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Post Office Factory

Post Office Factory , Fordrough Lane, Birmingham

OBITUARIES - This Page was started on 18th June 2011.

ROY YARDLEY - 1932 - 2011.

Roy, together with his twin brother Ray, spent his childhood in the Ward End suburb of Birmingham. He started his working life in the machine shop of the GPO Factory, Fordrough Lane, Birmingham, and served his National Service with the Air Force. Returning to civilian life Roy found himself working in the FL8 Switchboard Shop under Bob Cook. In his spare time Roy was an enthusiastic table tennis player and keen cyclist with the Ivy Wheelers Cycle Club.

Marrying in 1957 Roy set up home in the village of Alvechurch and became a life long supporter and Patron of the Alvechurch Football Club. He and his wife Doreen were soon to become parents of two daughters and a son which, no doubt, prompted Roy into a career change that, over the years, saw him working for Scrivens the Opticians, Cadbury's and running his own business as a Hearing Aid Consultant.

After retiring Roy moved to Redditch where he presided over his extended family of three married children and four grandchildren. Throughout his adult life Roy's support for the Alvechurch Football Club never waned and he often spoke with affection of his time in the "Old GPO Factory" as he called it.

Charlie Reynolds - Posted 18th June 2011.



So sad to hear the news of the loss of yet another of the great characters who have worked for the GPO/BT Factories Dpt.  Freddy Guest brought laughter and pleasure to all those lucky enough to have worked alongside him at Fordrough Lane and Sherlock Street.   

My personal, never to be forgotten memories, of the joy of Fred's company centres around telephone dials in more ways than one.     Many years, and one world war, before the time that we heard the phrase of "Thatcher- Thatcher milk-snatcher"., I invented a game called bottle tennis which involved the use of two of the small milk bottles which were delivered daily to the workforce, and the centres of two cardboard boxes designed to hold a dial.  About twelve years later Fred invented one with the use os a tray designed to carry dials, and a small Vaseline tin.    He called his game Uckers, which was intended to rhyme with those he hoped would take part in playing.  -  No need to add that the games were designed to be played during the lunch break !

Fred was the youngest in the trio of welcome Guests, reminding us of the many "clans" that were deployed throughout the three factories.

Happily in the photo gallery of this website, there are pictures of Fred in his element, enjoying himself in company, and the company enjoying being with Fred.

Charlie Reynolds - Posted 18th September 2011.



So sad to hear the news that Rose Heath had passed away on 8th January 2012.   Rose was a very popular lady who kept in touch with many of her workmates during her years of retirement. Her family was well known in the Ward End, Small Heath and other areas of Birmingham, owning a number of shops retailing top quality china.

Rose loved sport and in her early years was a frequent spectator at St Andrews. Although she remained a "true blue" her real love was cricket and Warwickshire CC. She would talk for hours about the merits of Gladstone Small, Bob Williss and Dennis Amiss etc. It was most appropriate that most of her later years were spent living at Wicket Towers overlooking the Edgbaston Cricket ground.

Charlie Reynolds - posted 21st January 2012.


After a distressing few days of severe suffering Dennis died at 2.30 pm on 11th January 2012., aged about 86.   In his younger days Dennis was a keen cyclist and at his peak was a 100 mile a day tourer until struck down with TB. 

 After some time in the Benenden Sanatorium, in Kent, he was one of the few to have a lung removed, survive and make a full recovery, returning to work in the FacD Electrical Lab about mid 1957. Dennis was a man of considerable interlect and highly respected by all who knew him.

Ken Govier - posted 21st January 2012.


As many of you will recall, earlier in the year I circulated a request for information as to whether or not Dennis had passed away. Unfortunately, I recived no positive verification from that enquiry.  However, I have now received positive confirmations from Betty & Harold Pilkington and Sandra & Tex Riley that Dennis was suffering from terminal cancer and refused to enter a hospice until just hours before he died. Jeff Ward, ex- Coin Box Flowline and a very close friend of Dennis and was at his bedside when he died and the funeral was held in Leamington Spa. One sad aspect of this tradegy is that Dennis had not been in-touch with his sister Diane Patterson for some 15 years.

If anyone can has any further information about Dennis please do not hesitate to contact me.

My thanks go to Betty & Harold and Sandra & Tex for providing this information. - Posted 3rd May 2012. 


I thought I would let you know that Betty Parish died recently in a nursing home in Wolverhampton. She was cremated over there and a memorial service was held at St. Peter's Church Harborne on 17th April 2012.

Sheila Stansbie - Posted 5th May 2012.



Frank Peters passed away on July 2nd 2012, in his 95th year. Frank spent over 50 years of his life as a popular member of the  Birmingham PO/BT Factory workforce at Fordrough Lane, employed in the electrical and mechanical side of the trade.

Noted for his elegance and expertise on the ballroom floor, he was purist who took a dim view of glitzy TV programmes such as Strictly Come Dancing, or to be more precise he never viewed them. An enthusiastic all-round sportsman, he was good at crown green bowling, darts, and happily played a part in inter-shop cricket matches as a very unorthodox spin bowler. He used to call his deliveries his "donkey droppers" as he gave them a lot of air. He was always in the middle of the coachload that made the annual trip to Cheltenham on Gold Cup Day.

