Memories of Dowty by Gerald Street

Copy of an email sent to Martin Robins from Gerald Street

“Wow, thank you for those items relating to Dowty and Arle Court, it has been a trip down memory lane.

What a small world to think that you also worked at Arle Court too.

I did my apprenticeship from 1962 to 1967 starting and finishing at Arle court in the Dowty Fuels Systems drawing office.

I remember the Rover P5 of Sir George Dowty, as the chauffeur kept it gleaming and with the rostyle wheels it looked very sporty and sounded great.

Rover P5B outside Arle Court House

I left Dowty in 1969 to join a contract drawing office in Cheltenham called Hebron & Medlock where I was contracted to BAC Filton where I worked on Concorde.

Unfortunately, Harold Wilson and the Labour government thought the costs of Concorde were becoming too great and it was anticipated that it would be axed.

So, BAC got rid of all contract staff so as to protect their own staff, which left many of my colleagues redundant.

Having only recently got married and with a mortgage and the start of a family I joined another Cheltenham based engineering company called Spirax Sarco.

I worked for this company for 35 years, most of which was as a consultant engineer covering Hampshire, Dorset, Wiltshire plus some of Surrey and West Sussex and based in Ringwood which we now consider as “home”.

I was also interested in the correspondence relating to your grandfather and the GWR Works in Swindon.

My two grandfathers both worked “inside”, with James Street initially working in the chain shop until he had a rupture and was put on light duties.

He became one of the timekeepers on the entrance to the “tunnel” where the men clocked in and out using brass identity tags and controlled [ as was all of Swindon ] by the “Hooter”.

My grandfather on my mother’s side was George Fisher who worked in the Spring Workshop.

Thank you for all those interesting articles and the memories they have stirred.

Kind regards, Gerald Street”

Rover P5B outside Arle Court House
Martin Robins

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