My father John Jones, worked there as a tool setter charge hand.
He was there from about 1962 till the day it closed down permanently.
My dad is very interested in your project and it’s got him thinking. He’s 80 now. He says a charge hand, usually a tool setter who is responsible for all the machines and the people working on them. It was a very important position I gather, with a lot of responsibility. Took setter could be a dangerous job at times and anything that could have gone wrong would be possibly fatal to humans and very expensive to the machines.
He says charge hand is one step below foreman. Tool setters placed all the tools in the presses and sets them up to produce the parts etc. Dad says he worked on every car in the factory. Triumph Herald, Toledo, Spitfire, TR6, TR7, 2000, 2500, Stag. He remembers colleagues Les Thomson, Eddie Walsh, Eric Dean, Ted Baptist. He will recall the rest and I’ll let you know their names asap.
He recalls it was very noisy, very busy and productive and a great place to work. Also a very dirty place to work. He felt secure there and bought several of the cars he worked on during his time there. He can’t recall any serious accidents etc that happened there. He does say it was very hard work. One took was so heavy it used to tip the forklift off its back wheels which could be stressful I gather. He recalls his brown overalls with fondness. I’ll be seeing him tomorrow and will find out more for you. Thanks for your interest, it’s good to see Dad looking happy. I’ll be in touch again…
He told me an interesting story about a chap who was working on his section. He says that on 2 separate occasions, the colleague had deliberately created accidents in order to gain compensation from the factory owners. He had undone screws etc in the machines to cause injury and collapse of the presses. He wasn’t seriously hurt but after the second incident and a police investigation, he was fired and removed from the premises. He claimed compensation on both occasions and cost the company vast sums of money in damage to the tool presses and machinery. My dad was very worried at the time, as he was the charge hand and held responsible for the equipment he’d set up and tools, plus the health and safety. Luckily he wasn’t found to be responsible at all and justice prevailed.
Ann Marie Staples