Tam Brady Interview

 

Tam (middle row, six from the left) when he was an apprentice in 1976

 
 

Tam Brady, who was born in the east end of Glasgow and grew up in Cranhill, started in Fairfields as a welding apprentice in 1976. Tam worked in the yard through the Govan Shipbuilders years, the Kvaerner years and after BAE systems took over in 1999. He left to become a taxi driver in 2002.

All of the extracts which appear here are taken from oral history life narrative interviews which were conducted by Valerie Wright in 2017 as part of the Leverhulme funded project ‘Employment, Politics and Culture in Scotland 1955-2015’ (RPG-2016-283) based in Economic and Social History at the University of Glasgow.

In each case the individual named selected the extract that appears on this site.

On the right are links to the audio and corresponding transcripts of the shipyard workers who were interviewed, they are listed in chronological order of when each individual started in Fairfield.

The audio and transcript below contain an extract of an interview with Tam Brady taken from a collection of oral history life narrative interviews which were conducted in 2017 as part of the Leverhulme funded project ‘Employment, Politics and Culture in Scotland 1955-2015’ (RPG-2016-283) based in Economic and Social History at the University of Glasgow.

Tam Brady himself selected the audio extract below.

 

Audio Extract     (4m 31s)

 

Audio Extract Transcript

Tam:    

Anyway, back to the, the story. It was through this that I realised that apprentices were very much left to their own.

Valerie:    

Yeah.

Tam:    

Although they had somebody looking after them, they didnae actually have somebody taking them by the hand and showing.

Valerie:    

And showing them.

Tam:    

And although I dinnae quite take guys by the hand…

Valerie:    

Mm.

Tam:    

…I worked in tandem wi’ them and I tried to…

Valerie:    

Teach them the best you could.

Tam:    

Aye.

Valerie:    

Learn.

Tam:    

And, on the job, you know whit I mean? Er, that’s where those two guys, I’d says were, had a wee mirror moment, you know.

Valerie:    

Mm-hmm.

Tam:    
 
 

You know. And saying, wait a wee minute here. That’s why I’ve never progressed here. You know whit I mean? And I must have been about twenty-six at this, say twenty-six, twenty-seven or something like that, you know. And the penny dropped. And by that time I had been working, if you like, say properly and diligently and being a good employee.

Valerie:    

Yeah, yeah.

Tam:    

No’ somebody that wanted…

Valerie:    

Yeah.

Tam:    

It was gaffers wanting shot of you.

Valerie:    

[Laughs].

Tam:    

You know whit I mean?

Valerie:    

[Laughs].

Tam:    

He’s no good to me, he’s the waste of a boiler suit, you know whit I mean?

Valerie:    

[Laughs] yeah.

Tam:    

Sort of attitude. And…

Valerie:    

Waste of a boiler suit, yeah.

Tam:    

And that, it’s a common…

Valerie:    

Yeah.

Tam:    

…saying, you know whit I mean? Worse than a man short, worst than, waste of a boiler suit. Er, and it was at that point, although I had been working to be well enough, you know whit I mean?

Valerie:    

Mm-hmm.

Tam:    

It was that realisation that my attitude…

Valerie:    

Mm-hmm.

Tam:    

…really did stink when I was an apprentice.

Valerie:    

Yeah.

Tam:    

Or a young journeyman.

Valerie:    

Yeah.

Tam:    

You know? And it’s probably because where I was I was kind of allowed to be that wee bit free handed, you know whit I mean?

Valerie:    

Yeah.

Tam:    

You know. Er, so… And at that point it was…

Valerie:    

Yeah.

Tam:    

…you really did, and then, as I say, I took just these two particular guys at different times. And there must have been over the span of a year just to kind o’ bed them in well, you know whit I mean?

Valerie:    

Yeah.

Tam:    

You know. Er, the last I knew, the young boy, Davy Collie, and again away, once he’d finished his apprenticeship he actually quit the yards and went into the army and…

Valerie:    

Oh.

Tam:    

…from there I don’t know what he, what happened, you know.

Valerie:    

Yeah.

Tam:    

I’d love to have known, you know what I mean? Er, and…

Valerie:    

Just somebody you think about and you wonder…

Tam:    

Again…

Valerie:    

…what happened to him?

Tam:    

…young John Barr, er, he left the yards and then went contracting elsewhere but latterly, er, I’d say maybe aboot in the late 1990s he came back in.

Valerie:    

Mm.

Tam:    

Er, and again at that point I was a supervisor and I had him in the quad, you know whit I mean?

Valerie:    

Yeah, yeah.

Tam:    

And it was good to see him back and, wi’ a completely, er, just to see that he had progressed well.

Valerie:    

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Tam:    

You know whit I mean? You know. And had turned oot to be the good, good sort of a guy, you know whit I mean? No’ just…

Valerie:    

And you thought he could…

Tam:    

…no’ just…

Valerie:    

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Tam:    
 
 

No’ just, er, in a work sense. I mean actually a personal sense. He was a good sort. A good guy you can sit and chat ti. Sit and trust, something. He didnae hold any, er, er, I’m trying to think of the best word. Er, there’s no issues wi’ him, you know. He was just an ordinary guy getting on wi’ his, his life, you know whit I mean?

Valerie:    

Mm-hmm. But I think, I mean…

Tam:    

You know.

Valerie:    

…is that as much a part of it as learning your skill, your trade…

Tam:    

Aye.

Valerie:    

…was learning, you know, how to behave yourself as well?

Tam:    

Aye. You, ultimately you need to learn to be comfy in your own skin no…

Valerie:    

Mm.

Tam:    

…matter what you’re doing. Er, you need to be happy in the way that you’re living your own life.

Valerie:    

Yeah.

Tam:    

You know.

Valerie:    

And you felt wi’ these two guys you would kinda help them along the way and…

Tam:    

I owe them it.

Valerie:    

…you know, and…

Tam:    

Well, I always say, help them along the way, but we were in a situation whereby maybe it was the nature of the job itself, there was…

Valerie:    

Yeah.

Tam:    

…a wee bit tricky, intricate and I was quite happy and I says to wur own supervisor, a big fella, big Charlie Mitchell, he’s a big lump o’ a boy, you know.

Valerie:    

Mm.

Tam:    

He really was. He was aboot eighteen stone but he wisnae a big porly.

Valerie:    

Yeah.

Tam:    

He was a great big…

Valerie:    

Yeah.

Tam:    

…barrel chested guy.

Valerie:    

Yeah, yeah.

Tam:    

But again the nature of the job wis that he could get in but he couldnae really…

Valerie:    

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Tam:    

…wiggle aboot too much, you know whit I mean?

Valerie:    

Yeah, yeah.

Tam:    

So I was quite happy to go into the jobs wi’ the guys, the apprentices at different times, you know whit I mean?

Valerie:    

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Tam:    

Quite happy. And I’ve absolutely no doubt it was a wee bit o’ training for me.

Valerie:    

Aye.

Tam:    

You know. And I’m no’ saying…

Valerie:    

That socialisation.

Tam:    

Aye.

Valerie:    

Mm-hmm.

Tam:    

But it was good.

 

Other Interviewees

Davie Torrance
Alan Glover
Alex Wright
Brian Glen
Benny McGoogan
Tam Brady
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