HOW AND WHERE ARE THEY NOW.- THE PLACE TO CATCH-UP WITH OLD WORKMATES. - PLEASE SCROLL TO BOTTOM OF THE PAGE FOR THE ROLL OF HONOUR OF DECEASED COLLEAGUES.
How many of those are still with us who (worked ? ) in the old Receivers Shop under the dreaded Ralph (Rowland Hill Fund ) Berry ?
Frank Peters now 92 is still having the occasional bet on the horses and the even less occasional win. He has recovered from Prostate problems but no longer trips the light fantastic on the dance floor. He cherishes the lasting memory of a dance with Audrey Mott when the initial retirement club closed.
Charlie Reynolds 91 still manages to walk up the steps in the East stand of the Hawthorns despite the discomfort of a trapped nerve in the left leg. He says that sometimes watching the Baggies is more of a-pain-in-the-arse !
Norman Guest now in his eighties is still going strong but his golfing rounds with Sid Brinsdon have tailed off............
News of any more "Elder Berries" would be very gratefully received.
The Carpenters are still making records ! Paddy Fraser, Alan Burvill, Harold Pilkington, Johnny Tirebuck and Freddy Miller can be seen at the Retirement Clubs. Which recalls the fact that - pro rata the ex NUFTO members always had the best attendance record at Union Meetings.
Ex Machine Shop staff are also active in retirement, Betty Wilson, one of the pioneers who broke the mould to become a female Factory Technician, can often be seen at Edgbaston, but you may have to introduce yourself because she has difficulty with her peripheral sight, always one to look straight ahead was our Betty. Her problem does not stop her watching cricket on Sky at unearthly hours though.
Audrey Mott adds a touch of beauty to the streets of Solihull, more often than not with Ron Priddy.
Cricket still has another fan with Rosie Heath who lives, appropriately enough, in Wicketts Tower.
Irene Afford is one of those bold enough to adopt new technology and communicate via Email.
Other men of metal in contact are, Bob Cawley, now looking like Fabio Capello with toothache, but still hitting the fairways. Frank Witton still reminiscing about captaining the Machine Shop Cricket Team, and making the victorious Air Rifle Team. George Smith, fully recovered following a spell in hospital and back running the Retired Members Group at the Marlborough Cricket Club, and Alan Jones, one of the younger generation, who exchanged his skills as a Machine Shop Toolsetter, to direct operations at the Perry Barr Salvage Depot.
Among the grumbling voices heard leaving St Andrews, may be those belonging to ex Jubilee Works and Garrison Lane friends, Brian Wilmott and Freddy Evans, both are "ever presents" at the Marlborough monthly get-togethers as are, Ted Little, Kenny Nash, Roy Biddle (complete with Australian bush hat), and descending from various heights Ken Govier, Syd Fletcher, Billy Mills and Bill Wootton. One notable absentee Trevor Inglis is unable to travel far because of failing eyesight. However, following a risky but successful operation his future is now brighter in every sense of the word
Younger Retirees, Alan Robinson, Jeff Barr and Ken Sims with occasional guest players, Bob Hammond and Mick Llewellyn can usually be found swinging-their-irons at Boldmere Golf Club on Wednesdays and Fridays.
Whilst a trip to the Earlswood Nurseries complex will reward you with a welcome from Ex Garrison Laners - Dave and Steve White.
During early September 2009., Audrey Mott celebrated her Eightieth Birthday and looks to be drinking the same elixir as Sophia Loren.
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A message received from Alan, Two-Stroke, Rogers, now based in Sevenoaks, Kent.
- Hi Ernie, I stumbled across your website when Googling for some info on the fate of Fordrough Lane (it was one of the quieter moments on shift - heh ! )
The last time we bumped into each other was a couple of years ago at the reunion held at Wilclare road. You might remember I came up with Paul Ewer, he's here too, also on shift. Although not the same pattern as me we see each other regularly, he still keeps in touch with Rick Cleaver. Generally the only news I get from Birmingham is the sad passing of a former colleague, so-much-so that I now call him the Grim Reaper.
Despite the fact I turned 50 in July and have had a career of 34 years, and counting, there has been no other period I shall ever look back on so fondly as my time in FL2. The photos on your site, although of few of my contemporaries are a glorious reminder of those days, I only wish I had something to contribute. I think I may have a team photo of "The Arcadians" the team that Charlie Reynolds' son used to manage. Although not strictly a side representing the PO there were quite few of us playing for them, Asa Sault, Steve Sutton and Steve Parkes for example. I shall go hunting for it.
Loved the football team photo that included Johnny Bennett, you might remember he was my trainer when I first joined FL2. Do you have any news of JB now ? Last I heard he and Bionic's (God Bless Him) missus were together and living somewhere in the West Country. He must be in his 70s now.
Glad to see that you guys are keeping in touch at the monthly meets, mention our names, see if anyone remembers "Two-Stroke" and "Ewer-the-Screwer".
If you're (or whoever planned it before ) intending another reunion be sure to drop me a mail.
The very best to all...... Alan.
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Bert Hunt has been in touch to say that Johnny Bennett is living in Seaton, Devon and that he sends Bert a Christmas card each year.
Dave West - Started employment in the Training School in 1972 - worked in FL2 and Tester Maintenance left in 1977 to join Fire Service - is still alive and kicking and keeps regular contact with Roger Shaw - Roger recently supplied photographs of the demolition process at Fordrough Lane that can be seen in the Photo Galery page under the heading "The Final Act" - Thanks Roger.
Steve (WAFTO) Waldron - If you're passing through Birmingham International Airport, don't be surprised if you're suddenly confronted by a very familiar looking fellow with a clipboard and pencil demanding to know your destination and reason for travelling - have no fear it's only our old-mate Wafto who has now joined the Civil Service, working for the National Statistics Office. - Posted 12th december 2009.
Chris Norris has been in contact and wishes to be remembered to all ex-colleagues. Chris also sends Christmas greetings and very best wishes for the New year 2010., to everybody. - posted 23rd December 2009.
Barry Adams, ex FL2 and Brother-in-Law to Alan Potts, writes from Australia to let everyone who remembers him know, that he's still alive and kicking and enjoying his Aussie Christmas on the beach in glorious sunshine. - Posted 28/12/09.
John Connor, writes to say he joined FL 12 Training School 15/9/82 aged 16 and sends good wishes to anyone who remembers him from that time. - Posted 3rd January 2010.
John Connolly - ex Garrison Lane, Rack Shop, was passing through New Street railway station on Friday 26th March 2010 and I managed to catch his attention - a few days later he sent me the following Email;-
Hi Ernie, What a pleasant surprise to bump into you at New Street station last week. To be honest I thought you were my brother-in-law at first ! I have visited the factory website and it just brought memories flooding back. Glad to say I did recognise quite a few people. Fantastic to hear that Charlie Reynolds is still with us - if it wasn't for Charlie I think my time at the Post Office would have been much shorter. He got me out of a lot of "scrapes" with the management in my earlier days.
I started at the Post Office in 1969 in the training school at Fordrough Lane and spent most of my time at Garrison Lane. My boss was Tom Bingham who I had a lot of time for. He was old fashioned but always fair and someone you could have a reasonable conversation with. Jim O'Grady (?) introduced me to the union and I became his second-in-command so to speak. I knew when Jim was annoyed as he would take off his artificial limb and wave it around ! Brian Wilmott and Fred Evans were there along with Doug (Britland) and his partner (little bloke but really nice) Ernie Hunt and Steve Turley. They always muscled us youngsters out to ensure they got the best work - only joking. My working partner was Gez Bettney who married Joan. They both retired to Ireland some years ago.
I have just ordered the book written by Ken Govier, Charlie et al and looking forward to a good read. I eventually left in 1986 to embark on a new career. - ( John is currently the Chief Executive Officer of JP Careers Management Ltd., T/A MortonConnolly Executive Search ) Best wishes to all who remember me and even those who were glad to see me go !!! - John S. Connolly, MLIA (dip), MIoD, FInstSMM. Posted -6th April 2010.
Webmaster's Note;- Doug Britland's mate identified by Dave White as Jimmy Tew(now famous for his shoe supply chain empire ). Posted - 9th April 2010.
Sheila Douglas, ex-Union Branch Treasurer, has been in contact to report that she's finally got a new job as a Community Support Worker, looking after vulnerable adults and older people who need help to live an independent and full life in their later years in their own homes. I'm sure you'll all join me, in wishing Sheila all the best in her new career. Posted - -6th April 2010.
I've received reports that Steve "Wafto" Waldron has taken flight from the National Statistics Office job at Birmingham Airport and is now back, working on his first love - BOM Planning for a company in Rugby. - Posted - 6th April 2010.
