Below is a collection of short stories and replies from Facebook and email.
Posted 25 July 2018Les DavisonHi, Les. again, here,s a little story some of you lovers of fine cigars may like, (or not ).-WhenIwasabouthalfwaythroughmyapprenticeship,whilewewerestilldownEdwardStreet,aboutayearorsobeforewe moved,wegotanorderfromaFrenchfirmtobuildamachinetowrapcigars.Basicallyitwasjustloadthemachineupwith flatboxesandcigarsandthemachinewouldformtheboxes,closethebottomthenpush5cigarsintotheboxandsealthe top.Iwashelpingtwootherfitterswiththebuildofthismachine.Whenwehadfinishedbuildingit,anditwastimefortrials, theFrenchfirmsenttwobigteachestsizeboxesfullofcigarstotestitwith.Duringtestingquiteafewcigarsgotbroken, whileadjustmentswerebeingmade,(andafewgotburntupontheline).Finallywhentestingwasfinishedandthemachine was running at full speed with no problems, we thought, big share out time now.Unfortunatelythiswasnottobe.CustomsandExciseknewwehadthecigars,andnodutyhadbeenpaidonthem,soin their infinite wisdom, decided they all had to be burnt up in one go, rather than one at a time.Iwasgiventhejobofcollectingthemallup,mostofthemloose,butalotstillintheboxesfromthetrials,tippingtheminto cardboardboxes,andputtingthemintoawheelbarrowandwheelingthemoutintotheyardwheretherewasanincinerator, anoldoildrumwithholesintheside,whichwasusedtoburnrubbish.Ithenhadtotipthemallintotheincineratorwhilethe Customsmanstoodtherewatching,withhisclipboardandpapersinhishandYoucouldtellbylookingathimhewasnotthe sortofblokeyoucoulddoadealwith,likeyoutakeafewhandfulsandI,lltakeafewforthemenontheline.Whentheywere allburntup,withoutsayingmuchhejustsignedabitofpaperonhisclipboardtosaytheywerealldestroyed,andIhadto signittoconfirmhehadbeenthere,andthenhegavemeacopyforthefirmsrecordsandthenjustwalkedoffuptheroadto a little van he had parked up there and drove off.Colin WrightHelloLes,IdonemyapprenticeshipatWhifflerroadintheearly70'sandatlunchtimessomeofuswouldhaveanosearound thefactory,onedaywecameacrossamachinetheyweretestingout,wrappingBensonandHedgesGoldincartonsof200 therewereloadsofpacketsoffagslayingaboutallovertheplace,beingpoorapprenticesandsmokingeitherrollupsor Players No 6 at best we thought Christmas had arrived early, I don't know who were the bigger Dummy's us or those fags ?Roderic HorneIthinkIworkedonthatmachinewithcharge-handKenCalinskiandFrankOakley.TheoriginaldesignasIrecallwasnota successandwestruggledtogetcigarsintotheboxes.Ithinkthiswasbecausetheboxeswereloadedflatandgettingthe machinetoopenthem,andtokeepthemopentoreceivethecigars,provedverydifficult.IrememberaDutchdesignerwas broughtinandsomechangesweremadetohowtheboxeswereopened.Icanrememberhavingtomakeverythinspring steelguidesthatheldtheboxesopenandguidedinthecigars. Thebladeswerethenwithdrawn,theboxclosedandsealed.I left Wrappers for LSE in July 1964, a long time ago now so my memory, like my hair, may be a little lacking.
