Posts filed as 'People'
10 year BU man Jeremy Dwyer has sent us the following photos from his time working in sales.
“I worked for BUSM from 1983 to 1993. I can’t recall exact dates, however:
- UK sales, working alongside the likes of Peter Dexter. In initially in the midlands and then a couple of years in Lancashire with Stan Ashworth.
- A couple of years in a newly form team targeting the leathergoods manufacturing
- Remaining years in export sales working for Mike Eliseou
The first picture. Is the automatic seeming machine technical/sales team. Left to right: Dilip Jagjivan, (unknown), Ann Stafford and me.”
“The second picture is of Nick Tolton and myself. The Japanese agent took the whole company away for a weekend and we were there to coincide with that. What a weekend that was!”
“My Dad. Mum and younger brother all did stints working for the company, so quite a family affair.”
Date posted: June 30, 2020No Comments
Thank you, Lynne Nickson, for this beautiful photo. It includes her cousin, Herbert Diggle (middle row, second right), who was born in 1920. This photo is from maybe 1940? On the back it says ‘BU’ and the board in the photo reads ‘Group Personnel’. Many BU staff were given reserved occupation status as their work was vital to the war effort. Could this be a BU Home Guard unit?
We’ve also heard from Philip Kendall, whose mother, Beatrice Anne McTighe, worked in a secretarial capacity at BU between 1937 and 1942. I know it’s a long-shot, but does anyone remember her?
Julian Keeber wants to know if anyone knew his father, Stan Keeber. He would love to know if anyone has any stories or photos. He worked there during the 60s’ 70s and 80s.
Also, Nick Wilkinson’s great uncle was a BU man. Bill Penny, does anyone remember him? Not sure which years.
Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you can help. Thanks so much.
Date posted: May 17, 2020No Comments
The Hamylton Family and BU0
Christine Shaw has written to us about her aunts and an uncle who worked at BU many years ago – Will anyone remember them? Their time working there took place between the 1920s and 1960s.
The story is certainly an interesting one.
A century ago William Hamylton and his wife lived on Humberstone Road in Leicester. They had six children, four girls and two boys. William is recorded in the Kelly’s Directory of 1936 as being an Illusionist by trade! Christine remembers him to be “a clever man who turned his hand to many different things, even to making suits for my father (Clarence) and Uncle Max.”
Clarence became an outstanding optician. His firm, Henry Smith and Hamylton Opticians, are still flourishing to this day with branches across Leicester. Sadly, Clarence passed away at a young age in 1962 while his own children were still of school age.
His brother, Max, worked at BU, as did three of his four sisters; Gladys, Dorothy and Gwen – Phyllis stayed at home to help her mother. Christine has the BU Quarter Century (25 years unbroken service) certificates for each of them. Unusually perhaps, none of the four girls got married. Instead they stayed living together at the family home for all of their lives, initially on Humberstone Road, then moving across town to a house on Welford Road in 1953.
The first picture is of Gwen. She started at BU on 14th April 1928 and worked in the Cashiers Dept.
The second photo is of Dorothy (often known as Dean) and Gwen, taken on the Island of Sark (Dorothy on the left and Gwen on the right).
The third photo is of Max Hamylton; “My Uncle Max was in the Engineers Dept. And was well known for his meticulous work.”
The fourth photo is of the four Hamylton sisters together; from the left, Dorothy, Gwen, Phyllis and Gladys. The lady on the far right is their friend, another Dorothy.
William, their father, died on Christmas Day, either 1956 or 57. “My Aunt Gwen, who was the youngest, lived until Easter Sunday 2008 and died at the same Welford Road house.”
Quite an extraordinary story, but actually not that unusual. During the twentieth century many working families were intrinsically linked with their employers, across the generations. Sons, daughters, fathers, brothers, all working in the same factory, often living close by their work and even life outside work would involve the company social club, events and sports teams.
This all changed during the last quarter of the century as right across Britain the big manufacturing firms gradually closed down. With their demise, so did this way of life also disappear.
If anyone remembers any of the Hamylton family it would be fantastic to hear from you. Please email to email@example.com
And thank you, Christine, for sharing your memories of your family and BU.
Date posted: April 30, 2020No Comments
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
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
Christine Davies (nee Hampson) has shared with us the following wonderful memories of her dad, Cecil William Hampson (born 31.01.1903), and growing up in the shadow of BU. Days spent at the Mowacre Hill sports ground and evenings at the Institute.