A number of enquiries have been recived regarding the whereabouts of Ossie Williams - formerly, a member of the Senior Management Team at Fordrough Lane. Please, will anyone with any recent information or contact details for Ossie - Email - Ernie Coggins - firstname.lastname@example.org - Posted 9th April 2010.
Dave McCormack - ex-Garrison Lane Rack Shop sent in the following note and photographs of the Garrison Lane Factory Football Team and a recent reunion of a few of the lads.
Dave (Mac) McCormack reporting live from BT(still) for your website. I still see a few old Garrison Lane and Fordrough Lane people from time to time. Gez Bettney, and Jim Wood are in Ireland(Southern and Northern respectively) and we see them for holidays and general get togethers. Both are doing well.
We meet up with Alan Booth, who looks fit young and healthy on the Arcadian's picture, and his wife for occasional get togethers and we have been playing 5-a-side football with his lads and my lads for many years. This is dropping-off now as the kids can't hack it.
It's good to see Don Green and crew attend your monthly bash, will make the effort to get down and see you guys. Work is good now but not a patch on those funfilled, hard working, heady days of old. I remember Dinky Jones as being one of my main mentors, keeping me on the straight and narrow as a young apprentice and Gez Bettney and John Connolly doing all they could to get me off it again. All in all you couldn't ask for a better grounding. Dave. Posted 12th April 2010.
What a great website. I worked at Fordrough Lane from approx 1980 until October1988. I was part of the maintenance group (that were actually employed by the old Birmingham Telephone Area) known as ELP 3/3 later changed to BES 3/3 looking after lifts and heating etc throughout the site, we also covered Anthony Road, Garrison Lane and Sherlock Street Factories. Then the powers that be decided this work had to be contracted out, so we were sent back to work in the Birmingham Telephone Area. I was employed from September 1978 until taking redundancy July 1992. I have attached some photos. I will dig some more out.
Regards, Jacko Jackson - Posted 3rd May 2010. - See Photo Galery for 5 photographs of the Fordrough Lane site, sent in by Jacko.
INFORMATION REGARDING OSSIE WILLIAMS. - The following message has been received from Lawrie Rumens.
Ernie - Good News. - I have tracked down the church that employs Ossie. It is the Church of God of Prophesy and their local place is Winson Green. - By coincidence, I am doing some management workshops with them in a couple of weeks time. They have told me that Ossie is permanently in the USA now and they have promised to find out how best to contact him. - Nearly there - I will keep you posted.
Best wishes, Lawrie. - Posted 27th June 2010.
TOM GAFFNEY. - News of a very special Factories personality, by Charlie Reynolds.
In the latter years of the thirties, forties and throughout the fifties, Sports Days organised by employers were very popular. The ones held by the big firms, Dunlop, Birmingham Gas and the Post office Stores and Factory were covered by the local newspapers. The majority of the events were closed, limited to entries from the workforce and their families, but some were open and attracted competitors from all over the country. the great miler Sydney Wooderson ran one of the fastest miles of that era at one of the Gas or Dunlop sports days.
On two occasions at Wilclare Road, the sports club had the temerity to run an open sprint race for cyclists. On each occasion one of our own took on the cream of the visiting cyclists and won the events. He was Tommy Gaffney. His prowess was imortalised with cartoons in the Birmingham Gazette by Norman Edwards who was the son-in-law of a toolsetter in the machine shop at Fordrough Lane name Williams. Tom joined up with his brother Peter to start up what was to become a very successful photography business. He then moved to Powys where he spent the rest of his long life. Sadly, Tom died on 29th May 2010 and his funeral took place on 14th June at Llanfraedd.
Charlie Reynolds - Posted 27th June 2010.
KEN BARNES - Another extraordinary Factories Character by Charlie Reynolds.
The old Post Office Stores and Factories Social Club had among it's members many outstanding footballers, some of whom could, and some of whom should have turned professional, Harry Dainty, Jimmy Hall, Jock Stewart, Brian Willmott and Johnny Bennett, to name but a few. One who did in a very successful way was Kenny Barnes who has died aged 81 years on July 13th 2010. After playing non-league football for Stafford Rangers, Ken joined Manchester City in 1950. He never forgot his old friends at the Factory and in 1956 he gave some the dubious pleasure of watching him help to demolish the Blues in the 1956 Cup Final at Wembley.
Ken was considered by many to be the best wing-half never to win an international cap, but by way of compensation his son Peter played many games for England, and Peter also brought pleasure to us Baggie Supporters with his skillful wing play. Ken played for the, "Blue Mooners" until 1961 when he became player-manager of Wrexham. Following this spell he became the player-manager of Cheshire League club Witton Albion, but in 1970 he went back to Manchester City as trainer-coach. He was soon to be promoted and became the first-team coach. in more recent years Ken continued to serve City as chief scout. In 2005 his memoir entitled The Simple Game was published. Manchester City staged a testimonial match for Ken in April 1975 with many international footballers agreeing to participate. - In the photo-gallery on our website Kenny, features in one shot of a cup-winning cricket team. He will be missed by those who admired him on and off the playing fields.
Charlie Reynolds - Posted 22nd July 2010.
GRAHAM RICHARDS -2016
I started work at Fordrough Lane in 1971 as an apprentice in the Training School. After training I worked for several years in FL5 which was located for most of the time on 6th Floor J. Block (lovely views).When FL5 moved into the new H.Block I asked for a change and for the next few years I rattled around the Fordrough Lane site in Planning, Technical Support, Marketing and Test Engineering. By then we were BT Fulcrum and in 1985 I decided to leave.
Over the next 25 years I worked with process control computers, telecoms management software, earth station antennas, X-ray and radiotherapy equipment, electronic scales and RS components catalogue and web site. I found the experience that I had gained at Fordrough Lane in light engineering, electronics and computing was a useful background for all of these.
Where am I now ? Since 1997 I've lived near Wimborne Minster in Dorset with my partner Pauline. I stopped work in 2014 and I am enjoying the free time, but I may still do some work in the future. I have a narrowboat moored near Reading which I used to live on during the week while working away from home. I'm hoping to bring it up to the Midlands in 2017.
Regards, Graham Richards. Email - email@example.com
Posted - 26th October 2016.
PAUL GALLON - 2016.
I joined PO factories on 12th June 1972 for my first job after leaving school. As part of the Betty Parish Clerical Army. I spent the next 22 years of my working life at The Lane meeting many wonderful people.
During those years I worked in A, B, C, D, H1 and J Blocks at various times working in Personnel (When it was about people not Human Resources) with Paul Meakin, Jim Wedge, Winnie Tyler, and Maureen Dobbie amongst others. Provision Group with Brenda Peers, Maureen Casey, Linda Harris, Linda Cotter(nee Green) Jim Morrison, Dave Saunders, Stella Styles(nee Hobbs) and again many more. Ledger Keeper working with Archie Popplewell at times where stocktaking was involved, FL5 Progress, worked/trained by Hilda Rose and Jenny Barrington.
On moving to Supplies Division, Transport Department, in 1981, I left the Factories Division and worked for Bert Taylor and with Paul Carleton, Tim Hancock, Brian Ward(ex Factories) was also there. Stan Simpson and Stan Freeman were also there. I was also a founder member of the clerical cricket and darts teams with Bob Eaton and Paul Meakin also playing for the PO Stores team with Ron Jackson and Barry Hughes.
I moved to QA on promotion and still at Fordrough Lane, More great people to work with, Helen Meakin, Wendy Homer, John Nash, Terry Finn, Trevor Ray, Bob Wells, Paul Feasey again to name but a few. I worked at The Lane until April 1994 a few months before BT moved out.
I then spent the next ten years in Directory Enquiries at Chelmsley Wood until the work was moved to India. The next chapter of my career with BT included, short spells managing teams in Billing(work again moved to India). Twelve months with a team on residential faults, both jobs in Brindley Place.
I spent nearly five years as N3 Project Delivery Office Manager at Trinity Park(NEC) delivering the N3 network to the NHS. This part of the project came to a natural conclusion and I headed back to the City centre to manage Order Management Teams for the remainder of my BT career until November 2012 when I took advantage of a release package.
The year after I left Factories Division, I had the first sign I had a health issue with my legs. This was eventually diagnosed as Multiple Sclerosis which has continued to progress since, resulting in my mobility and balance declining. BT colleagues were always helpful and supportive of my condition. My family are very supportive including my wife of 39 years, Alison, my three children and our three young grandsons.
I do not go out very often, but still attend Blues home games and have renewed my season ticket for next season which will be my 21st consecutive season at St. Andrews.
