Geoffrey Conway

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Interview Date(s): 
16 May 1989
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16 May 1989 - Manny Yospa interviewing Geoff Conway

The copyright of this recording is vested in the BECTU History Project


Manny Yospa: When and where were you born.

Geoff Conway: I was born on 4 May 1926 - that was the year of the general strike - in fact it was during the general strike that I was born - over in Bethnal Green.

Manny Yospa: What were your parents?

Geoff Conway: My father was in the navy - he'd been in the navy for 22 years as a matter of fact. My mother was just a housewife.

Manny Yospa: You went to school in Bethnal Green?

Geoff Conway: That's right. At the age of ten my father finished his time in the navy and then we moved to Harrow where he began work at Kodak.

Manny Yospa: So it was a family thing.

Geoff Conway: That's right.

Manny Yospa: And you went to school at Harrow.

Geoff Conway: I continued my schooling in Harrow.

Manny Yospa: When you left school you went straight into Kodak.

Geoff Conway: No, I first went into some engineering. The war then started and I went into engineering over at Wembley and during that time the war just about finished and I got called up and went into the army after many medicals for all the other services but I eventually ended up in the army and finished by being an instructor, a small arms instructor.

Manny Yospa: Did you do an apprenticeship in engineering.

Geoff Conway: No. There were no apprenticeships at the time, during the war. It was just plain production line mostly. I was getting training in machine setting.

Manny Yospa: Because there was quite a bit of training for mechanical work.

Geoff Conway: There was a shortage of manpower. They had to train up anybody - women included were recruited to doing jobs

Manny Yospa: Then you got demobbed.

Geoff Conway: Yes.

Manny Yospa: Did you go abroad?

Geoff Conway: No I didn't go abroad, just training in this country. I was earmarked to go abroad at one time but because of the necessity of people needed for training purposes here I had to stay. So I stayed here and I was demobbed here.

Manny Yospa: You were training other people?

Geoff Conway: Yes instructing.

Manny Yospa: What rank were you?

Geoff Conway: Corporal. Dizzy heights. Acting sergeant it was but corporal.

Manny Yospa: And then when you got demobbed, then I went to Kodak. It was my father, they have a system at Kodak, if you had relatives for friends, I think it was mostly relatives, you have a good chance of getting employment there. It was very tight knit in those days. I got the job there and was there until 1948, sorry I joined in 1948. I joined Kodak in 1948.

Manny Yospa: As what?

Geoff Conway: On the production line really, film sensitising department, manufacturing the raw based film. The sensitised base.

Manny Yospa: This was stills film?

Geoff Conway: All types.

Manny Yospa: And then they split it up afterwards.

Geoff Conway: They split it and perforated it. That was the area in which I worked. And it was around that time, within a few months, I joined ACT.

Manny Yospa: Was it difficult in organising unions in Kodak?

Geoff Conway: Oh yes. They wouldn't recognise unions, they had their own in-house representation union as it were which was financed by Kodak themselves, they offered all the facilities and secretarial cover and everything. And there were no contributions required, so there was an appeal for a lot of people to join.

Manny Yospa: This was a staff association.

Geoff Conway: It was a staff association. Yes.

Manny Yospa: How did ACT get started in Kodak?

Geoff Conway: It was just recruiting people who had that conviction I think.

Manny Yospa: A few of you who believed in trade unionism.

CG: Yes.

Manny Yospa: And did membership grow fast?

Geoff Conway: There were all sorts of problems. We tended, the way Kodak is constructed, it is in small areas, departments, and each department was like a house on its own, you couldn't enter other areas so where we were mostly concentrated was in the area I was working which was the department where you coated raw based film with sensitised emulsion.

Manny Yospa: Was that done in the dark?

Geoff Conway: It was done in the dark. Various types of darkness, depending on the film you were coating, sometimes no light whatsoever.

Manny Yospa: Or a dark red or a dark green.

Geoff Conway: Verichrome was dark red, the actual colour films went right down to a dark green.

Manny Yospa: Could you give us a resume of changes in film technique, the sensitivity, because I remember when I first started it was not very sensitive at all, in fact panchromatic had just come in, black and white panchromatic.

Geoff Conway: That was a very dark light that we used to work that in, because it was very sensitive.

Manny Yospa: That was sensitive to all colours

Geoff Conway: All colours, blind to red, that was Verichrome, I remember that,

Manny Yospa: And gradually they increased the sensitivity.

