Office Boy To Chief Cashier


On the window sill that sits in front of me is an old mantel clock that I bought a few years ago from an auction, it only cost a couple of quid and there’s every chance this was because it doesn’t actually work. The reason I bought it was because of the small plaque that’s attached to it stating “Presented To Mr A Patterson – By The Staff Of The Ministry Of Pensions NI Region On His Retirement November 1938”.

Mr A Patterson is not (I don’t think) in anyway related to me, nor do I have any particular affiliation to the Ministry of Pensions (NI Region), so the reason for the purchase is perhaps a little less than obvious. In fact I’m not wholly sure why I bought it either other than the fact it seemed wrong that something so personal had been left to fend for itself. I realise that this is a ridiculous response to an inanimate object that I have no direct link to, as after all there’s every chance it wasn’t abandoned anyway, Mr Patterson may have loathed the clock or just hated the daily reminder of his time at The Ministry of Pensions so much that he took the first opportunity he found to release it back into the wild.

I don’t suppose I’ll ever know.

Which explains, somewhat, why when I recently came across a bundle of photos, letters and a signature strewn card celebrating the retirement of a certain Mr W S Hersey in a local charity shop I felt it was once again my duty to rehome the documents rather than let them languish any longer – the fact that I only had to part with £5 to achieve this also helped.

So what did £5 get me? Well the bundle included an abundance of photographs, including the rather wonderful one above of Mr W S Hersey receiving, one presumes, a teasmaid to allow him to celebrate his retirement in a more leisurely manner (at least morning wise) – one also presumes that that’s Mrs W S Hersey in the shadows, evidently a little jealous of this new technologically advanced domestic interloper. There were also a number of letters sent from ex-colleagues wishing him well in his retirement, apologising for not joining him at his send off. And finally a rather magnificent leaving card – mocked up to resemble a Sunday Times front cover (his employer at the time of his retirement) and chock-full of the signatures of such Fleet Street dignitaries as the 1st Baron Thomson of Fleet, William Rees-MoggFrank Giles, Alastair BurnetDerek Jewell, Jack Hallam, Denis Hamilton and Leonard Russell – most of who to be honest I had to look up.

But now I’ve got no idea what to do. I have the middle of a story with a little of the beginning and no end.

Perhaps I’ll investigate further.

One Response to “Office Boy To Chief Cashier”

  1. 1 The Contd. Adventures Of The Chief Cashier « dig your fins

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