Many apologies to those of you who were expecting to have received several newsletters by this time. We have not been resting on our laurels. The distribution of our Christmas 2015 Newsletter released something of an information log-jam with the arrival of a cascade of interesting and relevant news items which are being up-loaded onto our two websites. Items of interest keep pouring in and we have been working hard in the background. This flood of interesting information means that the Winter 2016/17 Newsletter has become very large. Therefore we have decided to make it the final one and present it via the website. We are very busy at the moment planning for the future of the websites and the entire Baker Perkins Historical Society activity and this is preventing the usual blue "links" being inserted throughout this Newsletter. As and when additional memorabilia or news is received it will be posted on one of the websites with a note in a prominent place. We recognise that some parts of this Newsletter require more work and this will be carried out whenever possible during 2017. This Newsletter was produced under rather trying circumstances but we hope you will be able to make sense of it. The rest of the text will be accessible by clicking the links.
Items added to Websites since January 2016:-
1. Website News
2. News from North America
3. Bakery Hall of Fame - Inventive Engineers
4. Additions to Virtual Book - "Westwood Works in WW2"
5. Baker Perkins in the Automobile Business
6. Additions to Recent Articles - Baker Perkins, Myth or Legend
7. Rescued Relics - Echoes of the Past
8. Baker Perkins in the Community
9. Manor House Hospital
10. An Earlier Newsletter
11. Company and Sports Club Open Days
12. Possible future projects which will be tackled when opportunity and time allow.
1. WEBSITE NEWS
HITS ON OUR WEBSITES Surprise has been expressed by
some of our professional contacts at the number of hits being registered
on our two websites. Whilst not approaching the "going viral" heights
of some contributions to the growth of social media, for a minimal interest
website, the hit rates are considered "Interesting" and deserving
of deeper investigation. We will seek advice.
HELP NEEDED While you are searching through your bottom
drawers, may we mention one more item that is conspicuous by its absence
from our collection - we have not yet found a copy of a book of sketches
similar to "Pickings from Perkins" but in this instance called "Bakers
Batch" which was produced at the end of WW1 by Jack Bunce of Joseph
Baker & Sons Ltd, Willesden. The 25 drawings depicted the members of
the Willesden drawing office.
PROGRESS TO DATE It is inevitable that the current rate of activity on the Websites cannot continue indefinitely, age will begin to take its toll and the stream of useful information will start to dry up. How this process should be managed - should we go out with a ‘Bang’ or a Whimper’? What needs to be done to safeguard BPHS's short and long-term future? Some of these arguments, and progress made, will be addressed in the final paragraphs of this Newsletter. We will keep you informed of progress, but any suggestions about the future of the activity will be welcome.
THE BAKER PERKINS ARCHIVE The archiving and cataloguing of the mass of artefacts, memorabilia and paperwork amassed over the past 13 years will be a key task for the next two to three years for the staff of Peterborough's Central Library Archives Services. Gabrielle is overseeing the transfer of material stored at Paston
2. NEWS FROM NORTH AMERICA
CANADIAN MUSEUM The inhabitants of Trenton, Canada are recognising one of their famous sons by dedicating part of a new museum to Joseph Baker. BPHS has been helping with the donation of some relevant artefacts. We hope to have some photographs later. Photographs of the Museum will be included later.
PHOTOS OF MAPLE RIDGE FARM Clearance to use has not been received to date.
MANUFACTURE OF REPLICA FLOUR SIFTER IN CANADA? The developers of the museum in Trenton, Canada, are investigating the possibility of making copies of the Baker flour sifter to sell in their Museum.
THE EARLY HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE SAGINAW FACTORY For Press article on developments from Werner & Pfleiderer to Baker Perkins Inc.
BAKER PERKINS , SAGINAW IN WW2
BP INC, SAGINAW LETTERS TO EMPLOYEES ON ACTIVE SERVICE.
SAGINAW OUTPUT OF BAKERY EQUIPMENT FOR THE TROOPS IN WW2.
SAGINAW OUTPUT OF PARTS FOR AA GUNS IN WW2 COMPARED WITH SIMILAR PARTS MADE IN THE UK.
A GI'S VIEW OF THE UK IN WW2 A number of ex-Saginaw employees called up on active service in Europe succeeded in getting to Westwood Works despite the difficulties. They were less than complimentary about the state of the railways but touched by the warmth of the welcome they received. The level of activity and the excellence of the machine tools and manufacturing processes at Westwood came as something of a surprise.
COMPARISON OF WAYS OF MOTIVATING TROOPS IN UK AND USA (SAGINAW VERSUS PLENIOR) There was a marked difference in the newsletters sent to both sets of troops. Saginaw's effort was to ensure that ex-employees were kept in contact with their workmates as they were posted around the world. The British version dwelt at length on the quality of life, particularly if one was interested in the game of cricket.
SAGINAW ASSEMBLY SHOP IN WW2 - It has been
confirmed that a comprehensive album of photographs exists of the BP Inc.
Saginaw factory in action during WW2. Jim Kowalczk, an ex-employee of Baker
Perkins Inc. and a keen contributor of American company history to our websites,
is attempting to determine the current whereabouts of this photo album.
I knew that Baker Perkins had made upper structure fabrications
for Defoe Ship building in Bay City where they built the Destroyers, and
I also knew that Baker Perkins built components or complete 50 calibre machine
guns (Clarence Sherping's father was in charge of that project). Baker
Perkins built mixers and finishing equipment for gun propellants. They also
built machine tools (Giddings and Lewis mills and Cincinatti Mills etc) and
in fact most of the machines that were in Building Four in Saginaw were built
by Baker Perkins during the war. Bob Stanek also had photos of anti aircraft
gun bases built at Baker Perkins and 2 wheeled trailers (that looked like
they would be used for electronic gear or radio gear for the Army). And as
you might expect they built lots of ovens, food prep machinery etc. for the
US military. I'm getting quite an education looking through this stuff. Bob
is also a big help, he is now 84, but started at Baker Perkins when he was
18 years old and was one of the last people to leave five years after B&P
bought the facility from APV/Baker".
3. BAKING HALL OF FAME – INVENTIVE ENGINEERS
Towards the end of last year Joseph Baker and Jacob Perkins were nominated to The "American Society of Baking Hall of Fame" by a long term customer - a very prestigious honour. This nomination was successful and Joseph and Jacob were inducted in March 2016. The text of the nomination follows:
Equipment pioneers Jacob Perkins and Joseph Baker left a legacy of technological innovation
Text of Nomination
In the late 19th century, two North Americans laid the foundations for technology that would utterly change the way bread, cookies, crackers and snacks are made. Today, the company carrying forward the legacies of Joseph Baker (1823-92) and Jacob Perkins (1766-1849) continues to bear their names, and the influence of these latest of 2016 Baking Hall of Fame inductees can be felt at hundreds of thousands of bakeries around the world that operate Baker Perkins equipment every day.
Engineering genius characterized both men. Mr Perkins was a prolific inventor who moved to England from Massachusetts in 1819. Much of his work and that of his successors involved steam technologies, including a steam oven for baking bread. Mr Baker, a Canadian, invented a simple combined flour scoop and sifter for household use. He moved his successful business from Ontario to England in the 1870s.
Mr Perkins held 21 American and 19 British patents for various types of steam-powered machinery, although it was his son, Angier March Perkins, who first applied steam to baking ovens. Another son, Loftus Perkins, is credited with making the crucial breakthrough, the stopped-end steam tube oven, which he patented in 1865. This transformed baking of bread in ovens because, until this time, there was no satisfactory way of controlling oven temperature.
The key invention by Mr Baker was a handheld flour sifter, patented in Canada in 1870 and the US in 1871. Only three years after transferring his business to the UK, he developed biscuit-making machinery, the first time that a sector of the food industry had been mechanized. Invention of travelling and stationary ovens soon followed. Joseph Baker & Sons Ltd rapidly became the most important food machinery manufacturer in the UK.
A.M. Perkins & Son Ltd, the business established in 1830 by his son, Angier, continued his father’s fascination with steam technologies. At one point, its steam engines and boilers were represented by Joseph Baker & Sons. When Perkins came out with its own steam oven, the two companies became fierce rivals. During World War 1, however, they teamed up to build automated baking equipment for armies in the field. In 1920, they merged to form Baker Perkins Ltd.