After he retired he joined the group of retirees who formed a club within a club at Hatchford Brook Golf Club. Like most of them he struggled to break a hundred, but he developed a good enough touch on and around the green to earn and revel in the nickname of "Par Three Peters".

Frank was a loyal member of the old Post Office Engineering Union and was one of the first to join the newly formed Retired Members' Section.  He can be seen on website photographs marching in protest at Government plans to privatise the Post Office.

Accompanied with his lovely wife Eve, they enjoyed great pleasure as ever presents on the many social day trips organised by the retirement club.

A fact known only to a few, Frank merited the civilian version of being "mentioned in despatches" for his actions while on Home Guard Duty on the 22nd November 1940 when much of the Fordrough Lane Factory was destroyed by German bombing. During that night Frank was displaying the bravery and courage that he was to show again during the later intensely painful days of his life.

Charlie Reynolds - Posted,  2nd July 2012.



Those of us who were members of the  POEU/CWU Birmingham Factories Branch, will be saddened by the news that one of its stalwarts Trevor Inglis died on 28th March 2013, aged 93.


Trevor became the Branch Educational Officer and produced its first news magazine, a free monthly entitled The Link.     It was a laborious task in those days, involving the use of stencils and a manually operated Gestetner printing machine.     It was soon replaced by a quarterly counterpart, affectionately called Trimester Taurus.  Trevor then took over as the  Branch Assistant Secretary, with the main responsibility for Union activity at the Sherlock Street Factory.    His valuable service there was rewarded with the presentation of the Union ’s Gold Badge


In his younger days Trevor was a keen motor cyclist and could be regularly seen at the Belle View Speedway track in Manchester ,   and also at the Isle of Man TT Races

During WW2 he served in the Burma Campaign, right in the thick of things as a member of  Orde Wingate's Chindits.      The bravery that he showed there was also evident in the courage that he displayed over the last few years of his life.    For many years he suffered from glaucoma a condition that worsened to the point where he had little vision. His hearing too, became a huge problem as tinnitus badly affected his sleep.  Despite these problems and the even greater one of a prostate condition, he never uttered one word of complaint.     Whenever we asked how he was he would always reply “Not so bad”    The remark was typical Trevor, he could never lie, and he would never indulge in self pity.

I thought that his greatest attribute was the fact that if anything was said to him in confidence,. it always remained, in  confidence      He leaves us with the feeling that we owe him a debt of thanks. 

Charlie Reynolds - Posted 2nd April 2013. 

He worked at Garrison Lane, Sherlock Street, Anthony Road and Fordrough Lane from 1953 to 1985.


During his career as a member of the Factories Supplies staff, from 1953 to 1985, Arthur worked at Anthony Road, Jubilee Works(Sherlock Street), Garrison Lane and Fordrough Lane. He was well known and well liked by everyone who came into contact with him during his working life and could always be relied upon to brighten up the day with his unique sense of humour.

Ernie Coggins - Posted 2nd April 2013  

worked at Garrison Lane, Sherlock Street, Anthony Road and Fordrough Lane from 1953 to 1985.
He worked at Garrison Lane, Sherlock Street, Anthony Road and Fordrough Lane from 1953 to 1985.


Sad to say, Betty Wilson passed away on 6th August, after a long battle that she fought with her customary bravery and stoicism.
Betty was popular  and respected throughout  the whole of the POEU / CWU having been a delegate to numerous Conferences on many contentious issues     She played a big part within the Labour movement in the early days of the fight for Womens Rights. for which she obtained some reward by being among the first of the female grades in the PO/BT Factories to be promoted to the previous, male only grade, when the Equal Pay for Equal Work Act, came into force.
Betty also served as a Justice of the Peace, and her loss will be felt far and wide.
 Charlie Reynolds - Posted 13th August 2013.

Sad to say, Betty Wilson has passed away on 6th August, after a long battle that she
fought with her customary bravery and stoicism.
Betty was popular and respected throughout the whole of the POEU / CWU having
been a delegate to numerous Conferences on many contentious issues She played a
big part within the Labour movement in the early days of the fight for Womens Rights. for
which she obtained some reward by being among the first of the female grades in the
PO/BT Factories to be promoted to the previous, male only grade, when the Equal Pay
for Equal Work Act, came into force.
Betty also served as a Justice of the Peace, and her loss will be felt far and wide.
Charlie Reynolds.
Betty's funeral will be at;- 10.45 am, MONDAY 19th AUGUST at YARDLEY


 Nick was one of my colleagues at Fulcrum. He passed away on 22nd March 2018, due to Bowel Cancer after about two years of care.

The funeral  was very well attended at the Robin Hood Crematorium, but I didn't spot any one else from Fulcrum there. Nick was a really nice, kind and likeable person and it is sad to see his passing.

A Copy of the Order of service containing a photograph of Nick can be found under the Ken Pitt Collection on the Photo Gallery Page.

