John Westwood

Westwood_John_2017John Westwood was born in 1937 in the Black Country and moved to Structon’s Heath, Great Witley after marrying in 1968. John had worked as a bricklayer since leaving school at 15 and he tells of his early career and his life as a National Serviceman.

After many years working in the building industry with his father in the Black Country, when the industry slowed markedly in the early 1970s, John took a range of other jobs but had returned to bricklaying in Great Witley when he heard that a bricklayer was required by the Ministry of Public Building and Works at Witley Court.

John explains how the Ministry’s original idea of making the building safe and excluding the public was changed to a policy of restoration and his contribution to that. John talks about how, in middle age, he went back to college at Worcester at his employer’s urging and was promoted through the ranks to be a Professional and Technical Officer by the time he retired with responsibility for vast swathes of the estate of English Heritage.

Johns recording (60 mins:9 secs):

Start Topic Period
00:34 Moving to Structon’s Heath 1970s
01:25 Birth of daughter 1970s
01:40 Started work at Witley Court as a bricklayer 1960s-1970s
03:00 Making safe Witley Court 1970s
03:40 Promotion to Leading Hand and then Chargehand at Witley Court 1970s
03:55 Decision of Historic Buildings & Monuments (then part of Ministry of Public Buildings and Works) to brick up Witley Court 1970s
05:55 Members and Officers of Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission review decision to exclude public 1970s
09:00 Promotion to Area Foreman 1970s
09:40 Goes to Worcester College to get qualified 1970s
10:25 Historic Buildings Commission becomes English Heritage 1970s
10:45 Appointed as Professional and Technical Officer 1970s
12:40 Working across 8 counties for English Heritage 1980s
14:30 Retires and pursues hobbies 1997
17:30 Beginning of working life as bricklayer in the Black Country 1950s
22:10 Called up for National Service in Royal Artillery 1950s
22:50 Applies to Join Paratroop Regiment 1950s
26:00 Training for Paratroop Regiment 1950s
26:35 Becomes driver in the Army (for Regiment’s Adjutant) 1950s
35:00 Leaves Army and returns to bricklaying in the Black Country 1960s
38:53 Becomes acetylene welder 1960s
44:24 Made redundant and starts window cleaning business 1960s
45:00 Opens car body shop in Black Country 1960s
49:04 Becomes self-employed builder in local area 1970s
55:32 Building repairs to local farms after storm damage 1975
58:13 Decides to apply for bricklaying job at Witley Court 1976
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