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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Karen Pearson has contacted us to tell us that her father, Phil Wignall, passed away last Sunday. He was 91. For all who remember him the funeral is on Thursday, March 2nd at 12 o;clock at Countesthorpe Crematorium.
Phil was a BU man from age 14 until being made redundant in 1982.
In the post below we republish Karen’s lovely story about her dad.
Date posted: February 16, 2017No Comments
Karen Pearson’s story about her dad, Phil Wignall, who passed away on 12th February 2017.
First posted on this site in November 2013 when Phil was 89.
My father George (Phil) Wignall. Pictured above with, L-R, George Matthews, Phil, Roy Remmington, and Jack Harrison – on a 1960s Toolroom outing to London.
Phil started work aged 14 on Sept. 9th 1939. Shortly after this World War II broke out and he was drafted into the RAF. He returned to the BU after the war in 1946
Phil played football for the BU Team in 1946. They got to a final and he didn’t get picked so never played for them again. He did play for the Tool Room football team for many years. He played snooker for the company and he was also a first team player for the Latimer Ward Club from an early age until finally giving up only a few years ago. He has great memories of the BU grounds, playing sport and attending BU sports days with his family. Also on a Saturday nights himself, his wife and friends used to go to the BU Sports Club.
He was also a member of the BU Quarter Century Club and was a Steward for a number of years.
Second left, front row, 1968.
Phil is second left in the picture below along with Jack Granger, Len Bosworth and John Neal.
Date posted:No Comments
This plaque from 1914 contains the names of all those BU workers who went off to war (220 names I think). A massively important item. Incredibly, and disgustingly, it was left to rot in the old BU headquarters by the last owners (APAX partners – they’re still around!).
Thankfully it was found and rescued from the Ross Walk site by Matt (pictured left) and Rick. They have donated the plaque to the At Risk War Memorial Trust. “It can now be enjoyed by the people of Leicester for good.”
Date posted: November 26, 2016No Comments
Hi Everyone. Colin Hyde from the East Midlands Oral History Archive at Leicester University has some students who want to record memories of work and industry in Leicester before 1980 and they’re struggling to find people. He’s asked me if any BUSM people would agree to be recorded for half an hour by a student? Do let me know and I’ll pass on to Colin. Could be fun and interesting. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Date posted: November 10, 2016No Comments
BU Internal Phone Book0
Mary Hubble’s copy of the Ewart/Texon (so many names from BUSMC) phone book from the late 1990s
Mary and her husband worked for the BU and finished at Texon in 2002. She got a job still on the site and was last to leave before it was demolished.
Date posted: October 31, 2016No Comments
Graham Damant –
I have just bought a Pearson sewiung machine and have managed to work out how the basics work and its stitching well. However it would be useful to have a manual, any ideas where I could buy one.
Date posted: October 19, 2016No Comments
Dave Porthouse has sent us some images of his machine: Dusty, then cleaned up.
“I did use this machine many years ago when making some leather moccasin type slippers and basically it punctures the leather to enable it to be neatly stitched. The crank arm with the wooden handle drives the straight cut gears at approximately a 1:2 ratio which in turn drives the spindle. Locked to the spindle on the business side is a sharp pointed wheel like a small spur. The working platform has an adjustable fence to set the spacing between the edge of the leather and the line of stitching . The platform has the adjustable spring loaded tensioner that applies the piercing pressure via what looks like a tuffnol roller. It is set for single row stitching but I can see from the roller that it has been used for double row stitching by fitting an additional spur wheel. Although it is just over 12″ wide and 8.5″ tall it weighs in at 13lbs on my bathroom scales.”
Date posted: September 6, 2016No Comments
Alan Foster from AIM Engineering in Glossop, Derbyshire, has been in touch about this item….
“Hello there, We have found an old The British United Shoe Machine Company LTD in an old derelict building we recently bought. I attach some pictures and would be grateful of any user manual or help in how to disassemble it ? It looks to weigh over a ton and is on the first floor so difficult to move. It is free to anyone who can collect it ( It looks awkward to get out as there are no stairs!)
Any information welcomed as I have found the BU history website fun to visit.
Phone; 0145 786 2505.
Date posted: June 9, 2016No Comments
One of the main organisers of the BU History Group is Paul Gill. Paul has been diagnosed with dementia and is part of a campaign to encourage research into the condition. Please watch the video by clicking the link.
Below is a letter published in the Leicester Mercury last month from Dave Tipton in which he pays tribute to Paul. He tells about Paul’s crucial role in the seven year struggle, and ultimate victory, by BU pensioners to win back their pensions after the company went into administration in 2000.
Date posted: May 9, 2016No Comments