“My father, Cecil Hampson, joined the BUSMC when he left school at 14 and became a skilled grinder making sample parts for shoe machines which were sent all over the world. His machine was near the end window on the corner of Ross Walk and MacDonald Road, so I could see him when I walked by. As a little girl I would wave to him through the window and often walked to meet him from work. We lived in Hunter Road and our garden backed up to the Institute in Hildyard Road so I would wait to hear the buzzer before setting off as there was always a mass exodus from the gate; a rush of bodies eager to get out of the noisy factory. They came out on foot, by bike and all manner of vehicles so Ross Walk was quite a dangerous place at leaving off time. In later years. my then boyfriend, now my husband of 55 years, actually had an employee land on the bonnet of his car as he tried to run the gauntlet. Fortunately, the car was at a standstill as it was impossible to progress down the road with the mass of bodies exiting from the factory.
“I was always interested in what my father actually did and I do remember being taken inside the factory on one occasion to see the machines. Whether it was an open day, I am not quite sure as children were not allowed anywhere near the factory departments. I was most impressed that my father used industrial diamonds to grind the metal but disappointed when I saw this black stub of rock which was an industrial diamond and nothing like the one I eventually acquired in my engagement ring.
“It was a large thriving business in those days with a great emphasis on the welfare of its employees. My father took advantage of the many social amenities on offer for him. he was a very keen and skilled greens bowler and weekends were spent at the Mowmacre Hill sports ground where he played and won many trophies over the years. As a child, and later a teenager, I made many friends of other employees children and we would play cricket or explore the acres of grounds making our own fun and enjoying the fresh air. The bowlers wives also joined together and would accompany the teams when they played away getting together for lunch somewhere in the towns we visited. I loved these occasions and always had another members child to share the day.
“As I got older I took a great interest in tennis and when the magnificent tennis courts were not being used by members, I was able to play with anyone who was available and happy to play with me. It was there that I met Mark Cox, the son of another employee and who became well known as a British international player playing in the Davis Cup and at Wimbledon. We would often play together, being of a similar age, although I have to say that members of the tennis section were not quite as welcoming towards us as other sections were. I always felt that they believed they were the more upmarket section. Mark was lucky because his parents both played tennis and he was soon spotted by the LTA and taken under their wing to be coached to become the player we knew in his mature years.
“As the days drew to an end the members would congregate in the sports pavilion at the grounds where there was an excellent bar. Most people brought a light supper with them and the evenings often ended with a singsong. On special occasions the whole population would get together and bring items of food so that all sections joined together for a party. This was particularly noticeable between the cricket and bowling sections of the club.
“My father also used the facilities of the Institute, it being just around the corner from our house. During the war, the building and the factory were camouflaged to fool the aeroplanes looking to bomb munitions factories. My father remained at home during the war as he was making munitions at the factory and his job had reserved status. He became an ARP warden often on night duty looking out for overhead activity and supporting the home guard. He would go to the Institute for a drink with friends or play snooker on the wonderful tables that were provided and as a little girl I attended the fantastic Christmas parties for members children. These took place in the magnificent ballroom which I later frequented on a regular basis for their Saturday night dances. My mother and father had always enjoyed the Old Tyme dances and which I was allowed to go to as a child. It was the highlight of the week. Each year I was allowed a new long dress and a velvet cape to attend these. I thought I was the ‘bees knees’. Later I was asked to sell tickets for the modern dances and given a free one if I sold 10 each week. These tickets were greatly prized by my friends because the facilities were so good so it was never difficult to sell 10 each week. It was there that I met my future husband who had been invited by a close friend.
“My father continued to work for the BUSMC for almost 50 years having been a member of the Quarter Century Club, but had to retire just short of this due to ill health thereby missing out on the gold watch given to employees with 50 years service. By that time I was married and had moved to Worcester where my husband was an architect and I was a Headteacher, so my parents sold their house in Hunter Rad and moved to Malvern to be near us so we could help if needed when my father wasn’t well. They lived for a long time in Malvern which my father loved, their bungalow having views of the Malvern Hills, but eventually came to live with us as he needed more help. However, in spite of failing health, he survived happily until the age of 86 still talking about his days with the BUSMC which had a great influence on his life. I was really saddened when I learnt that the company had finished altogether. It was then one of the few companies that knew how to look after its employees and had a happy workforce. I am afraid these are now few and far between.”
Date posted: November 26, 2017No Comments
Tony Burton writes from Glasgow… “Hello, my grandfather Frederick Burton, 1884-1959, was employed as a sheet metal worker at the BUSM Co. He continued to work for them during the war and told me that they built a mock farm on the roof and glass panels on the nearby Rushy Fields to confuse the German bombers. I think Fred was a foreman but I know little more about his work.
Do you have any information on the sheet metal workers at the company or any information on what went on during the second world war?”
If you can assist Tony please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Date posted: September 24, 2017No Comments