2. April – June 1973

April 1973

2 Monday

G. Davies came in first thing to check the money as it’s the beginning of the financial year. Was on the counter too today. At dinner chatted with Mick Harris – said I could visit a works with him if the went anywhere. Ken said I would be getting a £72 p.a. pay rise from April. Snowed in afternoon. ‘Ray of Hope for BSC Bilston’ in paper.

TV : saw ‘Search for the Nile’ Part I.

Music : “Tie a Yellow Ribbon” – Dawn

3 Tuesday

Apart from being on the counter I had practically nothing to do except the odd letter or so. Cleaned out my desk and got the numerator from the Welfare (?). At dinner saw the blast furnace flushing. In the melting shop ‘G’ furnace had cast and steel was teeming. ‘D’ furnace being re-bricked. Said goodbye to everyone. Very sad. Keith (best friend) went to Ironbridge today. He said he disliked his first day at work (Claims Dept, West Midlands Passenger Transport, Birmingham). Did H.E.P at tech.

4 Wednesday First Day in Blast Furnace Office

Got to work at 8:20, walked in melting shop and went to blast furnace office about 8:35. Ted (Ted Timmins – Senior Clerk) showed me how to do the tickets (for coke, iron ore, limestone, collected from the ‘high-line’: railway trucks). We then went to the Traffic Office and Shift Manager’s Office. Calculated coke rate, iron average and gas temp averages and slag analyses. Quite a nice first day… Ted left at 4:25 – I left at 4:40.

5 Thursday (Wulfrun College ‘Day Release’)

Did nothing in Accounts – Mr Heaton talked about partnerships. In Commerce we did transport. Had yoghurt etc. for dinner. In History – Mr Carrick was back – did ‘population’. Had ‘Crown Court’ (video of TV programme) 4:00-5:00 about a black chap claiming to be the son of a millionaire. Chatted to Mr Heaton about Rotherham afterwards.

TV : Saw Chaplain in ‘The Immigrant’.

6 Friday

Took the book and got the high line tickets. Took the Shift Manager’s report to Mr Davies then went Traffic Office – S. Beesley – Traffic Office – Typists – Staff Canteen – Office. Played darts 1st time (dartboard in blast furnace office) . Gave Paul Williams a lift to ‘A’ Gate.

(Right) This was the type of calculating machine I used in the days (just!) before electric calculators. Working out averages was not easy !

April 1973

9 Monday

Got ‘High Line’ tickets and Shift Manager’s book. Snow on the car today. Bob Perry (W.H.M.C) came in today – nice lad. Took him round most of the works. Ted showed me ‘the rounds’ this afternoon (what departments to call in and out of). Got date for Imp brake reline to be sorted.

TV : Saw part two of ‘Search for the Nile’.

10 Tuesday

Dropped High Line key down the back of the cabinet. Great start ! Played darts at dinner, had dinner with D. Cresswell….Ted and I did the Coke Yield and N.C.R. sheets. D. Cresswell gave me a ‘Blast Furnaces by ASHMORES’ booklet. Had a chat with a Mr. Holloway in the Chem Lab today.

TV : Saw ‘The Liver Birds’ / Last Econ. Geog before Easter (Tech)

11 Wednesday

Imp reline – AOK. Pouring with rain this morning. Got a ‘Tufmaster’ safety helmet today. Darts at dinner. Ted and I talked politics for awhile. There is a possibility of my visiting Scunthorpe on May 2 – hope so ! Went to the Drawing Office and got drawings of the O.H. (Open Hearth) Plant and map of the works.

12 Thursday (Wulfrun College ‘Day Release’)

Did a set of final accounts in Accounts for ‘Miss Steak’ . In Commerce Mr Mansell fired questions for us to answer. In History he gave us some of the questions out of our final exam. Went into the library, saw pt.3 of ‘Crown Court’ about Raoul LaPlant and another one about trespassing.

