72. Dad and His Work

Mum and Dad Got Married

At the start of this period, mum and dad were already engaged. They got married in June 1956. There is more material about my dad and his relationship with mum elsewhere (see for example Chapters 57 and 58).

Focus on Work

So, this section focuses on his work to the extent that the diaries cover this. An obituary from 2011 notes that he received a three quarter scholarship to attend grammar school but that his father often struggled to find the other quarter until 1944 when the Education Act came in. He trained as a clerk in Nottinghamshire County Council’s treasurer’s department before joining the Norwich Union in Nottingham in 1954.

A Lot of Study

Dad studied a lot during this period. The first time mum mentioned this was on 1 February 1955. He had three exams in March 1955 although mum did not record what they were. She did note, however, in June 1955, that dad had passed his exams with distinction and that he had won a prize of two guineas which he collected from the Institute in Nottingham in October 1955. Dad started studying again in September 1955.

In February 1956, mum noted that dad’s boss from Norwich came to visit Nottingham. He had three more exams in April 1956. On 2 July, he heard unofficially that he had passed his exam with this being officially confirmed the next day.

He started studying again in November 1956 and took further exams at the end of March 1957. In June 1957, he heard that he had “passed his third exam”. I don’t know if this referred to his third set of exams, i.e. in 1955, 1956 and 1957. Among mum’s papers was dad’s certificate from the Chartered Insurance Institute saying he had passed their Associateship examination in the Ordinary Life Branch.

Dad’s certificate from the Chartered Insurance Institute confirming that he passed his Associateship examination

A Course in Norwich

At the beginning of January 1957, dad heard that he needed to go to Norwich for two months. He went from 14 January to 8 March but he came back most weekends. He also phoned mum and wrote to her quite frequently. Mum visited him there once during that time period as well.

In one of mum’s photo albums is a photo from that course. On the back are the signatures of all the people who took part in the course (except dad’s!). Men took part from all over the British Isles including from Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Dublin, Glasgow, Ipswich, Leicester, London (City and West End branches), Manchester, Newcastle, Plymouth, Reading and Sheffield. The participants were all men. Indeed when I shared this photo with the Norwich Remembers Facebook group, this was one of the main comments that I received including how things have changed since then.

Norwich course January-March 1957 – dad circled

Based on comments from people on the Norwich Remembers Facebook group, it appears that the course may have been held in a basement room in Surrey House in Norwich. Courses were also held in Bignold House and the Boars Head building.

Northern Assurance Company

In May 1957, dad went for an interview in London with the Northern Assurance Company but he did not accept the job because it only offered him £30 more. Established in Aberdeen in 1836, the company was acquired by Commercial Union in 1968.

More Studying

Dad started studying again in September 1957. He took more exams in April 1958. This was just a few days after mum and dad moved to 41 Diamond Avenue, and less than a month before Tricia was born. He took exams in Accident Insurance, Marine Insurance and Fire Insurance. He also took an essay exam.

Option to Take Over Grandad’s Business

In November 1957, following discussions of grandad retiring and whether mum and dad were going to take it over, mum noted that “Roy practically decided not to have the shop”.

A Mechanical Adding Machine

In February 1958, grandad was impressed that dad had borrowed a mechanical adding machine from work and they could use this for the calculations involved in stocktaking for winding up the shop and the associated business.

Example of mechanical adding machine © Roger McLassus 1951 and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Norwich Union Celebrates 150 Years

In June 1958, mum and dad went to the Theatre Royal in Nottingham as part of the Norwich Union’s 150 year celebrations (see Chapter 66).

Yet More Studying

Dad started to  study again in August 1958.

Dinner at the Black Boy

In January 1959, there was an inspectors’ conference at work so dad had dinner at the Black Boy. This was a hotel in Nottingham that dated back to the 17th century. It was demolished in 1969/70.

Black  Boy Hotel in Nottingham circa 1939 – photograph by Nottingham City Council  and available in the public domain
In 1961, the lease for the Black Boy Hotel and four shops was offered for sale by auction. The brochure included a front page with an annotated photo of property
There was also a schematic map showing nearby traders
And some other photos
And a map of Nottingham city centre. The buildings were demolished in 1969/70 and Primark is located there currently.

A Pay Rise

In March 1959, dad heard that he was to get a £60 pay rise in April.

More Exams

In April 1959, he had more exams including in Accident Insurance, Marine Insurance and Fire Insurance. As the previous year, he also sat an essay exam.

Work-Related References?

There are a few references around this time which I am not sure if they relate to work or not. Once a week, dad started to go to Derby at night and got a lift back with a Mr Wood. Was this for work? Similarly, in May 1959, he went out “after his collectors”. Was this for work or perhaps for chapel?

A Job on Organisation and Method

In June 1959, dad went for a job in Norwich on Organisation and Method. However, he did not get it.

He Passed His Exams

However, that month, he did hear that he had passed his exams, parts I and III of the Fellowship. I am tempted to ask what happened to part II which is the kind of question my parents would have asked me!

Lectures in Nottingham

At the end of June and the beginning of July, he gave some lectures in Nottingham but I am not sure what they were about.

Even More Studying

In September 1959, dad started studying again.

Another Course in Norwich

At the end of September, dad heard that he needed to go to Norwich again for a course from 9th to 13th November. It seems that this was for a Pension Schemes Course as there was an annotated photo of this in one of mum’s albums. Thanks to various people on the Norwich Remembers Facebook group, it seems this photo was taken at the front entrance of Surrey House

Norwich Union Head Office: Pension Schemes Course: November 9th-13th 1959 – dad circled
Surrey House Norwich – the photo above was shot in the central doorway © Jim Taylor and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

New Norwich Union Offices in Nottingham

In February 1959, mum noted that the Norwich Union moved to their new offices in South Parade. I believe this was known as Norwich Union House. In around 2017, this was redeveloped/rebuilt as student accommodation, The Student Hideout.

What is perhaps odd is that material related to that re-development gives the date of construction of the original Norwich Union house as mid-1960s. Perhaps the Norwich Union moved to existing offices in South Parade and these later became Norwich Union House. However, when mum and Tricia visited the office on 20 February, mum referred to it as “Roy’s new building”. I guess it could have been new to him or perhaps the online dates of mid-60s are incorrect.