Posted 18-03-20Valerie MartinI worked in the Edward Street Office in the early sixties. I was Valerie Joyner back then and it was my first full time job. Office names I remember are Pat Shorten, Jill Basey Fisher, Sybil Flowerdew, Mr. Bond, Reg Llewellyn, Frank Clarke. In the factory I remember David Crisp ( who I married), Paul Jarvis, Alan Alfred, David Kalinski, Glen Sturman and Bert Goodings (lovely man). There are others of course whose faces I recall, but can’t remember their names. One not to be forgotten of course was the legendary Mrs. ivy Greengrass and gopher cheese rolls! I also remember getting samples and being particularly delighted to get a bottle of Coty L’Aimant. The Managing Director at the time was Mr. Salt. He was replaced by Ted King. I went on to work for Ted at Formost Packaging. Frank Clarke was there too.Gillian Bowker My Dad John (Jack) Lowe worked at Autowrappers from about 1964 to 2001 . I can remember him talking about a few of the people you mentioned. I can remember the Xmas outings they arranged for the childrenDavid Crisp The Wigan rugby player.Gillian Bowker Yes that was my Dad . He sadly died in 2011
Posted 20-03-20Colin WrightWhilst having lots of time on my hands at the moment I was taking a trip down memory lane on the wonderful Autowrappers web site when I studied a photo from my era 1969- 1975, the machine shop Whiffler road photo ref : AW0044 which has of three gentlemen operating turret mills, at first I didn't recognise anyone in this photo, then I picked the one on the left hand machine, what gave it away was he was the only one wearing a boiler suit and not the official brown warehouse coats, and I realised who he was, it was a very nice man called Terry Cook, aka Cookie) as I worked on the machine to his right when I moved from the training school onto the shop floor. Shortly after I worked on that machine, a Beaver from Balding Engineering which was just over the other side of the Drayton road roundabout as it was then, the old turrets were replaced with some more Beavers, these machines were operated by John Elvin, Les Harmer aka (Elsie) Steve Dyer, Colin Smith aka (Smut) and myself Colin Wright aka (Billy) I have fond memories of my time at Autowrappers but have sadly lost contact with most colleagues since I left.Paul Holmes Thanks for sharing Colin. I worked on the Turret Mills during my apprenticeship, which would have been in the early 80’s (can’t remember exactly when)....Colin Wrighthello Paul where any of my colleagues Still around at the time you were there ?Peter Blyth I worked on the vertical mills at that time 68to 73 cookie worked next to Steve Pope others in milling section was M Warren J Knights A Warnes Little Bertie B Crome Ossie Osbourne R Woodrow .I left in 73 and went to work with Terry Cook at Mayflower when they went bust I went to Normech Terry joined a few months later.Colin Wright hello Peter we must have been there at the same time, Steve Pope was my mentor, a very good engineer and taught me great deal, I owe him big time for my future development. Once I asked Johnny Knights if he could give me a hand so he did quite literally, as you will know very well John had quite a selection of false hands and he presented me with the most life-like one Colin Wright Sorry Peter I've just looked at your profile picture and I can remember you, we've both aged a little though, how are you ?Peter Blyth Yes a few years have gone bye I seem to remember 2 Colin's . playing football on the field lunch times and the dart team playing at lord RoseberryPeter Blyth Hi yes good time I was in the training school with Dick Bull Keith Sadler David Mortimer A Catchpole P Watt D Johnson Bon Howarth was the training officerPeter Blyth I missed Steve Dickerson from the schoolColin Wright Our training school officer was John Wright, I am still in contact with Les Harmer as we both ended up working for Ross foods at Worsted until our retirements, another connection with Autowrappers was that the late Paul Jarvis finshed up as the Chief Engineer there RIP PaulPeter Blyth I seem to remember Les (Life Boat pub Sea Pauling)Colin WrightColin Wright Yes that was one of his favourite haunts as well as a club out Yarmouth way called the something Viking, I can't remember where it was it's a long while agoValerie Martin Colin Wright So sorry to hear about Paul. My ex husband David Crisp and I were great friends of Paul and Brenda at one time. When did he die?Colin WrightHello Valerie, sorry you didn't know about Paul's passing, I can't remember the exact date but it was at least 10 years ago, Paul was one of those people you couldn't help liking and I believe he had quite a mischievous sense of humour in his youthValerie Martin Yes he did. I’ve got a photo of him somewhere at my 21st birthday. I’ll see if I can dig it out. From memory I think his Dad was a butcher on Unthank Road.Colin Wright Peter Blyth just remembered Les's other haunt was, think it was the Hemsby Noresman not Viking, it was close though ��Peter Blyth Yes sounds right.Roger Harden was in my year as wellColin Wright haven't seen Les for a while either and not likely to for a bit Peter Blyth No. strange times ahead let's hope these measures workAubrey Hunt Hi Billy, I started at Wrappers in August 1972 in the training school under the eye of Brian Woods training officer, then progressed on to turret mills, I can remember Les Harmer and John Elvin and the course Steve Dyer and yourself you lived in Cawston next door to Philip Dove. I stayed there for over36 years until they move to the Deep South.Colin Wright hello Aubrey, I believe I bumped into your brother Alan not that long ago while I was out fishing, the last time I saw him before this was when we were at Reepham Secondary Modern School fifty years ago. Les isn't into social media etc at the moment which is a shame, I'll mention all these conversations when I see him next