for Mr. D. Hunter. Saw Josefowski for the first time in ages!

TV: Saw ‘Cannon’ – ‘Girl in the Electric Coffin’.

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14 Friday

A day off !


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September 1973

17 Monday

Did usual hectic Monday jobs, Scalecar sheets etc. Ted gave me a lecture on houses and the government – I could have done without it! Had dinner with Sid and played ‘killer’ (darts game of attrition!) with Phil Davies and Johnny Morris.
Did NCR sheet – “Albert Ball : have you picked up any iron?”

TV : Saw bit of ‘Madigan’ – Richard Widmark.

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18 Tuesday

Wet and cold today ! Frank (office caretaker) thought a scorpion had got him yeterday ! Did Coke Yield and Ref.6 Coke report. Went to dinner with Sid, came back with him and Phil. Did average H2o in coke for David. V. interesting. H. Pearson took me up to the top of the furnace – by the steps! Looked around – put internal telephone directory in box. (this trip to the top is referred to in the Bilston Works/Elisabeth section. There was a telephone at the furnace top – so our journey had a purpose!).

TV : Saw a bit of ‘The Punch & Judy Man’ Tony Hancock, ‘Spy Trap’ and ‘The Commanders’ (Yamamoto).

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19 Wednesday/August

Did usual morning jobs. Went to General Office about 4 times this morning, typing etc. and sat in buying office for 10 minutes – J. Chudzik gave me ‘British Steelmaker’. Blast furnace collapsing on the back. Sid weighed the coke shakers today. Re-wrote the medical report for July/August.

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20 Thursday
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Did shift manager’s report today – did not do the scalecar books etc. – got the minutes of the BFCC (Blast Furnace Consultative Committee) meeting instead. D. Hunter out most of the day. Had dinner with Sid (Ken Sudlow gone to Blackpool). Baggot involved in some sort of upset at the Commissionaires office – Bill (Kerr) says “he’s a nutter!”.

TV : Saw ‘Tomorrows World & ‘Cannon’.

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21 Friday

Did usual daily jobs, tickets etc. Ted was still involved in his BFCC jobs – he took them around the works – met up with him in the Traffic Office, had early sandwich dinner and went into Bilston for driving licence.

TV: Saw ‘Dave Allen at Large’

(Obviously I couldn’t get enough of being at work since I went in on both Saturday and Sunday….)

22 Saturday

Went into work about 8:45. Ted came and H.Pearson and Alan Smith, did usual things etc. Came home about 11:00.

23 Sunday

Got up early and had breakfast with Mum. Drove into BSC today 1ST TIME working on a Sunday. Came home about 11:00. Read ‘The Unforgotten’ (v. good).

Heard ‘The Navy Lark’ and ‘Solid Gold Sixty’. Had bath.

TV: Saw ‘Moonbase 3’ and ‘This Could be the Night’ about an English teacher working in a night club.

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September 1973

24 Monday

Went in at 8:00 as per usual. Did usual Monday jobs – except that Sunday’s had already been done ! Phil had a game of darts with me during dinner. Did NCR sheet, by 3:30 Mr Woolley had done the ‘Notes’. Managed to get things done in good time.

TV : Saw ‘The High Chaparral’ – ‘Peacemaker’

Still working on the rest of the diary and will add more soon – thank you for reading this far.