Posts filed as 'Quarter Century Club'
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
Leslie Hubble has posted this brilliant photo of the Quarter Century Club from the 1960s.
Left to right; Eddie Orme, Glen (Taffy) Evans, Bill Leadbetter, his brother Frank, and Charlie Jerrom.
Date posted: October 11, 2015No Comments
Quarter Century Club Keyring1
Probably not so many people qualifying for these clubs anymore – working for one company for 25 continuous years.
Date posted: October 6, 20151 Comment
With much sadness we have received news of the death of Frank Smith, aged 95, on Friday December 13th 2013.
Frank’s funeral takes place at 10am on Thursday January 10th at St Thomas More Church on Knighton Road, Leicester.
Frank joined BU aged 14 in 1934 as an errand boy. He then began an apprenticeship in engineering, what Frank described as his saving grace, as it set him up for so many things in life.
He joined the army at the outbreak of the Second World War and was involved at Dunkirk and later in Burma. Incredibly he rose to the rank of Major by the end and was awarded the MBE for bravery in action.
Frank returned to BU after the war and worked in the drawing office, experimental design office and shoe material research department. It was during these 30 or so post war years that BU reached its zenith, dominating the world shoe machinery market. The excellence and sophistication of it’s products, developed and produced in house, were unrivalled. Frank was invited to join the BU Board of Management in 1978, and in 1979 he was president of the Quarter Century Club. He retired in 1981 – 48 years at BU, minus seven serving in the forces.
Frank’s wife Marjorie pre-deceased him. Together they had seven children and lived in the Knighton area of Leicester. Our condolences to all his family.
In 2012 Frank recorded his memories of life and BU, and these can be heard on the BU history website. It was such a pleasure to meet Frank; his intelligence and kindness and strength shined brightly.
Date posted: December 16, 2013No Comments
Just before the Great War my Grandfather, William Underwood (pictured left, seated with moustache), was sent by BU to Paris in order to instruct employees of a French company on the workings of BU machines. Unfortunately he was of similar stature and build to Count Bismark the German Chancellor. Since tensions were running high between the countries the French police arrested William thinking him a German spy. He spoke no French and they no English so he spent many hours in custody.
Graham’s mother, Gladys, is also in the photo above, the youngest girl to her dad’s left. She worked in the secretarial pool and married Cyril Beck, another BU man – Of course! Remarkably after their marriage Gladys was allowed to stay on at BU. Prior to this married women were not allowed to work at BU!
Cyril Beck, Graham’s father spent all his working life at BU. First as an Engineer, then an Engineer Inspector, and then into the Technical Office. In the late 1940s he joined the BU Male Voice Choir and my mother and I went all over the Midlands to both competitions and concerts. He was a choir member up until he retired in 1962 and can be seen in the photo on the far right of the third row back, wearing glasses. He was also a member of the Quarter Century Club.
Date posted: November 21, 2013No Comments
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 night himself, his wife and friends used to go to the BU Sports Club.
He was a member of the BU Quarter Century Club and was a Steward for a few years.
Second left, front row, 1968.
He 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: November 18, 20132 Comments
Margaret Walne has sent us the following memories about her father, George Holmes.
My father George Holmes was in the shoe machinery industry for 52 years. He began his career with the Gimson Shoe Machinery Company during the Great War where he served his full time under Indentiture with the exception of a period dating from 4 April 1918 to 10 February 1919 during which time he was called up for military service. He moved to the BUSM’s head office in Leicester when the two firms amalgamated in 1930. On the commercial management side he was well known to shoe manufacturers in many countries and travelled extensively to South Africa, Australia and New Zealand and in the early days these trips were made by ship, being away from home sometimes for three months at a time. He became a director in 1946 and assistant managing director in 1956 and retired in 1968. He died in 1990 aged 91.
It is very sad that this great company is no longer in existence. I don’t recall ever visiting the offices or factory but do remember the excellent productions put on by the Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society. I also remember having old wooden shoe lasts to burn on our open fire at home!
Date posted: November 1, 20131 Comment