Post Office Factory

Post Office Factory , Fordrough Lane, Birmingham


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 -     - 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.

Hi Ernie,

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.


Hi Ernie,

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.






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