Daniel Hurn, 28, electrician and maintenance supervisor, has been working at Oriel since he was fifteen. He brews his own beer, bakes his own bread, and likes the mutual respect in his team. | Interviewed by Giorgio Scherrer
“I wouldn’t say that I have much of a relationship with students. Sure, when I happen to be in their room we chat a bit, but I’m here to do what I’m here to do. And when I’ve done my job, I go. But some of my colleagues here in the maintenance department are certainly a bit chattier than me.
And yet I’ve been working here as an electrician for 11½ years, before that I was a waiter in the SCR, before that one in hall. I was born in Oxford and started working at Oriel during school, when I was fifteen. A friend had been working here, so I asked him if they needed someone and they did.
After doing one year of A-levels I stopped and came here full time. At some point I asked them for an apprenticeship and they offered me one, either as a plumber or an electrician. I chose electricity because I thought it would be a slightly cleaner job. In reality, all trade jobs are a bit dirty, but I don’t mind that. That all took four years and after that I stayed here.
Now, since November, I’m the maintenance supervisor. At first I first thought it might be difficult to supervise senior staff who have been working here for nearly twenty years, but it wasn’t. I think it’s because of the mutual respect we have for each other: when you’ve been working with someone for eleven, twelve years, you’re bound to be close.
Oriel’s an interesting place – there are lots of different things to do for an electrician, it never gets repetitive. But because the buildings are so old, it can also be quite challenging. Still, I can’t really think of a favourite spot around here – well, maybe the Natural History Museum, I quite like that. But when you’ve been in Oxford for a long time, you tend not to notice things anymore – you don’t even look up most of the time.
On weekends I brew my own beer and bake my own bread: my fiancé and I are quite into cooking. I also like watching rugby, though I’ve never played myself. Or I have a drink with some friends – my favourite pub, The Bear, is right around the corner. And actually, it’s not so hard to get a seat – if you know the local people there of course.”