As indicated in our last Newsletter, it is intended that the two websites
should be periodically updated, albeit at less frequent intervals than in the
past. This issue includes not only some new material that has recently surfaced
but begins a process of adding to the websites some of the large number of
photographs that we still have on file.
Please note that each new issue of the "Westwood Websites Update Newsletter" will
appear in the "News" section
of the Westwood Works Website as and when issued instead of being circulated
by e-mail as at present
New Additions to the Websites
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 THE SAGINAW FACTORY IN ITS PRIME
Early in January this year, Jim Kowalczyk walked by the site of the Baker
Perkins factory in Hess Street, Saginaw and photographed
the demolition of most of the old buildings. It is not known
what will happen to the site but presumably it will not house another Prison,
as at Westwood.
The only operation remaining on the Saginaw site is the B&P
Process Equipment operation to which Baker Perkins
sold its Saginaw chemical machinery business in 1995. Oddly enough, the
security measures give the facility something of the air of a prison!
last Newsletter described the contents of three Apprentice Record Books
that turned up in a farmer's barn in Crowland. From the "Register of Indentured Apprentices" we
have been able to create a list of Apprentices who joined the company between 1949
and September 1953 - which is when our photographic record of Apprentice
Another example of the Company's desire to be involved with
work in the community came when, in 1973, plans were laid to build the
Cresset in Bretton.
Mary Jo Darrah (Sir Ivor Baker's daughter)
tells us that one of the spin-offs from the development of these Websites
is that contact has been made - often after a number of years - with
other members of the far-flung Baker family. A recent spate of e-mail correspondence
was sparked by one of the Canadian side of the family, Thomas Henry William
Baker (b.1949), known as Harry - who has drafted a Newsletter detailing
the rich history of the Bakers for circulation to the other Canadian members
of the family. Those of you interested in the genealogy might like at this
point to click HERE and
start with the immediate descendents of Samuel Baker (1759-1809). Those descendents
who were directly associated with the Company are shown HERE. Mary
Jo reminds us that:
"Joseph Baker was the youngest of Samuel Baker's
11 children. Samuel emigrated in 1819 to Canada and the two last 2 children
were born in Canada - William in 1820 and Joseph in 1823, before their mother
died in 1924. Harry is a great great grandson of William Baker. William's
4th child was John Ferris Baker, whose eldest child was William Coombs Baker,
whose eldest child was William Workman Baker, whose youngest child born in
1949 is Thomas Henry William Baker, known as Harry. I had not come across
him until the end of September when Gabrielle put him in touch with me. I
am a great great grand-daughter of Joseph through my father, and through
my mother a great great grand-daughter of Thomas. So we are both great great
great grandchildren of Samuel - along with a great many others!"
Still delving back in time, we have heard of two
other vintage baking ovens, this time of A.M. Perkins manufacture,
residing in a house that was built in Headbourne Worthy, Winchester in
c1590. We are trying to date the oven's installation more closely.
It is perhaps not too surprising to come across peel ovens still in operation
after more than 100 years - being of relatively solid construction with few
moving parts - but band ovens of a similar age are rather rarer. However,
our attention has recently been drawn to the website of Furniss
Foods of Redruth, Cornwall on which is featured its 62-year
old Baker Perkins gas-fired biscuit oven, It is particularly interesting
to note that its owners promote as a marketing advantage, the perhaps inevitable
variations in shape and colour expected from "A lady of her age".
The Furniss Foods oven (above) is fitted with Keith Blackman gas-fired
equipment, For the story of KB's association with Baker Perkins click HERE and
scroll down to - "Gas Equipment for Biscuit Ovens".
While you are in a sporting mood, a rather puzzling photograph has surfaced
which purports to show a Westwood
Works Ladies Cricket XI from 1929. Can anyone shed any
light on the background to this photograph, please? Almost certainly taken
at Alma Road, who is the lucky man?
One important department not covered so far is the Westwood
Works Personnel Department. Perhaps the only time that the
average employee recalls visiting the Personnel Department was when they
joined, or when they left, the Company. However it was a function that
was involved with just about every aspect of life at Westwood.
Exton - a Service Engineer who joined as an Apprentice in
1947, shares his memories of his apprenticeship, his time in the Tube
Shop at Westwood and something of his life as a Service Engineer.
As mentioned in the introduction to this Newsletter, our files still contain
a large number of photographs not yet uploaded onto the websites. We will be
working on this over the next few months and many will appear as a "Gallery" at
the end of some of the existing chapters. The first one will be - "The
Saginaw Product Gallery".