“The pioneering efforts of Joseph Baker and Jacob Perkins in the introduction of automated bread plants in the 19th century started a process of continual improvement that is still ongoing,” said Brett Warburton, director, Warburtons Ltd, Bolton, UK, and a member of the 2015 class of the Baking Hall of Fame. “The development of today’s high-output, hygienic, sophisticated equipment can be traced back to their initiative and abilities.”
Underpinning the post-war success of the company was development of its apprenticeship program, Dick Preston, president of the Baker Perkins Historical Society, noted that it “provided trained engineers to the world at large (and) setting a level of excellence recognized both nationally and internationally today”. He is one who benefited from this programme.
Another former employee, Clive Tolson, president of Baker Thermal Solutions, remembered how many of his colleagues at Baker Perkins went through the company’s craft and engineering apprenticeships or commercial training programmes. “As I travel the world today, it is rare for me not to meet someone who was trained by or worked for Baker Perkins,” he said.
The two founders never met. “Although Jacob Perkins and Joseph Baker never actually worked together, they were the patriarchs that set these companies on a course that later changed the history of baking forever”, said Rowdy Brixey, director of engineering for Bimbo Bakeries USA, Horsham, PA, when nominating the pair to the Baking Hall of Fame.
The influence of the inventors is also felt in the company’s culture. A former employee, Robert A. Wells, now senior account manager for Baker Thermal Solutions, said he often quoted to his customers the phrase from a company brochure, “We aren’t satisfied thinking our equipment or methods are the best they can be”.
Dan Smith, general manager, Baker Perkins, Inc., observed, “The original values exhibited by Joseph Baker and Jacob Perkins continue to influence the evolution and focus of Baker Perkins and its contribution to the industry”.
Speaking of Baker Perkins’ place in bakery equipment history, Mr Preston said, “It is impossible to overestimate the importance of the breakthrough in developing a fully automatic bread plant”. He noted that the company’s pioneering inventors were “much ahead of their time”.
And he added, “The unique (Baker Perkins) ethos, recognized by both its employees and its customers, has been honed over many years and is clearly manifested in the loyalty shown by its ex-employees, which ensures that an average of 200 attend the biennial reunions organized by the Baker Perkins Historical Society”.
Baker Perkins Ltd is headquartered in Peterborough, UK, with a US office at Grand Rapids, MI. It operates innovation centres at both locations and is now owned by a private investor. The Baker Perkins Historical Society maintains www.bphs.net which provides rich details about the company and its founders.
4. ADDITIONS TO VIRTUAL BOOK "BAKER PERKINS AT WAR"
RE-STRUCTURING OF "WESTWOOD WORKS IN WW2" This is being modified in line with the structure of "BP at War".
SAGINAW ASSEMBLY SHOP IN WW2 It has been confirmed that a comprehensive album of photographs exists of the BP Inc. Saginaw factory in action during WW2. Jim Kowalczk, an ex-employee of Baker Perkins Inc, and a keen contributor of American company history to our websites, is attempting to determine the current whereabouts of this photo album. Jim comments:
“I knew that Baker Perkins had made upper structure fabrications for Defoe Ship building in Bay City where they built the Destroyers, and I also knew that Baker Perkins built components or complete 50-calibre machine guns (Clarence Sherping's father was in charge of that project). Baker Perkins built mixers and finishing equipment for gun propellants. They also built machine tools (Giddings and Lewis mills and Cincinatti Mills etc) and in fact most of the machines that were in Building Four in Saginaw were built by Baker Perkins during the war. Bob Stanek also had photos of anti-aircraft gun bases built at Baker Perkins and 2-wheeled trailers (that looked like they would be used for electronic gear or radio gear for the Army). And as you might expect they built lots of ovens, food prep machinery etc. for the US military. I'm getting quite an education looking through this stuff. Bob is also a big help, he is now 84, but started at Baker Perkins when he was 18 years old and was one of the last people to leave five years after B&P bought the facility from APV/Baker".
ADDITIONS TO BAKER PERKINS AT WAR - ROSE BROTHERS WW2 LAPEL BADGE We have been given an example of the enamelled lapel badge issued to Rose employees who contributed to the War Effort in WW2.
It is a little more colourful than the somewhat austere design of the one issued at Westwood Works.
ARTILLERY PIECES MADE AT WESTWOOD IN WW2 Ivor Baker's fascinating description of the activity at Westwood Works during WW2 and the work carried out in producing and developing an amazing number and variety of artillery pieces is being re-vamped to improve its accessibility.
PRESERVED ARMAMENTS We were contacted recently by someone who, believe it or not, collects and restores WW1 and WW2 ordnance as a hobby. (That must scare off the burglars) Melvin Bean is a member of one of the growing number of re-enactment societies dedicated to preserving artefacts from recent military encounters. He tells us "I am a collector of WW1 & WW2 Artillery pieces and am familiar with the work carried out by Baker Perkins during the War. I have a 5.5" gun on a B.P welded carriage in my collection, also a friend of mine has a couple of 25pdr's manufactured by B.P. in his collection. I am currently restoring a WW1 6" 26cwt Howitzer Mk.1PA that was converted in 1941 from cart wheels to pneumatic tyres thus allowing it to be towed behind the Artillery Tractors of the time. I was unaware that B.P. had done work on these guns but I see on your Westwood Works website that there is a picture of some 6" carriages that have been converted to the pneumatic wheels".
WHERE TO SEE BAKER PERKINS GUNS MADE AT WESTWOOD This conversation triggered off the idea of producing a "virtual book" listing where guns made at Westwood can still be seen - a proposal currently being investigated by John Burnham.
PR0GRESS TO DATE John has contacted The Royal Armouries whose Phil Magrath, Curator of Artillery, has provided some very useful information. He suggests "May I offer a few thoughts? In the section ‘Testing Guns at Westwood’, I believe the following to be true. The image ‘4.52” Gun’ is the 5.5-inch Medium Gun. The image marked ‘More guns for the War effort’ shows the 17-pounder Mark III modified anti-tank gun in the 17-pounder/25-pounder Mark II naval mounting. These army guns were carried in LCG (M) landing craft. I hope this helps".
5. BAKER PERKINS IN THE AUTOMOBILE BUSINESS
Like many engineering companies in the 1900's, individual members of what came to be the Baker Perkins Group, were caught up in the manufacturing hysteria which surrounded the development of the motor car, and with varying success. The most significant were:-
WESTWOOD WORKS AND THE "MERCIAL" A rather desperate but unsuccessful venture, championed by F.C. Ihlee, to produce a car at Werner, Pfleiderer & Perkins, Westwood Works, with only three cars being produced in 1904. It had been suggested that W, P & P's product, despite being technically well ahead of its competition, failed to convince its market that the I.C. engine offered performance superior to the horse. Augustus Muir, in his "History of Baker Perkins" (Page 53), suggests that the three existing Mercials gave "good service" but obviously not good enough to convince the rest of the Board members.
In 1905, a company was formed to provide a motor bus service to the Peterborough area. It had been suggested that a number of Mercial chassis would be purchased from W, P & P and fitted with a bus body. At the time it was estimated that five buses would be needed but there is no evidence to suggest that any were supplied. The Peterborough Omnibus and Carriage Company had grandiose plans to provide a passenger and other traffic service within a radius of 15 to 20 miles from Peterborough.
It is not known why the agreement between Peterborough Bus Company and W,
P & P was cancelled. The Peterborough Bus Company was finally wound up
in February 1912. It would seem that despite the Mercial's technical superiority,
no more than three vehicles were ever completed. Cynics at Westwood said
that F.C. Ihlee never quite got over it.
Could this be one of the Mercials? The scaffolding in the background suggests that this was taken in 1918 when the second storey was put onto the 1908 building. By then, the Mercials would be more than ten years old. This example shows it in one of its many guises.
ROSE BROTHERS AND THE "ROSE" CARS Altogether a much more rewarding exercise with fully 150 cars being manufactured at William Rose's Albion Works, the most famous of which was his 18-h.p. National model. This won a hill-climbing competition and a 40-h.p. model raced at Brooklands. Despite this success, Alfred Rose returned to the manufacture of his traditional products in 1904.