An enjoyable 40.5 years working for BT, but the first 20 are the ones I most fondly remember.
I am on Facebook and am happy for my e-mail to be provided if anyone wishes to get in touch with me.
Best regards, Paul.
Posted 17th May 2016
JOHNNY BOWERS - 2016.
Hi Ernie, It was really great meeting up with you and Alan last night, where did the hours go. I didn't get home until turned 1 am. Both myself and Peter are looking forward to doing it again. Ater starting at the P O at Fordroughlane in 1964 straight from school and being part of the newly formed training school, with 19 other wayward souls such as Pete Buchanan, Terry Guyatt, Bob Earls, Dave Morgan, Ted Timms to mention but a few. I spent 3 yrs as a Y. I .T under the watchful eyes of Bob Cawley, Arthur Yates, Don Franks and John knowles and after a battle and with Charlie Reynolds help I managed to get myself into the Maintenance shop FL4 in 1968 until 1987 wh3n I took E.V.R after nearly 20 happy working years. Spending several years in Sherlock street where I met my old mate Tony Cotter, until it closed and I was left last man standing. And then back to good old Fordroughlane, back to my Family of work colleagues and many good friends such as Sammy Walker, Brian Smith, Bob irwin, Johnny Pick, Roger Spry. Best Friends like Pete Smith ( whom I still see regularly ) Geof Robson, alan Bartlum and many, many more. A big thank you to you all for making my working career at the P.O. a rememberable one. I often reflect on it and think to myself how lucky I was. Sadly when I left in 1987 with ideas of Grandeur about emigrating to Canada, so off i went on my great adventure, but I decided to come home after deliberating the pros and cons. I really didn't like the idea of boiling in the 40+ C summers or freezing in the -60 C winters. On my return to dear old Blighty as some of you will know I turned to my passion for cars and set up with my mate Barry at his garage on Vauxhall trading estate just down the road from Fordroughlane, where I spent several years in blissful hapiness. Then in 1994 I moved to to plastics going to work for a company called Halo, in Water Orton, extruding plastic profiles for widow manufacturing, doing continental 12 hour shifts. They were a killer !!! Then in 1998 Margaret and I decided to start our own wheelchair ambulance business, transporting people with learning difficulties for Father Hudsons of Coleshill. And finally in 2006 I went to work for NWBC as a bus driver, shortly followed by my Margaret as my passenger assistant, doing the same kind of work until we both retired in January 2013. A happy forfillng life, but also now living a happy retirement. I would be happy for anyone to get touch with me, either through Facebook or by email -
( firstname.lastname@example.org ) Cheers Ernie, Be seeing you soon Kind Regards Johnny.
POSTED 2nd August 2016.
TONY and LINDA COTTER -2009.
The following letter was received on 13th November 2010, from our ex Birmingham Factories Colleague TONY COTTER, who worked in all three of the Birmingham Factories during his service. - For the record, - Tony joined the Post Office in August 1974 as a Clerical Assistant at Sherlock Street. Initially working for Doris Hemmington in the 'Addressograph Room', this is where he met his great pal Johnnie Bowers (he was best man at Linda and Tony's wedding and they bought his house in Polesworth from him, when he went to live in Canada). Upon promotion to Clerical Officer in 1975, Tony moved up to Fordrough Lane, and worked in Wages Group. He then became a progress chaser spending time in GL1/GL3, working for Dennis Lane at Garrison Lane, before taking up a role on Staff Recruitment in Staff Group back at Fordrough Lane working for Bill Harvey. When Fulcrum computerised their manufacturing process, Tony was selected to be one of the first computer operators in the newly formed IT department working for Dave Pinwell. Tony took Voluntary redundancy in 1987 to join Digital Equipment Company in Sutton Coldfield. What happened after that ? - Tony has recorded below;-
Hello Ernie, - Yes, that's me - The Tony Cotter ! I came across your great website by accident a few months back, and thought it about time I actually did something about joining up. It's a terrific way to keep in touch with people that I had so much fun with all those years ago, many thanks to you for keeping the site running.
I have a few old photographs that I plan to send you for posting as soon as I get my new scanner up and running. In the meantime, just a quick update on what's happening in our lives. Linda (nee Green) and I have been living in South Oxfordshire since 1999. We relocated close to Reading due to my work. I commuted daily between Polesworth and Reading for 3 years before calling a halt to the 260 mile round trip, and we relocated to a tiny village just outside Didcot.
I've changed jobs twice since then. When I left Fulcrum in 1987, I joined an IT company called Digital Equipment Co., where I stayed until 2001. Linda joined me at Digital in Reading, and stayed on after I left to join my current employer, Accenture. She finally left in 2007 and now works 5 minutes from home on the Harwell Atomic Authority campus, working for the Health Protection Agency, advising the public about Radon gas. A far cry from purchasing screws and metals in Provision Group !
Sadly, due to relocating South, we're not in touch with any of the old Post Office/BT/Fulcrum crew any more. I religously went to Cheltenham for the Gold Cup every year with Tommy Taylor, Bob Irwin, Steve Sutton, Dick Kibilski & Co but I don't think any of them go any more. I still go with my brother Mick - he used to drive the Fulcrum car, after transferring from Saltley Depot as a long distance HGV driver. He's retired now.
Both Linda and I still have family in Birmingham, so we make the trip up now and then. It would be great to come along to one of your monthly meetings to see a few old faces. - If anyone wants to contact me to catch up on old times, please pass on my e-mail address.
Linda & Tony Cotter, Reading, Berks. - Posted on 15th November 2010.
The following message was received from David Law - Dear Ernie, came acroos your site completely by accident, what a great site it is, it enables one to reflect on what a wonderful place the Lane was to work. I joined, what was the Post Office Factories, during 1972 and worked in FL2, with so many great characters and people too many to remember, I only wish I could recall some of their names, they taught me so much.
I then moved to work in the "Labs" on test equipment, another chapter of my life that I will never forget all for the right reasons, working with Pete Smith, Ken Knock, Anwar, Sharif, Dave Irwin, Clive Branson, Terry Stanfield, Eric Mitchell, John Alcock and many more. I then moved onto the Training School working with Alan Robinson, who was a great person, full of life, I will never forget his wedding day, but now hear that he got divorced.
I left the Lane and worked with Jim Wood in Kent, until finally went back to work in Birmingham with BT. Retired from BT in March 1999 and now live in Kidderminster and after so many years managed to recently speak to Ken Knock. I will never forget the experience of working at the Lane it was an experience that you only get once in ones life and to see the photos and read the stories within your website has brought back many wonderful memories. Thanks for the hard work that you have obviously put in to this site. The photos I have attached were originally sent to me from Terry Brown, who also worked in the Labs, so he should have the real credit. One person I would love to contact is Alan Robinson if anyone has contact with Alan, please will you pass my address forward to him.
David Law, Kidderminster, Worcs. - Posted 8th January 2011.
TERRY BROWN - 2011.
Dear Ernie, Dave Law pointed me to your website, which is excellent. It's a shame we didn't have the benefit of digital cameras back then.
From my perspective - I joined BT Factories in 1974 straight from school as a Trainee Factory Technician (TFT) this was a great opportunity to gain an apprenticeship as we were given plenty of hands-on training in many disciplines, in addition to day release at college. There were a few times I questioned my choice of profession. As plate wiring relay sets, adjusting uniselector backlash and armature gaps didn't seem like something I wanted to do ! But, I did stick it out and following my three years I moved into the FHQ Labs with the rest of the "boffins" designing and buiding test equipment for the factories (PAT 3) dial testers etc. as well as working on designs from Martlesham for exchange and infrastructure equipment.
One of the reasons for "sticking with it " were the great people I had the pleasure of working with and getting to know. There were about 40 TFTs in the class of 74 but over the years many of the names have slipped from my memory. The few I do remember, and some I am still in contact with, Kevin Biddle, Paul Freer, Tony Duggins, Peter Ellis, Kevin Parker, Clive Preece, Warren D'rosario, Derek Bullivant, Dave Perks, Nigel Dudas, Michael Woodward. I am not aware of a photo that includes everyone, which is a shame.
I have many fond memories from my years at BT Factories/Fulcrum and although I left in 1988 I'm still in contact with a few people. I moved to Chepstow to join Mitel and in my new role ended up working closely with the BT Product folks in Felixstow as the Product Manager on the TSX50 PBX which was one of the many OEM PBX Products being made by Mitel for BT (Regent, Viceroy, Kingsman).
