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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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Well when I first started at Swan Hunters I wouldn’t say the pay was very good – that’s probably why I had all the strikes and problems with conditions. I think it would probably be in the region of £10-12 pound a week, but fortunately for myself with working on the steaming squad and testing I used to be there more than….well just over 24 hours a day! And I think I used to come home with something like £30 pound a week, which at that time was like more or less 3 times your normal wage y’know, but like I say I had a mortgage and a kid (laughs) and a wife that was demanding money! So and ended up really, there used to be the weekly pay packet then and in the latter days of course you were paid monthly – your monthly salary and with overtime and one thing or another thrown at you your probably talking about something in the region of £30 thousand a year, which doesn’t really seem all that much today, but you’ve got to consider that’s 15 year ago!