Cat no. 1294

I Want to Be An Engineer

Running time23:13 Sound 1956 Norwich, Norfolk

Loading the player ...

Youth training and apprenticeships at Laurence, Scott & Electromotors, Norwich


Archive AliveIndustrial / Sponsored Film

The film begins with images of the practical use of electricity. There are shots of electricity at work in industry. These show an electric train, the Haven Bridge at Yarmouth closing its leaves, cranes at Ipswich docks and electricity pylons. There are images of electricity in domestic use. Shots show radios, kettles and electric fires. Other scenes show electric machines at work in factories. These link with the main subject of the film; the apprenticeship system at Laurence, Scott & Electromotors, Norwich, founded in 1883 by W. H. Scott.

There are shots of the interior and exterior of the Laurence, Scott & Electromotors works whilst the commentary explains the apprenticeship scheme. We see many of the apprentices at work on various tasks in the factory. They are usually supervised by skilled artisans. The film gives the Christian name of the apprentice and the school from which they joined the company. They come from many schools in Norwich as well as throughout the County. There are apprentices from Lowestoft, Kings Lynn, Dereham, Wymondham, Sheringham, Loddon and Melton Constable. The majority joined Laurence, Scott & Electromotors from Secondary Modern Schools, although some joined from technical colleges or, in one case, a junior technical school. Three apprentices work as turners, learning to use a lathe and learning to use cutting tools. Another builds a commutator whilst others learn to fit windings. The film shows how able apprentices, even if not particularly experienced, are given more demanding jobs and more responsibility quickly. Another apprentice works as a fitter, assembling the motor once the component parts are complete. This motor, for the Cliff Quay Power Station at Ipswich, is tested and then dispatched. There are shots of the power station and of the docks before showing the 850 hp motor in situ. The film shows a brief shot of Thorpe Road. At the second Laurence, Scott & Electromotors plant at Thorpe Road, apprentices are shown learning about the light engineering side of the company's work. Apprentices build component parts and then help to assemble them. A tea break shows the apprentices being served tea from an urn on the factory floor, before another apprentice is shown making precision instruments. The third Laurence, Scott & Electromotors plant shown is the foundry at Foundry Bridge at the end of Prince of Wales Road. Here, an apprentice helps to build a pattern for casting a ship's cargo winch. Molten iron is poured into the pattern from an overhead crane. The casting is lifted when cool and the apprentice knocks out the core and tidies the casting. In the machine shop the apprentices assist in planning, turning, boring and drilling. The commentary stresses that apprentices are encouraged to stay with the firm. Two apprentices assemble an electric winch that will be used on board the Cunard White Star Company's liner, 'Queen Elizabeth'. The commentary explains that Laurence, Scott & Electromotors offer the chance to do on-site maintenance. There is a shot of the 'Queen Elizabeth' at Southampton docks with the winches at work. The next sequence shows the educational side of the apprenticeship system. Students enter the Norwich Technical College. There are scenes from the classroom and the workshop. The commentary explains that military service is deferred to allow apprentices to complete the apprenticeship. Some apprentices are shown at work in the design office. The last part of the film emphasises the benefits of working for Laurence, Scott & Electromotors. The activities at the Social Club shown include football teams, cricket teams and other sports. There is a motoring club and a photographic club. There are subsidised
I Want To Be An Engineer. canteens and medical staff on site. The film ends with the leaves of a calendar turning to show some of the different aspects of Laurence, Scott & Electromotors.

Background Information:

Laurence, Scott and Electromotors was founded in 1883 and was a pioneer in the field of electric motors, generators and allied equipment for industry. As well as the Norwich factories, they had a factory in Manchester. A pamphlet published by the company in 1947 advertises 20-30 places a year for five year apprenticeships in a variety of fields. These included, Fitter-machinists, Armature winders, sheet metal workers, electricians, pattern makers and foundrymen. There were also engineering apprentices. They were recruited at seventeen years of age and were required to have passed the School Certificate. This film concentrates on the craft courses and national certificate courses. Laurence, Scott and Electromotors also ran course in association with the University of London leading to a B.Sc.Eng.The film speaks of Laurence, Scott And Electromotors employing 'thousands' of people. The company's entry in the 1992 - 1993 Norfolk Industrial Directory listed Laurence, Scott and Electromotors as employing 1020 people. The Laurence, Scott and Electromotors entry in 'Major Employers In Norwich' 1995 - 1996 lists them as employing 478 people. Their entry in the 'Business Register' for 1997 lists them as employing 500 people and making a profit of ?5.8 m.The Laurence, Scott & Electromotors football team was called 'Gothic,' after the Gothic Works, and played in the Eastern Counties League

Featured People:

W.H. Scott. (c)

Featured Organisations:

British Electricity Authorities; Cunard White Star; Laurence, Scott & Electromotors; Norwich Technical College

Featured Buildings:

Cliff Quay Power Station, Ipswich; Laurence, Scott & Electromotors Works, Hardy Road, Thorpe Road and Foundry Bridge, Norwich.Norwich Technical College; Haven Bridge, Yarmouth

Laurence, Scott & Electromotors

Mr. Farrent

Terms and conditions

The Terms and Conditions apply to the website (the Website) and by accessing the website you are agreeing to abide by them.

