• Welcome to this forum . We are a worldwide group with a common interest in Birmingham and its history. While here, please follow a few simple rules. We ask that you respect other members, thank those who have helped you and please keep your contributions on-topic with the thread.

    We do hope you enjoy your visit. BHF Admin Team

Radiation Gas Fires Thimblemill Lane Aston

Astonian

gone but not forgotten
DID ANYBODY WORK AT GAS RADIATION FIRES
WHERE THEY MADE THE FIRES ,
DOWN THIMBLE MILL LANE ,? .
 

R. Aston

Brummie babby
Hi Astonian, I worked at Radiation Gas Fires,Thimble Mill Lane, in the maintenance department, it was actually John Wright & Co when I started as a school leaver in 1962. They had a very good social club played many a game of snooker there.
I remember their office block, the corridors were lined with all the different models of gas fire and cooker they had ever made.
I passed through that way about a year ago and it is now a council yard.
 

Astonian

gone but not forgotten
HI THERE ASTON ,
IT WAS GOOD TO HEAR THAT YOU WORKED AT THE RADATION ,
I DID,NT THINK FOR ONE MOMENT THAT ANYBODY FROM THE FORUM
EVER WORKED THERE . CO,S NOBODY EVER MENTIONED IT .
I DON,T KNOW WHY ,MY OLDER BROTHER WORKED THERE ,AND HIS MATE AS WELL ,
AS MYSELF ,
MY BROTHERS MATE ,AND MYSELF , LEFT IN 1964 , AND WE WENT DOWN THE ROAD
TO TUBES IN THE FORGE , THE MONEY WAS BETTER ,WE WAS ON THE INSPECTION AT THE RAD ,
RAY WAS A SLINGER , AND I WAS ON THE OVERHEAD CRANE , NO , 1, DRIVER
I HAVEN,T BEEN DOWN THAT WAY FOR YEARS , DOWN THE LANE ,
WE USED TO LIVE IN UPPER THOMAS ST AT THE TIME WE WAS WORKING THERE
AND WE USED TO POP UP TO NUMBER TEN PARK RD , TEN HOUSES FROM THE OLD VINE PUB
WHICH WAS OUR AUNTIE EDITH MARSDEN FOR OUR DUNNER BREAK
I ALSO REMEMBER THE FIRES DOWN THE CORRIDORS
CAN YOU REMEMBER WHAT WAS THE NAME OF THE PUB ACROSS ON THE CORNER ,
MY BROTHER INLAW GOT STABBED THERE IN HIS BACK ;
ONE SATURDAY NIGHT , HE SURVIVED , FOR AFEW YEARS ,
BUT BECAUSE HE WAS A BIG LAD THEY ALL WANT TO GO AT HIM , NO MATTER WHERE HE GOES ,
WE WAS YOUNG THEN ,ALL OF US ,
EVEN WHEN HE GOT OLDER IN LIFE , HE STILL GOT TROUBLE ,
I AM YEARS OLDER THAN HIM , I,VENEVERHAD TROUBLE
HE LIVED IN WEOLY CASTLE FOR 12 MONTHS , ON HIS OWN
HE HAD MONEY DID,NT BOTHER NOBODY , BUT HE STILL HAD TROUBLE SOME ONE BROKE IN
AND BATTERED HIM TO DEATH , HE HAD BEEN LYING THERE IN A POOL OF BLOOD FOR TWO WEEKS
NO ONE HAS BEEN ARRESTED FOR IT , AND THAT WAS 12 MONTHS JUST GONE ,
AND YES IT WAS A GOOD SOCIAL CLUB ,WITH GOOD SNOOKER TABLES ,
ASTON , ; I HOPE YOU DON,T MIND ME ASKING , BUT HAVE YOU GOT A BROTHER
CALLED JOHN , AND ONE NAMED VICTOR , ,
well aston , look foreward to hearing from you again , Oh by the way we worked at cressalls up
the road , in cheston rd , it was rubbish pay , we stayed for four weeks ,then we went to tubes for afew years
nice speaking to you , wish you all the best for 20007 astonian ,;;;
 
