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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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What sort of influence do you think Swan Hunter had on the feeling of community in Wallsend?

Well I would say that it was probably the main thing, the community in Wallsend. Because I mean otherwise where do you get your money to live and that was it I mean men at Swans worked in some terrible conditions, but at least they ad something in their hand at the end of the day. I mean you couldn’t exist on handouts and really it was full employment. Prior to the days of full employment people went in the army or did things like that I mean my own father spend 8 or 9 years in India before the war – that was the main reason he got called up straight away when World War 2 started. So the work wasn’t there I mean there was the pits and I mean they could only absorb so many men, so that’s really all there was in the North East, just pits and shipbuilding y’know if you look at it in the broad picture.