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Hardy Spicers Ltd

Ron Hart

New Member
Ron, I joined HS in June 1970 when "double-day" shift working was introduced, as did Johnny Matthews see #52 above. I stayed there until 2000! I knew both your dad, Harry and your uncle, Ron. Didn't Frank Piper have a son working there in wages office. It wasn't known as Guest, Keen & Nepotism without good reason!

Hi Jim, yes Frank's son was there. It was a good place for families to work together, my brother Chris and cousin Micheal also worked there. Although at first Chris worked at another depot in Smethwick just off Booth Street where HS. had another factory.
By then HS was no longer in Witton and Birfield Transmissions had taken over their factory.

Nice to hear from fellow old HS employees- Does anyone remember the Industrial Sales Office where I worked from .
 

devonjim

master brummie
Nice to hear from fellow old HS employees- Does anyone remember the Industrial Sales Office where I worked from .
Names from sales department that come to mind, not sure of dates, Phil Dawe, John Washbourne, tragically killed in a road accident, Jim Forsythe, or was he in purchasing? I should remember more but it is now nearly 17 years since I left HSP.
 

Ron Hart

New Member
Names from sales department that come to mind, not sure of dates, Phil Dawe, John Washbourne, tragically killed in a road accident, Jim Forsythe, or was he in purchasing? I should remember more but it is now nearly 17 years since I left HSP.
Hi Jim, I remember John Washbourne - he was my Sales Director, he was driving his volvo when he was killed and I was in the office the next day when the news came through.
Does any one remember Jim Lenton or Brian Howell who also worked in Industrial Sales, or Derrick Morgan who I think was in purchasing. Best regards to everyone Ron
 

Johnny Matthews

Brummie Baby Boomer
Hi Ron, I remember Harry Hart and Ron Hart very well, including a very moving experience when everyone paid their respects to Harry when he was driven past Hardy's on the day of his funeral. I remember Peter Wheeler and Roy(?) Howells in Sales and also an older guy - George Kelsall (?). He was quite a character and one funny story I recall was when a number of us were at the Motor Show in Earls Court one year. George and, I think, Peter Wheeler were driving the rest of us back to our hotel and challenged each other as to who would get back first. I was in George's car and he drove at breakneck speed weaving in and out of the busy London traffic, arriving at the hotel just ahead of Peter, having also removed his jacket during the journey! I also remember going to Scotland with Peter and Roy, setting off at some ridiculous hour and pulling into the M6 services at Lancaster for a cuppa just as dawn was breaking. As we walked from the car, Peter looked down to find he was wearing one black shoe and one brown shoe. I last saw Derrick Morgan a couple of years ago - still as mad as a hatter! Regarding Jim Forsythe. He was our 'computer go to' man as we progressed along the computerisation trail. Rumour had it that he had the entire interior of his home decorated white - including the carpets!
 

Johnny Matthews

Brummie Baby Boomer
Who remembers Dave Macken and his white office carpet. He'd send for you and watch you squirm as you worked frantically to wipe all the oil off the soles of your shoes before you stepped onto it. I didn't dream this did I?
 

oldMohawk

master brummie
Who remembers Dave Macken and his white office carpet. He'd send for you and watch you squirm as you worked frantically to wipe all the oil off the soles of your shoes before you stepped onto it. I didn't dream this did I?
I worked for a GKN company which supplied forgings to HSP. In the 1990s we became part of HSP and David Mackin became our Managing Director, so I remember him well. I often got summoned across town to his very nice office for either a 'pat on the head' or a 'bawl-out'. His son came to work at our place and a young lady in our office became his girlfriend .... they eventually got married.
He sent me to Japan in the 1980s to get some know-how from a Japanese company and because I successfully obtained it he invited me to a few nice lunches in the penthouse office. I once drank a large tin of 'Banks Best Bitter' in that office but that was with a later Managing Director. I have mainly fond memories of HSP ....:)
 

devonjim

master brummie
Dave Mackin certainly never forgotten! For a while I was privileged to accompany him on trips out in his pink jag, we would chat about his family smallholding days in Ireland, mind you even then I never had the courage to call him "Dave". He openly said on one occasion on arriving back at Erdington that he needed to seek someone out to, as OMH says to bawl them out just to ensure they knew their place, there didn't have to be a reason. I too had trips to Scotland with Roy Howell to Bathgate and Albion Mtrs.. Remember when Pete Wheeler was regularly importing "cabbage patch" dolls from USA? Derek Morgan had an ambition to own a car with the reg. VOM 1 T! and I wonder if he remembers the time his Christmas tree disappeared, who would have suspected Doris Keeling of such a dastardly deed?
 
