Back before Steve Clark had signed a record deal with Phonogram and found superstardom at the top of the global music charts, he worked as a lathe operator at an engineering works in industrial Sheffield in 1977/1978. I’ve had the great pleasure to meet up recently with one of Steve’s old friends who used to work alongside him as a fellow apprentice. His name is Andy and he sent me a photo that another friend and workmate called Chris had found of a young Mr Clark on a night out in Retford with some of the lads from GEC Traction. 

GEC Traction was the engineering works that Steve worked for and undertook his apprenticeship. The company, nor the building no longer exists in Sheffield and for those of you wondering what a Lathe actually is, here’s what Andy told me (in that wonderful broad South Yorkshire accent):

“Right, Mr Clark went from school to GEC Traction an’ took an apprenticeship like me – I was a fitter (bench work) and he [Steve] was a machinist (working on a lathe, a machine that stood horizontal which would spin a piece of metal at fast speeds an’ he would turn/shape/form it) to suit a drawing. GEC made diesel-electric train motors for British, Irish, South African, South Korean railway trains an’ a few other railways. Steve worked in the “gear shop”, a stinky rat hole that had a big high roof an’ the “cigarette seller man” worked very near him of which he never seemed to buy and fags to pay me back!! Ho ho, bless ‘im!! [Andy had told me that Steve was always “borrowing” cigarettes from him but never seemed to reimburse him!] 

Wish I had a pic of Steve in his work clothes now that WOULD be a good one !!! Blue cloth hat with a hair net round the back with all that hair tied back, blue overalls with GEC printed on them, safety goggles, steel toe-capped shoes …. get a load of that !!!!!! ho, ho

With much thanks to Andy M for the words and Chris H for the photo.

Steve Clark with GEC Traction colleagues

Steve Clark (on the far left) with colleagues from GEC Traction circa 1977/1978.

MAY 2019 UPDATE: Andy M had recently met up with some of his old mates from GEC Traction and one of the other lads – Gary – produced the “team photo” on the right here from his apprenticeship class – which just so happened to be the same class as one pre-famous rock superstar, Steve Clark.

With much thanks to Andy and Gary.

GEC Traction Team circa 1977-78

Steve Clark (back row, 3rd from left) with colleagues from GEC Traction circa 1977/1978.