I was born on the twenty-third of September, nineteen fifty at the old Hertford County Hospital in North Road, Hertford to Sybil and Bill Powell.
At the age of five I attended Port Vale Primary School in Port Vale, Hertford. I was there until nineteen sixty-one then aged eleven then off to secondary school.
In those days you had first a year at Longmore School in Churchfields, Hertford opposite All Saints’ Church. The second year was spent at the Cowper School in Gwynnes Walk – alas I’m afraid it’s long gone today. And finally you had the last three years at the then Hertford Secondary School, Simon Balle School today.
My schooling or school days was that bad, I was good at English but not good at Maths. I did like sport, football in particular and also cricket. I never made it although into the school football team and as I remember cricket was played between the school against the staff, never played in that one off game either.
On leaving school at Easter nineteen sixty-five my first job was with Simson Shand Limited who were in Parliament Square in Hertford. My job was called a nat-soper, basically a labourer to the skilled man who was known as the minder. I had around six months with Simson Shand Limited. I wasn’t getting on too well and my Mum who, I believe, had got me the job had me transferred to Simson Pimms who were in St. Andrew Street in Hertford.
My job was a reel loader, putting reels of paper onto the machine by way of using a cradle to do this; then putting the paper from the reel through the roller; then feeding the paper into the machine; after that putting the machine into gear and then starting the machine into motion. It then cut the paper to size, gummed the flaps and then dried the gum. But before that the envelope was assembled together. Then the final process was to pack the envelopes into boxes which was done by the operator of the machine.
I had three years as I remember in that job.
I did return to Simson Pimm throughout my working life another three times in fact.
I had, I must admit, lots of varied jobs for the rest of my working life. You could do that in those days as work or jobs were always available in the swinging sixties.