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Return to Skelton Transmitting Station 1942-1998






Concrete @    3.   6.     0 /   Ton


being             3.   1.    0  /   Ton Cement

                        12.    6  /   Ton Sand

                        15.    0  /   Ton Ballast


Six Months allowed for work.


Uninterrupted access to the site for work which would be continuous during working hours.


Time lost due to air raids, bad weather or other reasons beyond our control would be chargeable as an extra cost.


Tender based on labour rates as below: -


Rough labour        1/6               per hour

Linesman             1/10½

Linesman’s Mate   1/8

Jointer                2/0

Jointers Mate       1/8


24th February 1942 CALLENDERS


Estimate of staff required on site.


Engineer                               1

Storekeeper/Clerk                   1

Foreman & Chargehands          4

Linesmen                              5

Linesmen’s Mates                   7

Splicers                                2

Jointer                                 1

Jointers mate                        1

Chainmen                             2

Labourers                           45




To Mr Sandison at site.


Expression of desire to get final VARIATION ORDER issued by the end of month



23rd June 1942 TELEGRAM    Sandison to SDID


Urge clearance of spoil from (OSE) 8 while excavator is available. Excavation will be finished at (OSE) 9 very soon. Site of frame still partly covered, six men with lorry have been working three days but some quicker method must be found, and in addition to main spoil heap the dump along the wood must be shifted to clear 614, 615, 616, which is one hundred feet wide as far as the corner of wood.


24th June 1942   Sandison to McLean


Please give definition of handling charge.


I have said 10% is to cover delivery to Calthwaite station, haulage to site, storing and safekeeping.




All Scaffold tubing and Kee Klamps on site. CALLENDERS have sufficient material to make a good start.


Marking out is proceeding well, HT frame centre point and half the frame has been pegged. Work now going on at the aerial ends of the feeders and the centre points and bay feeders of 613 and 615 are pegged including the whole length of these runs.


I am satisfied that the work is being done rapidly and accurately, except for centre point of arrays and B pole position extreme accuracy is not required. I have asked that a surveyor be brought in so that marking out may be well ahead of construction.


The labour available is far short of requirements, twenty five or thirty men could be used at this stage of the work and we only have three.


CALLENDERS lorry is at Penrith at 07.30 each morning to collect casual labour.


Before the Labour Exchange can import labour, some promise of accommodation must be given because Penrith is not a billeting area for war workers. I have it from the Clerk of works that any contractors men may use the camp (on site) and it is not restricted to MINTER’S (ie: civil engineering contractors). The Labour Exchange have been told that we can house twenty five men on site and will they please get them.


The population of Penrith was 9000 before the war, it fell to 7000 when people left to do war work, and is now 12500 as it is reckoned to be the safest town in Britain. The billeting officer has been instructed to do all he can to place these men and he has placed some hundred or so but it is becoming increasingly difficult.



I have found it might be possible to house 25 or 30 men in a vacant part of the Poor Law Institution.


The labour situation, therefore seems to be acute, whereas all other factors are favourable.


27th June 1942 Sandison to McLean


Ref. cross arm for HT frame.


Tubular packing pieces when galvanised will not fit inside Kee Klamps. I am making enquiries locally to get these turned down.


29th June 1942 McLean to HSDID


Confirmation of teleprinter message.


Further to our memo to Civil Engineer on Saturday morning, dealing with accommodation on site.


Nine labourers starting today still not enough. MINTERS have stolen a march by importing twenty Irishmen to fill up camp.


Billeting in Penrith has dried up. Accommodation must be found for imported men. Exchange suggest asking MINTERS to loan men to CALLENDERS, do you think it politic? Problem now to find and hold accommodation and to ask Exchange to import. Lack of accommodation on site seems to be principle bar to importing men. Apparently site camp now full up with MINTERS men and possibility of using Poor Law Institution seems worth investigation.


29th June 1942 Various


The 10% handling charge covers the cost of delivery to the (railway) station and all normal handling and haulage. CALLENDERS were told in the specification that the site was at Skelton and that they were to acquaint themselves with the difficulties regarding delivery.


