Just dug these out of storage, must be some 40 ish years since they saw the light of day.
This is what I signed way back in 1960 .
Indentured apprenticeship papers for five years as a Marine Engineer.
You had to pay the firm the sum of 50 guineas which was non refundable on the day you signed up.
Back then pre metric talk that was an old English money speak for 50 pounds and 50 shillings.
In the fitting shop I was one of about 12 apprentices in the Marine Engineering Workshops together with other apprentices in the Shipwrights, Boiler makers and Platers, Plumbers, Electricians and boatmen.
Other apprentices took great delight in saying you would be better off signing a five year contract in the famous French Foreign Legion such was the treatment that they were going to hand out to you over your next five years.
So off with the short trousers and on with the long ones complete with brand new very stiff overhalls having at the start being warned by others to make sure Mum sewed up those long pockets for two foot folding rulers which every overhalls had back then on each leg as they were a target for red hot nuts to be dropped into by other apprentices .
As they were about two feet long so even with pliers or tongs there was no way you could get that nut out and a fire invariably followed in your brand new overhalls together maybe with a leg burn if you could not get them off fast enough
This would of course require an explanation without disclosing the true reason behind it all unless you wanted to be a marked man and suffer further indignities throught your five years and this of course was part of the windups that you were going to endure during your five year apprenticeship.
So you were to serve an apprenticeship in Marine Engineering for five years together with an apprenticeship in the art of being wound up and, I have to say looking back on it all both have stood me in good stead for some 51 years later in life both at work and out of work.
Being able to recognise a wind up ( akin to recognising Quadratic Equations etc later on, ) was an art necessary to stay alive and indeed one step ahead of the wind up merchants that were constantly present every day was indeed an asset.
Indeed learning how to turn a wind up round and have it blow up in the face of the purportrator was considered to be a major Coo and as such as the years went by you became somewhat of a hero and a man to be feared and respected.
However it did not prevent the senior apprentices from devising new wind ups some of which I have mentioned in my past write ups.
Some of the windups I have not mentioned as yet but one that springs to mind is the drilling pit.
A large radial drilling / milling machine with an approx. 20 foot reach had a pit constructed adjacent to it to contain large castings etc such as cylinder heads and the like.
This pit was boarded over with railway type sleepers for normal day use age and a RSJs up the middle.
Any apprentice considered "mouthy " or similar would, when the workshop manager and charge hand were absent be seized, pit boards removed and thus placed in the pit.
The boards refitted a casing , casting or RSJs or similar would be craned by overhead gantry across the boards to ensure there could be no escape.
Any further " mouthing " as it was called would result in dubious liquids being poured through the pit board gaps and onto the target below.
Happened to me once only and wherever you ran in the pit although from memory it was about fifteen foot square someone would " get " you, there was no escape and a small amount poured at one end of the pit would result in you being driven to the opposite corner where three apprentices would be waiting for you.
You never forgot maybe two hours being a " guest " in the pit, again any complaints by you would result in your life being hell for five years.
These treatments were handed down from 1850 ish when the firm was started from senior apprentices to juniors so the seniors were well versed in all and every aspect of each and every windup and as such there was never any chance of escape.
I did note however during my five years that with the early advent of health and safety things accepted by the management as being par for the course were in later years somewhat frowned on and discouraged somewhat thereby reducing handing out the treatment to juniors you had endured to from other seniors.
Another wind up that comes to mind was the "bubble " for a spirit level.
As a boy being put with someone for a ship refit you could be involved in taking cyl. heads off.
With the head off you were told how important it was for mating surfaces to be totally flat to affect a pressure seal.
As such you would be shown a large spirit level and told how to ensure both block and head faces could be checked for flatness.
By placing the spirit level on the head/ block flat surface it would be announced by the fitter doing the job that the bubble in the level was not consistent and as such before going any further a new bubble was required.
Now this did not work on me for before starting work I had done several engine strips on small boats with Perkins, Petters and the likes and even had my own straight edge but nearly every new boy would fall into this "set up trap ".
So off round the town the boy would be sent with the instruction that he was not to believe any stories told to him by builders merchants stores staff saying no bubble was available separately and that to return to the ship without a bubble would result in the refit not being done in time and as such the ship would be unable to sail.