Geoff Conway: That also and the methods of production were such that although the speed of production went up they also improved the quality, the quality was improved extensively, especially the colour film, and as most people know it Eastmancolor is a basic film negative, it is used by almost all the other colour products as well, and all the colour prints,

Manny Yospa: They use the same formula, they are all compatible in a tank

Geoff Conway: The process was very popular because it kept its consistency of colouring

Manny Yospa: Before that was Technicolor, they had 3 separate colours.

Geoff Conway: We used to do the base for them as well, 302 I think we used to call it, and that was done in a very bright light, so after that I'm not sure what happened to Technicolor but it was a very bright light.

Manny Yospa: In the camera you had to have 3 separate films and strip one and that was blue sensitive, one red, and one green sensitive.

Geoff Conway: Yes, I think they printed them all on top of each other. I'm not sure of the process but I know that we supplied them with the first of the raw state film.

Manny Yospa: That was finished when Eastmancolor came in.

Geoff Conway: That knocked the bottom out, well it didn't knock the bottom out but the technique it was all colours in

Manny Yospa: The 3 colours

Geoff Conway: Even more I think, well 3 basic colours

Manny Yospa: And the filter inbetween

Geoff Conway: The filter, a protective layer.

Manny Yospa: So that was a bit more complicated, the work.

Geoff Conway: Yes, and gradually it was almost computerised how can I describe it. Well it was a basic computer, computers weren't anything like they are today, but it was computerised virtually, you pressed buttons and pulled handles and get the whole process going in one fell swoop.

Manny Yospa: I suppose any changes after that were all changes in sensitivity.

Geoff Conway: Well they reckon because the method of production was as it was there was less waste, you see they used to run the film through for each separate colour, put a different layer of colour on for that particular layer, but the new process all colours were put on in one pass through so there was not so much danger of damage, scratching and dust, or even a tear over, so it was of benefit to the production side and they also had better control on colour, colour balance, so they got a better product, and this is what we always used to query at the time. Although our production was increasing, the quality was better, they even put the price up if I remember rightly at the time, well they put the price up because it was better quality but it was being turned out that much quicker, you would have thought the price would have come down.

It was a better product, production went up and it never benefitted us in any way, that was one of our arguments, production has gone up why aren't we getting any money.

Manny Yospa: I suppose the staff union was pretty useless for demanding extra money.

Geoff Conway: They weren't bad, you had your suspicion of the whole set up because it was so controlled by Kodak, they had control, every step you went, they were aware of. There was nothing democratic about it, you did vote for your representative, but you were still in the grasp of your employer who you were supposed to be negotiating with, there was problems there and most of the time earnings were based on what unions were getting outside, it had to be, it had to be market competitive

Manny Yospa: Because Kodak was the only film making plant which was organised by ACTT, Ilford was organised by another union

Geoff Conway: Yes, the Municipal and General, yes that was one of the arguments that Kodak used against ACT getting recognition, in fact there was an occasion when they called in, I say called in, not allowed, called in the organizer from General Municipal to organize the workers at Kodak, and being generally ACTT and being strongly ACTT he rejected it. We said no we want ACTT, it was most strong, particularly in that department, although we did have many members in other departments.

Manny Yospa: So membership was growing

Geoff Conway: Yes it growing all the time.

Manny Yospa: What proportion became members

Geoff Conway: Mostly in the production side, I would say getting up to half.

Manny Yospa: Quite a lot, enough to be recognized, did you get much help from head office.

Geoff Conway: Yes. They did their very best. In fact I can remember when we did have a problem, we took up problems and George Elvin was meeting management over one problem, so there was a form of recognition, you see there had to be because of the tie up with the rest of ACT in the studios and the like, in fact there was an occasion where we had a film ball, a dance, where we invited many stars to attend and it was held within Kodak, within the Kodak social centre and it was in aid of the film benevolent fund, the film trade benevolent fund,

Manny Yospa: This was organised by Kodak.

Geoff Conway: It wasn't organised by Kodak, but they were obliged to give us the facilities. It was organised by ACTT, so there we were ACTT advertising an event inside Kodak social club and they were obliged to do it because they were involved with the benevolent fund as well, they had some representation on it.

Manny Yospa: So gradually ACTT has a firmer hold over the recruitment.

Geoff Conway: We were doing alright, there were problems all the time, we never quite got to the recognition stage.

Manny Yospa: But among the employers there was quite a good standing.

Geoff Conway: Yes, especially in this particular department which was a key department, everything fed to that department and it went from it, the department for film sensitising.