We have written to the civil engineer asking him to reconsider ... accommodation for our men in the work camp. We took this question up with him before and he replied that the present accommodation in the camp was fully taken by MINTERS men and if we wanted accommodation for our men it would mean building another section. He stated that ... there was no difficulty in obtaining lodgings or billets in the district.


I gather that the existing camp accommodation is not fully taken up. Perhaps you would get a statement from the Clerk of Works regarding this.


Following your telegram, we have passed this to the Civil Engineer and we have been informed that he has taken steps to expedite the moving of this earth.


We have not finally agreed a date with CALLENDERS for the starting of the six months erection period and I should be glad if you could let me have the date for the arrival of Fletcher, Steaton and other supervisory staff on site.


29th June 1942 BBC Internal Memo  McLean to Sandison


Mr MacLarty has just telephoned a reply to your teleprinter message:


It appears that the Civil Engineer has made arrangements to take on a further 150 men on the building work and that these men are going to site irrespective of whether there is sufficient accommodation available for them. It is suggested that it is more important to make progress with the building than with the aerials and feeders.


29th June 1942 Sandison to McLean


On Wednesday last there was accommodation for twenty five men in the camp.


On Friday, 20 Irishmen imported from Northern Ireland were sent to MINTER.


When I asked the Labour Exchange why at least some of these men had not been sent to CALLENDERS, they replied that Mr Fletcher did not want Irishmen. Thanks to Mr Turner, Civil Engineers Clerk of Works, four were transferred to CALLENDERS.


A visit to the billeting officer has confirmed the Penrith can offer no more billets for labourers.


Until he gets compulsory power he can do no more. For most part the type of man he has to billet is unsuited to the type of homes where any degree of cleanliness is observed.


A previous suggestion to use the vacant Poor Law institution has been squashed by a decision to use it as a hospital.


Camp on site


I have heard from several quarters that the camp on site is unsatisfactory, so I have made an independent investigation.


Sleeping accommodation


Twenty five beds in each hut. Two huts and part of another, making roughly seventy five beds occupied. Three other huts in course of building but unlikely to be completed for a fortnight or three weeks.


Mess Hut


Clean and the food reasonable




One large hut for washing and lavatory accommodation which is adequate for the purpose except that perhaps four baths would be better than two for so many.




There is no welfare manager at the moment, one man having given up the job.


The cost per man is ninepence a night deducted from wages. Maximum charge for  meals is three shillings and threepence a day, although more may be spent.


The camp is good enough for a short term job, but men will not be content with it for long and in fact are discontented.


I would suggest that the following points have not received proper attention.




At least some recreational facilities should be provided, eg: wireless.


Electric Lighting


Wet Canteen. It would be useful to have a license for beer. This would  be a great relief for local Inns; without it there may be trouble.




A good welfare officer should be responsible for discipline.


All the foregoing applies to unskilled labour only.


I know that the skilled men will try to find their own places in Penrith and may to some extent succeed. I feel that this is a matter for the Corporation to take up as I understand that the camp is largely paid for by the Corporation.


30th June 1942


Mr Fletcher has installed a telephone and kindly offered me the use of it.


I have today collected four letters and 2 sets of drawings from the GPO.


30th June 1942 BBC Internal Memo SDID to Sandison


The account for turning down the inserts for the HT frame cross arms should be sent to this office.


30th June 1942 SDID to Civil Engineer


We are now able to inform you that the bay feeder and feeder runs for 610, 611, 613 and 613 have been pegged out and site clearance may go ahead.


1st July 1942 BBC Internal Memo McLean to Sandison


Mr Springett of Civil Engineers department has been talking about moving the earth opposite the HT frame area. He says that in order to make the ground level it would mean moving approx. 2000 yards of earth at a cost of approx. £1000. This cost is very heavy indeed, apart from the difficulty in finding sufficient labour to carry out the job.


