MEB at Major Street
Some of the People
The men in the white coats are not identified but the rest are thought to be: in the back row, from left to right: Allen Higginson, John Brown, Richard Moroz, Graham Grice, Chris Bould, Phil Tong. But Greg Price says that the three in the back row, on the left, are Alan Higginson, John Brown and Ken - surname unknown but he was a mate of Alan Higginson. In the front row, from left to right, are: Colin Pugh, Ray Jenks, Arthur Hodgkiss, Howard Hodgkiss, Owen Hodson. The youngster is very likely Colin Pugh's son, as he was ever present for a number of seasons.
|photo courtesy of Sheila McTaggart, information from John Brown. The Wolverhampton District cricket team, who had won the Annual Inter District Competition final. Date uncertain but early 1970s. This was a knockout competition held between all the district teams within the area. The final was usually held on the grounds of the Ocker Hill Sports and Social Club.||
Back row, left to right: John Brown (Mains Engineer), Stewart Williams (Mains Engineer), Bill Harper (Street Lighting Dept.), Peter Greenway (Commercial Engineer), Jim Hannabus (Street Lighting), Mike Wilcox (Mains Engineer), Arthur Grainger (Street Lighting). Front row, left to right: Brian Lewis (Mains Engineer), Ray Jenks (Mains Engineer), Trevor Jones (Mains Engineer), Alf Jones (Wayleaves Officer), Eric Swift (Mains Engineer).
|photo and information courtesy of John Brown. This is the Engineers and Street Lighting staff football team which played in the Wolverhampton District competitions. John Brown adds: "There were a number of knockout matches held annually between departments within the Wolverhampton District. A halt was finally brought to these when it was realised just how many broken bones, strains and bruises resulted from these over zealous games".|
|photo courtesy of Mike Ealey. Customer Services Office, late 1970s. Mike Cartwright and Mike Ealey in the foreground. On the left: Sheila Coles, Melvyn Fellows, John Kitching. In the middle, left to right: Robert Jones, Freda Buttery and others. On the right: Nancy Walker and Audry Lloyd||photo courtesy of Mike Ealey. The first Christmas Party organised by Consumer Records staff at the Black Horse, Thompsons Avenue, Wolverhampton, in 1962. Facing the camera, from left to right: Dot Hodges, Jessie Jarvis, Mick Ealey, Norman Lee, John Pugh, Zara Faherty, Bob Harding|
|The MESC Inter Branch Bowls Cup winners, 1982. From left to right: Steve Roberts, Roy Jeavons, John McKechnic, Andy McClean. They all worked in the Contracting Section.||Neville Baker, one of the engineers at Major Street, seen in August 2001. Neville owns the badge (right) which shows the original MEB logo.|
|Four ex-MEB employees, photographed in August 2001. On the left is John Hughes who was an Installation Inspector and who became well known for his work preserving historic photographs and at the Black Country Living Museum. Next to him is Derek Blount who started work, aged 14, at Clarence Street, just before the MEB took over from the Corporation. He became a Foreman Electrician and was also a shop steward. Second from the right is Cyril Jones who worked at Major Street from 1954 to 1974 and was the Stores Controller. Since 1966 he has been a JP on the Wolverhampton bench and is now Wolverhampton's longest serving JP. He was also a Labour councillor on Wolverhampton Council from 1960 to 1970, representing Low Hill and then Eastfield. Standing on the far right (in photographic terms, not political) is Tom Larkin. Tom was a Labour councillor in Bilston and Wolverhampton for many years and he and Cyril were both union reps at Major Street, at first with NALGO (a hang over from the old local government days) but leading the move away to APEX.;|
|Albert Aston, whose is the oldest of all the MEB people. He was born on 6th November 1903 and so was nearly 98 when this photo was taken in August 2001. (He is with his niece's husband.) As soon as he left school Albert walked into an engineering company in Owen Road, Britool, and asked if they had a job. They told him to come in and start work. He was with them for three years, including their move to Fourth Avenue. In 1920, at the age of 17, he started work with the old Corporation Electricity Department (which, in 1948 became part of MEB). He worked in the meter room at Red Lion Street, which was where the Department had its main works, just opposite the Fire Station. But the main part of his first job there was when he and the others lads had to collect meters from Townwell Fold, where they were stored, and carry them through town to Red Lion Street. Albert then went on to servicing meters and outdoor work. Red Lion Street was eventually sold off as the premises were too small and the whole operation moved to Tipton. Albert ended up as Foreman of Repairs and Testing, retiring in 1969 at the age of 65.|
Sheila Coles (now McTaggart) (seen, right, in May 2001) writes:
I joined the MEB in August 1971 on a temporary basis, working at the Central Adjusting Unit at Kingswinford. In December of the same year I had an interview at Major Street, Wolverhampton, and got the job in the Meter Reading Section, starting on the 20th December 1971.
After a few months I was moved to Consumer Relations Section. It was the Board's idea for you to have a broad knowledge of all the work. I worked on Bad Debts Follow Up. Whilst in consumer relations I did a number of jobs like Credit Sales, East Payment Schemes, High Consumption and Disconnection for Non-Payment of Account and much more.
I worked with some very nice people but sadly the split came and a lot of people went to the Walsall Office to work, took early retirement, etc.. But luckily I stayed at Major Street and had to mover to the Stores Office, where again I did general jobs until I retired in December 1993.
I was also a Personnel Councillor and a Union Rep. But all my time at MEB was a challenging and busy time and I thoroughly enjoyed working there.
|Malcolm Cadwallader joined the MEB as an apprentice
Soon after joining he received this letter, giving him joining instructions for what was called an "Adjustment to Industry Course".
Such courses were attended by all MEB apprentices and they were joined on them by apprentices from other firms, all of them aged about 15 or 16. It seems to have been an early version of Outward Bound.
|The time was mostly occupied with outdoor activities
such as cross country runs - and being driven somewhere, dumped and
told to find your own way back. There were also lectures attempting
to explain "industry" and what it was all about.
At the end of the course each member of the course had to give a 5 minute talk on something he had learnt. One boy jumped into the icy swimming pool in an attempt to avoid this ordeal. He succeeded - he was invalided off the course. Malcolm gave a talk "Electricity and What It Is" and survived. He now works for Accuread.
|Martin Hadfield worked at the MEB for 34 years. He started in contracting, wiring houses and factories. Then he went on to metering, charging, fitting single, 3 phase and high voltage. He then moved to the main site as a project leader and then became the Audit Manager. He left in 2000 and set up his own electrical business.||Sheila McTaggart (with her photo of an MEB cricket team, shown elsewhere on this page), John Hughes and Mike Cartwright, seen in August 2001.|
We are also very glad to have heard, by email, from Greg Price, who joined the Main Engineering department at Major Street in August 1974. He worked there until the divisionalisation restructure, becoming the General Assistant District Engineer Wolverhampton. In 1980 he moved to Walsall (South Staffs Division). He has moved around a bit since but is now working at the Tipton Office (the old South Staffs office) as Asset Standards Manager. He thinks he is the last remaining survivor of the Wolverhampton District still at work - from the Engineering Department at least!click here to return to MEB front page