Newsletter 2011

2011?…What, already!…So where did 2010 go?

From the Secretary

Some hopes of slowing down – perhaps this year (but then I seem to remember expressing similar sentiments last year).

Aside from our visits to the caravan, we managed a week down in the New Forest where I looked up a few ex-colleagues from Christchurch. However, for the first time in over 30 years (on and off) of visiting the area, the weather was so bad that for two days we were unable to set foot outside the B&B except for finding somewhere for dinner.

This year, we have booked a coach trip (no, NOT Saga!) to Belgium. On various day trips from Dover to Ostend and Bruges, we had promised ourselves to stay for long enough to visit Ghent, Antwerp and Brussels and this trip will cover them all. It will also take us to Ypres for the evening service and Last Post.

Whilst composing the piece on discounts (see below), I got to thinking about Chelmsford in the past.

My first recollections are of travelling there, with my Mother, from Crays Hill for the market. This occupied the entire area from Tindal Street right down to, and including, where the current puny remnant is, underneath the multi-storey car park.

I will always remember that the livestock was up at the Tindal Street end and it was there that I saw a farmer passing one of the pens just as a cow lifted its tail and …. well, you can guess! He was covered – I hope he didn’t have to use public transport to get home!

I also remember Grippers, the hardware shop, where they had a ‘petrol pump’ dispensing paraffin right in the middle of the shop. What today’s Health and Safety police would have to say about that I don’t know (well, I do but it’s probably unprintable).

Then there was Heindrich Kraaft in one half of what remained of the King William pub in New Street.  A rather gruff and intimidating man but, when it came to pay, always prepared to let us poor apprentices wait until the next pay day before we settled up.

Tindal Street was a young man’s paradise with practically wall to wall pubs.  In James Dace, you listened to records but never bought because every time someone walked near the counter, the floor bounced sending the needle skittering across the disc.

But I digress. I am still getting the odd order for the Photo CD and will have a few for sale at the reunion. If we sell out, you can order one to be sent to you as soon as I have made it.

If you know of an ex Marconi employee who does not receive the Newsletter please urge them to contact me as soon as possible. It may be that they have moved or not replied to a confirmation request of a few years ago. Or that they left with 21 to 24 years service and have now become Veterans by virtue of the recent reductions in service requirement.

The ‘Friends of The Marconi Veterans’ Association’ has been set up to cater for anyone who does not qualify as a Veteran but wishes to be kept informed of things Marconi.  Numbers are growing slowly with, currently, over 20 members and any more would be welcome.

The three registers (the Main register, In Memoriam and Friends) have recently been updated on the website so please have a look if you can and let me know of any errors.

Please note that I am now retired from SELEX Communications and can be contacted at the address below. Finally, I would like to wish you all a very prosperous 2011 and hope to see as many of you as possible at the reunion.

Barry Powell,
Marconi Veterans’ Association,
22 Juliers Close, Canvey Island, Essex, SS8 7EP
01268 696342 (answerphone if we are out, please leave a message and I will ring you back);