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Apprentice Training School Brighton B Power Station 1954/5

First Apprentice Intake, Group photo 1955 at Brighton B Power Station
From the private collection of John Gasston
First ever S.East Region, Central Electricity Authority (CEA) Apprentices Conference - 1955 at Brighton B Power Station.

I stumbled across Terry McCarthy’s contribution just recently. if Terry is still around I’d like to hear from him! I too was in the very first intake of apprentices from various power stations in the South East region of the then CEA (Central Electricity Authority). My home station was Kingston B and there were apprentices from Littlebrook and Brighton as well. Those of us from outside the Brighton area lived in the Florentine Hotel, Portslade and walked to the ferry and rowed or were rowed across to the power station.

Home every Friday

We were given rail warrants to travel home every Friday afternoon and back on Sunday evenings. I think Terry was from Littlebrook and there were a set of twins from there as well. In addition to Ben Baldwin, we had Mr Osborn, I can’t remember his first name), both of whom were excellent instructors and were ex-Royal Navy ERA’s.

An apprentice’s conference

At the end of our course an apprentice’s conference was held which was attended by all the SE region’s apprentices and lasted a week I seem to recall. At the end, we spent the evening at The Shepperd and Dog at Fulking and consumed a fair amount of beer or cider. I remember visiting the Max Miller house that was being refurbished and adapted as a hostel for future apprentices. The hostel was supervised by a former Yorkshire spin bowler, whose name escapes me. The thing that impressed me the most was the wall to wall carpeting in red, i think and the beds with Dunlopillo mattresses, such luxury!



Comments about this page

  • Great to hear your memories of being an apprentice. My grandmother ran the Florentine Hotel, Portslade. Her name was Adelaide but every one called her Lilly.
    From what I can gather my grandfather (John) had helped in building the power station. My father (Jack) would have been late teens/early 20’s but not sure if he was living with my grandparents then. I do know that he and my mother used to enjoy travelling to Brighton at the weekends to spend time in Brighton, staying at the Florentine, probably before you came back to start work again on Mondays.

    By Dee Weekes (20/01/2021)
  • hi Dee, can you give a date for the Florentine Hotel please? I have looked in various directories for that hotel name under both Brighton & Portslade for several mid 20th century dates but cannot find it.

    By Dr Geoffrey Mead (20/01/2021)
  • Hi John, aka Spud. Terry here, I have just seen your comment and hope that all is well with you, I live in Australia and would love to catch up with you, discovered that a cider hangover is not to be treated lightly.
    Hotel Florentine was in Hove corner Kingsway and Leonards road? I was passing in early 1964 and it was derelict. Mr Kirwan? was something on site to do with the new parts for construction. There was a crane driver and an Irish foreman rigger staying along with Mr & Mrs Kirwan and daughter. Hope that we can contact after nearly 70 years, I have questions. Regards Terry.

    By Terry McCarthy (28/12/2022)

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