Interview with Mike Plant, 11 December 2020
Level: Category
Sound Archive
Level: Fonds
Level: Series
Communicating Connections
Scope and Content:
Mike Plant [MP] interviewed by Richard Cecil [RC] about working at the Marconi Company from 1957 to 1968. Recorded remotely via Squadcast.

Part 1

[00:00:00] RC introduces the recording and MP confirms his name and date of birth. MP explains how he and other colleagues are planning to commemorate Marconi through a memorial.

Part 2

[00:00:07] MP continues talking about plans to commemorate Marconi through a memorial. Lists people involved. Comments on his hope to create a hub for people to share memories.

[00:05:28] Describes joining Marconi as a student apprenticeship in September 1957. Details various aspects of the course including filing, mill work and welding. Comments that the hours were tiring to begin with and describes how he and his colleagues helped the time pass. Mentions going to college to get a Higher National Diploma (HND).

[00:10:17] Outlines the format of the apprenticeship, with time working at Marconi and studying at a technical college. Comments that it was hard going but that he and his colleagues made the best of it. Recalls happy memories working in the Transmitter Assembly, including tea breaks and music, which boosted morale.

[00:15:47] Describes moving into the communications development and working with other apprentices at Guys Farm in 1959 to develop telecommunication equipment. Recalls the pleasant atmosphere of the place.

[00:25:37] Comments that he was brought up to the south of Manchester. Describes being keen to stay with Marconi at the end of his apprenticeship; took on a role in the Supplies Division, where he stayed for several years.

[00:28:58] Describes how Marconi started making their own microcircuits. Details how they were made and the work, money and enthusiasm involved. Explains how the site closed despite their hard work. Left Marconi in 1968 but reflects on how special it was as a company.

[00:34:55] Mentions that he left Marconi due to stress. Describes why it was a good place to work; made lasting friendships. Mentions published work on the history of Marconi by colleague Tim Wander.

[00:42:19] Details the specialist items that he and others purchased as part of the job. Mentions several colleagues and notes that he is still in touch with some people from the purchasing department.

[00:49:45] Describes what the offices looked like and the atmosphere. Recalls how much he was paid as an apprentice and how this changed over the years. Comments that he bought his first house with his wife for £4600.

[00:57:07] Describes the changes that occurred when Marconi was purchased by GEC. Reflects on positive memories of his career: the lasting friendships; his helpful team; and the company as a family.
Dates of Creation:
11 December 2020
1 hour 6 minutes 43 seconds
Creator Name:
Richard Cecil, interviewer
Archivist Note:
Custodial History:
Recorded for the Communicating Connections project, funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF).
Copyright transferred to ESVA
Physical Characteristics:
2 MP3 files
Related Unit of Description:
For a transcript of this recording, see SA 13/8/25/3
Dates of Description:
6 June 2022
Not Available:
Essex Sound and Video Archive: use digital copy available on Soundcloud