One year later and here we are again, not much wiser, a little more worn but
still able to keep on keeping on. What more can anyone ask? We hope that life
continues to treat you and yours kindly.
New Additions to the Websites
Some of the items added since the last Newsletter can be accessed as usual
via the blue links. If you are able to add to any of the following items we
would be pleased to hear from you. It is gratifying that relevant material
continues to land in our In-basket on a regular basis some 13 years after we
took our first tentative steps in this project. It is even more amazing to
discover that we passed the one million hits mark at the end of May 2015. This
figure might be considered commonplace in these days of things "going
viral" but please note that this is the figure for the total number of
hits on the Westwood Works Website only. The total for our two sites together
would be nearer 1.6 million. We feel pretty chuffed and very grateful to those
of you out there who continue to support us in our endeavours. In return, we
are committed to continue recording the history of the old company as long
as health and energy permit. Some more "Vitals" appear later in
Our second Virtual Book - VB02 - "Baker Perkins Working in
the Wider Community" - is now accessible via the BPHS Website.
Your comments would be appreciated. (Click HERE)
Projects - We are looking for examples of other projects
- big or small - carried out by Baker Perkins Apprentices to add to our
Baker Perkins at War" - Final formatting is in hand
together with the insertion of dozens of hyperlinks. This is likely to be
a lengthy process continuing for some time after the book is "published".
Other possible Virtual Book projects:
Baker Perkins' Global Activities.
Baker Perkins at its Zenith.
All the information necessary to begin to structure these exists on the Websites
- See - HERE and HERE for
the "Global Activities" - See - HERE for "At
Your comments on these suggestions would be appreciated.
Are we millionaires? As stated in our opening paragraph
BPHS has achieved millionaire status or at least as measured by the number
of "hits" on our Websites. In the past we have measured our progress
by counting the total number of words and images on each site and comparing
it with "War and Peace" and other major works. Not that we suggest
for a moment that ours is of a similar literary merit but we have not yet
discovered another company history having a similar coverage of everyday
activities. The latest figures are:
James assures us that all these numbers are "reliable".
(For your information the English translation of "War and Peace" contains
1,200 to 1,600 pages or close to 560,000 words - depending on font and page
size. However, Tolstoy chose not to include any pictures in his epic).
The boiler is very rusty but still standing. The house was built around
1908 for Col Tredenham Fitzherbert Carlyon. The basement has been bricked
up for over 60 years and has just this week been opened up." The
building was his Manor House in Farnborough, Hampshire.
Aublet Harry - The descendents of Norman Harry - who was
a director of Aublet
Harry, manufacturers of laundry
equipment at the time it was acquired by Baker Perkins in 1924 - kindly
loaned BPHS some papers and photographs from his 46 years of service with
long-serving Oven- We were contacted recently by a baker
in Canada who is refurbishing a brick oven, originally installed in 1920,
seeking a supplier of stopped-end
steam tubes. A brick oven is essentially a lorry-load of bricks holding
apart some ironwork forming the "working parts" of the oven.
Interestingly enough, the oven was built by "The Brantford Oven
and Rack Company". So, could there have been any connection
between this oven and Baker Perkins, Brantford being the site of Joseph
Baker’s original company set up in 1870 to produce the patented
War Winning Wizardry "-In a newspaper interview a
few days after VE Day in May 1945, Ivor Baker outlined Westwood Works'
magnificent contribution to the Allies'victory in Europe.
Telephone Communication System - In this view looking
north from Peterborough,
Baker Perkins' multi-storey
office block sticks out from the surrounding Fens like a sore thumb.
It comes as little surprise to learn that the RAF used it as an aiming point
in their training exercises in the lead up to WW2. We have recently heard
rumours that the office block also housed part of a police radio communication
system. Is there anything more that can be told about this, please?
Housing for Employees (See HERE). This
link leads to Brackley Close - developed by John Pointon to house the executives
of Joseph Baker & Sons making the "Great
Trek" from Willesden. It has now been determined that John himself
lived in Airedale - a "substantial" house in Dogsthorpe Road. This
research also confirmed that Josh
Booth lived in the
Manor House, Dogsthorpe.