JOB DAY & SONS LTD WAS FORMED IN 1901 The founder had invented a machine to pack soap. However, packaging machinery was not the only interest. They had just made the world's first bacon slicer and were early manufacturers of motorcycles. A motorcycle engine was used when, in 1912, they produced a prototype car – the "Day Leeds". The prototype did not go into production and a later version of the "Day Leeds" was fitted with a 'proper' four cylinder, water-cooled engine.
By 1915 over one hundred had been sold but WW1 intervened and production was put on hold for five years. By 1924 output had topped three hundred cars and business appeared to be flourishing. However, with larger manufacturers entering the market mass production techniques were needed to stay competitive. The company's resources were limited; production of cars eventually ceased and Job Day & Sons began to concentrate their efforts on the development of packaging machines.
STEVENS DURYEA AT WILLESDEN An American car manufacturer sought a partner to serve the UK market and created a sales company with Joseph Baker & Sons. However, this was not a success and Stevens Duryea went on to develop its own distribution organisation.
ROSE BEARINGS AND THE FORMULA ONE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP A relatively small number of years later, but light years away in terms of automotive engineering technology, the name "Baker Perkins" appeared again on a very different type of car. Rose Bearings had developed its product to the point where the name had become synonymous with the application and its rod ends were the bearing of choice for the suspensions of virtually all Grand Prix racing cars around the world.
For James Hunt, however, it was not so successful. He had a whole series of minor accidents and became known in motor racing circles as “Hunt the Shunt". At the end of the 1971 motor racing season, Hunt and Rose Bearings parted company. Rose Bearings had achieved what they wanted from the sponsorship and James Hunt was about to move onto bigger things, becoming world Formula 1 champion driver. His success, achieved in the year of great controversy in Formula 1 motor racing, demonstrated to the world his skill, courage and tenacity. Victory came in the last race of the Formula One season in the Japanese Grand Prix.
“All four tyres on Hunt’s McLaren burst during the race, but he still managed to finish. In the slippery course conditions just after the heavy rain only 11 cars crossed the finishing line out of 25 starters. Niki Lauda withdrew from the race after the first lap due to severely dangerous race conditions.”
But the Hunt/Rose Bearings connection was still there five years after he
drove their team car. His McLaren car, like that of world champion Emerson
Fittipaldi, was fitted with Rose Bearings. Interestingly enough, when
James Hunt joined the Rose Bearings racing team, it was predicted in the magazine "Motor" he
would become world champion in 1980.
CAR REGISTRATION PLATES With a steady increase in numbers of people from all corners of the world logging onto our websites comes a postbag full of enquiries, some expected, some surprising, some bizarre but all very welcome and interesting - some of which prompt us to go chasing off down a path we have not traversed before.
The petrol heads among you will know that in 1904 a law was introduced that all cars should be registered and carry a unique registration plate. Nicolas Young, of Car Number Classics (www.CarNumberClassics.com) contacted us recently because he had discovered that three of the first ten cars registered in the UK were owned by Joseph Baker and his brothers – ‘A3’ by Joseph Allen Baker, ’A6’ by George Samuel Baker and ‘A9’ by Philip Barton Baker. Unfortunately this could not be corroborated because the records of ‘A’ registrations have been destroyed. However, members of the Baker family have kindly supplied information and loaned us some relevant photographs showing registration plates of their early cars. So far, the only car for which we have no photographic evidence of its registration or its manufacturer is George Samuel Baker's "A6".
JOSEPH ALLEN BAKER IN ’A3’ AT THE FAMILY HOME - DONNINGTON
J. ALLEN BAKER'S HOME IN THE COUNTRY "In 1898, J Allen Baker purchased Donnington, the North London home where for twenty years he lived. Donnington had a garden of rather more than an acre and a half, full of lovely trees and fruits and flowers. It was surrounded by other gardens and by fields and might have been in deep country it was so quiet. He delighted in the peace of meals outdoors in summer, the ceaseless rustle of the poplars, the beauty of the roses, the fine crops of plums and pears and raspberries which grew there. At Donnington he passed, perhaps, the happiest years of his life."
An extract from "J. Allen Baker, a Memoir" by E.B.Baker and P.J.Noel Baker
6. ADDITIONS TO RECENT ARTICLES - BAKER PERKINS - MYTH OR LEGEND?
What is the difference between a myth and a legend? "Legends, myths, and fairy tales are all various types of folklore, most of which have been passed down through generations. Legends are usually based on some sort of historical fact and have had their characters or events embellished over the telling and retelling. Fairy tales generally have some sort of fantastic element, and might feature magic, imaginary creatures, and often a conflict between sides that are clearly good and evil. A myth has its basis in religion, often telling stories of supernatural beings or creators, and usually explaining some sort of natural phenomenon." So, presumably, we are asking if our view of Baker Perkins is realistic and is borne out by the facts on a day-by-day basis. (Ex-Google)
Unfortunately, not enough memories have been received to date to allow us
to make a decision as to whether Baker Perkins was either a myth or a legend. Is
there anyone out there who could possibly help solve this dilemma?
In our Christmas 2015 edition of this newsletter, we asked you to share your memories and impressions of life at Baker Perkins as part of our attempt to determine whether the generally accepted view that life at Baker Perkins was "unique", but was this myth or rooted in reality?
Although our efforts have so far not borne fruit we know that you will be interested in the views of at least two members of the Printing Machinery Company:
The following has for some time been in the Guestbook of www.westwoodworks.net by Paul Roper and might be considered as an apt postscript to this history.
"Never had the privilege of doing my apprenticeship at Baker Perkins but I certainly became a better engineer by joining the company as a field engineer in Printing and being privileged to work along side some superb engineers, particularly when I went into the factory working with the folder section on the new generation folder HS, or originally called 2C2. Just to let some of those people involved be aware that the first folder sent to Cradley is now finished due to the company closing; the second came here to Denmark, where I now work again, and is still hitting speeds of 12 metres per second and the G16 units with it just out perform anything alongside it. If Bakers were still here today then goodbye MAN Roland; the third went to Mirandela in Portugal which we recently renovated last year while I was still at Goss and achieved top speeds on all its products whilst there; the fourth went to Banta in USA but I know little or none of its history, The fifth and final was put together on a G25 in Toledo USA with Mirandela’s software to make it work and we achieved 90,000 copies per hour in Double Parallel. That press and folder are now in Melbourne Australia.
For those who worked at Baker Perkins hold your heads high and be proud. The factory in Peterborough produced the finest printing machines in the world"
Paul's comments have been echoed by Bill Fryers:
"I was just taking a look at the site on Baker Perkins and thought that I could add a few memories
As Baker Perkins it was a wonderful company to work for. This degraded under APV and then under Rockwell there were issues that resulted in the consolidation of the Sales group with the Goss sales group and the almost overnight loss of the vast majority of our sales.
The actions that were undertaken by Rockwell were a travesty.
I worked for Baker Perkins in the printing group mechanical DO under Roman Zrobek and amongst other things lead the design of the Harmonic drive chill rolls, the G44 printing unit range and the G25 prototype printing unit. I left when I saw that closure was inevitable.
I fondly remember Roman and understood his very dry sense of humour.
The first G44 press went into Kingfisher in Peterborough. Michael Cumberland led the design of the folder and I did the printing units. These machines introduced numerous innovations.
This first machine was a relatively large cut off with future sales expected to be in smaller cut offs.
The G44 was a cross grain press where the cylinders are wider and smaller diameter than with a long grain press. This required a different ‘Cylinder stack arrangement” to enable the print quality to be maintained.
Kingfisher used this press to print a number of high volume titles including the Radio Times and the Economist.
The G44 used the same type of microprocessor controlled inking system as had been initially developed for the G12.
After the G44 we moved on to design theG25 prototype.
The G25 Prototype printing unit was developed in a terrible rush working with Rockwell staff in Chicago (I think we started the design project in late January / Early February and the machine was printing in late July /early August. (The display prototype had time to Sea Freight to Chicago in time for the 1st of September).
