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We’ve had some great correspondence from Stan Preston, who now lives in New Zealand.
Stan was BU for over 25 years and emigrated in 1974. He even features (just!) on our ‘BU People’ book cover photo of the Knife Shop. He was 14 years old at the time – this was back in the 1950s – and Stan is mostly obscured on the back row.
“I can remember every person on the photo and what their job was; even the man from the union works office with his arms folded. The Merall twins, middle front row, and the Foreman in white to the far right.”
Stan also worked in the TD department, then in X2. After numerous problems with management Stan moved to NZ in 1974. “I read much about how ex workers so enjoyed their time at the BU. There certainly was a good social side, but I could write a book about the VERY bad side. The BU lost a lot of skilled people through bad management.”
“This photo is the BU Archery club taken at Mowmaker Hill BU grounds in Birstall (long ago).
Second from the left is Flint (forgot his first name) Third from right is Chris Lloyd from Birstall who worked in the drawing office. Far right is myself (on the back row). All the rest I remember the faces but have forgotten the names. In those days we all shot long bows, or as in the photo, steel recurves.
I shot recurve then when I got too old I shot a compound. I was once NZ champion, but the last time I shot three arrows two ended up in the grass & one on the edge of the target butt.”
The second photo is again the BU Archery club; Stan is the second archer in.
And the final photo is much more recent and taken in New Zealand.”
I am wearing a hat I purchased from a shop opposite the BU many years ago on the way to Cossington Street swimming baths where I taught life saving; it was snowing at the time and I didn’t have much hair to keep me warm.”
It is the same with my swimming – I was once an instructor at BU in life saving classes – But now I cant even walk down the pool steps (not good being old).”
Date posted: March 2, 2020No Comments
No.9 Upper Skiving Machine0
Anthony Mansfield has sent us a request – Is there any chance you or one of your members would have any information (instruction or parts manual) for a BUSM No.9 Upper Skiving Machine? I have one and after a lot of cleaning and oiling it is working a treat but I foresee the day when I will need to change blades and stones and adjust everything. A manual would be very handy! Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you can help. Thanks.
Date posted: September 9, 2019No Comments
Rod Cripps in Australia needs...1
Hi – I am from Melbourne Australia. I have an old BU machine, serial number 5291, hand operated, with gold-leaf writing on the hand-wheel.
I can’t see any model numbers or other identification on it anywhere – it was probably the only model of it’s type when it was made, but the gold painting is not the best in places so there could have been something there somewhere.
The serial number is stamped on both the rim of the hand-wheel and the frame of the machine beside the top of the needle slide.
It has the long (approx 1-3/4”) shuttle with a long slot on the bottom and a number of holes on the top surface, and the thin bobbin spindle. The wear around the holes on the top surface indicate a considerable amount of use. There is also a lot of wear on the lever which drives the needle and the thread guide “knob” which rides on the top of it, just above the needle. I will fix this (I am at a loss at the moment as to why the thread guide was on this separate lever, unless there is a spring or something missing but i can’t see where anything else may have been).
My questions to you are:
Can you tell me approx. when it might have been made?
What thickness leather where they made to sew? Saddles? Harness?
Are suitable needles still available? The one needle I have is approx. 93mm long, 84mm to the eye, and 2.5mm diameter. What would the modern designation of suitable needles be – Imperail and metric if possible.
There is a thread guide on a slotted fixed arm mounted on the frame beside the needle slide, and this is guide is adjustable in the slot. The purpose of this adjustment?
I want to get it working again. It is in generally good working order, the paint is poor, but otherwise it has survived well considering the obvious use it has had. I think the main problem with it at the moment is probably a badly worn needle which is fraying the thread.
Thanks – Rod Cripps.
If you can help with any of Rod’s questions please send an email to email@example.com Thanks!
Date posted: June 4, 20191 Comment
No. 3 Rapid Corner Stitching...0
I’d like to thank Helen Newson for sending the BU History Group copies of the third and fourth editions of the BU ‘List of Parts and Instructions’ (1948 and 1952) as used by her dad when working on and maintaining the No. 3 at the Gla-Rev Smith company at Martlesham – makers of leather cases.
They are incredible – illustrating and listing every part used in these brilliant machines. Like a giant, sophisticated Meccano set. If anyone would like to view them just let me know. Cheers.
Date posted: January 1, 2019No Comments
No5 Skiving Machine –0
My name is Nick and I work for a company in Northamptonshire, we actually own a few old BU machines and they are all still running, however we are having some issues at the moment with our No5 Skiving machine, we have been looking for someone who might have access to the manual for a no5 skiver, I don’t suppose you know of anyone who might? Thanks and Regards, Nick Dewhirst
If you can help please reply to firstname.lastname@example.org Thanks
Date posted: August 20, 2018No Comments
The BUSMC Ltd: Its works and...0
We’ve recently been sent this fantastic book by Roger Grimes who lives in Kimberley, Nottingham. It belonged to Mr Arch Hallam who was the brother in law of James Grimes, Roger’s grandfather. His name is in the inside cover with Check No. 203, and it is dated August 1933.
The book has pictures of all the processes and machinery from various departments and branches with the machine operators; the first page has a picture of Mr Charles Bennion from a painting by R Grenville Eves dated 1928. It is a superb book to add to our collection, and tells us so much about not only BU, but life in Britain between the wars for working men and women.
James Grimes was also employed at the BU, along with his brother-in-law Arch Hallam, and they worked there most of their working lives.
Roger’s father, also James Grimes, worked at BU for a period during WWII – probably on wartime production. Being a good draughtsman he often presented the company with drawings done at home, of his designs and ideas. One of these was taken up by BU, this was referred to at the time as ‘blind riveting’, I think we now refer to them as pot-rivets. The company paid him the princely sum of £10 -a generous amount at the time, he was told that his drawings were sent over to the US to develop his design into a working tool, and that BU held the patent on this.
Date posted: August 13, 2018No Comments
Listen to Geoff Smith’s memories of a BU life.
Born in 1940 at 45 Cromford Street. Attended Melbourne Rd infants school, Charnwood St junior School -Just failed 11+ exam – Moat Boys senior School, and left in Christmas 1955
Started at BUSMC April1956 as an Electrical apprentice: RAF 1960-1964 (Air Radar Mechanic): Back to BUSMC in 1964 on Electrical Assembly.
1968-1974 Drawing Office Electrical Draftsman.
1974-1997 Commercial Office (Bottoming Dept) Maintenance, Installation, Technical Teaching, Trade exhibitions. 1997 Redundant.!!!!
Total 329 overseas visits to 29 different country’s in 23 years!!
Date posted: January 8, 20181 Comment