13 Friday

Usual routine adhered to today. Visited the ‘Lindemann’ (turnings compressing machine) 3 times in all. D. Hunter gave me 2 bars of chocolate ! Can’t go to Scunthorpe. Dot has offered me her 17” telly – free! Ore hopper overturned today.

April 1973

16 Monday

Ted felt a little ill this morning. Some pig iron went to the pig casting machine – 90 tonnes. Archie Woolley was in today. E.A. Cotterill to become General Manager. No figures for the General Manager’s Report. Nout to do from 3:30 to 4:00 pm. Getting Dot’s TV tomorrow.

TV : Saw Part 3 of ‘Search for the Nile’

17 Tuesday

Did usual things. Went over to Tarmac’s weighbridge and delivered two letters. Went to Production Control Office to receive pig iron tickets and noted the weights. Gave them the address for Aldwarke. Went to Dot’s house and collected her old TV set. Followed Mr Harrison (my driving instructor) to Goldthorn Hill.

TV : Saw John Wayne in ‘The Sands of Iwo Jima’


18 Wednesday

Ted came in his new glasses today. Went to the Production Control office to enter consignments of pig iron. Left the B.F. office at 4:45. Saw some of the Blast Fce’s cast. No Tech tomorrow.

Iron industry talk tonight 7:30 Park Hall hotel (wasn’t on !!)

19 Thursday (Wulfrun College ‘Day Release’)

Trade union steel. Probably B.I.S.A.K.T.A. Pig cast 170 tonnes for other works. After dinner 2 Met. Apprentices came in for company. After them came ‘Chris’ a contract painter (“everything was black before he came”).

TV : Saw ‘Horizon’ about volcanoes.

20 Friday Good Friday

No ‘piggers’ today. Ted was telling me about Hirohito being worshipped as the ‘Son of Heaven’. ‘H’ Furnace being re-bricked. Walked up the steps above the Bustle Main for the 1st Time today. Photocopied different blast furnace top diagrams.

April 1973

23 Monday Easter Monday

“Steelmaking is an industry, the very basic of any industry – a steelworks is not a factory – it is the supplier to the factory”

24 Tuesday

Went to work this morning to catch up on Sun’s and Monday’s work – yet more mix-ups over pig iron consignments. Took Neil (brother) to the swimming baths – left at 3:30 pm.

TV : Saw a little of ‘Land of the Sun Returning’ and ‘How?’. Saw ‘Wheelbase’ and ‘Liver Birds’ and ‘Pot Black’ – Ann Jones.

25 Wednesday

Did High Line – pig cast 170 tonnes yesterday, 10 wagons consigned to Aldwarke. Had a works canteen lunch and went to blast furnace, melting shop – spent most of my time talking to ‘F’ furnace furnacemen (see their quote on Monday’s entry above).
No luck on stack drilling (Blast furnace in trouble again!). Took Mr Hunter to Thompsons Tyre garage.

TV : Saw ‘Brighton Rock’ – R. Attenborough.

26 Thursday (Wulfrun College ‘Day Release’)

7 wagons to Aldwarke today. Got ‘soft’ type safety helmet from Traffic Office. 2 bars of chocolate from David Hunter. At dinner went to melting shop – R.Barnsley asked me if I would like to throw a few bars of aluminium in for him – phew ! (these were thrown into the ladle as the open hearth furnace cast as de-oxidisers – they were heavy!). Saw blast furnace cast before going home.

TV : Saw ‘The Persuaders’ about an old English blouse(?)!!

27 Friday

Did the Shift Managers report OK. Traffic office after S.M. office. Showed an Indian chap round the furnace site etc. Paul came in after dinner to do some work. Got a sheet authorisation for visitors. Saw a book with every British blast furnace in – listed hearth diameters.

April 1973

30 Monday

Did yesterday’s and today’s tickets. 16 wagons of pig iron gone to Aldwarke. Ted stayed to play darts for 1st time today. Rained all day today. Did the NCR sheet this afternoon. 165 tonnes of coke ‘disappeared’ last week – Archie is ‘perturbed’ !
Went to get my hair cut this evening.