We designed 2 units one was for demonstration only and featured both continuous dampening and brush dampening (one on the top and one on the bottom and likewise 2 different inking systems – a CUIM system and a continuous system. The other was used to test the ability of the machine to provide satisfactory print quality as this width of cylinder at this diameter was unknown at the time. We designed both a very narrow gap conventional lock up blanket and plate and also a cylinder where the plates and blankets were held on magnetically. These used magnets arranged to provide a very strong near field.
The magnets for these were to be supplied by Goss in Chicago. The display prototype had to be in the Chicago printing exhibition for the beginning of September along with print samples from the unit that was running in the Westwood works. This dramatically short timescale was set because we had heard rumours that Harris were going to show a gapless press at that time and we needed a competitor. This project was run as a skunk works project with Mike Leggatt taking frequent personal interest in the project. It was done by a very small group working in a dedicated room away from the rest of the DO.
The magnetic cylinders were seen as rather a step into the unknown and hence we did the very narrow gap set as well. We were worried about whether they would actually work and whether we would get tramp metal contamination. I still have one of the early prototype magnets.
The magnets then didn’t turn up and we proceeded with the very narrow gap conventional cylinders and we had time to get 1 demo unit up and running in time to print samples in the Westwood works. These were run through, from memory, an F2 folder. We were able to successfully get good quality print samples from this unit at speeds that were limited by the folder – that was then the fastest folder around."
We understand that memories differ over time and would appreciate any comments.
The first responses were from Dorothy and Alec Hammond. The familiar story of "Met at a Company dance - got married, left to start a family (not of course Alec) and then stayed at Westwood until retirement beckoned.
ALEC HAMMOND’S MEMORIES OF HIS TIME AT BAKER PERKINS
I left school in Croydon in 1938, when I was 14, and then took several jobs in seven months before I deserted my family and came to Peterborough. I took a job in Shipping as a bookkeeper at Baker Perkins in May 1939 and I worked in Shipping until 1991 when the Company moved to another site. I was broken-hearted but managed to pick up the pieces and found another job until I retired almost 16 years ago. As a bookkeeper I had to handle costs, invoices, process any orders and deliver notes/messages; filing cabinets surrounded me. It was also my job to stamp all incoming orders, and check invoices of outgoing orders. I had fun and the job paid me £5 each week as well (post-war, that is), but every ten years our salaries would change due to inflation.
When I started working at BP, I used to walk from my lodgings in a small cottage in North Peterborough to Westfield Road in the morning and afternoon because I couldn’t afford a bike, and I was broke. At 8.00am I left the house on time or I’d be late for my start at 9.10am. When I finished work at 4.30pm I always grabbed a bite to eat before trudging home through the muddy farmland and the vast fields. Westfield Road was crowded at 8.45am with all the workers flowing in, and we all had to clock in. It took at least half an hour to get fifty people through. Employee numbers were reduced when modernisation and new machinery moved in with the Company; that is when we all had computers. Several people were made redundant: the typing pool was mainly affected as only a few typists were required when computers were brought in.
My office in the small Shipping Department was right by the main entrance, as the Department controlled all outgoing and incoming orders from the lorries. The Personnel Department just controlled the staff and lorries, but we controlled the content of the HGV’s and lorries. The drivers went everywhere, so it was a good profession if you liked travelling. A department secretary and I were the only two people in the department, apart from the staff sent down from Personnel to help unload lorries and move in the orders for me to inspect before they were sent accordingly (?) No orders were processed during the lunch hour and breaks, as the tea trolley came round from the canteen with lovely sweets and treats but they weren’t a gift from the company; we had to pay. Of course, they did cups of coffee, latte or tea which were made especially for us – as staff we had a long day to work, five days a week, and it was typical in those days for some to work seven days. I had barely any training but was able to take on this fulfilling role, which I held for 41 years. I did want to stay but I thought I needed a change, so went elsewhere.
I was so sad to give in my notice of resignation to Personnel and the Contracts Department when the news got to me that the Company was leaving the site and moving elsewhere. When I discovered where they were moving to I couldn’t cycle all that way, so I got a job somewhere else. We did live right by a railway station so it was convenient in a way. Sadly I left, after 53 years of service with unforgettable memories and absolute joy! Thank you Baker Perkins for all those wonderful years.
DOROTHY HAMMOND’S MEMORIES OF HER TIME AT BAKER PERKINS
Before marital bliss, for eight years I worked at Baker Perkins. It was my first job in Peterborough, as I am from Sleaford in Lincolnshire. I worked in Contracts as a file typist, and I took on this role in February 1946. I did audio plus copy typing, taking dictation in the form of Pitman shorthand and also utilising the filing cabinet system. A duty of mine was to ensure accuracy on all staff contracts and also contracts with other businesses in the event that there should be an issue raised. I had to be efficient at taking messages and notes, and ensuring that I attached them to the correct file for the purposes stated above. I was paid £4 16s 10d every week and after paying my rent I had plenty of money left over to spend and have fun with.
I met my husband, Alec, at Baker Perkins in 1952 as week. We both attended the annual party put on by the Personnel Department every year. It was my job to ensure that we had people to provide food, refreshments and also the entertainment which was also a business matter in terms of contract, so was handed over to our department. We got married and I continued working at BP until I was eight months pregnant with our son, Clive. It was with sadness that I was forced to resign my position at Christmas 1953. I had worked there for seven years and still miss it hugely.
GLYN BARTLETT’S MEMORIES – A PREPARATION FOR LIFE
I arrived at Baker Perkins in 1959 from Lincoln Road School, did a pre-apprenticeship period and then an electrical apprenticeship working under Les Foreman on maintenance work and Mick Mitchell on production. However, I was never actually employed as an electrician. By the end of my apprenticeship I had moved to the electrical drawing office, briefly working under John Leach and then Lionel Brewster, when he came back to BP (from Square D I think), to work on printing electrics. By the end of' 1966 I had departed to pursue my own broader education, spending much of the intervening time working in schools, colleges and universities. When I came to leave Baker Perkins, it was not on the basis of - "I can't stand being here any longer". On the contrary, I had loved every minute of it, learnt so very much both formally and socially and had slowly started to grow-up. I was ever the slow learner. I had worked with characters the like of which I would rarely see again. It was simply that I was now looking for something else.
Although my stay at Baker Perkins was but a relatively short one it was, predictably, a very strong and positive influence on my development. Indeed, Baker Perkins was virtually in my blood from day one! My father, Alec Bartlett, worked for the company from 1938 until the early 80's, initially as a vertical borer and then as a m/c shop inspector. My mother, Eileen Beryl Jeffery, had been at the company from 1931 to about 1943, initially in some sort of works office and later I think in the Laundry Department. I know that at one time she worked under a Mr. Harry who was presumably connected with the takeover of Aublet-Harry. Up to the age of six, I lived in Taverners Road. Most of my parents’ friends were or had been Baker Perkins people. People like Jack Wildman and John Warwick (not much more than a boy then!) were visitors to our house in connection with table tennis. The sports club in Alma Road, Christmas events for us children, the annual Musical production, sports days, watching cricket at Alma Road, table-tennis tournaments, open days at Westwood and so on and so on were all part of my life before I even arrived in the place myself!
When I departed and became something of a permanent student for some years, still the Baker Perkins experience served me well. Even though I was then studying Philosophy, I had no trouble getting a temporary electrical drawing office job for the 14 or so weeks of the summer vacation. In fact, two of the places I worked for on that basis tried quite hard to get me to stay with them.
By then, I had learnt that Baker Perkins was very special. That the outside world was, so to speak, a very different place to Baker Perkins whatever sort of field one was in and that it was changing very, very quickly.
SYLVIA SISMEY (NEE HODGES) REMEMBERS
My dad Bertie Mellor Hodges left school when he was 12 (1911) and his first and last job was for Baker Perkins at their Westwood Works site. He loved it so much that he didn't retire until 1971, when he was 72 years old!!! When he married my mother he was working as a driller, and then when I was growing up he was the foreman of the fitting room. I recall seeing his pay packet in 1938 and it was £19/19/-. My parents never did have a car in their entire life, so naturally Dad cycled on his BSA to work every morning. He wasn't a very likeable man, as other former fitting room staff will recollect, and my own recollections is that he made the workers live in misery. He was one who insisted everything was perfect and if it wasn't he told them how to correct it and then it was redone and redone until it was up to his very high standards. Father was one piece of hard work, and even Mother didn't like his nature at times. He was a very informative, reserved gentleman. He must've been highly regarded at work as they gave him a big retirement party and a book with most staff's signatures in which I remember stood in the most prominent place in his domicile. I clearly remember he regretted retiring and wished he worked there for longer, and then we sadly lost him in 1991.
