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Newton Chambers & Company Ltd

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I worked in the Redfyre Sales department from late 1959 to mid-1962, and then had 18 months in the Press Office at Thorncliffe. It was a great firm, and I have fond memories of those years. When I started in the Redfyre dept, the office was in the old Engineering Division Office block, and we later transferred up to what was know as the Development Office block in Thorncliffe Lane. The chief clerk in Redfyre was a chap called William Louis Gardner, who worked there for just about his entire career. Known as Bill, he lived in Chapeltown, but, following retirement, he and his wife moved to Lancashire (up near the Lake District). I had contact with him as recently as last year, but I learned only a few weeks ago that he had died at the age of 98. Other people at Redfyre in my time included Jack Booth (from Darfield), Rowland Wilson, Harry Mellor, Bryan Wadsworth, and a lovely guy called Jim Cranley, who, though he was then living in Jump or Hemmingfield, was a native of Hampshire. I was a correspondence clerk in those days, and my fellow clerks included Donald Bird (he now lives in South Wales) and Ian Knowles. Ian had a rather flash sports car, and I believe he went on to work as a rep for Redfyre. I often wonder what happened to Ian.

In my later spell, I was based in the HQ block, working alongside a man called Alf Dow. From the HQ years I recall Eric Gale, who was, I believe, secretary of the Thorncliffe Musical Society, a group that put on some fine shows at the Newton Hall. I especially recall productions of The Mikado and The Gondoliers (G&S) in the early 1960s.

Thorncliffe had a very good reputation for sports, and the football teams did well. The football secretary was a guy called Ellis, and I recall a Dick Hollingsworth on the sports side. The cricket team played in the Yorkshire Council under the name Thorncliffe Rec.

Some of the characters at NC included Frank Whitehouse, who was a works director in the Engineering Division; also Stanley Rippon, a main man in the Engineering Division; Jack Lingard, the works bank manager was a real "character". Of course, before my time the firm's MD has been the legendary Sir Harold West, and later bosses I recall included Shaun Waide, P.J.C. Bovill, Sir Peter Roberts, a chap called Walker.

It was certainly a very big firm, with three divisions --Engineering, Chemicals and Excavator. I think there were about 5,000 people based at Thornclife at one time, and it was a terrific community. If you worked at NC, you considered yourself rather privileged in those days.

By the way, the guy who wrote the history of NC that was serialised in Thorncliffe News was called H.E. Elliott. I never knew him, but I am told he was a character.

I often wonder what happened to the bound volume of the weekly Thorncliffe News after the firm folded. Whyat a mine of historical information was contained in those pages!

Cheers, "Redfyre".

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Thanks Redfyre for filling in many Thorncliffe names I had long forgotten, I sort of remember Eric Gale although don't know why, the writer of the The History of Thorncliffe H.E. Elliott sprang to life for me and P.J.C. Bovill I remember after Sir Harold West, I remember Sir Harold attending apprentice prize giving days which shows the kind of man he was very keen to set young people off on the right track. Great firm to work for.

Ted Hills

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Re Ted Hill's query about the merger of Newton Chambers and Ransome & Rapier (Ipswich), I am fairly sure this took place in early 1958.

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I have special reasons for mentioning the R&R merger because along with two other apprentices I went on a 6 month exchange to learn about the Ipswich company and had a really great time working in different depts. and meeting some very freindly people especially a rather nice girl !

Ted Hills

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Re Nigel Womersley's note about the issue of Thorncliffe News her possesses from 1961, does anyone know where all the old bound copies of the Thorncliffe News are now kept. At the end of every year, copies were bound. One bound volume was retained in the Press Office, and I always thought another was deposited at the local archives --but recent inquiries there have revealed nothing. It would be good to look through a few issues from around 1959 to 1964, for I am sure they would evoke many memories.

I can't remember Nigel W, but there was a Jack W in the drawing office in the old engineering division.

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I worked in the J&T Drg. office of the Warren Lane factory from about '59 to '68 with a break for National Service from '60 to '62. Remember getting involved in an asbestos cord cutting fixture for the Redfyre Div. which initially looked a simple job but finished up being quite complex, but isn't that what designers do! Really enjoyed my time there and although I went on to work at Rolls Royce I never forgot the thoroughness of the training at Thorncliffe it prepared me well for anything I was presented with in all my subsequent jobs.