In 1995 I moved to Canada to work at Mitel's Corporate Headquarters and have been living near Ottawa, Ontario ever since although I'm no longer working in the telcoms industry. Having been in Canada for 16 years and brought up a family over here, I found the photos of the site prior to it's demolition quite moving. It seems a shame we have so little photograph records of it's long past. However, you are building a great collection through the site and the contribution of others. - I have been trying to get back in contact with Dave Lamb if anyone knows his whereabouts please forward my details on to him.
Terry Brown, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada - Posted 8th January 2011.
DESMOND O'TOOLE - 2011.
Ernie.... As I live and breathe ! How are you, Brother ? David Law sent me a link to your website and WOW ! it really has brought a whole lot of memories flooding back.
How are things with you ? As you can see I moved back to Dublin and am doing a lot of political work now for the Irish Labour Party and the Party of European Socialists. I worked with BT until I moved to the joint venture that was set up in Dublin 12 years ago. Took redundancy 6 years ago and decided to go to University to study Early Irish History and Greek & Roman Civilisation. Now looking for a job that combines telecommunications, the ancient and medieval worlds and socialist politics !!!!! - Great to see that there is a space for PO/BT Factories on the web !
Desmond O'Toole - Dublin, Eire. Posted 8th January 2011.
ANDY TEDDS - 2011.
Hi Ernie, I was very pleased to have been sent a link to your site by Andy Stevenson. What a great site, it certainly brings back whole bunch of memories.
I started working in FL5 on the 6th Floor 'J' Block, Fordrough Lane, in April of 1980. Working on Incoming AC9 Signalling Units, Cable Locators and WB400/600 Equipment. Moving to H2 when the new buildings were erected and then working on Microfiche Readers for a while. I see there is a picture of me on your site, working on those Microfiche Readers (Wow ! I had hair then.) - Later I moved to the Training Centre with Dave Law. I remember training many a Factory Technician on the 3rd Floor of 'J' Block, what great times and great friendships. I also used to teach Unix and other courses on the M6000 to staff and other customers with George Squires.
I have a trophy, still proudly displayed on a shelf, from an inter-section cricket championship that I won with Lee Harrodine, aka "H" and Gez Bettney. I was their wicket keeper back then in 1988. I'm still in contact with a few people from PO/BT Fulcrum/Fujitsu etc., via Facebook.
I now live in a little town called Ashley Falls, MA, USA, (Since 2001) - Feel free to pass my email address to colleagues that would like to contact me. I was also given this link recently - http://www.ringbell.co.uk/ukwmo/index.htm - and I'm sure it has information that some of our ex-colleagues would like to look over.
All the best and Happy New Year, Andy Tedds - Posted 13th January 2011.
OSSIE WILLIAMS - 2011.
Ossie has been in touch as follows;- Happy New Year to you and yours, wishing you all the best for 2011. We are in a winter storm that has all but shut down Atlanta for the past several days. Not all bad however, since I was able to enjoy some peaceful days at home.
I wanted to tell you that I take the time to read your messages and appreciate the opportunity to travel down memory lane which many of the names you mention provide. Very sad to hear about the passing of Alan Knight - seems like only a short while ago we were in the training school together. I suspect Alan was the year ahead of me.
Wanted to share the attached photo with you( see in - Photo Gallery album - Additions 2011.) and all the visitors to the post office factory website. It is one of those moments in time when Lawrie Rumens would say " If the devil could cast his net". For me it is a real test of my recall of names and faces. Of course, many of the names and faces are indelible but I confess that with the p d cast his net". For me it is a real test of my recall of names and faces. Of course, many of the names and faces are indelible but I confess that with the passing of time, there is an increasing number of faces whose names I can no longer call to mind. I look forward to the identification process which I know will follow the publication of the picture.
Looking forward to an early visit to England this year and will let you know the exact time once decided. In the meantime, be assured that your efforts to connect the "family" is something I now check as soon as i see your email. Thank you and feel free to share my contact email with everyone. Take care and I will look for the picture on the website. assing of time, there is an increasing number of faces whose names I can no longer call to mind. I look forward to the identification process which I know will follow the publication of the picture.
Looking forward to an early visit to England this year and will let you know the exact time once decided. In the meantime, be assured that your efforts to connect the "family" is something I now check as soon as i see your email. Thank you and feel free to share my contact email with everyone. Take care and I will look for the picture on the website.
Ossie Williams - email@example.com - Posted 16th January 2011
GILLIAN ADAMS - 2011.
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Hi, I have emailed you before as I was saying how my father Bill Adams worked for 40 years at Fordrough Lane Punch card Unit in the 1960's and he was an EO and later HEO so did the rounds of all the main offices. He tells me now(he's 84) and just recovering from a stroke, he cannot bear to look at the pictures of Fordrough Lane gone, and a housing estate in its place. I can quite understand, it is quite sad, I myself worked at Saltley and then Fordrough Lane Factories for around six years.
I am writing in again as maybe you can post this on the site. I don't have any photos unfortunately but I read with interest the post by Tony Cotter who may recall me Gillian Adams as I too worked in the Wages Office 1976 - 80 as indeed he did, and maybe if he reads this he will be familiar with names I'm going to mention from this time. Clive and Kay who married and who are still married met in the offices there in 1976. I recall Dot a woman who sat along the back tables with us and Judy Roxborough, Sandra, Jenny, and Caroline Joyce. Another chap called Bob Eaton and Phil and that's about it I think. Behind us was Work Order.
I went to work in the Drawing Offices and names there are Dennis Johnson, Madge. I worked with Pauline Holt whom I tracked recently on Facebook. I had 2 years at Saltley which I believe the original offices are still there, I worked with Nancy Foster, Hilda Woodcock, Bevan Hill, who was a real character, whatever happened to him ? Roy Caldecott and Janine Stone who I recall married, Margaret Robinson, CharlieBathurst, he died many years ago at quite a young age and not long after retirement, Pamela Mann, Barbara Oakley who committed suicide which was awful, other faces I can see but have no names, then there was a downstairs and I worked with Olive ? and her cat. Andrea, Carol and Sandra.......and a man who smoked a pipe and had a Morris minor. The HEO was Bernard Deaves... my friend was Jeanette Raitte and she and I are still the best of friends today. Frank in the front offices on the switchboard and two men, I can only name one George. The photos on the site are great I wish there were some from the times I was there in the 1970's.
Gillian Adams, - firstname.lastname@example.org - Posted 23rd January 2011.
DAVE CASSELLS - 2011.
Hi Ernie, - Thanks to Andy Tedds I had a look at the website for the first time today. It is great to see the names and faces of the people who worked there and it brought back many happy memories for me.
I joined the PO Factories in 1973 as a TFT and stayed until 1999 (although it was called Fujitsu or "FTEL" by then). After two years in the Training School being trained by Alan Robinson (who named me the Sundance Kid because of my name !), Dinky Jones and Reg Mander (to name but a few) I went into the Toolroom until 1985.
Then I saw the writing on the wall - the electronic era was on us and I made a move back into the Training School working for Bill McCarney as a Trainer. That picture of Terry Clarke sure does bring back memories as he and I became close colleagues for the next seven years ! ( I wish I could contact TC) I also worked with Andy Tedds and Graham Wyley in thos days.
In 1993 I took on the role of H & S Officer which I did until 1999 when I left and went to Marconi. I remember so well the safety committee under Bill Robinson's chairship. I'm now working for Amey doing H & S and have two grown up kids. I often mention the wonderful years that the Post Office Factories gave me and have always been grateful for those happy days.
May I finish by wishing you and all of my old colleagues, friends and associates the very best of health and happiness now and for the future. Oh and congratulations on putting together a great web site.
Dave Cassells, Email - email@example.com - Posted 25th January 2011.
ALAN LOTT - 2011.
It was nice to speak with you again - I do believe we only spoke once before and that was during a walk around the POF site one lunchtime in, most probably, May 1953. Those intervening 58 years have for most of us been quite eventful.
It is not easy to make observations about a workplace at which I was only at for six months but I do have some vague memories of the place - the switchboard assembly plant which I think was on the ground floor, the laboratories of which I often peered through the windows as I had a more scientific interest than that of telecommunications. There was the gatehouse which was visited twice daily - in and out - how could one forget that. Another vivid picture was the view from the Trainees floor - a view over most of Birmingham and beyond. I think we werein one of the tallest buildings in Birmingham at that time. I don't recall a canteen but there must have been one; I do remember the canteen at Bournville - maybe the food was better.
My highlights - and that is probably why I didn't fit well into a factory environment - was our twice weekly days at Bournville College. I liked that place and Bournville itself very much indeed. In fact an occupation undertaken shortly after my leaving the GPO was in the pharmaceutical industry and it also found me one day per week at Bournville College (at my request, which, was granted).
