Malcolm Murray – My Introduction to Engineering – Chapter 1

My real first introduction to engineering began at Sleaford Secondary School. I sat my Eleven Plus twice and failed so missed out on Sleaford Grammar School. My father was head of department covering woodwork, technical drawing and of course metalwork at Sleaford.We lived in a small village called Dorrington with my brother where we attended middle school. In the summer of 1962 we moved to Sleaford to be nearer the school for both me and my father.

I enjoyed my school days earned good money on my Saturday butchers round, delivering morning papers to Cranwell Air Base. This was hard, as a new boy I got the officers’ quarters which were well spread out. You got into the back of the van with two other boys, sorted your bag out from the piles of papers, jumped out and ran so you finished your round to be ready for your return journey. I also delivered the evening Lincolnshire Echo six days a week including the Green Echo on Saturdays with the sports results.

I collected the monies on a Friday evening and with the price at 1 shilling and 10 pence per week I got a lot of tuppences as tips, so it was a good earner. The market collapsed when the price went up to two shillings. I also enjoyed being a bush beater on shoots during the winter months so I wasn’t work shy.

Anyway back to engineering. Our school classes were split into three groups; general, agricultural and the ‘A’ stream steered you to GCEs. I was placed in the ‘A’ stream. The school was also split in two, with the main school on Church Lane and the practical subjects being taught a fifteen minute walk away off West Gate. This was the part my father taught at, so you have guessed by now he taught me.

I took my GCEs in Maths, English, Geography, Metalwork Craft, Technical Drawing and Engineering Design. In my extra year at school I re-sat the core subjects and took my Physics exam in CSE. I was a good pupil but hopeless at exams. I failed my core subjects three times but passed all practical subjects first time along with my Physics CSE.

One major problem I remember facing was keeping my technical drawing paper clean being left handed. The metalwork class room was equipped with vice benches, small lathes and pedestal drills. A small forge allowed us to prepare and make castings. My pride and joy was a small woodwork vice, including all the turned parts, as part of my class work presentation. I still have the vice today.

So this pointed me to my future.

Malcolm Murray – February 2021