Manny Yospa: At Hemel Hempsted

Geoff Conway: The film processing and we did have an argument there, the laboratories, and we did win recognition there. It is difficult to recall all the details, there was a big programme on as far as we were concerned, take away the representation away from this workers representative committee they had. And eventually we did get recognition after a big dispute. It went on and on, I can't remember how many weeks, and ACTT fully supported it.

Manny Yospa: What was the dispute about

Geoff Conway: It began with something about wages I do believe, comparative wages with outside, ACT labs, I believe it began this way, but eventually it was on a question of recognition, trying to get recognition, we had demonstrations and outside and films were piling up

Manny Yospa: You were actually on strike.

Geoff Conway: Yes on strike

Manny Yospa: And it was fully supported by ACTT.

Geoff Conway: Yes.

Manny Yospa: AND did

Geoff Conway: Not for recognition unfortunately, at the time we were in trouble for this spy problem

Manny Yospa: Perhaps you can tell us all about it.

Geoff Conway: That was a big thing, 1962, when Ken Roberts and myself were arrested for industrial espionage.

Manny Yospa: Perhaps you could start from the beginning.

Geoff Conway: We were arrested and accused of giving Kodak's production methods, i.e. industrial espionage, to some agent, Super, that was in 1962.

Manny Yospa: Just you and Ken.

Geoff Conway: Yes, and at the time there was, we were arrested and accused. It was 1962, Sunday early we were arrested, there was a banging on the front door, I got up and looked out the window, we were upstairs, and said who was it, they said the police, I thought my mother had fallen ill or something. I went downstairs, opened the door, they pushed their way in and there were eight plainclothes police and they said they had come to search the place for Kodak material, the exact wording I can't remember, obviously I questioned them on the question of a warrant. They produced a warrant and then they started searching. The wife still in bed, my daughter in bed, and we also had a lodger there in the back room, they searched all the rooms and found nothing apart from some amateur films, things related to the fact that I used to take films, working in Kodak you got cheap films and cheap cameras and they took all that away, some books that I had, some diaries, and also some dark glasses, apparently they thought that was some form of disguise. And they said something about getting on an d off trains as well. However they said they would like to question me further at the police station. So I got dressed and they took me along to Harrow Police Station, we went to the upstairs room and whilst I was looking out of the window, the car drew up and there was Ken, Ken Roberts, he was at the time working so the police had gone to the works and picked him up at work apparently. Then they took up to Bow Street if I remember rightly just for a short while and eventually Scotland Yard where they questioned us separately and they produced photographs of this particular chap, his name was Super. We got to know quite well after and I met this chap and they said this is Mr Super and he quite looked like me and they had taken pictures of us meeting. We didn't deny the fact. Then we went to Bow Street where they held us for the night unless we produced some bail, some friends did produce some bail that night and then we had to search around for some form of representation, legal representation. We first thought of ACT. ACT didn't offer us a form of representation. At the time there was a lot of dispute as to how much support we would be getting. I remember it was Alan Sapper who was very good, at the time he was an assistant to the General Secretary, George Elvin wasn't he. And he gave us names we should see, I'm trying to remember the name and I can't.

Manny Yospa: Was it the ACT solicitor?

Geoff Conway: It was the solicitor and QC and it was around the time of Christmas. It think we were arrested in November, at the time around Christmas we met our junior barrister who advised us to have a rest over Christmas and we would get things orderly after Christmas. I'm just trying to remember the order of things. There were disputes we had without legal representative = that was Pollard and Stallybrass, and eventually because of that we dropped them and took up with new solicitors, Thompson I think it was, although eventually we ended up with someone quite separate and away from the union. But at that time that was our representation within the legal side of things and after, first of all we go to the magistrates courts where we were accused of industrial espionage where our barrister who was a junior at the time questioned this particular person, Super, with whom we was alleged to have done business with and accused him of being a double agent, hit the headlines in the press straightaway, and created a lot of publicity, afterwards us saying nothing we were acquitted to the criminal court, the Old Bailey, and that took several months before we got there. And once we got to that court, we were accused, no prior to going into court there was a long delay which we knew not the cause of and eventually we were told that the chief witness, this guy called Super had been paid £5,000 plus 5,000 phony Belgian francs, that is something like £5,500 which was a lot of money in those days, would have bought a house in fact, and also a bonus if he had us convicted.

Manny Yospa: How did he get that much?

Geoff Conway: Well we did at the time accuse the particular Super, at the magistrate's level we got through our legal representative to ask how much he was paid and he wouldn't reply and it came through from that. They believed we knew something and we had an inkling he must have been paid otherwise why was he accusing us.