I never lived in Birmingham, the Solihull area being my domicile and by mid 1954 I found myself in a new home in in Devon. Apart from six years service with the Royal air force I have lived here ever since. By the time I left the RAF I decided that a career in sales and management would be a change of direction from what had gone before: this i continued until retirement until I was almost 59 years old. I also served as a retained Fireman for 29 years so I have had an interesting life so far.
Best wishes and hopefully we may meet up during the summer, Alan Lott, Brixham, Devon. - Posted 10th February 2011.
KEITH BEESLEY - 2011.
Hi Ernie, - Just found your website through Pete Cox. I live in Almeria, Spain now with Pauline (Ballard), we got married in the Seychelles a few years ago.
Bob Miles lives out here about 1.1/2 hours away, been out here since retiring 4.1/2 years ago. Mick O'Carrol has a house out here as well. Hope you are all keeping well.
Please thank Bill Mills for giving me a job in the Radio Shack (wooden huts) at Fordrough Lane 1972.
Keith Beesley - Message posted - 9th March 2011.
STAN WALKER - 2011.
Hi, I've just discovered the site and although I can't add mush I thought what I can may be of some interest. I started in the Toolroom on leaving school at 14 in 1944. The Foreman, at the time, was Sid Farley, assistant Foreman Ted Hibbert. We had a very comprehensive education on all the machine tools.
We youngsters had plenty of opportunity for sport, I was a member of the air-rifle team and cricket team, and also attended dances in the canteen and it was at one of these that i met a girl who worked in Plating Shop, Vera Court, who I eventually married.
We were also sent, one day a week, to Bourneville to the Day Continution School, this we enjoyed because we could "chat-up" the girls and get "reject Chocs" !
I left in 1951 to do my National Service and never returned to the P.O. but did start up a small engineering company with my brother Les who also worked at the P.O. and later by Frank Smith another Toolroom tradesman. I might add we were not successful and all went our separate ways.
Names I can remember from those days are Les Allgood, Stan Smelt, Ken Trevethick, Bob Jones, Bob Cawley, Frank Witton and Ray Dudley.
Best regards Stan Walker. Posted 25th March 2011.
PETER ALLGOOD - 2011.
Dear Ernie, My Dad (Les Allgood) started at Fordrough Lane at the age of 14 I believe, in 1936, apprenticed as a toolmaker. I know that he tried to enlist in the RAF at the start of the war and was soundly carpeted by the management as his was a 'reserved occupation' - he just thought he was being patriotic ! Just as well though as in 1941 my mother (Olive) was bombed out of her job at the BSA in Small Heath and came to work at the GPO where she met my dad. He was in the Home Guard during the war and told me how the place was bombed and how you could still see the damage years later. One day as a young lad he sneaked me in on a Saturday morning to have a look round - little was I to know that one day I too would be working in those very buildings. So as I say, if it wasn't for Hitler, I wouldn't be here as my parents would not have met !
So I grew up hearing all these names he used to work with - some were just names that stuck in my memory ("Farley", Johnny Harrodine, Don Pearson(whom he called PO for some reason), Sid Fletcher, Alan Jarvis, Bill Curry, (I later went to school with his son) other were closer to him as friends and colleagues (Bob Cawley, Harold Ensor- who photographed all our family weddings), Johnny Dadd, Johnny Halford - who I see has just died - he encouraged my interest in air rifle shooting. And of course "Murky" - John Murcott, almost a part of my family he was so close to us, dad and John worked together on a number of very advanced DIY projects as well as their shared enthusiasm for steam engines. John was a hero to me with his supercharged Mini. Our house had the very rare distinction in 1969 of not only having full central heating and a shower that they installed but also 300 feet of 5" gauge track round the back to run his engine on. Dad spent most of the 60s at Garrison Lane - where his window overlooked the railway - heaven to a steam fan ! He knew a guy called Wal Saunders in the electrical lab - later I would work in B Block with his son, Tony.
I lived in Stuarts Road Yardley - half of the street worked at the Lane - we had the Fergusons a few doors away(Ron, Enid, David etc - all factories people), Granville Mozdell (telemech) the other side, Colin Baker (Test Section) next door but one, Horace Knight (brother of Alan) over the road.
I read on the site a reference by Stan Walker - Dad certainly knew him and his brother also called Les - and strangely I was classmates with Les Walker's Daughter Marie at Saltley, we were great friends but have lost touch now.
I had no intention of joining the PO but events happened that I did - though it was the Test Section in 1977 that got me. I did 3 years with them and had a superb apprenticeship under Harold Humphries (whose son Alan you will remember as he got involved in POEU in later years). Apart from many skills they taught me, I also fell under the tutelage of a couple of the guys who ignited my amateur radio interests which led to many more friends. Also at this time the first home computers were starting to appear and I decided that I really wanted to work with these- not do batch sample analysis or calibrate test equipment all day. So I put in a transfer to FacD. I joined Dick Richardson's department in A Block- just across the gap from C Block but a world apart. New friends were made - some of whom Dad had mentioned over the years - Sokhi Bansal, Dave Pickerell, Ron Dawes etc ). Everywhere I went people I didn't know would ask " are you Les Allgood's lad ?" - I could see how much he was thought of though it was a bit of a reputation to live up to ! Still my line was electronics rather than mechanical so our paths didn't cross that much at work. It did seem odd though to visit the Mech Lab in the basement and see Dad and several others I knew from home all in their (cow gowns).
Dad was looking forward to retirement at 60 - he and mom worked out how they could just about get by until the State Pension came in at 65. He was counting down the days, I think by then he had had enough - unfortunately we didn't realise he was ill, he managed to keep it from us and we didn't know he had severe heart disease until Christmas 1981 when a massive heart attack and stroke killed him in a week - just 3 weeks from his retirement. He was awarded the DSM posthumously which he had been thrilled about but as he was fond of saying " story of my life, too bloody late again !".
I continued on in my career - becoming an AEE in the early eighties and finally an EE. We did some fantastic stuff ADEKS the call concentrator system, I designed the CPU (borrowing heavily on my home computer experimentation), then it was onto System 565 - a technological triumph but inexplicably cancelled at the last minute by the powers that be. I still have my team member's plaque on my desk as I write. I worked with some great guys - Adrian Booth, Martin Clapton, Pete Ellis, Jon Bansal( no relation to Sokhi), Paul Freer, Barry Underwood and many more. When the project wound up I was transferred to work under Eric Mitchell and Dave Hopper on SyncNux. Eric taught me such a lot about management and we truly got on well as a team. Obviously someone thought I hadn't yet reched my level of incomptence as they made me EE. By this time I was finding a growing interest in the manufacturing side of my world rather than R & D and it was the era of the Enterprise Initiative, start your own business, become a millionaire ! Well I did one of those things - and it wasn't the second one !
It was pre Sovereign but the first stage of the factories slim down was happening and they asked for volunteers to take early retirement - this being 1990 I couldn't believe my luck - I got my application in straight away and unbeknown to me my colleague Chris Harding was number two to apply then we found out our department was to expand and the last thing they wanted was to lose two of it's EEs ! So a bit of a battle ensued, it took us 9 months to get them to agree to let us go. I set up my business with my payoff Chris went around the world on his.
I got married and moved to the Scottish Highlands initially and for 6 years grew our tiny business (along the lines of the FacD Model Shop) before inevitably family ties overcame our love of the highlands and we returned south to live now in Telford. We are still not very big (6 people). Occasionally I bump into ex BT/Fulcrum people at my customers - Fred Mann from the Drawing Office is now at Goodrich(Lucas) in Hall Green for instance.
My mother died in 2007 in her mid eighties and amongst the mourners I spoke to Bob Cawley who still keeps in touch with a few of their generation.
So sorry if I haven't mentioned anyone, there were so many characters and like it or not we were one big family. I guess a place like that just wouldn't exist nowadays. If anyone wants to get in touch feel free to Email - firstname.lastname@example.org
PETER ALLGOOD. - Posted - 14th April 2011.
ANDY RAVEN - 2011.
Following this I moved on to the helpdesk, which has now matured into a NOC (Network Operations Centre), as the point of contact for support of our deployed products.
In interesting journey... so far.
Andy Raven - posted 5th June 2011.
KAY WHITTINGHAM, (ROSE) NEE (ROBERTS). -2015.
KAY WHITTINGHAM, (ROSE) NEE (ROBERTS.
Hi, What a great and easy find.
I worked at Fordrough Lane between 1979 to 1984 as a CO. I worked in the "machine room" that was a precursor to the computerised systems, transferring stock information to tape.
I left to have my daughter in 1984 and later went on to train as a teacher. I remarried and moved to Cornwall where life is near perfect; but will always remember those early days and would love to contact a few. In particular those whom I shared the office with; Hazel Stewart and Jayne Wheeler.
