Leeds Polytechnic Faculty of Art and Design (1969-1971)
I trained as an Industrial Designer leaving college in 1971 with a Diploma in Art and Design, Industrial Design (Engineering) opting to pursue a career in Architecture and Design.
My first job came about through a Water Feature Design Competition in Leeds which I entered in my final year. When attending the Award Ceremony to receive a Commendation I was approached by a lady who "knew a young architect who liked to encourage young designers".
Milton Keynes Development Corporation (1971-1972)
That architect was Derek Walker, at the time Chief Architect at The Milton Keynes Development Corporation. An interview was arranged and employment followed giving me first hand experience as an Architectural Technician, assisting with Design Presentations and Joinery Details for an Extendable Housing System.
My stay was relatively brief. Preferring to work in Leeds I obtained a job with Gillinson Barnett and Partners.
Gillinson Barnett and Partners (1972-1973)
Gillinson Barnett and Partners must have been one of the most exciting Architectural Practices to work for at that time and was a real eye opener to a "green horn" not long out of college.
Gillinson Barnett and Partners, along with Faulkner-Brown, were the pre-eminent Leisure Architects at the time, both specialising in Leisure Centres.As part of the Leisure Development Unit I was quickly exposed to the many different aspects involved in the Design and Presentation of Schemes, but with little involvement in the day to day design and detailing of projects I became disillusioned with the way my career was heading and seized the opportunity to work for Joshua Tetley and Son Limited in their Architects Department.
Joshua Tetley and Son Limited (1973-1978)
What a Dream Job for one so young!I was soon dropped in at the deep end as an Architectural Technician, but was safe in the knowledge that the Senior Staff were worldly enough to spot potential pitfalls, put us back on track and where necessary keep us buoyed up, ultimately allowing us the responsibility to design and run small projects from brief to completion.
The knowledge that if you made a mistake and owned up to it the lesson was learnt, provided an invaluable building block for the future - but woe betide making the same mistake twice!
With little prospect of promotion within the Interior Design Section of the Architects Department I elected to stay on the Architectural side only deciding to leave when a job opportunity arose in York, a place I had wanted to live since visiting my uncle's offices in York when I was eight.
Portakabin Limited (1978-1980)
With the opportunity to work in York accepted, I became Designer Kabmobile, designing mobile Exhibition Units, Welfare Units, Surgeries and the like. Getting up at 5:30 a.m. each morning to make sure I had a cooked breakfast substantial enough to get me through the morning I commuted from Leeds to York every day for three months by bus and train arriving home at 7:00 p.m. Now that is what I call dedication!
Whilst designing a mobile Dental Unit for Castellini I soon discovered the limitations of the Kabmobile when I found that the weight of one dental chair and ancillary equipment was almost the total payload of the unit.
After eighteen months at Portakabin I applied for a job in Tadcaster, as I had planned before I left Tetleys, but not for one of the Breweries, but for Applied Interior Design Limited (AID) a Design and Barfitting Contractor, as Head of Design.
Applied Interior Design Limited (1980-1984)
As Head of Design I was responsible for a small team of Designers, never totaling more than two, with one being almost twice my age.
With a total workforce of thirty I was soon enjoying having the chance to work closely with the Company's joiners, polishers, upholsterers, decorators, carpet fitters and site fixers and even the Sales Team.
After five wonderful years I decided to move on to greater things and with my daughter only one year old I took the plunge to go self employed, with my wife's blessing and never really looked back.
Cross & Co (1984- 1984)
The first three months of self employment found me working on contract for a former work colleague from Portakabin, Tony Cross.
I worked for him for three months being allowed to undertake a limited amount of private work from his office in The Shambles. It soon became apparent that our interests were in conflict so on Monday 7th October it was agreed that my contract would not be extended beyond Friday 11th October.In that week I managed appoint an Accountant, Calvert Smith, who drafted up a business plan prior to meeting with a Bank Manager and found rented office accommodation at the Raylor Centre, on the recommendation of a national estate agent.
The choice of accountant was easy, no need to stick a pin in a list. I decided to run with the practice that succeeded my uncle's accountancy business, Calvert Smith.