Author Topic: Apprenticeship at Penarth Dock Engineering  (Read 1195 times)

Mutant Dock Rat

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Apprenticeship at Penarth Dock Engineering
« on: May 12, 2014, 01:33:58 pm »
I'm David.

I started my apprenticeship at the Penarth Dock Engineering Company Limited in February 1966.

The first month was spent in the stores under Mr. Hopkins the storekeeper because I was still only 15 years old and not allowed into the workshops. The first year was spent in the apprentice school under Mr. Ted Smith and later "Caswell" (Mr. Williams) the trainer was brought in when the ITB (Industry Training Board) started in the same year. Mr. Weeks was the MD, Mr. Quinell, I think was General Manager, "Jet" Smith the works foreman, and all other names need to added (help please!).

Then I was shipped away to Hodges Engineering and the Fownes Forge at Barry under Mr. Tosh Thomas. The next three year were spent there fitting, gear cutting, cylindrical grinding, lathe, boring, shaping and plano-milling machine work and generally making a nuisance of myself.

The last year was back at Penarth under Mr. Les McKenzie the Production Director at the time. They set up a drawing office across the road and Reggie (I can't recall his surname!) and myself worked on the design of the "MagSep" machine amongst other things. This machine was to separate magnetic ore for slag but was never built because the forces required to separate the ore were later recalculated and found to be too high.

Then when I completed my apprenticeship in 1970, I married Julie Thomas, one of the twins in the office. We moved to Yorkshire, and returned for six months a few years later, then went back to Yorkshire where we have lived for 40 plus years now. Martin, my son is my boss and we have an engineering design company based near Halifax specialising in the engineering design and structural analysis of polymer based products on a worldwide basis. Although, we have undertaken mechanical design work for Rolls Royce Aerospace and Landrover Jaguar etc.

I would like to hear from anyone who worked at the works around the same time.




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Re: Apprenticeship at Penarth Dock Engineering
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2016, 08:15:15 pm »
Hi David,

I also was an apprentice and remember the times we all had, well maybe some of them, most remembered in fondness!!!

The names I remember during the time in Penarth and Barry were as follows.

Tosh Thomas
Graham Griffith ( the one armed man) who had two arms but lost the use of his right arm in a motorcycle accident.
Clifford Evans, (Jet) foreman in Penarth, who was also a minister in a local church and never swore!!
Philip Cox who's farther also worked in Barry.
Andrew Forbes ( Firdy)
David Curtis.
Reggie Ride, Union Rep. And his son Andrew.
Johnny Solis, he worked on the giant slotting m/c in Penarth
Kevin Byrne. Who died in the 5 mile lane on his motorcycle not long after finishing his time.
Mike Webber
Led Burges
Colin Davis. ( Big Col)
Conlin Jones( Congo ) one hit wonder with Love Sculpture. OK if you ever wanted a Spliff
Billy Mure
Gary Oaten. Who went to Canada to be a soccer coach.
John Donavon
Michael Bolton ( not the singer) senior apprentice

All the others in the apprentice photo of 1966/7 I remember well!!!

I remember you getting married and going up north to join a Silver Band and also picking you up from the Birch Grove Pub after band practice, I think you were a member of the Excelsior Roaps Silver Band?
Do you remember our visits to the Cohan Inn? Harry Winterbottom was the landlord at the time. He arranged a pie eating competition one Friday for us using all the un eaten pies from the week!! Of course Billy Mure won it!! How mad was he cycling to work from Pontyclun!

I hope this helps you remember just a few moments past, I could go on.

Best wishes

Tony ( Evo )

The pranks we use to play are also remembered, some not with fondness, especially the greasings

Mutant Dock Rat

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Re: Apprenticeship at Penarth Dock Engineering
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2016, 12:28:58 pm »
Hi Tony

Its great to hear from you after nearly 45 years!

I'm still working at our family business Rota Design Ltd here in Mytholmroyd near Hebden Bridge, Yorkshire (centre of the universe for flooding!). I should be retired now but my son, Martin, is the boss and won't let me - when can you start? Julie is still my wife and it will be our 45th anniversary next month.

I don't blow my own trumpet these days having spent too many years with brass bands and not enough with my family.

Please add more about your recollections at Penarth Dock and I'd love to know what the hell you have been doing for the last half century!

My email address is if you have the time to make contact.

I'd better get back to work now - the boss is watching!

Kindest regards . . .  David