2nd July 1942 BBC Controller (Engineering) to CALLENDERS


We are pleased to inform you that the director general of the Ministry of Works and Buildings has informed us that super preference has been awarded for building and civil engineering work at this site and that super preference will also apply to the work that you are carrying out.




Mr Fletcher arrived the day before I did, the evening of the 17th of June.


Foreman Steaton was here on about the 5th of June.


A surveyor and assistant from the Dumfries office of CALLENDERS have been on site since Monday 29th June.


Apart from the lorry driver there are no other skilled men here.


3rd July 1942 Sandison to McLean


It may be possible to start feeder stringing in a fortnight’s time.




Messrs. STALKER BROS. have satisfactorily completed the work on the distance pieces for the HT frame and I have asked them to forward the bill to SDID at Droitwich.


They are now asking for an official order even though the work has been completed as they say that their factory may be inspected at any time and they may be able to show that the work done had some sort of priority.


If they don’t get something of the sort any further work may be refused and such jobs though small are usually urgent.


9th July 1942 SDID Droitwich to HSDID


CALLENDERS now have 21 labourers working on the job, of whom 12 are accommodated in the camp.


CALLENDERS seem to be making very nice progress and having quite a number of feeder frames erected, will shortly be able to start stringing feeders.


The HT frame foe OSE 8 has also been erected.


Mr Sandison:


Will you please let me know what arrangements you have made for getting the feeder switching tower through the HT frame?


9th July 1942 Letter to CALLENDERS


In the circumstances we believe you will agree that it would be unreasonable to consider the starting date as early as 15th June and would suggest a compromise 22nd June.


9th July 1942 Progress Chart Sandison to McLean


Mr Bolt suggested a progress chart some time ago, and now that I have one in use on the site it occurred to me that you might be interested in having a weekly copy as a supplement to the progress report.


To do this it would be necessary to get the drawing office to prepare some more blanks for filling in on site.


I would ask you to return this chart as soon as possible whether you decide to carry it further or not as it is very useful here.


10th July 1942 McLean to Sandison


We are chasing the Civil Engineer to settle the design of the transportable winch carriage and also of the anchorage on which the carriage is fixed. At the moment we have not even got a drawing out of the Civil Engineer.


It is strictly against regulations for any instructions for work to be carried out to be given without an official order, and in this respect we have been wrong in requesting Messrs. STALKER BROS to carry out any work at all and we certainly cannot give them an order until they have submitted an invoice or an estimate.


13th July 1942 McLean to Sandison


I think your idea of a progress chart is an excellent one. I would like to have a copy of such a chart here in the office but I am afraid the labour involved in keeping it up to date is so great that it is not really justifiable. To send us the information week by week would mean either filling up a complete chart each week which would be the labour increasing in magnitude as the job progressed, or alternatively it would mean taking care that you advised us of the amount of work carried out during the week which would also mean a considerable amount of labour for you and also labour for us in keeping the chart up to date. In these circumstances I think it better that we do not proceed on this proposal as it would also mean the use of a considerable amount of paper. If you keep your own chart up to date we can look at it when we come up to site or we might ask you to send it down to us occasionally.


13th July 1942 HSDID to McLean


It will be necessary to charge CALLENDERS the cost of accommodating their men (on site). Please ask Sandison to incorporate in his weekly report a return of the number of our contractor’s men accommodated at the camp.


13th July 1942 Floor of OSE 8 Building


It is quite clear on inspection and confirmed by the Clerk of Works that there is no steel work or other flooring in the space that is to be occupied by the transmitters.


14th July 1942 Letter CALLENDERS to Ministry of Labour, Penrith


We wish to inform you that the progress on the work that we are carrying out for the British Broadcasting Corporation has been seriously delayed owing to the type of men supplied from Northern Ireland.


We would confirm our verbal application today for the supply of a further twelve labourers of a suitable type.


14th July 1942 STALKER BROS. Sandison to McLean


I attach the bill from STALKER BROS. received here today. I would like to point out that at the time, the HT frame was the only constructional work that could be started and getting the work done within two days of discovering the difficulty enabled the work to go ahead to schedule.