Manny Yospa: I suppose it was through his mannerisms you got little hints.

Geoff Conway: We felt he must have been, the case was so much Kodak accusing us and him being attached to Kodak, like he was, droppings hints and like, we felt there must be some tie up with them, a payment somewhere and so it turned out. And that was the hold up before we ever got to court, there was this man being paid to give evidence and everything revolved on his word, there was no evidence substantial to be produced, no corroboration at all, you wondered how a man could accuse of something like that, the only thing you corroborate was the dates he referred to as meeting us and giving us certain things it coincided with days of rest in our record back at Kodak, and that's all they produced. And then it was not only, Kodak and the police then came forward and this particular person had been paid this money, there was a contract, it was in black and white, there was a contract to do this, it was produced and that was the dispute at the beginning of the case, whether the case should go on, the judge felt there was a case and therefore it went on. And it was in the case this particular guy claimed there was a meeting with me on a particular occasion and he gave a whole series of moves, times and things like that and to prove it all, because he was a Belgian, and he had come across on the boat and he showed his passport, there was a stamp in the passport that he had come through on that particular day, it so turned out, and this was given by MI5, that that particular stamp in his passport had been put in by MI5, or security, he hadn't actually been in the country, so he had given all this evidence about meeting me, taking up residence in a hotel, taking me somewhere and doing others things, what the details were I can't remember and he hadn't even been in the country.

Manny Yospa: You hadn't met him.

Geoff Conway: No, we hadn't met him. That was perjury in fact, but according to the judge it was, we had a judge called the hanging judge. He had been telling lies, backed up with this particular stamp and he had to confess this was inaccurate and lies and our QC which was Jeremy Hutchinson the husband of Dame Peggy Ashcroft, the actress, he was at the time, I think they divorced not long afterwards, and he made the most of that naturally, and although we never gave evidence ourselves because we were advised by our counsel we couldn't have a better case than they had tried to present, he advised us not to give evidence, we never gave evidence.

Manny Yospa: They convicted themselves out of their own mouths

Geoff Conway: And we were found not guilty. So there we are, but we obviously lost our jobs within Kodak and we were out on the street but we did dispute it. But at the time there was no industrial tribunals the way there are now.

Manny Yospa: No laws against unfair dismissal.

Geoff Conway: That's right, so all we could do was to try to claim unfair dismissal which we did try and it took nigh on ten years to try to bring the case to court and even then they ended up with a stay, Kodak won a stay, that it wasn't proved one way or another so the case is really still going on in fact, it's still on the books, we couldn't get them and obviously it would have been an advantage to get them into court because then the whole thing could have been argued in a much more stable manner.

Manny Yospa: Get the real story

Geoff Conway: Get the whole story, yes.

Manny Yospa: I suppose they found out Super was not genuine and there was no more case.

Geoff Conway: That's right, and it would have shown that it was very likely they were using this particular person to break up the whole organisation of ACT and trade unions within Kodak. A lot of people wouldn't believe that but they do go to lengths of that nature and we had all sorts of problems following that within Kodak, a question of representation but eventually while we were fighting our case, we were able to devote a certain amount of our time to the Hemel Hempstead position and eventually won recognition over there.

Manny Yospa: What were you in the ACT, branch secretary.

Geoff Conway: I was on the committee at Kodak but we used to attend the General Council.

Manny Yospa: What I mean is that you were leading your branch so that when you were dismissed, the branch lost two

Geoff Conway: It lost more than that because the chairman of Kodak shop insisted on attending the trial at the Old Bailey and because of that he got dismissed as well, so he was dismissed from Kodak.

Manny Yospa: Pretty vicious.

Geoff Conway: Yes. It was. So the whole thing was broken up and they refused to accept our innocence as it were and refused to have us back and we never did get back into Kodak employment. And that was the business, I was there for 15 years and Ken was even longer, 20 possibly, so that was virtually our careers.

Manny Yospa: And presumably you lost pension rights.

Geoff Conway: That's right.

Manny Yospa: And no redundancy.

Geoff Conway: That's right.

Manny Yospa: It seems almost like a put up job.

Geoff Conway: It was really, Get rid of the hard core as it were.

Manny Yospa: The active members.

Geoff Conway: Of course we were Party members as well, Communist Party members and that was another fact, they were very sensitive about.

Manny Yospa: Was that brought up at all.

