Working Lives

Electronics (1950s-1980s)

Alan’s working life working life started at the age of 14 in a radio shop in North London. He had a working life in electonics, selling components and working on many projects including components for weapon systems.

I am 77 years old. I was one of six children and we were quite poor- my first job was with a small radio shop in East London, at this time I used to cycle from North London to work – three nights a week I attended the Northern Polytechnic. So my day started at 8 am to cycle to work, on the three nights of school days I would arrive home at approx 10 pm.
I obtained City & Guilds in electronics and worked in various retail establishments as an engineer. During national service I joined the REME as a radar engineer (Because I would not sign for three-year engagement I had to pass the army test as though I had had years of army training). My time was spent in Egypt and I never saw one radar installation – on demob, I again went back to servicing TV etc.

I applied for a position with Mullards (part of Phillips electronics) and was in charge of the technical edit department. I moved on to join GEC and worked on the teletex system as seen on TV today.

I then went out on the road as a technical sales engineer selling electronic components. After a period I joined Ferranti electronics, who were the originators of today’s microchips. These were known as ULAs (un-committed logic arrarys) alas overtaken by the Japanese.

During my time with this company I was involved in the design of system X for the Post Office. This was the original digital system for telephones. The PO took so long to make a decision that the original system was installed in Brazil.

Some other the other projects were the Sinclair C5 electric trike, BBC computer, fuses for various weapon systems, radio systems for the army, and the only nuclear-proof chip for the Navy, plus others.

Alan talking to WISEArchive in April 2008.

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