WELCOME TO THE BU HISTORY WEBSITE

The BU History Group urgently need new members to keep the group running. If you’d like to get involved please get in touch.

Learn more about one of Leicester’s greatest engineering firms, the British United Shoe Machinery Company. You can share your memories and photographs too.

Send an email to  info@buhistory.org.uk

BU lads and men who enlisted in 1914

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Roll of Honour

 

Over 200 names on this Roll of Honour. By the following year BU had become a ‘controlled establishment’ which restricted the outflow of workers joining the armed forces as the company became more involved in the production of materials for the war effort – Shells, naval gun mountings, aero engine parts, and of course heavy-duty boots for troops at the front.

Disgracefully this plaque had to be rescued from an abandoned BU building; this is how little regard the final owners of the company (APAX Partners) had for the memory of all those brave Leicester people who were prepared to join-up and risk their lives for their country. Many did not come back. Bless them all.

(Thank you Matt Donut for this picture).

 

Date posted: August 6, 2014

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Grandads

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Two people have contacted us recently wondering if anyone has any information or memories about their granddads who worked at BU.

First up Steve Crouch is asking about Ivan Percy Crouch who passed away in the 1980s. Steve believes Ivan was an international salesman and designed patterns for BU machine parts as well as inventing a folding machine in the 1970s. He passed away when Steve was young so he’s very keen to find out anything about his grandad.

Matthew Bowler’s grandad was Kenneth Webster and he worked at BU between 1942 and 1986. Again, any information or photos would be appreciated.

Please send an email to info@buhistory.org.uk if you can help at all. Cheers, Burt

Date posted: July 27, 2014

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Sam Smart

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Margery Smart of Glenfield has kindly provided the following information about her family’s involvement at BU – quite a few years ago now!

This story focuses on Henry ‘Sam’ Smart, Margery’s husband, who was a 46 year man. Sam started in the Tool Room in December 1935. During the Second World War Sam continued to work at BU and was also part of the National Fire Service stationed on Melton Road. The first photograph shows Sam (front row, far left) at the 1961 Quarter Century Club annual dinner at Granby Halls. He carried on working at BU for another 20 years, retiring in May 1982.

Margery 2

Margery also worked at BU, doing four years in the Inspection Department. She and Sam married in 1942 and their first child arrived in 1944 – Margery didn’t return to BU after this. Although this wasn’t the end of the family’s association – A son, Paul, born in 1949, later joined BU and worked there for 15 years, once again in the Tool Room.

The recent photo below shows Margery in her garden, and beneath that is a cartoon drawn by talented BU cartoonist George Day on the occasion of Sam’s colleague Fred Jones’s retirement – “Look at him! Sits there worried stiff – Not because he’s leaving this hive of industry… but because he starts working for his proper Coddy next week – His Missus.Margery 3

Margery Cartoon

Date posted: July 12, 2014

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BU from the air – 1934

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Please click on the link below where there are a number of fantastic aerial photos of BUSMC and its surrounds.

http://www.britainfromabove.org.uk/image/epw044673?search=leicester&ref=103

To the centre-right of the photo there are 5 dog-leg roads – the leftmost one of these is Hildyard Road/Macdonald Road, with Ross Walk crossing at the dog-leg. Marjorie Street connects all 5 roads at the bottom.
So the northlight glazed/slated roofs to the left of this is the old IVI, with the area to the left yet to be developed.

(Thanks Stan)

Date posted: June 9, 2014

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Business Cards..

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Paul Price discovered these in his garage the other day..

Image

Date posted: May 30, 2014

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Ted Tilson

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Paul McEvoy has written to us from America…
“I trained in Leicester for a few months before moving to Samco Strong in Bristol. My boss Edwin Ballard Tilson known as Ted Tilson also transferred to Bristol in the early 70′s. Does anyone know what happened to Ted, although I am sure he’s passed away by now…” Thanks & regards, Paul
Do please let us know if you remember Ted; We’ll pass on to Paul. Cheers

Date posted: May 14, 2014

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Ian Breward

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Does any one remember me there or my dad in the drawing office?

Date posted: May 2, 2014

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Ron Rushton

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Ron, who passed away in 2011, was a store-keeper at BU and a 25 year man. His son Stewart has written to us about Ron’s unusual hobby, one which got quite a bit of media coverage at the time. He wrote letters to famous politicians – often receiving replies. Stewart is currently scanning the scrapbooks of replies and hopes to publish them in due course. Below are some cuttings from the 1970s (Unison and Leicester Mercury) and Ron being interviewed on Radio Leicester.

BU News 1974Leicester MercuryBUSM UNISON

Ron on Radio Leicester

Date posted: April 10, 2014

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Starting work at BU in the

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Thank you to G.F. Densham for keeping these documents safe for so many years and for sharing them with the BU History Group.

 

Date posted: March 21, 2014

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LOST…

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Nick Berry has asked if we can help him trace a lost family film that may well have a BU connection… Please read his letter below and email info@buhistory.org.uk if you have any ideas. Its a long shot, but I know how important finding this film is for Nick and his family.

“Hello, I am hoping that you will be able to help me trace some family history that was accidently lost over 25 years ago. The items in question were cine films, mainly of family holidays and important events (Birthdays, Christmas’ etc) that were made by my Grandfather and Great Grandfather during the 1960s and 1970s around the Leicester area.

“They were lent by my great grandfather to the family of one of his friends, as they were featured in one or two of the films. However, unfortunately he then suddenly became ill and passed away without revealing the whereabouts of the films and despite a frantic search the whole archive was lost.

“My Grandfather (who worked at the X-Ray Astronomy Department at Leicester University) passed away in 2000 (also very suddenly) and my Grandmother still often talks about these lost films and that it would be nice to see them again.

“Therefore, I am hoping to try and trace the person who has borrowed these films for almost 30 years and reunite my family with a bit of lost history, which I myself have never seen.

“I know it is a bit of a long shot as anything could have happened to them in the intervening years, but any assistance you could give to this task would be greatly appreciated.

“I know they lived in Leicester and would have been friends of Norman and Dorothy Johnson, formerly of Edgeley Road Countesthorpe. Norman used to work at British United Shoe Machinery, from after the war until the 1970s. The person in question was either a friend from Countesthorpe or could have been a colleague from BUSM and probably went on holiday with them to Scotland, Ireland or Jersey at some point in the 1960s / 70s. I know that the chances they are still alive are slim, but I do hope that their children might still have the films, or at least know where they are.”

Kind regards, Nick Berry

     

Date posted: March 13, 2014

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