From Apprentice to Expert: A Civil Engineer's Memoir by Hugh Allan
As a student he had a bit part role in constructing what then were the tallest blocks of flats in Europe. Fifty years later and in a few short minutes, the huge towers were reduced to heaps of rubble by controlled explosion. Those events spanned a career that started as an apprentice civil engineer in a Scottish municipal engineer's office and via Baghdad, Athens and Tunis, ended as an expert witness in legal proceedings. The fifty years were not without their unexpected moments - from witnessing the first air raids on Baghdad at the outbreak of the Iraq- Iran war, to gaming the Slovak national health service as "Monika" so as to fast track his diagnosis and treatment. The consulting engineering business provided stimulating employment to many in the second half of the twentieth century. The author reflects on the changes that took place, from that of a comfortable closed shop to one of tough competition and financial discipline.