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Text Interviews with people of Bolton who tell stories about their lives and times

 Below is an interview with John who was a time served master builder i.e. he served a 7 year apprenticeship. He tells of his traiining and, later, of a march to London when there was a recession.

Interview with John (Aged 73) at Halliwell Local History Society Reminiscence Group on Wednesday 3rd July 2019 at 11:15 a.m.

“I was a time served master builder and did my indentures for seven years at Bolton College. It was really interesting and there was a pride in the job, we were craftsmen and very competitive. I worked for big companies and was involved in building large buildings including civic buildings and power stations. In our training we weren’t allowed spirit levels and had to use geometry and maths. For one practical examination we had to build an arch and then remove the centre stone to see if it would still stand intact. I remember that someone cried when their arch fell down. He was extremely upset and we all felt so sorry for him.

… I always had an interest in drawing, painting and photography. I suppose I was artistic but didn’t realise it! I got my first box brownie camera when I was ten years old. I always carried my camera with me (patting his chest) usually here in my jacket.

… In the early ‘80s the building trade took a downturn, a really bad time for the construction industry and I was out of work. A group of us went down to London on a coach from Victoria station in Manchester to protest. We had placards and everything. We went to the ‘House of Commons’ and were searched and they took my camera but missed the 600mm lens and other camera stuff in my other pockets, this was pre-metal detection, how silly, it just made me laugh.  We met Tony Benn MP and sat with him for quite a while. He understood the situation with jobs, was very down to earth in spite of his privileged background. A nice guy. “