I know very little about Mother's career at Baker Perkins. I know she worked as a shorthand typist for them, and used Pitman Simplified shorthand. She joined when I was about 5 (1935) and left when rationing was introduced in mid January 1940. I imagine she worked in the Typing Pool though I cannot be definite on this.
My husband John William Sismey (we are now divorced sadly) worked for Baker Perkins as a turner. He only worked there for 3 years, 1955 to 1958. I remember he didn't enjoy his work, and was treated unfairly by the executive team so he left. If you were to ask him today you'd get stuff you wouldn't want to know and he'd be cursing and blaspheming about them as a company still to this day!!!
My second workplace was at Baker Perkins. I started work in the Typing Pool as a shorthand typist in 1944, and then I was an audio typist 1945-1946 and afterwards I went to work in the Cost Office (1946 - 1956). Our supervisor was Mrs Gabbertas in the Typing Pool, a very patient and polite lady but everything had to be perfect or it was retyped or re-dictated. I got £16 every month in wages, which wasn't much compared to wages nowadays. I studied Pitman shorthand in school and subsequently used it at BP, and we had to have 70wpm as a minimum to be accepted into the position. I had 74wpm which was just over, so I narrowly got the job luckily. Two notepads and two pens in my draw, and I was called here there and everywhere taking down shorthand dictation from whoever required it. I then went back to my desk and did 50wpm typing/transcribing the shorthand out into proper form. As an audio typist I sat at a desk and next to me was a large cumbersome Dictaphone machine or a person dictating; I typed what I heard basically. In the Cost Office it was all account work and typing out reports - seen to be boring nowadays! Then I left to get married to John Sismey, of whom I am divorced from now unfortunately.
I never worked in the Fitting Room but yes, my dad was like that! Dad may have appeared very loud but really he was quite reserved. It made me remember that when I went into the Fitting Room (this must be at least 1953) to ask my dad something I saw him yelling at his employees who were lined up against the wall looking like plain statues paying close attention to what Dad was lecturing them about.
I am free to admit that my father was a horrific man at work. He always insisted his employees were up to scratch and punctual. No gossip in his 'bay' - total silence and work, work, work! When apprentices joined the Fitting Room Dad treated them exactly the same as the other employees - he believed you did the job properly to earn a wage for it. Dad was always addressed as 'Sir' by his department staff.
Dad was a very plump man of 4'9, but could shout down the whole of the old Baker Perkins site with his loud voice! Out of working hours he was immensely reserved, quiet, but in charge. He kept a cane just to scare, and ran his secretary, Gloria Kinghorn, ragged as Dad was a lazy lay-about at work! Miss Kinghorn worked in the Training School.
For some reason I have just remembered that Mr Cecil and Mrs Mabel Gabbertas moved into a council house right next door to our house on Harewood Gardens in Westwood. The original houses were demolished and then the current properties were built on the site. When I went to work in the Cost Office we then moved into another rented house. Mrs Gabbertas retired from Baker Perkins in 1949, I believe to move to the Westminster area.
THE BAKER PERKINS ORCHESTRA For some time we have been searching for information about the Baker Perkins Orchestra. but with little success save a one-line mention in a local newspaper .However, in response to our recent request for stories about ex-employees' experiences at Baker Perkins, we were contacted by Sylvia Sismey who informed us - "Surprisingly I was a talented drummer at school, and then when I joined Baker Perkins in 1944 I also took part in the Baker Perkins Orchestra. Our instruments were in the staff canteen's dance hall area, and we had rehearsals every Monday and Tuesday for an hour beginning at 5:30pm sharp. Late and you got a strike = three strikes and you said farewell. We held a performance at lunchtime on Wednesdays as well - had to be fluently rehearsed I left when I finished working at the company. I remember Mrs Wortley (who later became an assistant Supervisor in the Typing Pool) was our leader, and she came in especially. She was a talented orchestra leader.
LEARNING ON THE JOB We arevery pleased to say that Phil Harnett has been persuaded to tell us more about how he coped with becoming proficient in Chinese - The first part of the story appears on www.bphs.net
THE "TOTAL IMMERSION" EXPERIENCE PAYS DIVIDENDS So
after living about 20 years of my life in China, I can get around OK, and
often can sit at a bar and joke with a guy over a beer. But business communication
and contractual talk still needs a “Carol” for sure.
Life for the modern traveller is certainly easier these days, as with Google translate loaded on to your phone, you can say or understand pretty much anything in any language, but I am happy that I went through the process of learning and messing up during the early nineties, as much fun was had by getting around the problems of building a large machine with only 20 words.
LEARNING TO SURVIVE IN A FOREIGN ENVIRONMENT More of Phil Harnett's experiences in China Learning Chinese the hard way. "As to the language barrier here goes …
For the first few weeks, I relied upon Jau Jie ( Carol ) who was my translator. Full of energy and quite a quick wit, she was great to have around. She would pick me up from the hotel at 7.30am and stay with me until turning in – often after 8pm, so some long days. In the early 90’s, nothing was in English, so even choosing stuff like shampoo in a market was impossible without her. However full of life as she was, after a few weeks it also became obvious that neither of us could continue at this pace, so I decided that I really needed to pick up enough language so as to become independent for shopping, eating and getting around.
Once facing this task head on, the reality soon sets in and you realise that without the written language, remembering the oral language becomes very difficult. I could not take home a book to study in the evenings, I could not practice by reading signs as the Chinese character set was way beyond me. To give a scale to the magnitude of the problem facing a foreigner, there are around 26,000 independent characters in the Chinese language. Of these, around 7,000 are in common use and would be needed to read a daily newspaper. This was not going to happen. Instead, I decided to use my western alphabet to get close to the words phonetic sound and then tried to remember the few letters that were missing – such as a sound that is half an “S” and half a “Sh”.
I started with the numbers, small and big, good and bad, (and so on ) this one, that one. Actually with just 20 words or so it is amazing what communications can be completed successfully. The numbers in Chinese are pretty simple as once at 10, the number eleven is word for 10 and 1 together. Twenty is 2 and 10 together … so reaching 99 was easy. With one word for 100 and another for 1000 and I was away. There is a small complication for the larger numbers, in that the Chinese also have a unit for 10,000 – so 11,000 is spoken by saying one 10,000 and 1000 rather than eleven thousands.
As my language attempts became a little braver – quite often the larger the mess I got into, as Chinese is tonal, meaning that each phonetic sound can mean many different words depending upon the tones it is spoken in. There are four main tones and they have totally different meanings. An example is, say, the phonetic sound of “tang” which can mean “hot, sweet, soup, or to go to bed”. One can imagine the problems you can have by using a slightly incorrect tone.
People often ask me how long it took to learn Chinese and in fairness I would have to answer that I have not done it yet. I am, in fact, little more than may be 50% fluent, and my vocabulary is limited. With a little cheating through the use of this one, that one and pointing, it is possible to get across quite complex communications without knowing the words for a particular noun. There were a few speciality words I got into my head through repeated use. One standing joke amongst the guys who were working in China was the name of a 13mm spanner, as about 80% of the bolts used on an oven are 10mm with a 13mm head. So “where is the 13mm spanner” was a commonly needed phrase …
As one gets to know a language, it is fascinating to find what peculiarities are spoken. For instance, in Chinese, if you call someone “250” that means they are a little stupid or crazy and it is a really bad insult to call someone a “rolling egg” and even worse to call them a “turtle's egg”. I guess there are deep rooted reasons for this, but I never really got to the bottom of the history".
7. RESCUED RELICS - ECHOES OF THE PAST
TEXT BOOKS USED BY ANGIER MARCH PERKINS AND LOFTUS PATTEN PERKINS It
is inevitable that reference books used by employees in earlier years would
be passed down through the generations, re-appearing in the Company library.
