Tyne & Wear Museums homepage

Contact us

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

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


What Does Swan Hunter Mean to you now?

Well you look down there and the cranes are still there. I think it’s just a great sadness that its been sort of taken away. I mean obviously in somebody’s great plan they’ve got – the North East had to change away from heavy engineering and heavy industry. It’s a pride and tradition that’s gone forever and you’ll never ever have anything like that again! I mean the skill base that was lost when the yards closed and the heavy engineering shops closed. It’s just never been considered! And now were paying the price because you haven’t got the skilled people to do that, well not necessarily that type of work but to go into heavy engineering. I think the only place that’s left really on North Tyneside is Siemens which used to be Parsons and it’s a shame, its just a tragedy! There a feeling of emptiness as you look down the yard, because I often walk past that way – not so much now because I haven’t got the dog! But its just the thoughts that you’ll never ever have anything like that again! Its such a loss for the people of the North East! Not just Swans – the whole industry!