We continue to fill in the gaps in our coverage, the new items added since
the last Newsletter can be accessed as usual via the blue links. If you are
able to add to these records, we would be pleased to hear from you. They include:
Memories of times past SAGINAW PEOPLE
We have been able to include a large number of photographs
of ex-Westwood Works employees on the relevant website but
have been less successful in recording images of employees from other
operating companies. As these two websites were intended to be as much
about people as buildings and products we will attempt to redress this
balance before declaring our work to be finished. As the above photo
indicates, a start has been made on - "Saginaw
Many of you will have recognised a well-known face on British television
over the last few weeks. John Peake, a 1948 Olympian, was not only involved
in the 2012 Olympic Torch Round Britain Relay, but was interviewed on a number
of TV programmes over the period. John shares some of his memories of competing
in the 1948 Games, contrasting the 2012 experience with his
own in 1948 when having an egg for breakfast was considered to be a luxury.
We have received another interesting bit of memorabilia, sent in by Brian
Hodges. In our coverage of activities at Westwood
Works in WW2, you might have come across the story about Baker
Perkins being one of the first firms to be allowed toproof
fire their own guns as they came off the assembly line. BPHS
is now the proud owner of what is claimed to be the last shell case fired
at Westwood on 10/10/1945. Proofing took place behind the Works; the 'round'
being replaced by a wad of paper which it was hoped would disintegrate before
causing any damage. This caused some excitement for the Works
Fire Brigade - and, it is said, for the signalman in the Great
Northern Box controlling the adjacent London to Edinburgh main railway line.
While on the subject of our predecessors' involvement in military activities,
there is more to tell about the application of Jacob Perkins' fertile imagination
to the problems of naval
warfare in the "Second American War of Independence".
The writer has very happy memories of three years spent in the "Black
Shed", the temporary accommodation erected in 1969 behind the Apprentice
School to house Baker Perkins' first dedicated marketing organisation - "Bismark".
Unfortunately, we have only one photograph of the interior - see HERE -
but close examination of a recently
acquired aerial shot of the site (scroll down to - "1975:
Aerial View of Site"), appears to show the first part of the sales office
accommodation in situ with building material together with another section
of the "Elliott" building sitting on the Works car park. It had
been thought that the photograph showed the erection of the "Black Shed" but
the presence of the second multi-storey office block confirms that the shot
dates from 1975 and therefore shows the demolition of the "Bismark" buildings.
By this time, the Biscuit Division personnel will have been re-located on
the 4th floor of the new office block.
The identification of the many buildings that shared the frontage onto
Westfield Road has been addressed in recent issues of this Newsletter. Publication
sparked a response from John
Peake, recalling his time in one of these buildings.
In our Spring 2012 issue, Jim Kowalczyk described the current condition
of the Baker
Perkins Inc factory in Hess Street, Saginaw and mentioned that
B&P Processing Equipment - which acquired the old Baker Perkins Chemical
Machinery business - was still active in part of the original building. We
have since heard from Michael Lazorchak, B&P's Global Product Manager,
that B&P was named the 2012 exporter of the year by the US small business
administration. A link to a video produced to commemorate this honour highlighting
B&P's operations in Building 12 of the historic Hess Street facility
can be found HERE.
Memorabilia continues to flood in. Not surprisingly, much relates to the
activities of the Baker Perkins Sports and Social Club and both the Cricket and Football sections
have had new material added:
Whilst it might seem that training of Apprentices was the main priority,
commercial training was also an essential part of the Training Department's
activities. A similar system existed where trainees studied at Peterborough
Technical College with successful employees receiving their certificates
at the Annual Prizegiving Evening. Typical certificates can be seen HERE.
We would welcome the loan of other "Commercial Training" certificates
to add to this collection.
an important part of the Printing Machinery Company's year and some relevant
paperwork has recently surfaced that will no doubt invoke many memories.
MEMORIES OF TIMES PAST EXPLOITING THE FREEDOM OF THE CITY?
The Freedom of the City has been described by the leader of Peterborough
City Council as - "the most honourable distinction that a local
authority can bestow upon an individual or organisation and as such, it is
awarded rarely". In the more than 100 years which have elapsed
since 1906, when first bestowed by Peterborough City Council upon Andrew
Carnegie, the honour has been granted to some 46 local citizens and organisations.
Among these have been two
ex-Baker Perkins employees.
Best wishes – Dick, Margaret and James Preston September 2012