B

Brenda Barr Phillips

Guest
Glad to hear someone on the site worked at Johnny Wrights (Radiation Ltd), l started 1-1-1951 straight out of school in the employment office l was more like a goffer, got to know every part of the factory taking applicants to different depts fo interviews etc, l hated going to the foundry as l always ruined a pair of nylons walking through all that mess,and on 30shillings a week it was costly to me.After a few months l was transfered to the main office building working in the Hollerith office and stayed untill l came to Texas in l958. l must say l enjoyed working there but John Wrights was not known for overpaying their workers l did get a 2\6 raise once and l complained about it said l was worth more than that,aparrently l was the only one who thought that as the raise still stayed 2\6 at least l never got sacked. l do have happy memories working there and was sorry to find out it had burnt down. Brenda
 

Stephenbullock73

proper brummie kid
Hi Aston,
My Wife, Doreen Andrews, Aunty Ciss and Norman Hughes used to look after John Wright sports and social club, they would have served you,
 

brenda barr

master brummie
Stevenbullock...just read your account of J.W.Wrights....have you found out what dept you 're mother in law worked in yet.....my memories have somewhat faded for names..l remember my supervisor bobby farmer..and the office girls were dorrie cox..joan peel..marie faulkner..we all worked in the hollerith dept punching away, compared with todays computeres one could say we were in the stone age....gosh! think how much they have advanced in the last say 60years it really is mind boggeling...of course l kne the boys in the cost dept also the drawing office ...happy days..Brenda
 

mohanlon

New Member
I work for the company which now owns the remaining John wright building in Holborn Hill. It's now a Press Work factory making parts for Jaguar and Land Rover. Called Presslite, part of the Sertec Group.
Does anyone have any photos of John Wrights. I have developed a history file for the building, have some great aerial shots from 1930's and 50' and a couple from inside the Thimble mill lane factory from Victorian times. Would love to see any old pics, especially the hoborn hill site, which was the foundry I believe, to compare how it looks today. Mick
 

Elmdon Boy

master brummie
I worked here from 1967 until 1973. Iwas an engineering draughtsman apprentice ending up in the Jig and tool drawing office.
The chief draughtsman was Jim Arnold whome we called Kipper.Nice easy going chap from Bromsgrove. Others in the office were Trevor, an apprentice like me. The others in the office I can visualise but can't put names to. Anybody out there help me out.
The personnel officer was a lady Miss Rotherham. I found her very fair and pleasant.
I worked for a year in the toolroom 1967 to 1968, then around the factory, ending up in the DO. I enjoyed working there, anybody else out there can perhaps remember me. I had a BSA Bantam first of all, then a Morris Minor and then a Hillman Minx.
 

Vivienne14

Super Moderator
Staff member
I have moved several posts about this company to this thread from the "Thimblemill Lane" thread. Viv.
 

Big Gee

master brummie
Prior to her marriage in 1939 my mother Ethel Diaper worked in the offices at John Wright Ltd, but not sure if it was Thimble Mill Lane or Holborn Hill site. A long shot, but does anyone remember her?

Back around the 1970's I slightly knew a David Wiseman who worked at Radiation.

G
 

Elmdon Boy

master brummie
With reference to my post #9, the name of the other apprentice in the Drawing Office (D O) was Trevor Blunt, also one of the other draughtsmen was a Keith and Pete, cant remember the surnames. My head boss was John Bushell.
Anybody remember them?
When we had the tool drawings signed off, I had to take them to the tool room which was on the other side of the canal to the offices. If it was a nice day I would go out of the offices, and walk down the road, over the canal and into the factory entrance in Thimblemill Lane. If the weather was bad you could go up one floor from the D O across a wooden enclosed walkway into the packing department, full of cardboard boxes, then across the canal over another enclosed wooden bridge, quite high up and down into the factory.The wooden floor creaked as you walked.
The drawings for the toolroom were printed off in the print room next to the DO. The print room chap was an elderly man with one arm, cant remember his name.
Further along from the D O along the same floor was another company's D O which shared the same offices, was it Howlith , but they designed gas valves. A couple of times a day this attractive young lady used to have to walk through our office on her way to wherever. She was always trendy dress with the shortest of mini skirts. It was a case of eyes right from all the lads and silence. Poor girl she must have known.
I wonder if she enjoyed or hated it. I would have liked to have chatted her up, but I was to shy.
Does this bring memories back for anybody
 