 Ken Pitt - Posted 14th April 2018.


 Hi Ernie, I've only just heard the news that two old mates have passed away, Nick Butler and Alan Bartlam. I did my degree with both of them and spent lots of time in the bar at Birmingham Poly. 

 Funnily I read Ken Pitt's tribute to Nick on the P. O. Factories website. Ken was another ex-Business Studies Graduate and I wish I had known earlier.

Take care! Bob O'Hooligan Mendonca. Posted 3rd May 2018.


Dear Ernie.

 I'm writing to say that my Dad Ray Collins, who was a toolmaker at the Post Office  Factory Fordrough Lane. 

Passed away on, 20th June 2020, aged 94 years.


Pat Broadway has written to say that Madhu, who worked with Pat and Val Riley in the FHQ, Prototype Development workshop on the Ground Floor of B. Block, Fordrough   Lane.

 Passed away on 10th October 2020, aged 65 years.



When my mate Jimmy left the army, (where I believe he had ‘made’ Lance Corporal) he went onto a government training scheme with Neville (Jimmy) Shand. The scheme led them both to THE POST OFFICE FACTORIES division in Birmingham.

Jimmy came to work with us rebel rousers in PEAKY BLINDERS territory at the Garrison Lane Factory. It wasn’t long before we recognised a mutual bond and started to socialise with our respective Wives (Kay & Pam).

Great times lay ahead. The first outing was for the four of us to visit Glasgow at New year. Well we went up the M5 etc. in Jim’s Mini 850…it nearly killed me. After about 2 days we got there, quickly got drunk on Tennents extra strong Breaker Larger. We loved every minute of Jim and Kay’s company and fun-loving approach to life. One exception was in the crowd of 110,000 strong at Ibrox stadium watching, no surviving!, the old firm football match on 1st January 1973. That week, I broke my toe dancing in the house, upset a gangster in a bar and leaned a lot about life, in fact it was a baptism into raw adulthood. Thanks Jimmy!!

In the 50 years since we met, we have braved a Nor Easter storm in New York, Searing Desert heat in Nevada and risked life and limb in a Mexican border town.

Jim and Kay have always been there and always been great supportive solid friends. We have shared our families and the many family parties, BBQ’s and landmark birthdays and anniversaries.

More recently Jim & I have had wonderful ‘Boys’ sports car trip up along the coast to the North spending time at Giants Causeway and London Derry. Jim was always up for a good time…great memories.

Marvellous sense of humour…you have to have something special when you get away with putting your arm round a US Policemen who had corrected Jimmy on where to stand before passport control in the queue to enter the country at JFK airport!

The other time was when we searched out Frank Sinatra’s old home in Palm Springs. Again, Jim got away with it but the detail of the offending activity isn’t to be documented but needless to say he was bosting for a wee when outside the gates on Frank’s drive.

Jim was tough but had a very soft interior & a big heart. This is a guy who can negotiate away your last penny but always kept in contact, very loyal , enjoys Scottish dancing and was in tears at the Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

Jimmy did very well at BT and made gateways for others to progress, including me. Prior to his promotion Jim spent time working With Charlie Reynolds OBE and Ernie Coggins as an officer of our Trades Union. Ernie is brilliant at keeping the group informed, together and arranges regular catch ups. Ernie recounts his memory of Jim below

My first encounter with Jim was when he joined our Post Office Engineering Union's Birmingham Branch delegation, as an Observer to the Annual Conference in Blackpool.  Where he was soon accepted into the "Factories Clique" a unique group of POEU delegates made -up of four delegates from each of the four Post Office Factories,  Birmingham, Cwm-Carn (South Wales), Edinburgh, and London.

The night before the opening day of Conference was always spent planning our tactics for the various debates during the week and it soon became clear that evening, that Jim was a man of considerable intellect who deservedly, became highly respected by all who were present that night along with those he met in the course of the rest of the week.

As a loyal member of our Branch Committee, Jim was also a useful addition to the quarterly meetings with the Factories Division Controller and his Senior Managers at the Factories H.Q. in Islington, London.   Initially, the Management Team seemed to be quite wary of this new addition to the POEU Team, I don't know if this was due to some previously unsettling engagement with a very irate Scotsman but, Jim soon put them at ease with his calm but, firm negotiating skills and he soon became a very integral part of that forum's make-up.

Eventually, Jim's reputation gained him the recognition that he deserved, when he gained promotion and transferred to Mainstream BT.

Fortunately, we kept in touch and when he visited his daughter in Birmingham at a date near the first Monday in the month, he would always receive a great welcome when he joined our regular get-together at the Briar Rose.

A dear friend to us all and one of the world's true gentlemen.

Thanks Ernie

We love you Jim, so long for now

Dave (White)


Mrs Eva Smith. 30th March 1930 - 7th January 2021.

Eva worked at Fordrough Lane from  1978 to 1980  in the

 Provision B. Department.

No Flowers please.

However, charitable donations to the Stroke Association, in Eva's name, will be gratefully accepted.