Some of those once belonging to A.M. Perkins & Sons are even now being
filed in the Baker Perkins Archive under construction in Peterborough Central
Library. Handling these Artefacts gives one a feeling of continuity and a
certain affinity with those who went before.
ANOTHER "RESCUED RELIC" FROM THE WESTWOOD SALVAGE SKIPS Likenesses of members of the Perkins family are few and far between but we believe this to be of Loftus Perkins in middle age. Anyone like to place a bet?
INTERESTING INTERESTS? Among the "rescued" artefacts we found one textbook that was particularly intriguing in that it raised more questions than it answered. A rather battered tome published in 1823 contains a series of lectures on "Chemical Science" delivered to the Surrey Institution by the interestingly named - Goldsworthy Gurney, who presented a copy to Angier March Perkins inscribed on its cover with - "See Page 9 - Transmutation of Base Metals" The lectures describe in detail the thinking at the time on the subject of Alchemy - a subject perhaps not surprisingly of interest to someone with the agile mind of Angier March.
WESTWOOD WORKS - COMPANY OPEN DAYS
An even more battered than usual "Relic" turned up recently which, after the application of Margaret's expert ministrations, was identified as a Steward's lapel badge from the 1955 Westwood Works Open Day. "Open Days" reflected the "Family" culture fostered at Westwood Works, when the families of employees could see something of "what Dad does at work" and were warmly welcomed. These events were held on a number of occasions over the years. An excellent sequence showing an "Open Day" which took place in 1955 is contained in a video "Bygone Peterborough" published by Bygone Films in association with the Peterborough Evening Telegraph in 1996. This includes extended shots of both the inside and outside of Westwood Works. Inevitably, no longer still "in print", it is hoped to have a copy of this filed in the Baker Perkins Archive.
8. BAKER PERKINS IN THE COMMUNITY
THE HISTORY OF YOUNG ENTERPRISE IN PETERBOROUGH In 1975, Dick Preston and John Spencer of Jack Hunt School were challenged with the task of developing Young Enterprise in Peterborough. By 1980 they had recruited enough schools to hold the first AGM in the Peterborough Town Hall and were heading to become the largest regional Young Enterprise activity in the country. It is gratifying to note that the activity is still flourishing in many schools and companies in the Peterborough area. Young Enterprise (YE) is a "not for profit" organisation that delivers business training to all levels of student from primary through to sixth form. It uses different programmes to achieve this aim. Since it is non-profit and relies on donations with very little (if any) Government funding, all of the advisers are volunteers. There is a core of paid staff that is used for administration, selling the courses to schools, recruiting and looking after volunteers and arranging trade fairs, training and presentation events.
MAKING IT "REAL" The Company Programme was for the lower sixth form (Year 11 in modern speak) and gave ANY student, not just those in Business Studies or with a bent for business, an opportunity to run a business for a year without risking vast amounts of money. The company members divided up the job roles just like a real company (Managing Director, Finance Director, Company Secretary, Director of HR, Operations Director, Sales Director and Manufacturing Director each with their deputy). The members had a teacher adviser and a business adviser and that’s where the volunteers from Baker Perkins/APV Baker were used. At various times in the development of YE in the Peterborough area the process was managed by Dick Preston, Geoff Ridgway, Alan Kirkpatrick, Ian Selinger, Roy Brunswick, Mike Mason, Peter Taylor, Ivan Timson, Helen Dakin among others. [If I have missed anyone out, please accept my apologies.]
The company members had to raise share capital, pay their registration fee (this was a legal requirement to make sure there was public liability insurance in place), share out the job roles, come up with a product – properly costed and with break-even projections and profit forecasts. They then had to manufacture or procure their products/designs that were sold at school events and through trade fairs organised by the YE paid staff. The companies usually met once a week formally with their teacher and business advisers and planned the work for the next seven days. Accounts had to be prepared regularly (using double entry book-keeping) and proper minutes and agendas had to be prepared and circulated. At the end of the year, the members had to prepare a final report (including accounts) and submit that into a competition for consideration for awards at the semi-finals and finals of the County Award show – usually held in one of the prestigious colleges in Cambridge, along with the local Presentation Evening at Peterborough Town Hall.
Alan Kirkpatrick - March 2016
9. MANOR HOUSE HOSPITAL
We have been asked recently to help locate some up-to-date outside views of Manor House Hospital - an organisation well known to many ex-Baker Perkins employees.
The Manor House Hospital was founded in 1916 by the Allies' Benevolent Society which was formed in 1914 to provide field hospitals for the French Army. In 1916 the team returned home to England where the government asked them to build a hospital for casualties of industry. The hospital got its name because it was built on the site of Golders Green Manor. The earliest parts of the buildings were huts which afterwards became wards. In 1999/2002 the hospital closed its facilities in Golders Green in favour of using other established hospitals in different parts of the country. This reduced running costs and enabled medical services and treatment for its members to be provided nearer to their homes. As a result of this it changed its name to "Simplyhealth". It is thought that the site of Manor House Hospital might now contain more than the block of flats where our correspondent lives.
10. AN EARLIER NEWSLETTER?
When sorting through the impressive pile of material donated over the last thirteen years by ex-employees and others who had the foresight to "rescue" this valuable, some might say "priceless", resource from the rubbish skips to which it was consigned when Westwood Works was closed down in 1992, it soon became obvious that many records, particularly personnel records had been lost. Thankfully, much has been saved and few days pass without coming across material that we didn't know existed. While we have not had the benefit of seeing all of the material used by Augustus Muir when compiling his "History of Baker Perkins" we hope that not too many gaps are obvious in our coverage of the company's development. However, in preparing the paperwork for its journey to Archives Services at Peterborough Central Library, another piece of paperwork turned up which gave us pause for thought and launched us on yet another rainbow chasing exercise:-
NEWS FROM HOME
Further investigation confirmed that copies of the "Newspaper" had been sent to each employee called up for active service since the outbreak of War and many appreciative replies with interesting news from the different War Fronts were received, the Company being represented in several branches of the Services during the landings on D-Day. (See Westwood Works in WW2)
The six-page typescript dated July 1946 appeared to be one of a series of such circulars which, if located, would have provided a very informative insight into the daily activities of the company. It is possible that it emanated from the Sports Club as the issue that we have covers preparations for "Sports Day" and the staging of "The Sunshine Girl" features prominently, together with information on broader aspects of the company's business. The only possible clue as to its origins comes with the Editor's sign off - "PLENIOR". A quick "Google" yields the following - "The Holy Bible in Latin - "the phrase sensus plenior" means "fuller sense" or "fuller meaning". This phrase is used in Biblical exegesis to describe the supposed deeper meaning intended by God but not intended by the human author."
A copy was circulated among some of the 'senior' members of our ex-employee fraternity resulting in the positive identification of "Plenior" as Frank Fuller. Contact was established with his son, Rodney who tells us - "My father was Publicity Manager for Baker Perkins from the early 1930s up until the late 1950s when he reached retirement age but his services were retained for a number of years thereafter in order for him to continue organising the company's considerable longstanding involvement in exhibition work at venues such as Earls Court, Olympia, Alexander Palace etc.
An edited reproduction of this "July 1946 Plenior Newsletter" appears below:-.
"PLENIOR'S” NEWSLETTER - July 1946
December? What do we mean – December?
Well, our last news letter was dated December and what will the Directors say?
As a matter of fact they have already said it.
All the same, we had made a start at the first hint of spring and looking back at our notes we find that we wrote the usual rot about cuckoos, on which we can write with considerable authority for our garden in springtime is a small piece of land surrounded by cuckoos. But, as a matter of fact, the true harbinger of spring as far as Westwood is concerned is Mr W.B.Frostick’s Gent’s Straw Boater. It bobbed up a bit earlier than usual this year, as infallibly assuring as ever, but not quite so reliable.
WBF tells this one about himself. One moonlit winter’s night, having written a very important letter, he dashed out in the frost to catch the last post. As he sped along, he noticed at his side a reflection in a shop window and said to himself “Gosh! I am being paced by a Fishmonger”; and this is the only known instance of the famous Boater being worn other than at the correct season.
