Roger Riordan: Working in UK 1955-6

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I graduated in Electrical Engineering in 1954, and in 1955 I sailed for England with high hopes of becoming an expert in atomic power. I arrived in the middle of winter, to discover that the factory was cold and primitive, and English Electric was a long way behind the times, and was most unlikely ever to achieve anything in atomic power. So when I turned 21 a few weeks later I was feeling cold, lonely and disillusioned.

I had gone over on a graduate apprenticeship scheme, but very quickly decided that it was totally useless, and after a few months at Rugby I managed to get myself transferred to the Mechanical Engineering Laboratory near Leicester, where I worked on the design of governors for water turbines. This was much better than being messed about in the factory, and involved several trips to the Scottish Highlands to do tests on the water turbines at the Fasnakyle power station on the River Glass, near Cannich, about 40 miles west of Inverness.

I had never felt at home in England, and I wasn't getting anywhere, so after two years I decided to return to Australia, and start afresh. The Suez Canal was closed following Eden's misguided 'Suez Adventure', so the ship had to go around the Cape of Good Hope and across the Southern Ocean, and it was a long, rough and boring trip. One thing I did learn from my spell in England was that while travel may 'broaden the mind', it also unsettles it, and you are never entirely happy again, wherever you are.

Rugby Post Office

Beacon Hill


Groby Pool

Rapids Fasnakyle

Lyn Idwal

Saracens Head

A friend





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 © Roger Riordan 2004-2019

UK 1955-56