Harold Shaw

Straight out of the army into factory good times ..

Within a fortnight of being demobbed in 1946, after seven years of army service, I left my native Yorkshire and came to Coventry for the first time. I liked the place and decided to stay here. I was 24.

On hearing they were “setting on” at the Standard factory, though I’d never been in a factory in my life, I phoned and was given an appointment with the car assembly foreman at Canley. The foreman was Mr Frank Nott, a very smartly-dressed man, with polished shoes. He gave me a job, told me I must join a union, which I did, and to start work 7.30am Friday.

The first track I worked on was just restarting after the war. We produced black Standard 8 two-door saloons and black Standard 12s. I soon got the hang of things, had some good pals, a bit older than me who had been in the Home Guard and were a good laugh.

Soon we were producing the first Vanguard Saloons which had a bench- type front seat and steering column gear change, unusual at the time in Standards.

Production went up from a trickle to a flood, all shapes and sizes of cars, saloons, sports cars, vans, pick-ups, big cars, small cars, until years later we finished up with the Stag, which was the first car I remember with power steering.

I remember Sir John Black, a nice man, wishing me well when I got married in 1948. I remember shaking hands with Bruce Woodcock, British heavyweight boxing champion, when he came to pick up his Triumph Razor Edge saloon.

I remember very many parties of foreign visitors watching how we worked. I remember the two holidays my family had at the Sir John Black holiday camp at Weston Super Mare. I was very sad when Standard closed down in 1980. I had been there 34 years – a great company.

Harold Shaw, Wyken.

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