In our last letter, A.E.Folker had expressed the hope that “The Sunshine Girl” would be staged sometime in March, and it actually came off the second week in May – which is better timekeeping than the Editors of this letter seem to achieve. It really was a rattling good show. Four evening performances and one matinee at St Paul’s Church Hall, put over with a sure touch for which the Company is entitled to all the applause they drew. These affairs are so much more fun when the performers are your own workmates and friends, for even if you are only one of the audience who has not done a single thing towards it, somehow or other you feel you are getting some of the credit. Conversely, can anything be more painful than to witness your amateur friends perpetrating a flop?
Besides the inescapable hard work of rehearsing to such a standard of excellence as the Company displayed, the girls had toiled with the ingenuity of their minds and fingers to make many of the costumes – though nobody would have known it without being told. They proved that austerity and utility are not necessarily ugly by contriving the fresh bright colour schemes appropriate to musical comedy out of old overalls, lace curtains and so on.
There were twelve principal parts – a beauty chorus of twenty-two and nine gentlemen of the chorus besides the Director of Music, two Producers and the Lady who arranged the Dances, but we decline to mention individuals by name, by way of indicating our sweeping appreciation of them all.
The Programme provided a synopsis of the story of the play which is, of course, absolute bilge. But necessary as that sort of explanation may be on some programmes it was superfluous in this case because, amongst their other accomplishments, the Company had the talent to make the story intelligible.
It takes a lot of other people to make a show like this you know; Wardrobe Mistress, Stage Manager, Prompter, a Forked Lightning Expert, Ticket Committee, Stewards, Programme Sellers and a Publicity Manager. There now, despite our decision not to mention names, we’ll be hanged if we don’t mention the Publicity Manager – the poor devils get little enough notice taken of them. It was J T Fletcher.
In April our Director, Mr E.H.Gilpin, accompanied by Mr Norman Neville, of the Export Department of the Board of Trade, and Mr Fitzpatrick, representing the AEU paid a goodwill visit to South Africa at the instigation of the Government. Fortunately, they were not shipwrecked soothe question of whose privilege it is to be the last to leave a sinking ship – Trade Union Leader – Captain of Industry or Government Official – did not arise, and they were spared to visit every important industrial centre in South Africa and to return and tell us their conclusions, which were unanimous.
As a sequel to this, on 21st June Mr Fitzpatrick of the AEU supported by Mr Gilpin as his Chairman, and by Mr Neville, addressed a meeting in the canteen and assured us, speaking as an accredited spokesman of Labour as he is, he was at one with the Government and with Industry in declaring that it is expert or bust.
He explained how and why, tin the very near future, there will be many more men employed in Engineering in South Africa than in 1939. The Engineering Union Membership there already exceeds 10,000. He also explained that South Africa lacked and knows there is lacking, the tradition of engineering skill which has come down to our generation through more than 150 years of engineering practice and, once again we heard, this time from Mr Fitzpatrick, that the South Africans, like many others, want British goods because of the superior quality of workmanship and materials embodied in them.
We have just ridden another punch.
“The News Letter Sir” – “Yes, of course, Sir” we said to the Director who asked the question with such charm that we were a bit suspicious.
On the previous occasion we had produced the excuse that we were waiting for Sports Day so that we could incorporate an account of it. Now Sports Days come and go, but occasions they come and don’t go and on Whit Monday the bottom fell out of the Heavens and let go the lot, so the meeting was opened and closed within the period occupied by six pips on the B.B. to be resumed on the following Saturday, when the still inclement weather marred, but did not prevent the programme being carried through.
Once again, the meeting was splendidly organised – attracted jolly good athletes from amongst ourselves and from elsewhere who provided some exciting finishes and, as usual, Westwood did a job and did it well.
An interesting interlude was provided by E R Turner, English Champion and Member of the British Olympic ~Team, who gave an exhibitio9n of Javelin throwing, and those of us who as Home Guardsmen, had been issued with pikes, and wondered what the deuce we were su0pposed to do with them, were particularly attentive. One wonders if the display will give rise to the forming of a Javelin Throwing Section of the Recreation club, (or to a revival of the Home Guard.)
On Sunday 15th June, Courtaulds played BP on Alma Road ground. The transport difficulty had caused this match to be deferred for four seasons and, when it came off, Courtaulds caned what’s-its-name off us. We are playing them away on Sunday 14th July at Birmingham and hope to improve our showing in the home game which was as follows:-
Courtaulds declared at 158 for 8 –best scores 55, 42 and 40.
Allett 54 – 4, Sharpe 60 – 4.Wwestwood 54 – 5, (C Norrington 20) Rain stopped play.
But, never mind the score – it was a magnificently sporting game. You did not have to be a cricketer yourself to sense the spirit of it all. Come all ye baseball fans and bullfighters and beat basketball players and what not –look on our national game of cricket as played by Courtaulds V Baker Perkins and then you will know why Heaven is populated so largely with Englishmen – all of ‘em cricketers.
Oh for the pen of a Neville Cardus that we could write something to compare with:
“A C Maclaren, the noblest Roman of them all did not condescend to pay bad bowling: he dismissed it from his presence”.
That’s two things – good cricket and good writing.
The Editor raises his eyes in search of inspiration and sees above and beyond the top of his desk, the round, rubicund face of his room-mate George Stevenson (Heating Department) Furse. Now G S F and Plenior are quite different types. C S F is a mathematician – Plenior is not.
The other day F said to G.S.F. ~”Here’s a quotation for a thousand so and so’s at 7/3d each and in about 2.1/2 seconds George Stevenson said “That’s about £362”. Had he been told it was £362 for a thousand he would have said in a flash “6/8 plus about 8d – say, 7/4d each and been a penny out.
When Plenior reads “Three men, A, B and C went to mow a meadow” he merely thinks “Hope it keeps fine for ‘em” and passes on to something else. Nevertheless, one of the nicest compliments he ever received was from our Chief Cashier, who said, “Plenior certainly has an individual style –even his arithmetic is different from anybody else’s”.
Why this theme? Well just to point the old moral that it takes all sorts to make a world and that there is a place for everybody.
So take heart all you who are languishing in the Services.
Not only is there a place for you, but there is H.T.Chapman, Personnel Manager, The Human Shoe-Horn, who will not only help you direct your own footsteps but will ease your heel into the civilian boot when you come back.
His henchman, A.W.Newby, who you probably know, for he has been in BP for 22 years, officiates in the Personnel Department as Apprenticeship Supervisor and weighs in with the following contribution:-
“There are over 100 BP Apprentices withy the Services, some having been away for a number of years, while others have recently joined up. However long you have been serving, one of your biggest worries will be concerning what will happen when you are ‘demobbed’. You will like to know that there is a Government sided scheme for training when you return. This scheme has been prepared by Associations of Employers and Trade Unions concerned in our industry, and approved by the Minister of Labour and National Service.
Here are the main provisions, briefly summarised:->
This will set your mind at rest concerning your future when you are “demobbed”. The whole scheme is set out on a 3-page leaflet, issued by the Ministry of Labour and National Service. If there are any questions you would like to ask concerning this, or any other matters concerning your apprenticeship, do not hesitate to write to me, and if I don’t know the answer I will endeavour to find it from the appropriate source.”
In our October letter we incorporated extracts from the speech Mr Ivor Baker had made to the Works, Outdoor and Staff Committees. This speech was published in certain other forms and aroused so much interest that it was decided to print it, together with an address Mr Ivor had given to the Juniors on the History of the Company. We are sending you a copy, believing that the historical part will be of interest to you as will the more complete record of wartime. Turn first to page 14 then straight on to page 25 and realise that whether or not a person is connected with Baker Perkins, or with the Trades they serve, it is a romantic story, all the more absorbing for being true and needing no embellishment to make it live. The necessary edition ran to 20,000 in the end, and thus ranked as a best-seller without blurbs or boosts from Book of the Month Clubs.
And now what can we say in conclusion before you turn to the booklet, or what can we write to contrasting style if you have read it first? It’s a long while since we said anything about BEER isn’t it? Then let’s consider that fascinating subject from a new angle.
If a man drinks two pints of Mild a day at 2/- a pint and smokes 20 Players at 2/4d – 365 days a year, he spends the income from an investment of £4,784 at 3% interest less Income Tax at present rate of 9/- in the £.