 We may modify the terms and conditions or withdraw or deny access to the Website at any time at our sole discretion.

In your use of the Website you agree not to, at any time:

  1. Conduct or promote any illegal activities
  2. Attempt to reverse engineer or jeopardize in any way the correct functioning of the Website and its services or otherwise attempt to derive the source code or other code or software that enables the operation of this website.
  3. Use any automatic, electronic or manual process not provided by this website to access search or harvest any information from the website or to interfere in any way with its proper functioning.
  4. Mirror or frame the website or any portion thereof, place pop-up windows over its pages or otherwise affect the display of its pages.

Every effort has been made to exclude or flag content that may be upsetting or cause offence and not to include films that are unsuitable, however the East Anglian Film Archive bears no responsibility for people under the age of 18 viewing the Website or for any offence that may be caused by people viewing the Website. If you feel that some items could cause offence please contact us in the first instance. If you would like to have access to any of the films available for purposes not permitted by these Terms and Conditions, including any commercial venture, then please contact us.


The content of the Website including but not limited to the text are Copyright © 2011 The East Anglian Film Archive of the University of East Anglia.

The copyright in the original film materials and the digital reproductions of all still and moving images herein and their arrangements in many cases may be owned by a number of parties. Any requests for copyright clearance for use of the material should be directed to the East Anglian Film Archive in the first instance. It is the requester’s responsibility to obtain such necessary clearance and the East Anglian Film Archive will not be held responsible for any failure on the requester’s part to do so.

The contents on the Website may be accessed as view only and purely for non commercial personal, educational and cultural interest. Under no circumstances shall any content be downloaded, transferred, copied or re-produced in whole or in part in any manner or in or on any media without the prior written consent of The East Anglian Film Archive.

The East Anglian Film Archive would like to thank those who allowed copyright permission for the use and display of works that appear on this site.


The East Anglian Film Archive has made every reasonable effort to locate, contact and acknowledge copyright owners. There are a small number of cases where, despite our efforts, the copyright owner has not been identified. In these cases, we welcome contact from copyright owners and will take immediate action to gain any appropriate clearances or remove the items if requested.

We do not guarantee that the Website will be compatible with any and all hardware or software which you may use nor that the Website will be available all of the time or at any specific times.

The East Anglian Film Archive makes no warranty that the Website is free from computer viruses or any other malicious or impairing computer program.

The Website contains links to other websites with their own terms and conditions. The East Anglian Film Archive is not responsible for the terms and conditions of these websites.


The East Anglian Film Archive is committed to a high standard of quality in all its work and with this in mind every attempt has been made to present up to date and accurate information on this website. However, visitors need to bear in mind that it is possible that information contained on this website may be out of date, incomplete, the opinion of the author or the opinion  “of the time” and may contain technical inaccuracies and typographical errors. We accept no responsibility for keeping the information in these pages up to date or liability for not doing so. If you notice information that needs to be updated or corrected, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Personal data

The Website may contain some personal data such as names of film-makers, some film participants etc. We have taken all reasonable care to ensure that we operate within the provisions of data protection legislation. If you believe that any of the data on the Website causes or is likely to cause damage or distress to you or any other living person, please contact us with details.

Liability and indemnification

Any unauthorised use you make of the University of East Anglia or East Anglian Film Archive copyright and/or trademarks will constitute an infringement of the University of East Anglia’s Intellectual Property and may lead to legal action and other such remedies in accordance with the governing law.

You agree to indemnify and hold harmless the University of East Anglia and its employees, affiliates and students

Except to the extent prohibited by the governing law the University of East Anglia accepts no responsibility for any use you may make of the Website.

The University of East Anglia is only liable to you for direct losses which you may reasonably be expected to suffer where you can show that such losses were as a result of our breach of these terms and conditions. Any implied warranties and conditions are fully excluded.

Our Liability to you shall in no circumstances include any loss of profit or revenue or any other indirect losses you may incur whether foreseen or not.

Governing Law

The Laws of England and Wales shall govern and the Courts of England and Wales shall have exclusive jurisdiction over

  1. The formation, existence, construction, performance, validity and all other aspects of these terms and conditions whatsoever
  2. Any and all claims made by you or us for any and all breaches acts omissions, misuses, liability and copyright claims as set out in these terms and conditions.

The East Anglian Film Archive is owned and operated by the University of East Anglia

© 2011 The East Anglian Film Archive of the University of East Anglia.