14th July 1942 Man hours for erection of HT frame OSE 8


Eight men with one mixer poured twenty three cubic yards of concrete in eight and a half hours, which I believe to be average rate.


An unreliable figure is the rate of excavation. It is difficult to get an average figure for this as most of the excavation is being done by four men on piecework and they are working extremely fast.


16th July 1942 Spoil Clearance


We have taken ground levels across the spoil heap adjacent to the HT frame at OSE 8.


601 run:         4.86 feet at edge nearest HT frame

602 run:         4.6 feet to 4.7 feet highest towards middle

603 run:         4.65 feet rising to 5.15 feet away from HT frame

604 run:         as 603

605, 606:       average depth 5.5 feet along both runs.

607, 608       These  feeders cross a corner of the spoil heap and were reasonably clear until the last work of the excavator, which was to clear a twenty foot road round and back from the HT frame.


17th July Accommodation in camp


Regarding the actual charging up, presumably the Clerk of  Works keeps some sort of a record and that MINTERS or somebody else are charged up with the cost per man per day.


It all seems quite vague down here as to what happens and I shall be glad if you will make some enquiries and let us have a statement as to the actual procedure followed.


18th July 1942 Imported Labour


I must report that CALLENDERS will have to pay rail fare and travelling time to thirteen men imported from Ireland and three men from Preston.


20th July 1942 Charges for Camp


The charge for a nights lodging in the camp is ninepence per head deducted from the man’s pay.


The money so collected is being held by CALLENDERS for payment to the Corporation and Mr Fletcher now wants to pass this money on. I am unable to find out to whom it should go, Clerk of Works here does not know.


A Welfare Officer, Mr Robinson, has been appointed (at a salary I understand of seven pounds a week).


20th July 1942 Dumped earth under feeders


We have now decided to overcome this difficulty by raising the height of some of the support structures in order to give ten feet clearance over the spoil heap.


21st July 1942 Sandison to McLean


Mr Fletcher informs me that he has written to his firm (Callenders) to suggest that the erection of all the frames and poles having been carried out this shall count as 65% of the work done, the stringing of the feeders to count as the remaining 35%.


25th July 1942 Labour Camp Charges


Mr Fletcher informs me that he has been instructed by his firm to pay the money collected for camp charges to F.G. MINTER. I made a note that camp conditions were improved as a result of the appointment of a welfare officer. Events of the past two days suggest that this is not so.


On Thursday of this week, eight labourers were sent up to work for CALLENDERS and by previous arrangement they were sent to the camp. That same day three of the men refused to live at the camp and departed to find their own lodgings; they have not returned.


Today Sunday, at knocking off time, four more men have stated their intention of looking elsewhere for lodging and unless they find it they will not return on Monday.


The reasons given are:


1. Poor Food

2. Unclean blankets

3. Unclean and undesirable associates


Such a loss of seven men is most disappointing, particularly as Mr Fletcher had at last succeeded in getting a good type of man.


The quality of his labour has up to now been very poor. Two men were released (men are no longer sacked they are released) on Friday for refusing to work, for fighting and for using foul language generally. The police are interested in both.


So much money has been spent on the camp that it seems a pity it should only be half successful when so much depends on it. I think that it should be and could quite easily be good enough for the very large number of skilled men who will be arriving later on. (At least as temporary accommodation until they are fixed up).


MINTERS of course do not look at it like that, as far as they are concerned it is good enough and of course they have the control.


All this really is none of my business and when Fletcher comes to me with his troubles all I can do is point out that really he is fortunate to have so many men in camp.


30th July 1942 Sandison to McLean


Now that the work is becoming so spread out and the distance from this office to the far end of OSE 9 site is over one mile, while the far end of OSE 8 is nearly as far in the opposite direction, may I remind you of a suggestion you made some time ago that a bicycle would help the proper supervision of the work?