Best wishes and kind regards, Kay Whittingham (Rose) nee (Roberts).
Contact - email@example.com
Posted - 9th June 2015.
JOHN YOUNG - 2020.
Nice after all this time, nearly 30years, to talk to you all again. Hope you all well and coping in these strange times.
Redundancy was a strange experience a bit of a shock to the system. But that's later in my story so let's wind the clock back to my earliest recollection. This the time the TVs picture fades and swirls, till June 1966.
An advert in the Evening Mail , Are you interested in Telecommunications, apprentiship Post Office Factories. I wrote a letter, expressing my interest with my details, popped it in the post and Promptly forgot about it! I was just turned 16, having left school, I was free no school to go back too, no thought of needing a "job", that was sorted, one application that is plenty said my relaxed brain. Enjoyed the time off, six weeks later, super chilled. A letter came back, (letters sounds a strange concept in today high tech world.,we had no home phone, we weren't posh.
Attended an interview in a small room in D Block, a few questions and filling a terminal block with screws. I was shown a bunch of wires, individual wires were selected and asked the colours, a slight stumble I got slate wrong, oops, will I. Fail, the interviewer, nonplused said words etched into my brain. --" I always get that wrong too"-- phew.
. A week later offered a job, start 6th September 1966.
As I am recalling memories, not writing a book, I will jump to memory high lights.
First day, met another apprentice on bus, John Alcott, we got off at Garrison Lane, we were 15 minutes late on arrival at the time office, " A quarter" said the man Ashe passed us our brass tag, 302 comes to mind, later learning we were logged as 15 minutes late! Ray Collins collected us and totally lost were taken to the 6th Floor J Block, that lift was scary.
Two years in the school and one day a week at Garrets Green College. Time rapidly passed, high spots, called in the office Bob Cawley has 3 of us on the carpet. We had wired an electronic capacitor incorrectly, quote " I can understand you two he said to the others, all wired backwards, but you John some right some wrong, did you not see the red colour for +ve". No I explained what red colour, telling them I was colour blind, I should have been weeded out at interview by the wire test, Fortunately they had invested time and money in me and I was streamed into mechanical apprenticeship. The only other glitch was we made a set square, I spent hours early with needle files a flat block and engineers blue, finding high places till it wrung flat. It was so flat I was accused of putting it on the surface grinder. I still don't think they believed me.
Third year remembering my colour vision I started as a trainee setter, had a bench next to Ken Manning and George Smith. Had a huge tool chest, wow those presses were noisy and the press tools heavy. I was not a sheltered child, just that my Dad never swore at home, I learnt a lot of $*+%%#} words in double quick time, but what was most shocking was the ladies swore worse than the blokes. Foreman was Ernie Farley good bloke, I think Ken Manning was assistant by then. Mr Farley retired and awe had a new Foreman, He looked a tough cookie an I was nervous. I had to go see him and asked what his name was. I was told his name was Smelt . Stan "Smelt". I was sure this was a trick no it was long wait and a spirit level bubble , trepidation, buckets of sweat. Overthinking or what. Lol.
Time passed training done, college done, occasional acted as a sub. For the AFF ( Assistant Factory Foreman" Controlling the work flow and manual time cards for piece work. Then next milestone was sent work in Metrology Labs, transferred to FDI, worked with Frank Pickering and Alan Parks. Our AFF a huge chap, (anyone help with a name) has a habit of having a sleep at lunch time, we all stayed extremely quite as we got back to work, he won because he got in the extra zzzz's. The other added excitement was arguing with Stan Smelt that the first offs were wrong, wow that was tough.
A similar theme followed, as I was put out on the shop floor as an inspector clearing samples in several departments, Harold Colley, Stan Trevethick Dennis Lane and others loved to argue sorry discuss/ debate rejections into passes. Strange how you choose a sample of 1 out of twenty and find the only dry joint. Lol. I was inspection on the coin box mechanisms on 5th J Block, it was mini flow system, a strong Memory was Bob? And his crew burst into spontaneous song " Ghost Riders in the sky." as they drummed loudly with screw drivers and tools on service available. Fantastic sound.
Not sure of the order, promotion followed worked in FDI 4th Floor J Block, with Bob Haywood , Dennis Keight Harold King. Also a spell at Garrison Lane still In FDI covering Rack Shop.
With Bill Price ( lost to a Stroke), John Holden in Pi, Dennis Lane again .
Again this could have been earlier or later was manager in FL4 Maintenance, with John E Bowers, Sammy Walker,Brian Smith , Bob Irwin these I remember for some reason, laughs, I wonder why.
Still at Fordrough, a period in planning, and an opportunity thanks to Ossie Williams. with external Training a new promotion to Safety Officer, Lots of scares and concerns, keeping people safe or safer. Accident investigations, training and process reviews. Lots of fire alarms and controlled evacuations. PLus the real fire in the PCB flow machine, helped extinguish the fire and suffered minor smoke inhalation. Oh and the Earthquake too.
We also lived with a background of terrorism threats, so one time I was called to an unattended briefcase by the Plant Room, a cordon was quickly established, police called, fire service the lot, j block moved to the far side of the building, a flash couple of Geezer turned up, Savile Row suits, suspected secret service anti terror. portable X-ray m/c showed suspect contents. They simply tied a string to the case handle, moved us round the corner , pulled it sharp , nothing happened, opening the case they found a tea flask and sandwiches. All clear, later Pete Smith R&D passed and said John Alcott was parked there and probably forgot his case as normal.
In the background I became Secretary of SPOE managers Union and along with Ernie as POEU Secretary dealt with ever worsening staff cuts and redundancies. preparing the Factory for Sale!!
It was not a task faced alone, it was comforting to have Ernie Coggins on the same team.
people that come to mind from this desperate time and at times throughout my time in P.O.Factories at BMF , BT Factories, Fulcrum from 1966 to 1990 are in no time or preference order, just as they pop into my head, please excuse anyone who feels I should remember them and are missed. Lots have been mentioned, these are more. some I know we have lost but were important to me:-
Melvin Plant(transferred to Cymcarn) Alan Bartlam who nearly dropped me off the back of his motor bike during a lift home , as his clutch was gone and we wheelied up the road me hanging on my feet up higher than Alan's head. Ken Sims, Ron Shields,Don Cotterill, Ron Jackson, AlanKimberly, Clem Fields, Harold Green Laurie Rumens, Sheila Stansbie, Norman Hands, Brian Chin, Paul Edwards, Don Franks, Les Auld, Tony Cotten, Ray Maul, Terry Yates, Roy Swancutt, Ted Timms, Dave Morgan. Dave Tew, Barry Hughes, Ray Meers, George Williams. Norman (magic hammer ) Hands, Paul Hands Norman Guest, Ken Govier, Johm Bennett, Pete Bailey, Mike Smith, Irene Afford . Pat Whitehouse, Pete Buchanan , Mick Tennant, Tony Rose, Ken Nock, John Harrodine,
Sorry for the disjointed memories, but that's how my head is, I was tested for dementia but only ticked two of the three boxes needed, So not officially have a problem, it personally occasionally have forgetful episodes. Things will be out of sequence and people forgotten,
Hope all are still with us are well, please stay safe.
All best regards, John. - Email - firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted - 28th July 2020.
Hi Ernie. - I have only today been told about the website for Fordrough Lane. It has brought back many happy memories and I remember quite a few of the folks in the many photos.
I started work at Jubilee Works, Sherlock Street, when I left school at 16 in 1973. I worked for Doris too ( like Tony Cotter) in the Addressograph Room with Kevin Wiggins and Clive Foster. I then moved to Fordrough Lane in 1974 where I worked in a few departments.
I am still in contact with Kay and Clive Foster, Elaine and Gary Mander, Janet Day, who is Sid Davies's daughter, June Mole and now Gill nee Adams. I remember so many people who i worked with and the Christmas parties that were always fun. - We all spent many a happy time in the County Girl pub and often came back a little tipsy.
My auntie - Millie Brookes worked in the factory and I often used to sneak out of the office ( always with papers in my hand) to see her. I loved the happy atmosphere in the factory, everyone was so happy. - I would love to hear from anyone who remembers me. I was Elaine Littlejohns when I started and then Elaine Sandilands when I got married in 1976. I left in 1978 when I had my daughter Fiona.
Elaine Sandilands, Email = email@example.com - Posted 9th April 2011.
PAUL AFFORD -2011.
Hello Ernie, Just sat with my Mom and went through the photo gallery and lost an hour or so.