Commercial Exporting Procedures Seminar - Barnby Moor, May 1970 -
In 1971, the responsibility for international sales was given to the operating
divisions and Baker
Perkins International Ltd moved back to Westwood Works, Peterborough.
A training plan was put in place to familiarise the Peterborough commercial
office with the minutiae of shipping procedures, Bills of Lading, etc., etc.
A detailed picture of the growth of Baker Perkins' export sales business
is accessible HERE.
Perkins Retired Members Club activities. The Club continues
to meet each Wednesday at the New England Club in Occupation Road. Formed
in 1959, the club currently has rather fewer members than the 130 (each
paying 5p per week) at its height. Nevertheless, this loyal band of ex-employees
turns up each week to enjoy a game of snooker or dominoes and reminisce
about the old days over a pint. Why not join us?
Roll Call of Members of the WWRUFC over the years. At
a recent Lunch Meeting of ex-players Walter Blades suggested that a list
should be drawn up of ex-Apprentices (and others) who have at one time or
another donned the green and blue striped shirt to defend the Company's honour
on the field of Rugby. A first attempt can be seen HERE. Please
accept our apologies if we have missed anybody.
Printing Division Footlights Revue - We have been given
a copy of a cartoon by Ivan
Cumberpatch which features most if not all of the members of the Division.
The headline is - "Printorama Footlights Revue Dec 1972". Was it
an event or just a cartoon? Does any ex-member of the Division have further
Printing Division Charity Events - Ever a lively bunch,
the Printing Division attended or staged a number of events for Charity. HERE are
some examples of their ingenuity when donning fancy dress.
Division Memories- Ian Douglas's account of the development
of the Printing Machinery Division has featured on the Website for some
time but the opportunity has been taken to add an Index with the intention
of making Ian's superbly detailed history more accessible.
Peter Down's reminiscences - Peter joined Baker Perkins
in July 1979 and left in September 1987. He recalls - "I was employed
as an electronics engineer working with Stephen Terrell. We designed and
built the control system for the BiPlex mixer. However, by this
time the advent of microprocessors meant that I was now also becoming a software
engineer and gaining expertise in real-time control systems." (See HERE for
Peter's memories of life at Westwood in the Experimental
Baker Perkins' development of Mobile
Bakeries - is the key focus of our latest (and largest) "virtual
book"- "Baker Perkins at War" - mentioned earlier.. The
challenges created by the need to feed troops in action are likely to
be the subject of some of our future research.
Please get in touch if you think there are features of life at Baker Perkins
that we have missed or have not covered sufficiently. If you are bursting to
have your own part in the development of the company recorded on the Website,
we would be very pleased to hear from you. However, one day soon we will have
to say - "enough is enough" - so don't miss the boat!
We hope to see you all at the Reunion on Friday 25th September
Best wishes from
Dick, Margaret and James Preston
HYPERLINKS - A WORD OF WARNING
It is possible that clicking on a "link" appears to have deposited
you in an area of the website seemingly of no direct relevance to your search. It
is possible of course that we have made an incorrect connection but it might
also have been a deliberate ploy to get you to scroll around until you find
the information you seek. On the way, you might catch sight of another interesting
item that sends you off in another direction and expose yet more of the websites'
Finally, Gabrielle Abbott, Secretary of the BPHS Committee, whose tasks
include the distribution of the quarterly Newsletter detailing their planned
social activities, has asked me to mention that she is concerned that
not everyone is getting her emails now that her email address has changed from:
If you have not received anything from her recently – she sent out
a BPHS Newsletter on Tuesday 30 June – please:
(a) Look in your Spam and Junk folders, as well as your Inbox, as it may have
(b) Add her email address – the new shorter one – into your Contacts,
so that your email system recognises her in future;
(c) Let me know, so that I can tell her. She can always send you printed
copies by post, if all else fails, but email is more convenient – as
long as it works!