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Lance Hopper

Lance was born in Bristol at the beginning of World War II, 1939. At the start of the war his family moved up to the North East and he lived with his grandparents at East Howdon.

Lance left school at the age of fifteen in 1954 and then started as an apprentice at the Wallsend slipway. During his first year he worked as an office boy, and then served a five-year apprenticeship. After his apprenticeship he worked for two years at Swan and then left to work at George Angus where he was there for twelve years. He returned to Swan’s as an inspector and eventually became a Senior Commissioning Manager.

Lance was interviewed by Laura Brown on 12 February 2007. The interview took place at Discovery Museum, Newcastle-upon-Tyne and lasted for 30 minutes.

Lance Hopper's Memories

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A typical day, yeah you always had your paperwork correct and you were arranging meetings with subcontractors, arranging meetings with the ministry of defence, going on board if there was any problems – sorting problems out and just trying to work to a programme that had been put up when the original contract was signed. Quite a lot of work involved, so really there was just go all the time – the phone never used to stop and you could guarantee at meetings that’s there was always something thrown in that upset the outward cart and just when you thought you had everything tied up and ready to swing. I mean there was some great guys in the ministry of defence, but a lot of them were there just to pull Swans down which was really unfair! I mean I have been round quite a number of different ship yards all over the UK and as far as I was concerned we built the best ship – the best standards! It was unbelievable really! A typical day you went to work sort of with your mind sort of full of ideas and came home at night – late at night completely shattered really and that’s the way it used to just go on!