Should management be told of the boys inability to obtain a bubble then for sure his career would be over before it started.
Such was the importance of the mission.
Further more the new apprentice would be told that this stripped engine was the starboard one but that ignorant landlubbers would not know what that meant so he had to tell the builders merchants staff that he wanted a right hand bubble which of course was not under any circumstances to be confused with a Port ( left hand bubble ) for that would not suffice.
Builder merchants staff in the know would tell the boy that they were out of stock but that they knew for sure that a builders merchants three miles out of town stocked them.
So the boy would be gone for hours and of course allways returned empty handed.
If the charge hand had clocked the boys absence fitters would deny knowledge of his whereabouts and as such when the boy returned with a ridiculous story about being sent off for a bubble for a spirit level no one would believe him and a big bollocking would invariably follow much to the amusement of all the engineroom staff.
Another successful wind up achieved and just one of many more to follow during the next five years.
One particular " gobby " boy would regularly be seized at the end of the working day when all the staff waiting for the knock off bell to ring had left and a broom handle stuck through his overhalls so his arms were in the shape of a cross, the overhead gantry hook placed into the broom handle on his back and hauled about forty five feet up in the workshop and the small exit wicket door slammed shut as the offending apprentices went home for the weekend.
The night watchman doing his rounds would eventually find him and wind him down after touring the many large workshops and hearing the screaming and help shouting noises.
Sometimes if the " gobby " apprentice had upset the night watchman then of course the night watch man would return the favour by not "hearing " him first tour around.
If you expand the indentures you will clearly see the phrase " he shall not contract matrimony ",
Now 1960 was the start of the swinging sixties , the so called " permissive era " and apprentices with girlfriends who had bragged that they had " had her " we're now faced with shotgun marriages, not only faced with their parents wraith together with the girls parents also had to go up before the " old man " to seek permission of an unwanted and forced marriage as his indentures clearly stated otherwise.
This also resulted in some cases of some apprentices not going to sea or a few trips then summoned ashore for a job in the local dockyard or cross channel ferries, no more deep sea for them.
I think this is where the saying re girls that it would draw you further than gunpowder would ever blow you came from for me back then.
Some apprentices served five years as a Marine Engineer and for whatever reason went off in an entirely different career path which was something I never really understood.
The indentures also stated " no gambling or frequenting taverns nor playhouses," these indentures were written way way back in time but the written word remained but alas was not very often adhered to as it seemed apprentices did every thing they were supposed not to do, the rebellion era perhaps was apon us.
We also had to attend night school as well as the day release from work.
The night school was Ordinary National Certificate rating which was back then part A of the second engineers certificate, part B being the sea time so you could finish your apprenticeship together with part A of your seconds.
So what did you sign way back when, be interesting to see other countries interpretations of apprentices papers or indentures.
After five years if you stayed ashore you were not "fully skilled " and had to do a year as an " Improver " before you were considered fully skilled and eligible for top money.
My first pay packet was nineteen shillings and sixpence old money a week.
I also discovered my paying off slip from 1967.
When I completed my apprenticeship in 1965 I stayed on for two years, the first year as an improver and the second as a fully skilled Marine Engineer so you can see what the rates were over here back then.
You will also see columns depicting " dirt money, confined space money, out money etc.
Inside boilers, crank cases and the like qualified you for all three which over a week back then would push your paypacket up considerably.
You got extra money if sea trials went on overnight or weekends and great lengths would be gone to by us to promote these by not quite finishing off the repairs you were doing before the ship sailed.
All in all a very happy five year marine engineering apprenticeship and certainly one that has stood me in good stead in more ways than one to date.
Alas the firm that was our biggest employer in a town back then of fifty thousand population is no more after one hundred and forty plus years of trading and on the land our old workshops stood on lie blocks of skyscraper flats which being on the inner harbour side are worth a fortune because of their coveted position.
We still have a adjacent harbour of some three and a half by two and a half miles but no Royal Navy to fill it up with and RFA ships to work on.
But for me, golden days and indeed golden memories.
This must be the Mark one Eyeball version of all of my Souveniers.
Remembering The Good Old days, when Chiefs stood watches and all Torque settings were F.T.