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lesowen

New Member
I worked for a GKN company which supplied forgings to HSP. In the 1990s we became part of HSP and David Mackin became our Managing Director, so I remember him well. I often got summoned across town to his very nice office for either a 'pat on the head' or a 'bawl-out'. His son came to work at our place and a young lady in our office became his girlfriend .... they eventually got married.
He sent me to Japan in the 1980s to get some know-how from a Japanese company and because I successfully obtained it he invited me to a few nice lunches in the penthouse office. I once drank a large tin of 'Banks Best Bitter' in that office but that was with a later Managing Director. I have mainly fond memories of HSP ....:)
David Mackin was an animal when annoyed, but could be quite funny when it suited him. I remember the story of him on the shop floor just after tea break and there was only one operator on the section who had quite a weight problem. DM asked him if he had eaten all his mates?
The white carpet was mainly in the reception area after a refurbishment and my lasting memory was watching a Jig and Tool Engineer, who was all of 5ft 7" tall but with size 11 plates of meat, walk straight off the shop floor on to the carpet to meet a sales rep. There was a thunder storm from DMs office that day.
Pete Wheeler was a very good sales man but an even better PR man when we had quality problems with our customers. His best tactic was to go see the Quality guy at the customer and ask if the problem was really as serious as stated whilst depositing a couple of bottles behind the guys desk. Saved our bacon a few times because he knew how to deal with the customers management.
Jim Forsythe changed from sales to purchasing just as HSP were spending a budget of £18m on new tech lines, he did a good job but unfortunately he was dismissed at short notice due to an incident with another member of staff. I remember going to retrieve his company car from him at Coventry golf course
Any one drinking a pint of Banks Best Bitter with a later MD would have been drinking with Tom Wood, rarely held afternoon or evening meetings without some form of alcohol being involved. He went to work inSingapore and ended up marrying a local lady
 

Astoness

TRUE BRUMMIE MODERATOR
Staff member
i am sure i knew someone who worked at hardy spicers but for the life i me i cant think of his name..this would have been in the 70s...will let you know if it comes to mind lived in gt barr. i think spicers had a social club with full size snooker tables..this is of course unless i have got it wrong...:rolleyes:
 

Astoness

TRUE BRUMMIE MODERATOR
Staff member
just remembered the name...peter bache..pretty sure he worked at hardy spicers in the 70s

lyn
 

Mohammed Shaikh

New Member
My father worked at Hardy Spicer when I was a young child. If my memory is good they used to make universal joints for propshafts.
I had many fond memories of the kids Christmas parties they use to hold hosted by Uncle Arthur.
"I tilly I ti" - he used to shout and we'd shout back "ti ti".
"Hello children" he then said and we'd reply with "hello uncle Arthur". I wonder if anyone else remembers this.
 

lesowen

New Member
Hi Astoness
Yes Hardy Spicer had a social club which was based beyond the factory and did have 2/3 full snooker tables in the bar. Friday lunch was always the meeting place for office staff and engineering department.
The club also had a superb concert room and boasted a revolving stage (if I remember right). Best concert there was Bob Monkhouse, filled all seats and standing room only. brilliant comedian who did his homework on the local union guys and managers of Hardy Spicer.
 

Vivienne14

Super Moderator
Staff member
Welcome Les. Good to hear your memories. Feel free to post more, lots of our members enjoy hearing others recollections ! And enjoy the forum. Viv.
 

oldMohawk

master brummie
At the start of the 1990s the cold/warm forging plant I worked at was fully integrated into Hardy Spicers and they moved one of their senior managers in to 'sort us out' and improve efficiency. He was a controversial manager and quickly decided to sack all of the foremen and started to dismiss most of the managers until he suddenly realised he needed some people who knew how to run the technically difficult forging process.

One day I went with him to the Chester Rd plant (mentioned in post#63) for a meeting with the Hardy Spicer Managing Director who as we sat down offered me a pint of Banks Best Bitter but did not offer one to my new boss. As I opened the tin of beer and started to pour it I could see my new boss looking rather surprised and staring at me so I suggested that perhaps he should be offered a pint. The MD then (rather reluctantly) offered him a pint. Such are the 'politics' of board rooms and industry ....

After we had become part of HSP we were asked whether our factory could be used as a setting for a film 'Felicia's Journey' starring Bob Hoskins. Some pics below show him in the plant and as far as I remember he played the part of canteen manager and in the pic he is taking his latest dish to be tasted by one of the workers. The stepped structure in Pic 1 is a waterfall which for some reason impressed the Quality Auditors. There were fish in the pool at the bottom, and although workers wore 'ear defenders' the fish didn't and had to put up with the noise of a forge.
Pic 1_______Pic 2_______Pic 3
Birfield_Pic 1.jpg_Birfield_Pic2.jpg_Pic3.JPG
 
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devonjim

master brummie
Used to know a few people at Birfield around that time, I think one was called John Sandbrook,(in production control?) plus a couple from quality control whose names won't come to me. The more senior one had bushy hair. One of the two was in Osaka on works business at the time of a massive earthquake. Shaken but not hurt.
 

Eric Gibson

master brummie
If Mr Corbyn gets the top job he'll nationalise it together with the rest of industry........now that would really be bad news.
 

robert jones

New Member
My father worked at Hardy Spicer when I was a young child. If my memory is good they used to make universal joints for propshafts.
I had many fond memories of the kids Christmas parties they use to hold hosted by Uncle Arthur.
"I tilly I ti" - he used to shout and we'd shout back "ti ti".
"Hello children" he then said and we'd reply with "hello uncle Arthur". I wonder if anyone else remembers this.
.......................
Hello Mohd. My father, Albert Jones, would have been your father's manager if he worked at Albert's section, the Hardy Flexible Disc division. He was the foreman during WW2 and retired late 1960s.
 
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