Robin Irvine

In April 1964 I joined English Electric Leo in the Management Science Department at Kidsgrove with responsibilities for running Project Planning ("PERT") in the Computer Bureau. Time spent on Deuce was limited but I used to run a Network Analysis program and sort and tabulate the results with the ICT card sorter. We were up and running on KDF9 fairly soon afterwards where I think the service was well respected as we supported many large projects at the time - including Apollo. My first real programming job was a Valuation Analysis Suite (Bill of Quantities) and it was a marvellous experience doing systems work for 6 years after Kidsgrove on different sites with English Electric. Am always grateful to some marvellous staff who set everything up.

The story about carols around Deuce at Christmas reminded me of the early 60's program on KDF6, which modified the frequency of the alarm and played carols...still have an interest in synthesised music as a result of a short piece of paper tape. One colleague found the alarm on KDF9 disconcerting. At the Atomic Energy installation he switched off the main supply, the alarm cut in and slowly reduced its frequency as the capacitors discharged and the air conditioning gave a final gasp. The thought of M10, in present day terms, up in smoke was a worry....

In 1966 transferred to the English Electric Power Group in Liverpool and after installing Payroll and Production Systems, continued with an interest in Resource Allocation and presented a paper to a NATO Scientific Affairs Committee conference, headed the Computer Department and provided Project Planning support. Talks at Universities followed and I discovered that publishing was helpful. Contracts, which I remember, were Wylfa, Cruachan and the rebuild of the turbines for the dam at Valdecanas, Spain after a civil works problem. I was in Nigeria, during the Civil War in 1967/8, for project planning work on the Niger Dam.

In 1969, after the merger of English Electric and GEC transferred to Ruston Paxman (the Stephenson and Hawthorne site) at Newton-le-Willows. The English Electric Deltic was still in service, and it was good to be part of that long tradition starting with the Rocket on the Manchester and Liverpool Railway. As Senior Analyst installed Spares Systems and staff and shop floor computer Payrolls. More talks and a few more qualifications after 3 evenings a week. Other unusual hours were spent at the old AEI site at Trafford Park where the computer was located.

In 1972, believing in the potential of my native North East, I joined Teesside Planning and Development Department. In addition to responsibility for the Industrial Estates Programme there was much work to be done on the Structure Plan in Middlesbrough. Clearing old housing under Environmental Health Orders, derelict Industrial areas to be developed, shopping developments, new housing programmes and trunk roads extended. I thought that the Unitary Authority of Teesside worked well but by April 1974 we were into another Local Government Reorganisation.

Appointed Assistant Director of Project Management and Co-ordination for the new Cleveland County Council, supported the Education and Social Services Capital programmes, the budget and the planning system and got involved in the expansion of the Polytechnic in Middlesbrough which is now the University of Teesside.

In 1979 became Zone Chairman of Teesside Lions.

During the late 80's and early 90's I got into more detail and supported Housing and various other Local Government computer systems. Developed the Cleveland Industrial Database with a fibre optic system in 1987 and systems such as microwave from the Middlesbrough mainframe to the Hartlepool Direct Labour Organisations. Later, allegations against some Cleveland Social Workers went worldwide in the press and eventually in 1996 Cleveland's responsibilities moved to four Teesside Districts. I worked for 18 months in the Computer Department at Stockton Borough Council and then took early retirement.

Jri 1/11/03