Frank Horner started at City College Norwich, on a three year ONC Electrical Engineering Course, (part-time day release) back in 1960.
This formed part of his training, as a 16 year old trainee technician with Post Office Telephones (now known as BT).
He says at that stage, the course was very much oriented towards electrical machines, which wasn’t particularly suited to his sphere of work. Frank believes that the course content, was probably influenced by the demand from Laurence Scott & Electromotors and Eastern Electricity, as there were a number of their apprentices attending the course.
Additionally, there were also people from other heavier, engineering industries.
Even though, it wasn’t particularly aligned to his work in telecommunications, Frank still found the course interesting and enjoyed learning about series, shunt and compound electric motors.
“It was great fun being let loose during the Lab sessions, today it would have been a health & safety nightmare!”
Speed writing – a definite requirement!
To this day Frank still remembers some of his ONC/HNC lecturers:
- Mr Minns
- Mr Flett
- Mr Porter
- Mr Bell (joint author of the Bell & Matley textbook Mathematics for HNC Mathematics)
- Mr Kerslake
In particular, he remembers Mr Wood, who was a part-time lecturer, and a senior engineer at Laurence and Scott Electromotors. He taught the HNC level Electrical Machines evening class.
Frank says Mr Wood had a real passion for the subject. As was the practice in those days, he wrote everything, up on the roller blackboard at such speed, that it was difficult to copy it down before it disappeared over the top!
Studies more fitting to chosen career!
Frank wasn’t one to rest on his laurels and progressed with his studies, undertaking:
- BTEC ONC & HNC Electrical and Electronic courses
- City & Guilds Telecommunications Principles A & B (Distinction)
- BTEC Microelectronics.
Further to his earlier studies, which were more suited to electrical machinery training needs, the HNC course was split into separate machines and electronics options. Frank recalls this being much better suited to his training needs.
He does remember the evening tutorial sessions being heavy going, after a full day of classes!
These sessions, were held in the workshop classroom area at the rear. (These workshops have now been demolished with new buildings in their place)
Unfortunately, due to some personal difficulties at that time, it took Frank more than one attempt to get his HNC.
“It may have taken more than one attempt but, in retrospect, it was well worth the effort as ultimately enabled me to progress into a management position!”
Flying high with the Jaywalkers!
Frank was at college with some of his BT colleagues, as well as a number of other students. It wasn’t all study, as he does recall one very memorable interlude during the first year of his HNC (A1)!
One of the students, (unfortunately Frank cannot remember his name) had just achieved his private pilot’s licence, and Frank believes they were all only about 20 years old. As they had a 2 hour lunch break, they hatched a plan!
The three of them drove to Felthorpe Flying Club, upon which, the new pilot took each of them separately, for a brief hair-raising flight in a small aircraft!
“We did however, manage to get back in one piece just in time for the afternoon class!”
On another occasion, during the break before tutorial, he recalls coming across (by the noise!) a pop group, rehearsing in one of the classrooms. This group was later to become Peter Jay & The Jaywalkers. (Their biggest hit was “Can Can 62” and they toured with both The Beatles and The Rolling Stones!)
Sounds like they were very ‘Happy days’!
Frank is now retired having enjoyed a 34 year long career with BT, subsequently becoming a line manager with responsibilities for line transmission engineering.