My Employment

Some Viewers, in particular those interested in my metalworking activities, may find a rundown of my time spent in employment of interest. However, despite my extensive writing on the subject of metal working it may come as a surprise to find I worked as an electrical control system engineer for 35 years, prior to becoming editor of the Model Engineers’ Workshop magazine, a job I did for just three and a half years before eventually retiring at the age of 61.


Having left secondary school at the age of 15 I went to work at the “Watford Electric and Manufacturing Company”, know normally as WEMCO. The firm made electrical control equipment as used in power stations, air conditioning systems, pumping stations, metalworking and other machines to name but a few. In those days, such firms not only designed and assembled the systems but also made the majority of the components used in them, typically, contactors, relays, push buttons, etc. and also the cubicles in which the systems were housed. This resulted in the firm having quite a large machine shop as well as the electrical assembly and test departments .


At the age of 16 I commenced an apprenticeship with the company with the first 18 months in the machine shop.  Having done quite well there my next move was to the jig and tool design and production methods office. This was normally a finishing stage for an apprentice with a mechanical bent, with other apprentices finishing in the electrical design office. It was not spotted though that I still had  three and a half years of my apprenticeship left. Still, I was very happy with the  job so did not complain.


During this time I was studying at evening classes at the Watford Technical College, gaining a Higher National Certificate in electrical engineering. Having achieved that I decided to move to the control systems design office but this was after spending two years in the REME on national service.


Whilst in the REME I studied telecommunications for nine months at the REME Arborfield camp then remaining there as an instructor for a period before being transferred to Sudbury in Derbyshire   


When back in civvy street I returned to WEMCO to work in the control system design office for five years before leaving to work at a company called “Printing and Paper Drives”. As the name implies the firm produced variable speed drives for the printing and paper industries. During this time I worked on the design of the control systems produced, mainly on the printing side but not exclusively. The firm eventually changed its name to “PPD Engineering” but then was taken over by “Allan Bradley”, an American firm based in Bletchley Bedfordshire.


Whilst there I was, as is mentioned elsewhere on the site, involved in a car accident being off work for 7 months. During this time I wrote an article for the Model Engineer magazine but was eventually used in the Model Engineers’ Workshop magazine and as a result of this was offered the job of editor of the magazine. I took up this position in 1991 after 43 years in the electrical control business of which 30 years were in the variable speed drives industry particularly involved with  printing a paper drive systems.

I eventually retired  in 1995 at the age of 61 when I gave up the position of editor of MEW.

          Harold Hall