Elmdon Boy

master brummie
I didn't know it was burnt down in such a devastating fire, how sad.
The Drawing office where I worked was in the block to the right of the photo, so appears to have escaped the fire.
This block was where the main entrance used to be. A very grand entrance with a marble floor and pillars.
You took a wide flight of stairs up to the first floor which was the directors offices. The corridor here was very austere, dark wood panelled with as far as I remember paintings of the various directors and owners from the past.
Almost like walking in a stately house. The directors offices were off this corridor. You certainly new you were in a important area, so minions like me very rarely set foot.
You can see one of the wooden foot bridges I mention linking the two buildings in the photo.
The block destroyed by fire is were the packing department was that I mention with wooden floors and lots of cardboard. Also in this block was the loading bays at road level plus the product design drawing office on about 4th floor. No wonder it went up with all those wooden floors and cardboard. Howliths gas valve assembly lines were also in this block.
Was it closed down and empty when the fire started, and anybody know how it happened.
 

leeandgill

Brummie babby
Hi Astonian, I worked there from 1965 till 1977 then went back a year later until it closed down then stayed on to clear the whole factory out. My job was charghand setter in B2 machine shop, my mother-in-law was the AEUW convenor for many years her name was Ann Hobday. I still have four Radiation Gas Fires works magazines dated 1966, 1968, 1970 and 1979 there’s lots of good memories stored in the pages. When they reached there centenary year the men employees received a Wade tankard which I still have.
 

leeandgill

Brummie babby
I worked here from 1967 until 1973. Iwas an engineering draughtsman apprentice ending up in the Jig and tool drawing office.
The chief draughtsman was Jim Arnold whome we called Kipper.Nice easy going chap from Bromsgrove. Others in the office were Trevor, an apprentice like me. The others in the office I can visualise but can't put names to. Anybody out there help me out.
The personnel officer was a lady Miss Rotherham. I found her very fair and pleasant.
I worked for a year in the toolroom 1967 to 1968, then around the factory, ending up in the DO. I enjoyed working there, anybody else out there can perhaps remember me. I had a BSA Bantam first of all, then a Morris Minor and then a Hillman Minx.
 

leeandgill

Brummie babby
I have four Radiation works magazines dating to 1966, 1968, 1970 and 1979 with lots of photos. I can share them with you on Facebook messenger if you would like. I worked there myself from 1965 until it closed down with just one year out.
 

Elmdon Boy

master brummie
Thanks for the offer leeandgill but I am not on facebook nor do I intend too with the latest news going around.
I must have been there whilst you were there.
 

Keith m

New Member
DID ANYBODY WORK AT GAS RADIATION FIRES
WHERE THEY MADE THE FIRES ,
DOWN THIMBLE MILL LANE ,? .
Hi, my name is Keith masters and I worked at Radiation from 1969 until it closed when Glowworm took it over around 1982. Initially I was a gas fire development engineer working for John Arnold and later Norman Hart. Technical director was Herbert Watts. I can remember loads of names. John bushell has been mentioned. He was tooling manager. Albert Beale in charge of the development model shop. Albert Bliss in charge of the drawing office. George Nicholls in charge of industrial design. His sidekick was Keith Lewis. Don jellyman quality manager previously John cheal. I took over as quality manager when Don jellyman got the sack. Harry oak in charge of the paint shop. Many directors- Curran, Billy Carter, Bruce Coates, Brian Wright and many more. The happiest days of my life!! I have got a sales book dated 1897 that would have been binned when it closed. It is amazing what they produced in 1897. Gas washing machines, gas baths, asbestos coal, central heating boilers, gas roast coffee maker to name a few. The controls firm over the bridge was called Howletts and later T I gas controls.
 
Last edited:

mw0njm.

A Brummie Dude
I didn't know it was burnt down in such a devastating fire, how sad.
The Drawing office where I worked was in the block to the right of the photo, so appears to have escaped the fire.
This block was where the main entrance used to be. A very grand entrance with a marble floor and pillars.
You took a wide flight of stairs up to the first floor which was the directors offices. The corridor here was very austere, dark wood panelled with as far as I remember paintings of the various directors and owners from the past.
Almost like walking in a stately house. The directors offices were off this corridor. You certainly new you were in a important area, so minions like me very rarely set foot.
You can see one of the wooden foot bridges I mention linking the two buildings in the photo.
The block destroyed by fire is were the packing department was that I mention with wooden floors and lots of cardboard. Also in this block was the loading bays at road level plus the product design drawing office on about 4th floor. No wonder it went up with all those wooden floors and cardboard. Howliths gas valve assembly lines were also in this block.
Was it closed down and empty when the fire started, and anybody know how it happened.
when we was kids we would see who could squeeze between the the piller and the wall.
 
Top