Ted Hills

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Things come full circle my uncle got his first job at 14 (early 50's) on Thorncliffe and today he lives in a house build on the old Thorncliffe industrial estate.

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Just another memory from training school days / when I was due to do my 2 year National Service stint the company arranged a week of lectures /visits from all branches of the services which was great. We had a trip out to Catterick Camp and had rides on tanks etc. There must have been about 15 ish apprentices from the company there. Time wise must have been July/August 1960 as I went to Cardington RAF camp on 23 August '60. I had no hesitation in coming back 2 years later. Ted Hills

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Ted Hills. Hi Ted, Who were the main bosses at Warren Lane in your time? Was there anyone called Haigh or Hague, who lived on Ecclesfield Road, Chapeltown, near the Grammar School?

Also, at Warren Lane do you remember anyone called Harold Brooks, who came from Grenoside?

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Hi Redfyre-Main boss at Warren Lane while I was there was indeed Walter Haigh, remember the foreman of the apprentice section Albert Wragg, and of the Toolroom where I worked, Walter Martin.Harold Brooks rings a very faint bell but can't really recall.

I remember one very cold Monday morning when the snow was several feet thick in front of the factory gates and everyone stood around hoping for a day off.Walter Haigh arrived asked for the gates to be opened and drove his big Austin car at high speed swirling from side to side to open up the main driveway, a short stocky man but he certainly made his presence felt. Ted Hills

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Does anybody remember the name of the guy who used to run the Thorncliffe branch iof the NTTS (National Trades Technical Society)? I can recall going on a few trips with them. I'm talking of the early 1960s.

Also, does anyone recall a woman called Mrs Thomas in the Welfare dept?

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I worked in the Redfyre Sales department from late 1959 to mid-1962, and then had 18 months in the Press Office at Thorncliffe. It was a great firm, and I have fond memories of those years. When I started in the Redfyre dept, the office was in the old Engineering Division Office block, and we later transferred up to what was know as the Development Office block in Thorncliffe Lane. The chief clerk in Redfyre was a chap called William Louis Gardner, who worked there for just about his entire career. Known as Bill, he lived in Chapeltown, but, following retirement, he and his wife moved to Lancashire (up near the Lake District). I had contact with him as recently as last year, but I learned only a few weeks ago that he had died at the age of 98. Other people at Redfyre in my time included Jack Booth (from Darfield), Rowland Wilson, Harry Mellor, Bryan Wadsworth, and a lovely guy called Jim Cranley, who, though he was then living in Jump or Hemmingfield, was a native of Hampshire. I was a correspondence clerk in those days, and my fellow clerks included Donald Bird (he now lives in South Wales) and Ian Knowles. Ian had a rather flash sports car, and I believe he went on to work as a rep for Redfyre. I often wonder what happened to Ian.

In my later spell, I was based in the HQ block, working alongside a man called Alf Dow. From the HQ years I recall Eric Gale, who was, I believe, secretary of the Thorncliffe Musical Society, a group that put on some fine shows at the Newton Hall. I especially recall productions of The Mikado and The Gondoliers (G&S) in the early 1960s.

Thorncliffe had a very good reputation for sports, and the football teams did well. The football secretary was a guy called Ellis, and I recall a Dick Hollingsworth on the sports side. The cricket team played in the Yorkshire Council under the name Thorncliffe Rec.

Some of the characters at NC included Frank Whitehouse, who was a works director in the Engineering Division; also Stanley Rippon, a main man in the Engineering Division; Jack Lingard, the works bank manager was a real "character". Of course, before my time the firm's MD has been the legendary Sir Harold West, and later bosses I recall included Shaun Waide, P.J.C. Bovill, Sir Peter Roberts, a chap called Walker.

It was certainly a very big firm, with three divisions --Engineering, Chemicals and Excavator. I think there were about 5,000 people based at Thornclife at one time, and it was a terrific community. If you worked at NC, you considered yourself rather privileged in those days.

By the way, the guy who wrote the history of NC that was serialised in Thorncliffe News was called H.E. Elliott. I never knew him, but I am told he was a character.

I often wonder what happened to the bound volume of the weekly Thorncliffe News after the firm folded. Whyat a mine of historical information was contained in those pages!

Cheers, "Redfyre".

A lot of these names are familiar as my dad Jack Cole worked at Redfyre from leaving school up until 1977 and the merger with Trianco . Also heard that Fred Rideout died this year at a good age

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