King's Cross Voices
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Andrew Fontenelle was born in St Lucia in 1935. After completing an apprenticeship in printing and compositing at The Crusader newspaper in Castries, Andrew came to Britain in 1959 looking for work in London's printing industry. Due to a trade union dispute at the time, Andrew was unable to get the vital union card to get employment so he had to look for other job opportunities. He joined British Rail as a Carriage Serviceman in 1959, and retired forty one years later in 2000, as a GNER Customer Services Manager. An active member of King's Cross No.1 Branch of the RMT, Andrew served for many years as a Company Council representative. On 11th August, 2004 he shared his memories of King's Cross Station with King's Cross Voices Oral Historian Alan Dein.

Andrew Fontenelle
Andrew Fontenelle in the Local Departmental Committee room
at King's
Cross Station c.1970.
Photo Credit: Val Wilmer.

Duration: 2 minutes 21 Seconds. Size: 2.16mb

Andrew Fontenelle: My first experience on King's Cross was not as a guard at first. What I used to do, on Saturdays, especially in the summertime, they used to take some of us from the sidings and take us down to the station because they used to have extra trains and they didn't have sufficient staff at King's Cross to clean the trains as quickly as possible and they used to take us down there to King's Cross Station, a few of us, who wanted to go, extra, it was overtime actually, tell us if wanted to put your name down and you can go down to King's Cross. And the girls used to sweep the trains and you had to put the bags out and put on the platforms for them to take it away and that was what we used to do. We used to take two or three hours sometime and that was the first time I worked in the station itself.

Alan Dein: And what did the station seem like at that time, what was it like?

Andrew Fontenelle: The station was, the station was busy and it was a big station you know because you know every main line station and on all the platforms there used to be steps going up. You know that bridge that across there? Well all those bridges had steps going down to the different platforms. Now underneath the station, the platforms, there was. and each platform had lifts, yeah? And then underneath the station, underneath the platforms there was walks underneath there and you walk from Platform 10 which was the one further and onto Platform 1, yeah? And you walk underneath and you had to go ... if you didn't want to walk on the platform, they wouldn't allow us to walk on the platform among the passengers and all that so we used to walk down underneath, down underneath up the other one if it Platform 9 or 10 or 11 or whatever we wanted to go and so on and up like this or used to go over the bridge and walk across and come down. And that was how it was.



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ай2004 King's Cross Voices Oral History Project