The motor cycle can be used but petrol allowance barely covers the daily journey to site and in any case it is not nearly as handy for getting across country as would be a cycle.


4th August 1942 Callender’s Diary Sheets (comments on extracts)


Labour rates are one farthing greater than quotation. To hedge cutting along feeders 601,2,3,4; seven and a half hours is reasonable for this because these runs were difficult. To filing Kee Klamps; these were on site when we arrived, and owing to the galvanising the Kee Klamps would not fit without some filing. A man was given the job of making sure that all the Kee Klamps would fit over the tubing.


Bus fares to Penrith are additive to the cost of railway fares. Each man is given a card at the labour exchange which the bus conductor punches. These cards are collected and represent the bill due to the bus company.


Concrete poured: Only one “T” frame has been erected to the new specification.


HT frame: 162 holes concreted - six have been left to enable a section to be removed if necessary.


4th August 1942 TYPEWRITER


We have received at site Underwood typewriter No. 2077481 under requisition No.93144 from Stores and Buying section, Islip.


5th August 1942 Diary Sheets


Mr Fletcher has asked us to correct a mistake in sheet No.4. the rate for a lorry driver should be one shilling and seven pence farthing per hour.


                     July 15th               Lorry driver          2 hours and 45 minutes

                     July 22nd                                        3 hours and 30 minutes

                     July 29th                                         5 hours and 30 minutes


6th August 1942  B N McLarty to CALLENDERS


Please note the Uniformity agreement was applied to this site as from 5th December 1941 and that we have now informed the Uniformity Joint Board that you are a main contractor on this site. The Essential Works Order becomes applied automatically to the work in question and we have submitted your name to be included in the schedule.


10th August McLean to Sandison


We have received the attached notice (below).


There is some correspondence going on with CALLENDERS at the moment as to the meaning of the various regulations regarding Uniformity Agreements, Essential Works Orders, etc. and I am hoping that within a fairly short time we will have a statement on the position and know where we stand in respect of these things.


Meanwhile, without actually showing this note to Fletcher, I should be glad if you would find out whether he is taking any steps to report absenteeism of his men to the National Service Office.


22nd July 1942 COPY notice from the Ministry of Works and Planning  

                     Works and Building Committee


Records of absenteeism on building sites.


In order to ensure that accurate information is available on a strictly comparable basis for all sites, Departments are requested to adopt the following rules:-


(a)     When a man has been continuously absent between one pay day and the next without reasonable excuse, the employer shall report the case to the National Service Officer, but retain the mans name on the labour roll of the site.


(b)     When a man has been continuously absent during two pay periods without reasonable excuse, he shall cease to be counted in the labour force of the site.


(c)     The contractor shall each week send to the local office of the Ministry of Labour a list of absentees to be dealt with under (b) together with their insurance books.


(d)     These instructions are without prejudice to the contractor’s right to report a man at any time to the National service Officer for absence or persistent lateness.


11th August 1942 Controller (Engineering) to CALLENDERS,
copy to Sandison.

We have received from our engineer on site a copy of Time and Material Diary sheet  No.5 which covers amongst other things certain labour expended in filing Kee Klamps etc.


It would seem that in filling out this sheet your engineer was under a misapprehension in submitting the cost of this work and material to us, as of course under the terms of the contract it is your responsibility that all materials supplied shall be suitable and ready for use. We shall be glad, therefore, if you will kindly withdraw the item.


11th August 1942 REPORT OF VISIT TO SKELTON - 8/9 Aug by F D Bolt


The general progress of the work on the aerial and feeder system was very satisfactory and carried out in an efficient manner and was well planned. It would seem that this contract was well ahead of any of the others on the site and it is unlikely that there will be any serious hold up provided that the material deliveries continue to be satisfactory.


OSE 8 Feeders: All frames have been erected and concreted in position. The HT Frame is fully erected, one section not being concreted to allow the tower steelwork to be taken inside.


Bay Feeders:  All bay feeder poles have been erected.


Trunk Feeder frames: The high frames made necessary by the spoil heap were in position.


