WELCOME TO THE BU HISTORY WEBSITE
The British United Shoe Machinery Company (BU) was Leicester’s greatest manufacturing company. It existed between 1899 and 2000, spanned the twentieth century, and at it’s peak employed 4000 people at it’s Union Works site in Leicester.
The BU History Group wants to hear from you. Please share your memories and photographs.
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Does anyone remember this name from BU? Probably from the 1950s, perhaps even the 1940s. Albert, or maybe he was called Bert, might well have been a clerk, and may have been involved in international travel. His son, Christopher, has written to us seeking information about his father who he never knew and would be incredibly grateful if we could provide some news. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you can help. Thank you.
No photo I’m afraid.
Little bit more information from Christopher … He was born in 1914, 21 Bernard Street (Berners?), Leicester, one of 8 children born from 1901 to 1914
The only information I have is that he was a clerk and seems to have ended up going to Australia a couple of times in the 50′s could that possibly have been with work? Although why would a clerk be sent all that way but he ended up as an Accountant.
Took his pilots licence 1939 and is mentioned in the Leicester newspaper, with a colleague named Kenneth Harper. I always thought with his licence he would have been a pilot but although on certain documents we have it states RAF I can’t find anything about him in the National Archives.
Married my Mum in 1943, went out to NZ in 1960 and died 1990.
Date posted: September 1, 2015No Comments
Nice little BU Artefact0
BU Engineers! Specs on,...1
Take a look these photos please. It’s a machine of some sort that was made by BU. Ronnie Jones acquired this it… “The machine came from a clearout in a firm I worked for some years ago, Robert Lunt & Sons in Liverpool. They were a major saddlers in the past, from about the mid 1800s and switched to tarpaulin manufacture as the leather industry declined. It’s one of those things that gathers dust on my shelf, of no practical use to me but looked too interesting to end up in the scrapyard, which is were it was headed! It was only recently that I managed to clean the badge enough to make out the wording. I’ve attached a few more photos to assist the identification. Looking forward to having this little mystery finally solved!”
Date posted: November 12, 20141 Comment
George Barton has written to us – He’s researching Major Arthur Sands, his cousin once removed.
He thinks he worked at BU up until the 1970s or so as an Expeditor in possibly purchasing/production departments.
Does anyone remember him? He also served in WW2.
Date posted: October 30, 20141 Comment
BU lads and men who enlisted in...0
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, 2014No Comments
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 email@example.com if you can help at all. Cheers, Burt
Date posted: July 27, 2014No Comments
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 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.
Date posted: July 12, 20143 Comments
BU from the air – 19340
Please click on the link below where there are a number of fantastic aerial photos of BUSMC and its surrounds.
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.
Date posted: June 9, 2014No Comments