Just noticed the Requests For Information section. Dave Law wanted to know the whereabouts of Alan Robinson.Last known location is Lapworth, Warwickshire. He lives in the old gate house of a larger house called Catesby Manor that has been converted into apartments, its situated on the corner of Catesby Lane and Lapworth Street.
Also someone is looking for Tom Brassil, he was working at a building called Friars Gate in Shirley. He was working for the Health Care Commission I think, but I have not seen him for the last twelve months or so. However, having Googled his name I found this reference from a new set-up in April 2010 which might be him;- TOM BRASSIL, AM ( Birmingham Women's Hospital NHS Trust & Royal Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Trust) - I have seen him in Solihull in the last few weeks so he is still local, but I do not have contact details. If you have a contact number for Kevin Biddle he might have a contact number - I will send Kevin a message on Facebook and ask - Not definite details but it might help.
Regards, Paul - Posted - 9th April 2011.
JACKIE and PETE WATKINS - 2011
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Dear Ernie, I worked at Fordrough Lane from 1975 till 1983. Peter Watkins my husband worked there from 1976 till 1990 when he took voluntary redundancy. Pete is one of those featured on the picket line, that why I have got in touch.
We had some fantastic times and we both have a lot of treasured memories, Alan Knight was my line manager, I was shocked and upset to see that he had died so young. I also worked with the sisters, Sue and Gaynor, Carol Ashraf, Olive Denhart, Tony Dugmore and Marie Hogarth. I would like to know how Marie Hogarth is.
Jackie & Pete Watkins - firstname.lastname@example.org - posted 21st April 2011
PETER SUMMERSGILL - 2011
Hi Ernie, Thanks for latest batch of P.O. Factories Information, photos etc. As always, all were most interesting. Regarding the 21 photos, all brought back memories of the '50's, but the separate one was outside my scope.
The London March, although I did not see myself on any of the pictures ! The lads of the far-end of the Switchboard Shop, near the Machine Shop, but further over and behind the Cabinet Shop, where my bench was.
As I have said before, Reg Mander and Ron Lee were on the other side of the gangway to Harry Baulch and myself, nearest the Cabinet Shop, whilst some of the other lads in the photos were spread out in gangways towards the end wall/toilets of the shop. Some of the faces look so familiar, but unfortunately, I cannot bring back names !
The demonstration outside the wall was presumably in the mid '80's/'90's and therefore after my time there, although, I was probably in Region or N & W Mid District (Wolverhampton) at the time.
Sorry I can't help with names. All the best - Peter. - Posted 21st April 2011.
STEVE WEBB - 2011
What a great site, many names I recognise. It has brought back a great many memories of one of the happier phases of my career. I worked in FL5 in Electronic Repair from March 1982 to 1986. I left for three years to join the Home Office Telecomms dept., I then came back and worked in the Cal Lab until I took release in 93. I remember walking out of the gate for the last time with a heavy heart.
What firm now, would allow me to educate myself via day release as an adult. The J. Block Canteen was great. We have a sandwich van now ! I am nearing retirement towards the end of a rewarding career in telecommunications, currently at Arqiva, a broadcast radio and TV transmission facilities provider.
Thanks to Ossie for employing me back in 1982 and helping me to escape from the TV repair business, gain lots of experience and achieve some good formal qualifications.
All the very best to you all - Steve Webb - posted 5th June 2011.
ALAN ROBINSON - 2011
Congratulations Ernie for such an informed site, just came off the phone from Roger Spry who brought me up-to-date on your site. Say no more, my time in the Post Office/Fulcrum was a one off in a life time. Having resided at Fordrough Lane from 1968 - 87.
Please pass on my e mail to all trainees, attendees of the Country Girl and to all fitness freaks, still pushing the weights at 61 years.
Hope your keeping well. Al Rob. ( email@example.com ) Posted 22nd August 2011
ROGER TURNER - 2012.
Message received from Roger on Sunday 8th April;-
Just found you, remember me ? Roger Turner, you knew my Dad, Noel Turner. All I can say is thank you for all you did for me and my Dad, it was a long time ago (Fordrough Lane) but well, I'm a Grandad now.
You got me from FT2 to FT1 1982 I think - I remember you jumping over Bob Cawley in the PCB Unit.
Yours very sincerely, Roger Turner. ( firstname.lastname@example.org )
Posted 9th April 2012.
PETER ALLGOOD - 2012
Just spent a fascinating day at Bletchley Park viewing the Colossus rebuild project. I was so pleased to read on the information boards a reference to the construction work undertaken at Fordrough Lane - so much so that I exclaimed out loud to the astonishment of nearby visitors. Ken Govier's book mentioned the possibility but seeing it in print at Bletchley itself made it all real.
Although I can't make the final link, both my Mother (Olive - engraver) and Father (Les - Toolmaker) were at F/L at that time and might therefore have been involved in some way. If they were, they never talked about it but I know dad had some reason to work at Dollis Hill during the war.
Another interesting fact gleaned was to read about the Enigma decodes of the German plans to bomb Birmingham and specifically the BSA - where my mother worked first. By sheer good fortune she missed the raid but her workplace was destroyed - as a result she had to find another job which was at F/L - where she met my dad. Funny how the war played such a role in getting me here !
It's a fascinating exhibition but all the more so to know that our factory played a vital part. I spent ages gazing at the wiring and thinking of my apprentice days.
Regards, Peter Allgood. ( email@example.com) Posted 27th September 2012.
ROLL OF HONOUR OF DECEASED COLLEAGUES - PLEASE ALSO SEE THE OBITUARIES PAGE.
TED JENKINS - Cabinet Shop & RSI - passed away 3rd June 2009 - aged 88 years.
GLADYS HUBBALL - F/L Machine Shop - passed away 7th June 2009 aged 87 years.
ELSIE BENNETT - SWBD's Flowline & Coin Boxes - passed away 15th June 2009 aged 64 years.
ROY "CHICKY" HENN - F/L Main Supplies Depot - passed away 3rd June 2009.
JOHNNY HALFORD - Garrison Lane & Tents Jointer - passed away 21st July 2009 - aged 79 years.
FRANK WITTON - F/L Toolroom - passed away 26th July 2009 - aged 89 years.
HAROLD WHITWORTH - Jubilee Works - passed awayÞnd September 2009 - aged 89 years.
LEN WILLETT - Member of POEU National Executive & Secretary of London Factories Branch - First, Worker Director elected to the BT Board. - passed away September 13th 2009.
.GEORGE BIDDULPH - FL 2 - passed away 25th September 2009 - aged 89 years.
FRED MILLER, Cabinet Shop & Tents Jointer (J. Block) - passed away 9th October 2009 aged 78 years.
GEORGE WILKINS, Training School, Machine Shop, Garrison Lane - buried 3rd November 2009 - aged 90 years.
GEORGE SMITH, Toolsetter, Machine Shop, - passed away 16th November 2009 aged 82 years.
DAVE EASTWOOD, FL2, FDI/PI & FHQ - passed away - 17th November 2009 aged 68 years.
DAISY NOLAN, Ex London Factories - First woman delegate to POEU Annual Conference - died 1st January 2010- aged 90 years.
DAVE KINSEY, Ex Fordrough Lane - passed away 13th January 2010 - aged 67 years.
ALAN KNIGHT - Ex Fordrough Lane - passed away 23rd November 2010 - aged 61 years.
ROY YARDLEY - Ex-Fordrough Lane - passed away April 2011 - aged 79 years.
RON HARRIS - Coin Box Flowline, Fordrough Lane - passed away July 2011.- aged 80 years
PETE BOWDEN - H1 & H2, Fordrough Lane - passed away June 2011 - aged 56 years.
BRENDA PEERS - Provision Group, Fordrough Lane - passed away 5th September 2011.
FRED GUEST - Dial Shop, Swbds & Coinbox Flowline - Jubilee Works & Fordrough Lane - passed away 14th September 2011, aged 86 years. - Please see the Obituaries Page for a potted history.
BOB MANN - POEU National Executive & Birmingham External Branch, Secretary - passed away 7th January 2012, aged 61 years.
ROSE HEATH - Machine Shop & FL2 Shop PI, - passed away 8th January 2012.
DENNIS OWENS - FDI Overseer, Birmingham Factories - passed away 11th January 2012.
HARRY LOCK - Cable Yard and Timber Shed Supervisor Fordrough Lane, Supplies - passed away 13th January 2012. Aged 86 years.
DENNIS CHILES - Garrison Lane, Fordrough Lane and Outwork - passed away sometime in early 2012.
BETTY PARISH - Senior Manager of Clerical and Admin, Birmingham Factories - passed away March 2012.
HILDA BULLOCK - Fordrough Lane Clerical and wife of Horace - Passed away 13th May 2012. Aged 88 years.
