So, a bit about what this engineer does.
Many many years ago (about 1954!) we were on holiday in Bristol. I was seven. One of my many Bristol uncles took me to see the Clifton Suspension Bridge.
After that I knew the answer to what do you want to do when you grow up.
In those days, not many people went to University. The numbers increased a lot as a grew through school. I was lucky to have a grandfather whose life was constrained by poor education and he insisted from the start I had to go to University.
In 1971 I started work for Leeds City Engineer. Did spells on road construction, out on site, setting out. Then in the sewage works designing a new treatment plant. There is a lot of shit from half a million people at the end of the treatment works was a settlement pond for the solids about as big as your farm and 10m deep. Then a spell in the bridge design office where I found myself working for someone who didn’t properly understand statics (where forces go) and had to leave.
Luckily they were just starting to build the Humber Bridge and I blagged my way into a job there.
This hole was eventually completely filled with concrete to hold the cables (like the chains above which are anchored in the ground.
I moved to Ouse bridge where my job was mostly about managing people. Keeping work moving on the concrete deck. About 50 men from labourers to carpenters all depending on me to keep the work flowing so they could make money.
I was there for 18 months then on to Dunkeld and steelwork instead of concrete.
We had to put the steel together then push it out across the river, all 800tonnes of it. The girders are 3.5m deep and bent 3m as they reached out over the main span.
That was a six month job with a very small gang of men, only about 10 at the peak but I learnt an awful lot, especially from Mark McGukin and Billy Burnett, the foreman and chargehand. Earning the respect of people like that is wonderfully worthwhile. It was the longest hottest summer of my life. The sun shone all day every day for 5 months. Your mum was 5 and Hamish 2 and we were living on a small hill farm over the hill in this picture.
When that was done I spent 6 months in the company offices working out how to build new bridges, how long it would take and how much it would cost.
Then I went back to Humber. How’s this for a place to work.
And at that point I was going to be moved again. Liz had started school and Hamish would be starting soon so I had to give up building bridges and find a settled job. I spent the next 23 years teaching and researching in Universities but that is another story and will have to wait while I get on with some of today’s work.