1 Tuesday/MAY

7 wagons to Aldwarke today. No one came in for a game of darts. At dinner went to the Staff canteen and saw ‘E’ furnace being bricked up on a pillar ‘red hot’ inside. Ted out all afternoon, dart board dropping apart. Went and got the permission for Neil (my brother) to visit on Saturday. Went to tech for 1st time since Easter.

2 Wednesday

Chased up David today for General Manager. Blast furnace off all last night – 10:55 hrs. Hope it isn’t another chill – if it does then it’s that Rushden ore and mill scale. Middle of the dart board disintegrated – just a big hole now. ‘B’ Letters this afternoon. Tech tomorrow.

TV : Saw a little bit of ‘Liza with a Z’ (Liza Minelli)

3 Thursday (Wulfrun College ‘Day Release’)

Did (?) in Accounts. In Commerce Mr Mansell talked about Market Advertising – sewing machines in particular. In history we revised . 4:00 – 5:05 had ‘Crown Court’ about a picketer accused of stopping a van at newspaper gates. Went home – came back – forgot my books etc !

4 Friday

Felt rather grotty at work – sore throat too, went to the Medical Centre and got some throat tablets. Heard the thunderclap of slag hitting water in the melting shop. BSC ‘Anchor’ strike, N.U.B. is over.

TV : Saw last part of ‘The Regiment’ at 9:20.

5 Saturday

Went in this morning – had nose bleed while doing the Scale Car book ! After dinner I took Neil to see the works. R. Barnsley was there too. “It’s all so terrible” Neil kept saying ! Ron and Mrs Apps came to tea.

TV : Saw Pink Panther and a little bit of U.N.C.L.E movie. Saw Ironside about a Jap in a wheelchair.

May 1973

7 Monday

Nearly didn’t go in today, went in to Medical centre had a cup of fizzy, warm muck. Cashed Dad’s cheque for £16. David in leaning on the radiator.

TV : Saw part of ‘Search for the Nile’

8 Tuesday


Did High Line tickets etc. S. Beesley showed me around the pig casting machine at 11:15, while casting. Later, went on to consign 27 wagons to Aldwarke, saw slag being ‘wet tipped’. Paul (Williams) and I had a game of darts. After dinner went to the traffic office for the N.C.R. report – ‘rush job’. Dad took me to tech in the Imp.


9 Wednesday

Did Shift Manager’s book. No pig iron today. Did the books. Went to the General Office a lot this morning. Did the ‘bible’ in the afternoon. Had a look at a pamphlet on replica guns – quite interesting.

TV : Saw ‘George Plimpton At the Wheel’ tonight when he drives a dune buggy in the Baja 1000 race.


10 Thursday (Wulfrun College ‘Day Release’)

Did Listed companies in Accounts – 27.4 to do. Mr Mansell was away today, had a questionnaire on the ONC course and then had a comprehension to do – mine was on “Tree Top” squashes. In Crown Court after dinner I was ‘lynched’ to do the stopping etc. of the video tape, about ‘Southern Mail’ being broken into.


11 Friday

Did the ‘books’, no pig iron. Typed out Minor Injuries on ‘Elisabeth’. Cleaned my ‘Centurion’ safety helmet.

TV : Saw part 1 of ‘Scotch on the Rocks’ Bill Simpson.

May 1973

14 Monday

Ted did the scale car book, for 2 days. He’s wondering whether to get a 2nd hand or a new gun (Ted was in the Springvale rifle club). David and Archie are here. Had the movement sheets from the Traffic office this afternoon. Went in scalecar for the 1st time ever today to see a bloke about an injury.

TV: Saw Frankie Howerd tonight.


15 Tuesday

Got my minor injuries on Lizzie photocopied – crack down on photocopying – have to give them a copy – 16 wagons of pig iron to Aldwarke. Ted is out all afternoon ‘on tour’. Took a letter to scalecar driver about a fracas on the high line. Hot day today. Finished Geog course at tech.