Concrete: Mr Sandison was a little doubtful about the quality of the concrete since surface gravel was being used with an 8:1 mix. In general the foundations seemed quite solid, though one or two had had to be replaced owing to their tending to crumble when struck. It is possible that insufficient cement has been used.


Masts: All stay blocks and mast foundations have been cast and steel work for masts A and B is on site. This is galvanised and has to be treated with Mordaunt solution and painted before erection.


Building: The transmitter hall floor composed of precast beams.....laid over with sections of the floor which do not support apparatus b............course not screededover. The transmitter hall stanchions were...........and the walls of the transmitter hall were up to the level of the machine.......the machine room walls were also up to this level and the floors of these (areas?) had been concreted. The office block end of the building was not so advanced, the walls averaging five feet high but at the other end the walls appear to be the full height of the transmitter hall. I understood that the concrete floor of the crypt had cracked at one point but could not find out if the weatherproofing had been affected or whether the floor would have to be broken up or relaid.


No work was going on at the weekend, i.e. from when I arrived on site at 7.00pm on Saturday until I left at midday on Sunday.


OSE 9 FEEDERS:  The HT frame had been marked out, excavated, and concrete pad laid. All steelwork was in position ready for erection.


Twenty one ‘S’ frames on the route to Ae 718-723 were erected and concreted in, and the excavations for feeders and bay feeders to Ae 719-723 were finished. All surveying had been completed up to Ae 705


The procedure adopted is that the surveyor first sets out the feeder route with centre and direction pegs, a wooden template is then placed over these pegs and the top layer of turf removed to indicate the position of the frame foundation. the excavation is then completed and one concrete forms the pad at the bottom of the hole. The steelwork is erected and placed in position and the process completed by a second mixture which completes the pouring.


MASTS:  All mast bases and stay blocks have been formed.


BUILDING:  The crypt floor was being asphalted and part of the retaining walls were up to ground level. No steelwork for the roof supports was in position.


WINCHES: There was no sign of any winch carriage or winches themselves on site.


GENERAL:  CALLENDERS stated that they were forced to work a certain amount of overtime since the other contractors were guaranteeing a sixty hour week for their men.


DELIVERY OF FURNITURE etc: Mr Sandison would like to know where to store the large amount of furniture and office equipment which has been ordered and how to arrange for this to be collected from the station. He made the point that local firms like to be paid immediately after carrying out any work, while payment by the Corporation is usually somewhat delayed.


RUBBER BOOTS etc: Mr Turner, the Maintenance Engineer working with SDID had no rubber boots or weather proof equipment, and in view of the nature of the ground these are necessary.


NUMBER OF FEEDER FRAMES: The clause calling for each of the feeder frames to be numbered by the contractor was omitted. Provided a set of stencils was set up, this numbering could well be done by the station staff at a later date.



MATERIAL DELIVERIES: End caps for rod insulators are required since the fitting of these end caps would provide a very useful form of indoor work for bad weather.


In conclusion I should mention that the journey to Penrith is extremely uncomfortable during the weekend and that connections are very easily lost due to delays. It would be preferable to travel to Carlisle provided transport could be obtained from Carlisle to Skelton. As it is buses from Penrith to Skelton are very rare and at awkward times and the only available means of transport for visiting engineers is a hired car.


12th August 1942 COPY (sic) OF A LETTER FROM STALKER BROS.


To the Engineer in Charge,

off the BBC Skelton


Dear Sirs,

          As we have neither Received an Order or Payment for the job we did for you in a hurry Turning Bobbins 84 July 4/1942 if we do not have a satisfactory answer to this letter the matter will be put into our solicitors hands for attention at once as this kind of business is no use to us.


          We are

          STALKER BROS.


          JON STALKER


13th August 1942 Sandison to McLean


I have received the attached letter (above) from Messrs. Stalker Bros, the local firm who turned down the packing pieces for the HF Frame.


Apart from the bill sent on July 14th, this is the first communication we have received from them, to say the least of it, it is most extraordinary.


