Grid Bygones -- Contact Us

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This is the Team.

To contact one of us, just click the photo or the Blue Name underneath and enter your details on the email page displayed.

We are ex CEGB/NGC employees with an interest in preserving peoples recollections and information about EVERYTHING from the inception of the CEB until the current day.

If you have anything you wish to contribute please contact one of us and we will add your information to the Website.
If you believe there are errors or omissions in the current pages then please let us know.

About Us
Mick Joy

Mick joined the Post Office (Telephones), North Central Area, London, in 1965 as an apprentice. Then in 1972 Mick joined the CEGB at the St Albans (Redbourn) Grid Control Centre, in the Telecoms Section. He was surprised to see that most of the equipment in the apparatus rooms was mounted on PO type racks to PO equipment practice. He then variously worked in SE Regional Telecoms (North), National Control (Park Street) then Five Centre Grid Control Project at Wokingham. He had responsibility for the fitting out and commissioning of NCC Wokingham and later his team expanded to also include responsibility for Birmingham and Leeds. After project completion he had roles in Powercom and also Gridcom where he was Project Manager for delivery of the Operational Telecoms site-works contract to Energis. He resigned in 1999 when an opportunity to return to "real" telecoms arose. The role was Operations Manager with Metro Services Division of Global One, the international arm of France Telecom. Mick then became Head of Operations and Engineering and finally Divisional Manager for the closure of the Division and the integration of its products and services into the main business. FT around this time acquired Orange, and Global One became Orange Business Services. He retired in 2007 as a Projects Director after migrating the Orange Business Services voice customers and the FT global voice network from ageing digital voice switches to an IP based switch network.

Dave Gunning

Dave Gunning was born in Cheshire in late September 1939 as part of the war effort, the son of Percy Gunning who, so rumour had it, was fabricated from genuine "Strowger" parts by the Automatic Telephone Manufacturing Company (ATM) of Liverpool. Father was then the Telecommunications Engineer for the North West England, Merseyside and North Wales combined Districts of the Central Electricity Board which was controlled from the CIS in East Didsbury, to the south of Manchester. Wartime restrictions on domestic car use disallowed family outings but, fortuitously due to fuel rations for his essential duties, it was possible to accompany him on his many journeys to attend to remote indicating equipment, albeit confined to "relaxation" in areas within Grid sites or in power station parking places. Dave's memories from around 4 years of age recall occasions when he would be taken into substation equipment rooms and, on Saturday mornings, to the CIS called "Grid House". His father's job even pervaded the family home. There were the midnight telephone calls from his colleagues on call-out and in difficulty at remote locations. Blueprints would cover the matrimonial bed whilst poor Mother tried to sleep. Also remembered were the relay groups being modified on the kitchen table, with the introduction to that unforgettable odour of hot solder, sometimes rather too near to approaching meal times. There were those sacred periods when disturbance was forbidden as pencilled drawings and consequential rubber dust were spread in all directions. Site visits stopped abruptly when the family moved south and Percy Gunning became the BEA's Telecommunications Engineer in 1948 although the silences, drawings and rubber dust did multiply hugely as he designed his new Standardised System, the "GI". Of those sacred drawings, very few survive but are regarded by those still possessing them as beyond price.
Following his father's example at ATM, Dave started work at the North London factory of Standard Telephones and Cables (STC) in 1956 and the family attended official openings of the Thames North and Thames South Control Centres in 1957 with a reintroduction to those once familiar sights and sounds.
Thus was the sowing and nurturing of the seeds of interest and a deep affection developed for the characteristic ambience of these places of control that has never waned. Control rooms, relay rooms, railway signal boxes, police motorway controls and air traffic control centres all have had a fascination which stems from those early years, not being allowed to touch but just watching.
After an ignominious works-sponsored higher academic training, Dave started real work in 1958 for STC's Remote Control Section shortly after its energetic involvement with Percy's Standardised System and its recent commissioning. He graduated into circuit design for several years before transferring in 1964 to the Central Electricity Generating Board (CEGB), working at their Manchester GCC. He moved to the National GCCs in London, first at Bankside House and then at Park Street before finally transferring in 1979 to the Thames North GCC (later called London Area) coming full circle to one of the BEA sites first visited in 1957.
However, the relentless trail of GCC closures seemed to follow him. Bankside became redundant when National moved to Park Street and, under the new privatised National Grid Company, Manchester was demolished and the Park Street National gave way to a "new" National Control out of town. It was at this location that Dave, on secondment because National lacked the staff, helped to seal his own fate in 1997 by commissioning new communications equipment which would enable the closure of all of the remaining Area Controls, including his own at Thames North.
He retired from a much-changed System in 1998 when, sadly, they decommissioned the last of these strangely interesting places.

Richard Smith