Geoff Conway: We were told it wasn't - we were told that wasn't going to come up and we were told that the question of our trade union representation wasn't going to come up but it did. They did hint at it. got the word to the jury that these people were trouble makers as it were, Communist trouble makers.

Manny Yospa: The thing is you're supposed to have been passing information to East German, O was it.

Geoff Conway: It was quite fantastic because the information was in toothpaste tubes.

Manny Yospa: That's right. I read about that.

Geoff Conway: Microfilm in toothpaste tubes, and I remember when the police were searching my place they were very suspicious of these little fuses, 3 and 5 amp fuses because they could be rolls of film, microfilm, and it was what's this, and they were pulling them apart. And they said this information was transported in toothpaste tubes on the Warsaw-Berlin Express or something. It was quite fantastic actually. It made a good story for some people, in fact, one of the perks for this particular guy Super was an article in the News of the World if he had got us convicted he was promised in the News of the World, some article. It was quite a good spycatcher thing. In fact it has been reproduced in Spycatcher, this Peter Wright book, there is a mention of it there.

Manny Yospa: So MI5 were tied up in it as well.

Geoff Conway: Oh yes. They gave evidence. We were being followed around the streets by MI5 apparently. That's where some of the photographs came from. They gave evidence, Mr X and Mr Y, and also they gave information regarding this contract and this stamp in the passport.

Manny Yospa: So MI5 were they in the pay of Kodak as well.

Geoff Conway: Actually they must have done us a favour in that sense, revealing, how can we dispute a stamp in an official passport. We couldn't have said no he was never in this country, I never met him.

Manny Yospa: That was brought out by questioning by your counsel was it.

Geoff Conway: That came out, it was offered and given to our counsel and they called this particular Super back into the witness box and said on a particular day you claimed you met Mr Conway, and you went to this, yes that's true, yes, well we're given to understand this passport was falsely stamped and it's been revealed by the secret service of this country that you have a stamp without you entering this country and he had to confess it's quite right, no I didn't go there, no I didn't book in at the hotel and that was damaging, you would have thought possibly the case would have entered there because the whole thing revolved round what he had to say. And it he was absolutely proved to be unreliable.

Manny Yospa: After you had been dismissed what did you do.

Geoff Conway:: Well then we pursued wrongful dismissal and never realised it would have as long as it would even to get them into court.

Manny Yospa: It's still, what 20 years afterwards, and still nothing.

Geoff Conway: There is still nothing but it took nearly ten years and during that time we were backwards and forwards into court and if you understand the way the court, the procedures of court, you go and see a master of court who decides in which manner the case will be run, for instance whether it will be jury or not jury. He recognised, we also accepted the fact that it was a damage to your character, they were accusing us of something, it was defamation of character, therefore there should have been a jury. Kodak disputed that, it takes a year to that stage and then Kodak disputes it then it takes years to get that disputation into court and it is decided by another judge whether it should be jury or not. And they said no it's so involved, it's something a judge must decide, so that goes out the window. Then they disputed certain evidence that we were going to present, or said we were going to present and they wanted it in more detail. We weren't prepared to give it in the detail, so they take you to court. And it'd have to be decided whether or not it should be revealed or not revealed and then we would go and ask for evidence that they were presenting in more detail. There was a lot of information given by their security, the Kodak security people which we said we would like a copy of and it was all censored, things were crossed out. And they said it was security, it was top secret and therefore they weren't obliged to give it. I think they had been fighting that particular law for a long time to try and get the thing changed.

Manny Yospa: The other thing was that Kodak had plenty of money whereas

Geoff Conway: We were legally aided, but that is all restricted, you can't do just as you like, you can't spend lots of money because you're legally aided, there is a limit to what you can do, but not as far as Kodak is concerned. So all along, and it took up to nearly to ten years to get to a stage where, we got to the court of appeal to get the thing to go to court itself, as to whether it should go to court as it were, and they got a stay on the case. Then we virtually were exhausted, if it meant going through the whole thing over again to start the thing up again, and we have never pursued it since.

Manny Yospa: It is still alive.

Geoff Conway: It is still alive, yes. And eventually Ken got work as an organiser within ACT and there was a vacancy in the office in records and I came into records and have been there ever since.


Manny Yospa: After you were dismissed from Kodak you found it very difficult getting work.