I have considered visiting the firm with the idea of explaining the position, but under the circumstances I do not think it advisable.


13th August 1942 Sandison to Messrs Stalker Bros.


Dear Sirs,


We have received your letter dated 12th August 1942 and it has been forwarded to our Head Office for attention.


We regret that you are inconvenienced in this matter but no doubt you will appreciate that the payment of even a small sum of money has to go through the usual official channels.


13th August 1942 Sandison to McLean


In reply to your memo dated August 10 on the subject of absenteeism.


I think the worst cases have only been two or three days; usually Saturday morning to recover from the effects of pay night; a Monday morning to round off a weekend; or as in one case two days in prison for “Drunk and Disorderly”.


21st August 1942 Sandison to McLean


The HT frame foundations at OSE 9 were dug some time ago and the concrete pads are down.


Yesterday, and quite suddenly, water began to collect around the frame foundations and quickly turned this part of the site in to a swampy mess, likely to ruin the firm earth excavations and make concrete pouring difficult.


This is believed to be due to sewage from the camp running along the land drains under this field, though why it should have appeared so suddenly is a mystery at the moment.


Clerk of Works will not agree that it is coming from the camp, but judging by the smell I would say there is no doubt about this. It was necessary for CALLENDERS to do something to rectify this immediately, and so a trench has been dug three feet deep and falling towards the ditch. This trench intercepts the land drain and has successfully carried the water away from the frame.


A second land drain was found the same day and broken into when digging the tower foundations, with the result that one of these holes is filling with water as fast as it can be removed. This water appears to be clean and not from the same source as the other, although the general direction of flow appears to be the same. It is proposed to continue the trench a short way further in order to intercept this second drain also. The excavations already made in this field are in old plough land and therefore less able to stand soaking than would be the firmer turf land.


22nd September 1942 Deliveries


CALLENDERS have been having great difficulty in obtaining delivery of the bottle screws for feeder tensioning, ordered from Messrs FELLOWS Bros Ltd. After a promise of delivery this week, CALLENDERS have now been informed that manufacture has not yet started.


Linesmen will not be brought to the site until delivery of this part has started, and although everything is ready for feeder stringing the delay is not yet serious.


22nd September 1942 Sandison to McLean


Mr Springett has been on the telephone to me this morning and states that he has given instructions to MINTERS regarding the coke stoves which are to be installed initially in the OSE 8 building and subsequently in the OSE 9 building for drying out these buildings.


Our original suggestion to Civil Engineer was that stoves should be placed in the transmitter hall and that flue pipes should be arranged to go up and out through he windows adjacent to the feeder lead in panels, so that the stoves could be kept going even after the installation of plant had started. Mr Springett went on to say that he believed it would be possible to start installation of plant at OSE 8 by the end of October.


26th September 1942


Controller (Engineering) to FELLOWS Bros. Copy to CALLENDERS.

We are glad to note that you anticipate having the first 220 bottle screws ready for despatch by passenger train some time during the coming week.


29th September 1942 Progress


We must inform you that the aerial contract appears to be slowing up, at a time when every advantage should be taken of the weather.


Feeder stringing: awaiting the delivery of bottle screws. Should these arrive tomorrow a start could be made by taking two linesmen off aerial make up work. We are uncertain as to the number of gangs of linesmen required to complete the work in another ten weeks, but should imagine that at least three linesmen will be required for this work alone.


Aerial make up: P.O. joints in 7/16 GI wire. The output at present is of the order of five lengths a day, involving an average of  70 P.O. joints per linesman. The total number of such joints is 10,000. It therefore appears that there should be at least three linesmen working on this continuously.


Erection of aerials: Until we get two winches on site nothing can be done.


1st October 1942 TELEGRAM timed 4.6




(Part 133 is the bottle screw mentioned earlier).


6th October 1942 Further to memo dated 29th September


We asked for an estimate of the time required to string the feeders. The reply was six weeks for one gang OSE 8 (1 linesman and 4 mates). We pointed out that OSE 8 was straightforward stringing, but OSE 9 bay feeders were more complicated, and on a basis of six weeks for OSE 8, then OSE 9 would take 18 weeks.


