I was eight in 1950, used to visit Lunnon from Amesbury wiv me dad when he worked up at Boscombe Down experimental aerodrome, he’d go up to Lunnon to Shaftesbury Avenue to the MInistry of Supply. Right about then he was a tryin’ t git tubes for his mate Alan Turing who was building a girt big puter. But they’d invented transistors the year afore and he built it with them instead. Anyhow, I used to go up t Lunnon and visit the museums, Nat Hist and the Science Museum, my favorite, and wait for him to finish work by sitting in the cartoon movie house on Trafalgar Square. Ten years later I was working at Grundy Arnott, as a blacksmith’s apprentice, making wrought iron ballustrades and the like. One job I worked on was the finials for the Admiralty Arch Gates, that you can see in the pictures here, at the end of the Mall with a Quadriga (four horses) on top. Hella cool pictures.
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Along with the rest of my jetsom that disapeared down the memory hole over the years were two silver spoons given to me at birth in December 1941. One was from Alan Turing, he of Enigma fame, the master codebreaker Churchill credited with making the biggest single contribution to the Allied victory over Hitler. The other spoon was given by Turing’s boss, RV Jones, Churchill’s choice for scientific advisor to the War Effort – and my godfather. Both spoons had my initials engraved on them, each set of initials in different type styles. As a kid I marvelled at the intricate characters. I realized this morning that my intense interest in these monograms was the inspiration for me to be a graphic designer. To have had such a spoon-fed gift at the height of the blitz was truly extraordinary. My dad, CSWiIls, BSc, was at that time working as a scientific officer at the experimental aerodrome in Farnborough, Surrey, England, which is how he came to know such prestigious people. He was working with Jones on early radar and playing chess with Turing. In another interesting connection, one of my middle names is Christopher, I am thus named for Turing’s boyhood chum, Christopher Morcom, whom he idolized and who died when he was twelve.
I am currently reading RVJones book, The Wizard War, 1978, which is the true story of how to do a good job and beat the Nazis.