Geoff Conway: Not only difficult in getting work but in getting dole as it was then because industrial misconduct was what we were dismissed on, and apparently you don't get dole, so all we were living on was what our wives were earning which wasn't a great deal, if I remember right. My wife worked in a shop, and it was only after we were found not guilty that they were interested in paying us dole of any sort and then it was only for a period of six months and after that it was ACT helped us. It was through them we were able to survive and the wives working and it was because of the fact that we weren't working that we were able to get legal aid, because no income as it were, or a very low income, get legal aid and therefore not involve in big expense as far as ACT was concerned which they would have said we would have had to get legal representation from possible union representation. That way it was saving ACT.

Manny Yospa: Eventually you started work for ACT.

Geoff Conway: Yes after this question of the stay, Ken Roberts he was made an official and shortly after, perhaps six months, a vacancy appeared in the records department and they asked me whether I would like to take that up, and I said obviously I would, ACT, and I've been working there ever since, 12 years now.

Manny Yospa: Has the job changed much.

Geoff Conway: Yes.

Manny Yospa: Perhaps you could give a resume of how it was then and

Geoff Conway: When I first joined it the records department was in a separate building, it was above a hairdressers shop, the records side of it, away from head office, which was in 2 Soho Square and we were in 118 Wardour St and it was like a converted flat in a way. There were 4 rooms and within that room you would have your records officer, his secretaries, two secretaries he had, secretary and support for secretary. And then there were people who dealt mainly with different sections of the union. And I myself dealt with the film side. And someone else would deal with television, and another person.

Manny Yospa: What did the records consist of.

Geoff Conway: It was the subscriptions, you would have records and it was the place where subscriptions were paid and filtered through to get eventually to the finance office, where the money was spent. You dealt with subscriptions records and queries relating to membership. And in those days it was reasonably crude although it is crude looking back now because you've got all computers and things, but then it was all hand written receipts and strange contraptions to write these receipts and great metal tubs in which we used to put the records of the members, they called them tubs, big containers.

Manny Yospa: I suppose you had a big filing system.

Geoff Conway: That was the filing system, each person had a record card and each payment they made was entered on the records and changes of grade and changes of addresses were on this. And it got quite cluttered some of the records. And membership growing as well it wasn't adequate. And it wasn't so well organised in the sense the money wasn't being properly dealt with. But with computers and a little more concentration things have got a lot better now. It was always very difficult to send out reminders to people for instance, people hadn't paid for a number of months and it took a considerable amount of time to locate these arrears or people in arrears.

Manny Yospa: I recall there has always been a lot of difficulty about people being in arrears with subscriptions and becoming lapsed members.

Geoff Conway: The difficulty was that it took so long to investigate, for instance we would do a reminder purge on a particular section, say the camera still section, but by the time you'd gone though the whole of the membership to investigate these particular people in the membership and find out their subscription position many of them would have paid up anyway, by the time you got to the end, so they would be getting reminders that they had paid up and of course they'd resent that.

Manny Yospa: I remember the difficulty was the casual work. Because I was freelance and I paid when I was working and when I wasn't working I paid the unemployed rate.

Geoff Conway: It was a problem and it was dealt with the best we were able to, and also in the cramped quarters we were working in that was terrible. And then we felt that, and it was suggested that computers ought to be introduced and they tried to introduce it into this little area that we were working over these shops, 118 Wardour St, and it was impossible. So they started looking for new premises. We then went to number 3 Soho Square which was next door. That was the first floor. And that was a bit more spacious and we were able to plan the whole thing a lot better, moving into a new building we were able to plan where computers would be, where to have the terminals and where new electric sockets and telephones would be placed, we were able to plan the whole thing out much better and it did prove to be a lot improved. Although we weren't able to get rid of the old method of tubs, the old method of records, because it was in transition, running in tandem because it took so long to introduce, to put the records into the computer it took us years, and things were changing as you introduced them into computer. But now we've really got it off to a find art so we can send out reminders and we can zip through the computer and find out who is in arrears and have a whole list, and labels are then printed, sent out in the envelopes and they'll get those, within a week they'll get a reminder so there are not many people who have paid by the time they get their reminder. So there is less contention about that problem. So we are much more organised now. And now then of course there has been a further move of head office and ourselves into one building. So we're all in one building together, so if they wish to consult the computer on records from any department it's on hand, no problem whatsoever, they can call in the office or they can quickly phone up on the internal telephone, which they do. If they want to know somebody's address or telephone number it's there easily available from any department. So the whole thing has improved no end. And sometimes, we very often amaze people who are phoning in querying their own records in some way and we ask for their membership number and almost before they've finished giving their number we'll repeat their name back to them. My god they say, that's quick. That's the improvement we've got so far. No doubt what we've learnt on our first move installing the computer when we went into number 3 benefitted us when we moved to this new building. We knew what we needed and eve what we could improve on, what we'd got over at number 3 Soho Square, so we are now well on our way.

