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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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, 2014No 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
Date posted: May 14, 2014No Comments
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.
Date posted: April 10, 2014No Comments
Starting work at BU in the0
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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, 2014No Comments
BU Advertising, 1970s0
Memories of the BU Advertising Department, from Walter Baynes. As well as machinery, BU also made and sold vast amounts of shoe making machinery.
“Dick Kursa is cameraman and Peter Minshall on sound recording – A businessman exiting his private plane, before driving off in his Rolls Royce and wearing shoes featuring ‘Clarino’ uppers. BU marketed Clarino, a poromeric upper material, as a synthetic substitute for leather, having many of leather’s high quality properties.
“Filmed at Leicester Aero Club it was an exciting sequence to shoot and looked stunning in the finished programme. You saw the plane land, taxi, the chauffeur driven Rolls pulls alongside, business man gets in and is driven off. At every opportunity there is a close-up of the stylish, expensive looking pair of shoes! Those were the days!”
Date posted: March 10, 2014No Comments