16 Wednesday

Lizzie off wind all day – dustcatcher troubles – Archie came in looking like Stirling Moss ! Dart board now reduced to a small circle. Got a rotten job to do – residual iron elements since May ’72. Took mum to drama tonight.


17 Thursday (Wulfrun College ‘Day Release’)

Did P406 in Accounts – rather difficult ! In Commerce we did more on market research. Wrote about decline of canals in History. Carried on with own accounts at 4:45, no ‘Crown Court’ today.

TV: Saw ‘Persuaders’ rubbish later.


18 Friday

Did morning report, 8 wagons pig iron to Aldwarke. S. Beesley brought in pictures of Lizzie, had early dinner, telescope brought by mistake (?). Chocolate from D.Hunter too. Outer edge of dart board has borders now.
Took mum to town this evening.

TV: Saw ‘Scotch on the Rocks’ Part 2.

May 1973

21 Monday

Did usual Mondaywork. Ted and I went to the Social Centre for at dinner – we ended up sitting on the patio sheltering from a thunderstorm ! Did NCR sheet and General Manager’s report. Borrowed a pvc coat from Frank. Car wouldn’t start due to wet plugs. Diverted all over the show on the way home.

TV: ‘Cider With Rosie’ on BBC 1 at 9:25

22 Tuesday

Got to work as usual. Ted did the tickets, I did the Shift Manager’s book. 4 pig iron to Aldwarke. Ted showed me the rifle range – v. good. Had first ride in works van (Bill’s). Steelworks – works canteen. Blast furnace off this morning. Did coke yields this afternoon. Warmer than yesterday. Did 2 essays at tech.

TV : Saw ‘So You Think You’re a Good Motorist’


23 Wednesday

Usual morning jobs. ? wagons pig iron to Aldwarke. Blast furnace off all morning. Ted and I melted some lead in the rifle range at dinner time. Poured with rain and went dark this afternoon. Don Lloyd (one of the blast furnace’s Shift Managers) chatted about Australia too.


24 Thursday (Wulfrun College ‘Day Release’)

Did some suspense accounts this morning this morning. Did advertising in Commerce. Did some revision during history and English in the library. Paul (Williams) told me about St Peters in Rome. Keith’s Halina camera advertised in ‘Express & Star’ tonight.


25 Friday

Did slag and iron ‘bible’ work for D. Hunter – asked Archie about Shelton (steelworks at Stoke). Paul did not come. At dinner just went next to blast furnace and watched them slagging the furnace. Getting ready for damping down.

TV : Saw ‘Scotch on the Rocks’


May 1973

28 Monday / 29 Tuesday : Holiday

(Went on a day trip with friend Keith to Llandudno and on Tuesday revised and watched BBC2 Trade Test film ‘Multiplicity’, ‘Wheelbase’ and final of ‘Pot Black’ – Eddie Charlton won)


30 Wednesday

Got to work at 8:15 – Ted already there doing shift manager’s book, Suns, Mons & Tues (none today) tickets to do and scalecar books etc. Showed a Mr Walker of Shanks & McEwan round dustcatcher – furnace damped down. Ordered dinner – 12:45, ate it. Went home. Heard one blast of dustcatcher blastings.

(The blast furnace’s dustcatcher was clogged this week and efforts were being made to break up the mass inside by blasting and poking and banging a long iron bar mounted on a fork-lift truck inside the bottom)

31 Thursday (No Wulfrun College ‘Day Release’today )

No shift manager’s book to do, few tickets too. Blasting continuing on the dustcatcher, late morning one split the side open. Using the ‘banger’ later on. Typed out the weekly report. Very dusty near dustcatcher, saw a flood of dust and debris come down at 4:45 everyone ran !


1 Friday/JUNE

Blast furnace back on at about 11:00. Spent most of the morning ‘making iron’ in Frank’s stove ! Bought a bottle of pop. Got some locations of injuries later on. Hoping to cast tonight.


