Chapter 10


A House of Our Own


We started to save the 5% deposit needed to buy a house and were hoping to get one in Sandwick Terr. This was the one street in Wheatley Hill that weíd fancied living in, the houses overlooked open fields. Our two lads were both doing very well at school and now was the time to move. We still had rent to pay and as usual we were struggling but determined to make progress.

I was passing Sandwick Terr. on my way to work when I noticed a For Sale sign in the garden, I stopped and made a note of the contact number and could hardly wait to get to work to make a phone call to the estate agents and arranged to go and see the owners Mr &Mrs F. Dumville that same night. £6500 was the asking price. Violet and I got a neighbour to baby sit while we went to have a look. We decided we wanted it and told the Dumvilles our offer was £6250, with no place to sell of our own it was also a very good offer to them. We went back home and expected to hear something in the next day or so but to our amazement Frank Dumville came around that same night and we shook hands and agreedthe deal.

The next day I phoned our Building Society and made arrangements to engage a solicitor Yarwood & Co. and set the wheels in motion. Both of our mothers thought we were mad and were of the opinion we should rent rather than buy. Just as well we took no notice.

We moved in 1973 just as Ian was starting his last year at the juniors and Paul was in his first year. Both of the lads liked the new house


Over the next few months I was very busy at work. Plans were being laid to build a new Giant Steel Complex at Redcar and it was intended to split the Engineering Function into two working groups. One group was to look after the development of the new Redcar complex, the other group the development in the Teesside and Workington area. Those working on the Redcar project were to be housed in the ex. Coatham Hotel on Redcar sea front whilst the others were to remain in the Royal Exchange for possibly two to three years and then be transferred to a new purpose built office building near to Redcar.

The Royal Exchange Building was to be vacated and demolished to make way for a new Northern Route. My Immediate boss Phil. Horseman was to go as part of the Redcar group with three of his staff, whilst I was to stay with the remaining group. A new Chief Engineer arrived at Royal Exchange to head our group and it wasnít very long before he had set the cat amongst the pigeons. His method was to rule by uncertainty? For a while every one seemed to be running around in circles wondering if they had a job, all engineering jobs were advertised and engineers who were already holding down key positions including myself, Id been half expecting to take over my ex bosses job, were told to apply. After all, as the new Chief put it, I donít know any of you from Adam. Some of the engineers didnít get the positions they were expecting and found themselves in a more junior position. I applied for my ex Bosses job and after a heated interview with the new chief engineer was offered a contract.

I signed the contract and settled down to do the job of running the Architectural Department. I was responsible for the design and procurement of all building work in our group, which included office buildings, welfare buildings and all other special ancillary buildings. I had 3 assistants and 14 draughtsmen working for me at one stage and I loved every minute of my job. Itís ironic that approximately six years later the two major engineering departments were to amalgamate again. My old mentor and boss Phil Horseman who had been working at Redcar was made redundant and retired at 57 years of age. He died within one year. It makes you wonder how cruel life can be.