NEWTON ABBOT COLLEGE OF ART
I started the day by thinking about my first job and of how it shaped my life in various ways. My working life started in a small shipyard, Morgan Giles Ltd, in Teignmouth, Devon.
Before going into the shipyard I attended Newton Abbot College of Art and all was going well until a family crisis occurred in 1959 and I was sent out to work. My first wage was £2-15 shillings a week and after I signed my Indentures it was reduced to £2 - 9 shillings for a 48 hour week.
AERIAL VIEW OF MORGAN GILES LTD
I was apprenticed as a Marine Engineering Draughtsman and spent the first two half years on the shop floor in various departments, starting in the fitting shop. My very first job there was to polish the bronze propellors of a 52ft Monaco Cruiser which was being readied for the International Boat Show at Earls Court in London. The firm designed and built it's own trailer to carry the boat which was to be towed by a heavy tractor, of the type that Showmen use; because of it's size and slow speed a special route had to be found to avoid low bridges and tight bends. Shipyard workers walked alongside the trailer. It took five days and countless pairs of shoes to transport the cruiser to London!
42FT MONACO CRUISER
All of the fittings and furnishings were designed and made by us, for example the double ended fridges and electrically warmed toilet seats for those with delicate posteriors. One regular customer always had swiss silk curtains, another always wanted his boat to be a foot longer than anyone else's, so a 36ft became a 37 ft & of course he would be charged for our inconvenience. However, one year this customer wanted a 42ft craft to be extended to 43ft which made life extremely easy for the design team because our 42 footer was actually 42ft - 10 and 1/2 inches long. We merely redesigned the bow roller plate out by one and half inches. I have no idea how much extra he was charged for those one and half inches!
Today I spoke with Jos Moorman in France who recently spent ten years equalling 12 thousand hours restoring a 42ft Monaco Cruiser, which I helped to design. He has done a magnificent job & you can see her here if you paste this into your browser >
unknown yacht built by Morgan Giles Ltd
We also built various yachts for private owners and many types of inshore craft for the Ministry of Defence. The six years that I spent at Morgan Giles were not wasted and all that I learnt there has stood me in good stead throughout my life.