2 Saturday

Went in this morning. Blast furnace on today – two casts yesterday, 55 charges. A little rain today….

TV : Saw ‘Dr Who’ ‘The Green Death’ : maggots all over the place. Saw a programme about archery, Robert Hardy. Saw ‘Ironside’ about guard dogs: “Jason – HIT !!”


June 1973

4 Monday

Did Saturday’s, Sunday’s and Monday’s tickets. Got the buying office’s tickets by mistake from the weighbridge. Made 2,298.80 tonnes of iron last week. Ted’s tyre has gone down. Did NCR sheets etc. Mr. Hunter was in today. No more shift managers reports take – just gave details over phone. Hope to go to (BSC) Shelton soon.


5 Tuesday

Did shift managers book 1st. Phillip Dorsett is back, Ted phoned relevant details to him. Archie in today. At dinner went to early lunch, went to mend Ted’s silencer. Did some ‘bible’ work. Asked Archie about photos of inside of the furnace. Harold Pearson gave me a ‘Steel Times’ 1970. Went to tech. Got out ‘Iron & Steel’ by W.K.V. Gale.


6 Wednesday

Did usual work this morning. Archie is in today. Frank left me to tend his stove, no need to do it, too hot today. Went over to Tarmac at dinner with Ted and Sid Beesley, found an old blacksmith’s hearth. Ken Sudlow won the Derby with ‘Morston’. Got my passport photos.

7 Thursday (Wulfrun College ‘Day Release’)

Tech day. In Accounts – did 14.5 – Receipts and Payments accounts. In Commerce we covered insurance indemnity etc. Had a quick lunch and off to town – ‘Crown House’, Birch St. got my passport. Library all afternoon. Mr Heaton did 19.5 for us in accounts.

TV : Saw Part I of ‘Warship’ – ‘Hot Pursuit’ – Good


8 Friday

Did usual morning things etc. 7 wagons pig today. Went through Coseley (canal) tunnel at dinner with Ted, very interesting. Very hot today – bought some cream of soda drink bottle. Went through car wash – 10 p.

TV : Saw last part of ‘Scotch on the Rocks’.


June 1973

11 Monday

Did shift manager’s reports this morning. Archie and David were in this morning. Phoned Phil Dorsett the report figures. Asked David about (visit to) Shelton “Leave it with me” he said ! At dinner looked inside a mixer – rebricking is going on. Saw Jim Bismuth – Germany – very good. Helped Ted with the NCR sheet. Photocopied (article on) Ravenscraig gassing accident.


12 Tuesday

Did shift manager’s book today and tickets too. Ted busy with Archie this morning. Put shift managers reports in the book. No pig iron today. Saw furnace cast at dinner. Managed to cadge two ‘lifts’ from Bill. Humped some lead for Ted to C.E.S. (Central Engineering School). Found a bent tin of tobacco outside D. Hunter’s office.
Last tech night tonight.

TV : Saw Part 1 of ‘Energy Crunch’ – Oil.


13 Wednesday

Went up the furnace with S. Darby about 10:10 – very good. Saw inside the bell compartment – great ! Saw Paul (Williams) at dinner time. Did some figures for Mr Hunter this afternoon, he gave me some chocolate. (Rob) Hendry came in for some NCR sheets.

14 Thursday (Wulfrun College ‘Day Release’)

Last day of tech today !! Did income and expenditure accounts this morning. In Commerce covered insurance premiums – working them out etc. After dinner I drove Steve Brookes, Paul Williams and Tony Hill to Bantock park. Saw Paul and co. play golf. Got back to Mr Heaton at about 4:50 pm – came home at 5:05. A-OK.

TV : Saw ‘Warship’ : ‘Nobody Said Frigate!’


15 Friday

Did usual morning jobs; 11 wagons pig iron to Aldwarke this morning. Played Sid Beesley at darts today – got the blue bulls eye first go ! At 2:30 I ascended the gas holder with Gordon Sheffield and Bert Withers. Showed me the oxygen set etc. v. good. Waved to Ted way down below. Later on I sold all the Gala Day programmes in the melting shop. Managed to do a set of final accounts this evening.


