Tyne & Wear Museums homepage

Contact us

John Nichols

John was born on the 18 September 1959 in the village of Earsdon near Whitley Bay.

John’s father worked for the Merchant Navy as a second Electrical Officer on board the Swan Hunter built ship the Dominican Monarch

He left school in 1976 at age of sixteen and entered the Merchant Navy. After leaving the Merchant Navy, John joined NAFFI (Navy Army & Air Force Institute) and ran shops onboard Swan Hunter vessels including HMS ARK ROYAL and HMS COVENTRY.

John was interviewed by Alex Magin on 24 October 2006. The interview took place at Segedunum Roman Fort, Baths and Museum and lasted for 38 minutes.

John Nichols's Memories

In order to view this file you need to use the flash player.


So finally really, what did Swan Hunter mean to you?

Well, to me it was the connection with my father, they built the DOMINICAN MONARCH.  I think it was built in 1932, me dad went straight on that as an electrical engineer and I’ve got pictures of it coming out of the main slipway at Swan Hunters.  I think it was family connection, my dad was working, he was on that ship for a few years which was built in Swan’s and here’s myself up here years later on another ship being built but a Royal Naval vessel in the same yard, so it’s that connection I think, you know.  It’s also the connection with the people who work here because they were from schools in the area, I knew a few of them and a lot of the lads from school had an apprenticeship here.  It was a big family really.  It was that tradition of another ship being completed and seeing them go down the slipway was an absolutely fantastic sight to see that you’ll never see again you know.

So it was quite a personal connection for you?

Yes, and with me mother’s side of the family as well there was all the connection with the sea, the Merchant Navy, the shipbuilders, the people who worked the fish quay, there’s always been that connection there you know.