Manny Yospa: We are just going back to the case again.

Geoff Conway: I was just explaining, my daughter who was a school girl at the time, came back with some friends to the road where we lived on her bicycle and they were on their bicycles and when her friends saw the name of the road, oh Drake Road, ah there is a spy who lives down here. That is how I'd been portrayed in the press. And my daughter said yes, that's my dad. And come off it. And nobody would believe it. And little happenings like that all the way through. I mean also instances like we were getting telephone calls in the middle of the night from people ringing up and threatening what they were going to do to me. There were notes pushed under the door trying to split, because there was myself and Ken Roberts obviously deeply involved in the same thing, and even police and like were interested in keeping us apart so possibly there would be a clash of stories or something, a clash of evidence and possibly have one give information about the other in the hope of getting a lighter sentence. This was what the police had in mind. And as I said there were things like notes put under the door about what Ken Roberts was up to regarding some financial award which I presented to Ken. And he said you know what the truth is of course, and it said of course I do. So there had to be this trust between us and it was there. We knew each other two well.

Manny Yospa: Typical tricks.

Geoff Conway: As I say telephone calls in the night. I don't know whether Ken ever got telephone calls, I know we did, several. And the wife was the person who usually answered the phone, and they were pretty crude as to what they were going to do to me. They were going to stuff things into my mouth, you know what things.

Manny Yospa: All anonymous of course.

Geoff Conway: All anonymous. We used to say give us your name. I don't think it frightened the wife too much. I think it just made her angry. There were things like that going on all the time.

Prior going into court which was the Old Bailey, you'd be placed in cells beneath the court, and there used to be a board outside, names of person inside the cell, and they'd write on ours the Bond boys. Apparently they thought it was quite a big joke.

Manny Yospa: You mean James Bond.

Manny Yospa: I can remember we were out on bail most of the time but come the weekend the judge refused bail which meant we'd have to spend the weekend in Brixton on remand which we did and I think the warders were sympathetic to us in a way. There was an occasion when we would have to be handcuffed together when we were going from one place to another and the warders confidentially told us he had warmed up the handcuffs in his pocket because it was cold that day, he'd warmed up the handcuffs in his pocket so they would be comfortable when they were on. And things like that used to be going on.

In the magistrates court, a reporter, when you first go to court you're just accused, there is nothing set down, no case presented other than the fact that we'd been arrested, just charged. But apparently there was this reporter and I feel he must have been informed by one of the police officers who was running the case and he approached us after and wanted to know the story and was prepared to pay money for the story before it actually got to the public. And he seemed to know quite a bit about it without anything being presented publicly. And it turned out that he was a bit of a crook and there was even a mention and I can't remember his name now, it was such a long time ago, when we were in the cells in the Old Bailey, there was his name mentioned, someone had written it on the walls, don't trust him. So little things like that and there was another thing about police written on the walls, they're like a bunch of bananas, they hang around in bunches, they're all bent and they're all yellow. And also on this wall was this particular guys name. It makes you wonder if it was planted there. And we were always very careful when we spoke to each other in place like that. And we used to talk to each other with a rolled up newspaper, one speaking in one end and the other one listening at the other. So if there was any phone tapping, or rather microphone bugging of any sort then we wouldn't be heard.

Manny Yospa: You were in the same cell.

Geoff Conway: We were in the same cell. Sometimes also, as I say, you'd go in there, we'd been in there several times, because each day was a different day, you would go back to Brixton or you'd go home and you'd come in the next day depending on whether you were with bail or not and sometimes you were in the cell with other people who were being tried. And one strange thing was that we were in the cell with some chap who was being accused of hijacking some lorry or something, hijacking the contents of a lorry along the motorway, that was his charge, and then we had to tell him we were Kodak and we were being accused by Kodak of stealing secrets. And he said I know Kodak, we were going to do that. He said they used to take the payroll by a Kodak employee to the bank and collect the money from the bank to Kodak and they used to pay out in money in those days, it's cheques now I suppose, but in those days money cash, and it was collected by a Kodak employee, and they were casing the joint, they were watching this particular cashier bloke, he said they found this particular cubby hole where they used to watch this chap and his movements. And they were all ready to steal this money and they went over to Securicor or one of these organisations and that threw the whole thing out. But he said I know Kodak and he even named the cashier who dealt with the money.