We are having ideal working weather.


12th October 1942 Sandison to McLean


Today there are still only two linesmen on site. Mr Fletcher’s statement today is that one linesman is due this week and another man next Monday.


In our opinion, taking into account the bad weather we are now having, and in the shorter days to come, the successful completion of this job in the time given depends upon this question.


14th October 1942 McLean to HSDID: Visit  to Gateshead and Skelton


With regard to the visit to Gateshead to inspect CLARKE CHAPMAN feeder switching tower;


You leave London (Kings Cross) at 9.50 arrive Newcastle 3.44pm


I leave Birmingham at 9.00 arriving at Newcastle at 3.30pm


Rooms have been booked at Station Hotel and a CLARKE CHAPMAN car is picking us up there at four o’clock.


We are staying the night at Newcastle, and all being well will catch the 8.15am train to Carlisle arriving 10.22. After we have seen around the station it will be too late to return on Wednesday and therefore I am asking Mr Sandison to book rooms for us on Wednesday night in Penrith.


28th October 1942 Linesmen


Once again CALLENDERS promise that two linesmen were actually on their way to the site has not been kept.


Feeders: One linesman has put up 4,100 yards of line out of a total of 10,000 yards, in two weeks. A second linesman is now on the job, so it may be possible to complete OSE 8 in three and a half weeks.


Allowing for the fact that OSE 9 will require 23,000 yards and many shorter lengths, ten weeks would be a reasonable time for completion.


Aerials: In five weeks, one linesman with a varying number of assistants, average 4 to 6, has made the rigging wires and dipoles for five aerials (H4/2 type). This rate is obviously far too slow; it will take nearly a year to do 51 aerials.


Jumpers: The jointer is making 8 to 10 jumpers a day. At this rate it will take 35 working days excluding the flexible switches. This may be regarded as satisfactory.


30th October 1942 Controller (Engineering) to CALLENDERS


Men on site 17th October 1942


          Engineer                                                    1

          Storekeeper                                               1

          Foreman                                                    1

          Linesmen                                                   3

          Linesmen’s Mates                                        0

          Splicer                                                       0

          Jointer                                                       1

          Jointers Mate                                              0

          Chainmen                                                   0

          Labourers                                                 13



          Mechanical Plant operator                             1

          Ganger                                                      1

          Lorry Driver                                                1

          Youths                                                      2


26th November 1942 SDID to SJ BINNING & SON Coal Factors Penrith Station.


Dear Sir,

          To confirm our telephone conversation of this afternoon, this is an order for one ton of coke as previously supplied.


It would be convenient, for reasons stated this afternoon, if you would be so good as to return two bills, for half a ton each.


4th December 1942 Civil Engineer to SDID


Winch Carriages: we have now made some trials with the winch carriages at Skelton and find that whilst there is no difficulty in dragging the carriage around the site, there is the greatest difficulty in getting it accurately located on the winch foundation.


We fear this is quite impossible with the carriage as it now stands.


The trials were made in good weather, but the winch may have to be got into position at any time of day or night, in any sort of weather and within a very short time. In the interests of the service we ought to provide winches for all the masts at OSE 8, 9 and 10, for the additional masts at OSE 3, and in addition replace the winches already withdrawn from OSE 3.


19th December 1942 CALLENDERS to Ministry of Labour, Penrith


On Friday November 13th we applied for an additional eight labourers, but to date only one has been supplied.


At the moment our unskilled labour strength is extremely low, owing to the releases sanctioned and to the fact that labourers recruited from Ireland at the commencement of the contract have proceeded on leave to which they become entitled after this stipulated period, but unfortunately not returning to this country, an action apparently over which we have no control.




At the time of the above work, Mr Sandison lived at Priestfold, the farm house immediately to the south of Skelton B station, which some years later was to be occupied by the Engineer in Charge.

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