FRANK PETERS - Fordrough Lane engaged for many years on refurbishment of Tents Jointer - Passed away 2nd July 2012. Aged 95.
MARGARET ELIZABETH McSHARRY - Winding Shop, Sherlock Street & Fordrough Lane- Passed away 26th August 2012 - Aged 84.
STAN HARRIS - FHQ - Fordrough Lane & Garrison Lane - Passed away 16th October 2012 - Aged 81.
FRANK AVERY - Switchboard Shop Fordrough Lane - passed away 18th November 2012 - Aged 83.
ROY BODFISH - Jubilee Works, Sherlock Street - passed away December 2012 - Aged 92.
RON MANTON - Relay Shop Jubilee Works, FHQ Garrison & Fordrough Lane - passed away 23 December 2012- Aged 86.
ARTHUR SANDFORD - Factory Supplies, Anthony Rd. Sherlock St. Garrison & Fordrough Lane- 21st March 2013- Aged 76.
TREVOR INGLIS -POEU Ast Secretary and Magazine Editor based mainly at Jubilee Works - 28th March 2013 Aged 93.
JOHN MORGAN - Fordrough Lane Switchboard Shop & SWBD Flowline - passed away 10th April 2013 - Aged 85.
JOHN TIREBUCK - Fordrough Lane, Cabinet Shop & Factory Planning Group - Passed away 11th April 2013 - Aged 82.
JEFF BARR - Fordrough Lane, FL2 Shop - Passed away 17th April 2013 - Aged 66 years.
ELSIE MILLS - FHQ Garrison Lane & Fordrough Lane - Passed away 9th July 2013 - Aged 93 years.
BETTY WILSON - POEU Political Officer, FL2 Shop & Garrison Lane - Passed away 6th August 2013 - Aged 84 years.
PAT CHINN - Fordrough Lane Machine Shop and Wife of Brian - Passed away 25th August 2013 - Aged 64 years.
STAN HAYWARD - Coils Loading Shop, Garrison Lane, Passed away 1st September 2013 - Aged 82 years.
DOUG PERRY - FL7 Switchboard Shop Fordrough Lane - Passed away 12th November 2013 - Aged 82 years.
BOB LIEWELLYN - Registers Flowline Fordrough Lane - Passed away 10th December 2013 - Aged 82 years.
RAY HARRODINE - FHQ Garrison Lane - Passed away 2nd February 2014. Aged 87 years.
RONNIE GREEN - Fordrough Lane Toolroom - Passed away 17th February 2014 - Aged 88 years.
NORMAN GUEST - F.D.I. Fordrough Lane - Passed away 29th March 2014 - Aged 91 years.
JOHN GRIFFITHS - Factory Supplies Fordrough Lane & Jubilee Works - Passed away 18th April 2014 - Aged 93 years.
DON GREEN - FL2 & Boxer Project - Fordrough Lane - Passed Away 4th July 2014 - Aged 79 years.
STEVE CLARKE - FHQ Engineering Labs - Fordrough Lane, - Passed Away 17th July 2014 - Aged ??
JOHN WESTON - GL & Tents & Postal Mech. - Fordrough Lane - Passed Away 6th November 2014 - Aged 81 years.
BILL MILLS - FHQ Garrison Lane & Fordrough Lane - Passed Away 25th December 2014 - Aged 89 years.
JOHN PRESTON - J.W. & Fordrough Lane - Petty Cash Purchaser - Passed Away 28th December 2014 - Aged 85 years.
BETTY TOMLINSON(nee MYRING) - Coil Winding Shop Jubilee Works - Passed Away 6th February 2015 - Aged 87 years
DEREK 'DINKY' JONES - Garrison Lane & Training School Fordrough Lane - Passed Away 29th January 2015 - Aged 87 years.
FLOSS PEARCE - Factory Supplies Fordrough Lane - Passed away 13th April 2015 - Aged 89 years.
DONALD LAW - Birmingham Test Section - Passed away February 2015.
DONALD LOWE - Birmingham Test Section - POEU Branch Treasurer - Passed away 8th September 2015 - Aged 83 years.
BARRY HUGHES - C.P.C. Fordrough Lane & Sports Club Treasurer - Passed away 17th September 2015 - Aged 78 years.
STAN REYNOLDS - Birmingham Supplies, Fordrough Lane - Passed away 14th October 2015 - Aged 79 years.
JONATHAN WHITTAKER - Management Team, Fordrough Lane - Passed away 9th February 2016 - Aged 65 years.
HOWARD CUDD(Cuddy) - Cabinet Shop, Fordrough Lane - Passed away 14th February 2016 - Aged 98 years.
PATRICK FRASER(Paddy) Cabinet Shop, Fordrough Lane - Passed away 3rd March 2016 - Aged 89 years.
ALAN STATHAM - Electrical Laboratories, Fordrough & Garrison Lanes - Passed away 30th March 2016 - Aged 63 years.
PETER PARSONS - Switchboard Shop, Fordrough Lane - Passed away 30th March 2016 - Aged 87 years,
TEX RILEY - J.W. & FL2 shop Fordrough Lane & Outwork - Passed away 14th April 2016 - Aged 78 years.
CHARLIE REYNOLDS- POEU Branch Secretary, B'ham Factories Branch - Passed away 28th April 2016 - Aged 98 years.
MARY ALLBROOK - Machine Shop, Fordrough Lane - Passed away 21st September 2016 - Aged 86 years
ARNOLD CARTER - Model Shop, FL2 and Planning, Fordrough Lane, Passed away 21st September 2016 - Aged 80 years.
MARIE TEAGUE - Catering Staff, Fordrough Lane Canteens. Passed away 20th March 2017 - Aged 80 years.
SID SIDEBOTHAM - Garrison Lane & FL2 Shop Fordrough Lane. Passed away 20th March 2017 - Aged 97 years.
JOAN PORTER - Jubilee Works, Sherlock Street. Passed away 30th December 2017 - Aged 82 years.
JOHN DADD - Mechancical Lab. Garrison Lane, Passed away 1st February 2018 - Aged 83 years.
SYD BRINSDON - Jubilee Works & Training School, Fordrough Lane, Passed away 28th January 2018 - Aged 89 years.
BRIAN PHIPPS - FL2 Shop, Fordrough Lane - Passed away January 2018 - Aged 79 years.
ROY AUSTIN - Test Room, Fordrough Lane - Passed away January 2018 - Aged 86 years.
RONNIE SHEILDS - Toolroom, Fordrough Lane - Passed away March 2018 - Aged 66 years.
MARGARET McALEER - Machine Shop Annexe, Fordrough Lane - Passed away 9th February 2018 - Aged 92 years.
ERIC MEIGH - Relay Shop(JW3) Jubilee Works - Passed away 26th February 2018 - Aged 95 years.
NICK BUTLER - FL2 Shop & Planning Office, Fordrough Lane - Passed away 22nd March 2018 -Aged 72 years.
ALAN BARTLAM - Toolroom, Fordrough Lane - Passed away April 2018. - Aged 67 years.
RALPH BUTLER - Factory Supplies, Fordrough Lane - Passed away May 2018 - Aged
KEN CHAPLIN - Cabinet Shop, Fordrough Lane - Passed away 10th June 2018 - Aged 83 years.
DEREK RILEY -Factory Supplies, Sherlock St & Fordrough Lane - Passed away 18th July 2018 - Aged 84 years.
BILL WARD - Main P.O.Supplies, Anthony Road,- Passed away 2nd September 2018 - Aged 90 years.
ERNIE HUNT - Garrison Lane, Rack Shop, Passed Away 1st March 2019 - Aged 69 years.
BOB CAWLEY - Tool Room & Training School, Fordrough Lane, Passed Away 18th March 2019 - Aged 91 years.
IAN REYNOLDS - Son of Charlie Reynolds - Passed Away 30th March 2019 - Aged 67 years.
SHEILA STANSBIE - Staff Group, Fordrough Lane, Passed Away 20th May 2019 - Aged 83 years.
TERRY CLARKE - Garrison Lane Rack Shop & Training School F/L. Passed Away 12th February 2020 - Aged 78 years.
RAY COLLINS - Fordrough Lane Toolroom and Training School - Passed Away 20th June 2020 - Aged 94 years.
MADHU CHOHAN - Fordrough Lane, Development Lab - Passed Away 10th October 2020 - Aged 65 years.
JIM WOOD - Garrison Lane, Rack & PCB Shop -Passed Away 17th November 2020 - Aged 73 years..
EVA SMITH - Fordrough Lane, Provision Duty - Passed Away - 7th January 2021 - Aged 90 years.