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.

Send an email to  info@buhistory.org.uk

BU Heritage Panel Unveiled

0

The launch of the BUSMC heritage interpretation panel project took place on Belgrave Road across the road from the front entrance to Union Works on Wednesday 5th April. 

The City Mayor, Sir Peter Soulsby, attended and made a short speech. The panel is situated outside IndiKal (87 Belgrave Road). 

Sign post to Happy Memories. Former employees of BUSM join the City Mayor at the unveiling of the new heritage sign on Belgrave Road. L to R Ellen Hewitt, Mick Lambert, Cllr Piara Singh Clair, Karon Pearson, Praful Thakrar, Cllr Adam Clarke, Sir Peter Soulsby, Alan Carlisle, Paul Gill, Sally Coleman and Kathy Gill

‘Sign post to Happy Memories’. Former employees of BUSM join the City Mayor at the unveiling of the new heritage sign on Belgrave Road.
L to R
Ellen Hewitt, Mick Lambert, Cllr Piara Singh Clair, Karon Pearson, Praful Thakrar, Cllr Adam Clarke, Sir Peter Soulsby, Alan Carlisle, Paul Gill, Sally Coleman and Kathy Gill

BUSM panel

Date posted: May 1, 2017

No Comments

Add a Comment

Any Old Info

0

Marc Harris (USA) has a beautiful BUSM leather machine (pics below) that he plans to donate to the San Jose Historical Museum in California and would like to know the date of manufacture. The serial number is 5472.  Any info would be appreciated!Serial_smBUSM1

Date posted: March 5, 2017

No Comments

Add a Comment

Sad News

0

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, 2017

No Comments

Add a Comment

Phil Wignall

0

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.

Four chaps

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

46

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.

QCC stewards

 

He was also a member of the BU Quarter Century Club and was a Steward for a number of years.

QCC Stewards

Second left, front row, 1968.

 

 

 

 

redundantHe worked his way up to Foreman of the Tool Room and then was made redundant at the age of 57 in 1982.

Phil is second left in the picture below along with Jack Granger, Len Bosworth and John Neal.

Date posted:

No Comments

Add a Comment

Snooker Loopy!

0

Ray North has just discovered this little beauty – BUAC & I (British United Athletic Club and Institute). It was from a snooker competition, 1932-33, but with no winners named. Four inches tall.A7F87E87DA2E455D945F7BE459892FAD

Date posted: January 26, 2017

No Comments

Add a Comment

SAVED!

0

 

2016-11-26_12-19-18

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.”

 

Roll of Honour

 

 

Date posted: November 26, 2016

No Comments

Add a Comment

Oral History

0

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 info@buhistory.org.uk or burtmcneill@ntlworld.com

Date posted: November 10, 2016

No Comments

Add a Comment

BU Internal Phone Book

0

Mary Hubble’s copy of the Ewart/Texon (so many names from BUSMC) phone book from the late 1990s

BU Phonebook

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.

Mary Hubble Phone internal

 

 

Date posted: October 31, 2016

No Comments

Add a Comment

Info Wanted

0

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.
Thanks.

Vishal –

I was wondering if you could help me i am searching for the old BUSM building plans, i need help locating these blueprints as we want to see what the building roof was built from. We are looking at this part of belgrave commercial centre as we wanted to know what the roof was constructed on.
If anyone can help just email in please to info@buhistory.org.uk I know both would be very grateful for any help

Date posted: October 19, 2016

No Comments

Add a Comment

Model SD.173

0

Dave Porthouse has sent us some images of his machine: Dusty, then cleaned up.

image1image1 2

“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, 2016

No Comments

Add a Comment