So what? Well, if no useful moral is drawn, at any rate the Chief Cashier will have to go to three places of decimals to catch us out on our arithmetic this time.
Best wishes from us all.
These sports days, or galas, started in 1937 and went on even during the war, although only two could be held as the factory was constantly working for the war effort. They remained a feature of Sports Club life up to just before the closure of Westwood Works. The work of organising and running the event was carried out by a working committee comprising the Sports Club Committee and the Directors of Baker Perkins.
These events were much more than just a sports day, with dancing in front of the pavilion and many side-show and fun-fair attractions. Other "spectaculars" have included displays of Baseball or American Football by personnel from a nearby American Air Force base.
The competitors were well catered for. The small print at the bottom of the 1945 hand-bill promised that the families of employees could see something of "what Dad does at work" and were warmly welcomed. These events were held on a number of occasions over the years. An excellent sequence showing an "Open Day" which took place in 1955 is contained in a video "Bygone Peterborough" published by Bygone Films in association with the Peterborough Evening Telegraph. This includes extended shots of both the inside and outside of Westwood Works.
There followed a gap of 12 years before another "Open Day" was held in 1967. Ten years later, the event in September 1977 attracted a very large influx of visitors. All the main production shops and offices were open with displays and demonstrations of both the means of production and the end product. To follow the marked path round the whole site meant quite a trek but refreshments were available at strategic points and aching feet could be rested while watching the Company film.
The event was repeated in October 1986. This time, not only was the Westwood site open but the (then) newly developed Printing Machinery and Bakery Machinery operations at Bretton were on view. The needs of the children were not forgotten and baseball caps complete with the Company logo, were handed out as a memento of their visit.
A similar 'newsletter' was sent from Baker Perkins Inc, Saginaw to all its employees on active service. It is fascinating to note the differing approaches to lift the morale of the fighting men far from homes and families. It is hoped that we will have the opportunity to spend a little time analysing this.
As reported earlier, Margaret
and James are currently engaged in producing proposals for a completely new
look to the title pages of both Websites. We are also taking the opportunity
to re-scan and improve some of our earliest attempts at producing images from
those less than pristine originals that had languished for a time in rubbish
skips when the Westfield Road factory closed. The volume of material contained
in the Websites being such that this is a seemingly endless task.
11. COMPANY AND SPORTS CLUB OPEN DAYS
“END OF HOSTILITIES” CRICKET MATCH AGAINST COURTAULDS”
“On Sunday 15th June, 1946 Courtaulds played BP on Alma Road ground. The transport difficulty had caused this match to be deferred for four seasons and, when it came off, Courtaulds caned what’s-its-name off us. We are playing them away on Sunday 14th July at Birmingham and hope to improve our showing in the home game when Courtaulds declared at 158 for 8 – but, never mind the score – it was a magnificently sporting game.
You did have to be a cricketer yourself to sense the spirit of it all. Come all ye baseball fans and bullfighters and basketball players and what not – look on our national game of cricket as played by Courtaulds versus Baker Perkins and then you will know why Heaven is populated so largely with Englishmen – all of them cricketers.
Oh for the pen of a Neville Cardus that we could write something to compare with:
“A C Maclaren, the noblest Roman of them all did not condescend to pay
bad bowling: he dismissed it from his presence”.
That’s two things – good cricket and good writing”.
[NOTE, An attempt - not entirely successful - has been made to follow the original style used by ”Plenior” but a number of typosin his script makes an accurate translation difficult.]
THE WHITSUN 1946 SPORTS DAY IS RAINED OFF - "Sports Days come and go, but occasions they come and don’t go and on Whit Monday the bottom fell out of the heavens and let go the lot, so the meeting was opened and closed within the period occupied by six pips on the BBC, to be resumed on the following Saturday, when the still inclement weather marred, but did not prevent the programme being carried through.
Once again, the meeting was splendidly organised – attracted jolly good athletes from amongst ourselves and from elsewhere who provided some exciting finishes and, as usual, Westwood did a job and did it well.
An interesting interlude was provided by E R Turner, English Champion and Member of the British Olympic Team, who gave an exhibition of Javelin throwing, and those of us who as Home Guardsmen, had been issued with pikes, and wondered what the deuce we were supposed to do with them, were particularly attentive. One wonders if the display will give rise to the forming of a Javelin Throwing Section of the Recreation club, (or to a revival of the Home Guard.")
WELCOMING OUR BOYS BACK HOME - "Why this theme? Well just to point the old moral that it takes all sorts to make a world and that there are places for everybody. So take heart all you who are languishing in the Services. Not only is there a place for you, but there is H T Chapman, Personnel Manager, The Human Shoe-Horn, who will not only help you direct your own footsteps but will ease your heel into the civilian boot when you come back. His henchman, A W Newby, whom you probably know, for he has been in BP for 22 years, officiates in the Personnel Department as Apprenticeship Supervisor and weighs in with the following contribution:-
“There are over 100 BP Apprentices with the Services, some having been away for a number of years, while others have recently joined up. However long you have been serving, one of your biggest worries will be concerning what will happen when you are ‘demobbed’, you will like to know that there is a Government sided scheme for training when you return. This scheme has been prepared by Associations of Employers and Trade Unions concerned in our industry, and approved by the Minister of Labour and National Service. Here are the main provisions, briefly summarised:-
Any apprentice who was in the last year of his apprenticeship when he joined up will be considered as having completed his apprenticeship on his return to civil life. An apprentice having more than 12 months of his apprenticeship unexpired will be required to serve not less than two thirds of this unexpired time on his return, if he desires to be a fully qualified craftsman.
The wages paid on resuming his craft will be the same as if he had not been called up. This means that if he returns before the date on which his apprenticeship would normally have expired, he will be paid the rate for the year as though he had not been called up. After this date he will be paid the fully qualified workman’s rate for the trade and district. If you serve any period of your time in the Forces at your own trade, this will be allowed to count as apprenticeship.
This will set your mind at rest concerning your future when you are “demobbed”. The whole scheme is set out on a 3-page leaflet, issued by the Ministry of Labour and National Service. If there are any questions you would like to ask concerning this, or any other matters concerning your apprenticeship, do not hesitate to write to me, and if I don’t know the answer I will endeavour to find it from the appropriate source.”
STAGING OF "THE SUNSHINE GIRL" Matt Walton was largely responsible for re-starting the Society after the war, the first post-war WWMS production being "Sunshine Girl" in 1946 in St. Paul's Hall - a show which received great praise from a local reviewer: "It really was a rattling good show. Four evening performances and one matinee at St Paul’s Church Hall put over with a sure touch for which the Company is entitled to all the applause they drew. These affairs are so much more fun when the performers are your own workmates and friends, for even if you are only one of the audience who has not done a single thing towards it, somehow or other you feel you are getting some of the credit. Conversely, can anything be more painful than to witness your amateur friends perpetrating a flop.
BEGINNINGS OF A PUBLICITY DEPARTMENT AT WESTWOOD It could be argued that the publication of Plenior's letter marked the beginning of what became a fully-equipped, professional publicity Department capable of producing in-house all the brochures, films and other material required by a rapidly expanding worldwide marketing organisation. First managed by Frank Fuller (see above), the Department expanded rapidly through the fifties and sixties under another "Baker Perkins character" - Harry Giltrap.
12. POSSIBLE FUTURE PROJECTS
There are still many things to do or might be attempted. It is possible that someone in the future might find it useful to have the following list of potential projects should relevant resources become available.
Please note: If, at some time in the future, someone would like to add to the information already gathered regarding the activities of the Sports Club, all information can be found in the relevant issues of the in-house newspapers - a "Group News" and "Contact".
The future? Recent health problems have dictated that changes will have
to be made to the way that future input is recorded. As explained elsewhere,
it will not be possible to extend the 'links' system of navigation to the content
of this newsletter and into the future. Existing links within the websites
should still be operative. It is hoped, however, that our readers are
sufficiently grounded in the way in which the system works to enable them to
find their way around. It is certain that the present newsletter system
will have to be modified but it is hoped that we will still be able to alert
our readers to the receipt of interesting developments, reminiscences, etc.
All content © the Website Authors unless stated otherwise.