One item of evidence was this particular chap Super he said he met me and after walking down the Strand we ended up at this Cafe Roach, and it turned out there were two cafes along the Strand with the same name. So that created a certain amount of confusion, well which one did you meet in, that completely threw him.

Manny Yospa: This chap Super, do you know any more about him.

Geoff Conway: Other than he was a Belgian and a chemist, I'm not sure otherwise.

Manny Yospa: How did you first get to know him.

Geoff Conway: As I said, Ken was the person who got to know him first, I met him through him. We spent a lot of time up town, myself and Ken, meeting people. And one day the story will come out with Ken writing his book no doubt. And it will be much more detailed which will be very interesting.

Manny Yospa: You just met him occasionally.

Geoff Conway: Yes. He wasn't someone I knew particularly well. I didn't know him particularly well.

Manny Yospa: So it came completely

Geoff Conway: I didn't even know his name. I thought his name was Stevens. It seems strange. I didn't know him all that well.

After the case when we were walking out, we had been found not guilty, and coming out of the court itself we were confronted with a whole mass of reporters and photographers, and somebody approached us and said what is this about you giving secrets regarding the Concord which is a new aircraft which is jointly projected by this country and France. We knew nothing about it but apparently there was something in paper that Super knew someone who had been arrested in France and they felt there was a connection there but as I say, the story will come out much sharper when Ken Roberts writes his book. And apparently there was something in one of the Sunday papers where this sort of question was being asked that somebody had been arrested in France and there was a connection between two people who were on trial on England on some photographic confidential information being given. And although they never mentioned the name there was a space where the name should be. And somebody said there was a publication with our names in while our trial was going on, while we were being tried. So it could have influenced the jury. But we knew nothing about it and we only got to hear about it afterwards. So they were pressing on with as much as they possibly could. And as I said, the article I saw was actually printed, there was no doubt as to who they were referring to, because they said people involved in some photographic firm.

Manny Yospa: What sort of atmosphere was generated by the press against you. Were they hostile.

Geoff Conway: It wasn't hostile, really, not anti ourselves, you wouldn't say it was personal. It was all pro this particular person who was giving the evidence. And of course everything fell away once we were found not guilty.

Manny Yospa: They weren't trying to make any political capital out of it.

Geoff Conway: Not really. I wouldn't have thought so at the time. Although I suppose it could have been interpreted as a bit biased against trade unions and our political affiliations as well at the time.

Manny Yospa: And also the fact that information was supposed to be going to East Germany.

Geoff Conway: But then again, like when Ken Roberts was arrested, they said you are being accused of giving information to some foreign agents, Kodak was foreign, an American company, who do you mean because Kodak was also foreign.

Manny Yospa: I thought it was strange that Orvo should want secrets from Kodak because after all they were just as advanced mechanically.

Geoff Conway: It was Kodak company at one time I understand.

Manny Yospa: No that was Agfa.

Geoff Conway: Ah, Agfa, I on the trade union delegation visited Kodak in Germany.

Manny Yospa: That's East Berlin, that's taken over by Orvo now.

Geoff Conway: The strange thing is going round that particular company you felt at home because it was so similar to what we were used to back in England, they way the film was dried and coated and all that, it was all exactly the same.

Manny Yospa: You just mentioned Kodak didn't do any research.

Geoff Conway: It wasn't pure research that Kodak did in England at all. They had a research department, but that was more or less to investigate faults in customers, customers problems, that sort of thing, the quality control and things of that nature. And as you say the quality of the control from the production side, if things were out of balance, they would immediately inform the department who would correct things. But like new machinery, new production methods were imported from America. And the machines themselves were discarded machines that America had finished with.

Manny Yospa: So of they wanted any secrets they would have to go to America for it, not

Geoff Conway: That would be the simplest way. Because it was old information as far as this country was concerned.

Manny Yospa: What would a couple of people in the coating department know about

Geoff Conway: That's right, you didn't know the technical arrangement. I do remember when they installed this new production method they imported all parts from America and it was like they exported London Bridge, it was all numbered and all assembled back in this country. So it was all stuff that was old as far as America was concerned but new as far as Britain.

Manny Yospa: There could be the suspicion that this whole thing, they weren't worried about any secrets going to Orvo from you but it was more or less aimed at you and Ken.

Geoff Conway: I think that was the basis of it. It was a question of breaking up what was becoming a bit of a nuisance and perhaps a threat as far as they were concerned, breaking the organisation up. I think that was behind it basically.