June 1973

18 Monday D.Hunter in this week

New dartboard today – red and green ‘un. Did normal jobs. 15 wagons pig iron to Aldwarke. Had dinner with Ted and David (Cresswell), played darts later with David. D. Hunter came in with a black eye and plaster – somebody hit him in Bantock park ! Went over to the Traffic Office and waited for report. Saw ‘H’ furnace cast. Did Economic Geography revision – doing it now too!


19 Tuesday

Econ Geog exam 9:30 – 12:00 Noon. Not too bad – had to do 5 questions. Had dinner at tech with Keith. Got to work at 1:25. Did usual jobs, took some typing over to the General Office – RELINE 1976 !! Great. Did Accounts revision with Keith tonight. Ugh!

TV : Saw ‘Energy Crunch’ – Nuclear power.


20 Wednesday

Accounts 9:30-12:00. Did P&L account, tried a cash book question scraped through – I hope ! Took Keith to Goldthorn Hill traffic lights. Had dinner at tech. Got to work about 1:20 did the usual morning jobs and shift manager’s report. Rained today. Got home at 5:10 pm.

21 Thursday

Ray Webb – not the same one ! Missed out a 140 tonne cast this morning – had to re-do the report. Found the biggest cast of the campaign this morning 1,071 tonnes – v.good. Used a barrow to fetch some towels. C. Beesley came in for most of the afternoon. ‘Lord Melchett’ dies suddenly’ Steel News today.

TV : Saw ‘Warship’


22 Friday

New shoes not too bad ! Usual jobs done this morning. Was asked to ring Dan Moody to see if C. Beesley was by the dustcatcher and seemed a little perturbed when he rang back – he wasn’t there. Uneventful afternoon, hot day.


June 1973

25 Monday

Commerce (exam) 2:00 to 5:00 – not too bad. Did usual Monday work. Archie and David in today. Bill came back after 2 week holiday (postman). Went to Wulfrun straight after dinner. Gave Keith a lift to Merry Hill bus stop.

TV : Saw a bit of ‘Blue Peter’


26 Tuesday

Economic History 2:00 – 5:00 pm. OK. Went into work this morning – new set of feathered darts. THE FURNACE HAS HAD A SLAG BLOW OUT. Slag by the lift, cast house full of men hammering out slagged up tuyeres. D. Hunter in and A. Woolley – sandwiches. Gave Paul a lift to tech. Rained. Gave Keith a lift to his bus stop.


27 Wednesday

Archie’s in today. Did usual jobs. Had dinner in staff canteen – had a game of darts later with D.Cresswell. Oxygen on furnace last night. Cactus has been put in the office. Read ‘The Fly’ and ‘Levington and the Ants’.

28 Thursday

Did usual jobs. Heard a little of Noel Edmonds before going. Went to dinner at 12:55 – came back to find Cresswell, and Paul playing darts. Went up to drawing office to get rifle range poster done. Read about Shelton in ‘Narrow Boat’ by LTC Rolt.

TV : Saw ‘Warship’ about a C.P.O. who spies – and is caught.


29 Friday

Did usual morning jobs. Ray Webb came in talking about his skin troubles followed closely by Don Lloyd – fresh from Llanwern, East Moors & Corby. Interesting. Darts with D. Cresswell at dinner. Finished jobs this afternoon. Archie came in twice. Noticed strange lack of birds in the area.

TV : Saw ‘Spy Trap’ Paul Daneman.


June 1973

30 Saturday

Went into work today. Furnace has made 4,510 tonnes to date (this week). Archie and Ray Webb came in this morning – I did most of the work ! Came home around 11:20.

Saw Viginia Wade scrape through playing Francois Durr of France. Read one or two stories out of the Second Pan Book of Horror Stories. Saw ‘Ironside’ about a bank robbery while he’s in there.