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Smithfield Garage

Andycart

New Member
Yes. Gordon was the workshop foreman, I remember him well.
Hi Bob, sorry to bother you again, just wondering if you could help. I’m still researching moderator edit. ... my dad Roger moderator edit..... at Smithfield. Do you know what jobs he would have done in the work shop moderator edit .............. ?
 
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nickcc101

master brummie
As a car or commercial vehicle mechanic in the sixties until the mid seventies ...... moderator edit there was exposure to brake and clutch lining dust moderator edit ....... Normal practice was to blow the dust from the brake drums and clutch housing with a compressed airline with no thought to where this dust went. It was also normal practice to grind leading edges onto brake shoes to prevent brakes grabbing when applied, this was certainly the normal practice where I worked as a Coach mechanic moderator edit
 
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nickcc101

master brummie
Nick, unfortunately many of us did the same thing. I did my own brakes and clutches for many years and holding my breath!
To be honest the smell of the dust didn’t bother us similar to the clouds of blue and white diesel exhaust fumes was just part of the job way before exhaust extraction and washing of brake components.
 

vicfarlowe

veteran brummie
To be honest the smell of the dust didn’t bother us similar to the clouds of blue and white diesel exhaust fumes was just part of the job way before exhaust extraction and washing of brake components.
At least Smithfield supplied barrier cream for the hands. Pink stuff called Rozalex? I always used it and I was only in the stores. If I remember correctly not many garages supplied it. No latex gloves in those days !
 

nickcc101

master brummie
Swarfega and fire bucket sand was all we had for many years. Could never get on with the water proof Rozalex and the standard stuff came off if you got your hands wet, as you say no protective gloves in those days.
 

Vivienne14

Kentish Brummie
This thread has been closed to allow moderators to discuss its content. Posts have been edited to return the focus of the thread back to the history of the garage.

Please note the following advice from the Admin Team.

This Forum is first and foremost a history forum. It is not a place to seek information to build medical compensation cases against former employers and workplaces. Whilst we sympathise with those seeking information on behalf of anyone affected by historical work practices, the information colleagues or members of this forum can provide is subjective, is usually their personal opinion and may not be factual. Please refrain from seeking information through this site. Posts containing such information gathering will be edited. Thank you for reading this advice.

From The Admin Team
 

vicfarlowe

veteran brummie
Swarfega and fire bucket sand was all we had for many years. Could never get on with the water proof Rozalex and the standard stuff came off if you got your hands wet, as you say no protective gloves in those days.
I still use Swarfega and sand. Very effective. If I remember correctly Smithfield also had, by the standard of the day, very good washing facilities and the workshop had excellent equipment. I do not remember ever seeing a mechanic having to lie on the floor using axle stands unlike some garages I worked at.
 

nickcc101

master brummie
I still use Swarfega and sand. Very effective. If I remember correctly Smithfield also had, by the standard of the day, very good washing facilities and the workshop had excellent equipment. I do not remember ever seeing a mechanic having to lie on the floor using axle stands unlike some garages I worked at.
Most main agents like Smithfield had good facilities but you have to remember that many of the smaller garages couldn’t afford to offer such good working conditions as they charged far lower labour rates and still do.
 

vicfarlowe

veteran brummie
Most main agents like Smithfield had good facilities but you have to remember that many of the smaller garages couldn’t afford to offer such good working conditions as they charged far lower labour rates and still do.
Yes, I worked in some places where clouds of paint used to drift through the workshop and where electrical leads were plugged into wall sockets with matchsticks but that's the way it was then. You've reminded me just how many small garages there were in those days. Where did you work in those days? Which make of spanners did you prefer? You mentioning labour rates has prompted me to ask you all your opinion of the bonus system for mechanics. I know it was used at Smithfield and some mechanics were in favour but some said it encouraged not doing some tasks fully like not removing brake drums to check the condition of cylinders and shoes and blowing out brake dust.
 
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nickcc101

master brummie
Yes, I worked in some places where clouds of paint used to drift through the workshop and where electrical leads were plugged into wall sockets with matchsticks but that's the way it was then. You've reminded me just how many small garages there were in those days. Where did you work in those days? Which make of spanners did you prefer? You mentioning labour rates has prompted me to ask you all your opinion of the bonus system for mechanics. I know it was used at Smithfield and some mechanics were in favour but some said it encouraged not doing some tasks fully like not removing brake drums to check the condition of cylinders and shoes and blowing out brake dust.
I started at Ryland Garage 1960 for 4 years, Stockland coaches for 3 years, Tommy Baumber but on contract to Esso then Finally Shell Mex & BP/Shell in various locations doing various jobs Retired 1996 at 50. Bedford Vanadium and Britool. Started with the cheaper then finished with Britool. Had the hex socket set to start with then the 1/2” britool later felt like the poor relative but you always bought your own hand tools. Hope i’m not going too much of thread again Admin please let me know if I am.
 
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vicfarlowe

veteran brummie
I am Bill Winkley's son I worked at Smithfield from 1966- 1977 . My father was there from 1945 - 46 until he died unexpectedly in 1974by then he was the MD . I can remember many of the employees . I have some 8mm film taken in the late 50's early 60's of the garage and Digbeth .
Do you know the name of Smithfield's Renault dealership please? I'm told it was in Marston Green.
 

Dave P

master brummie
Do you know the name of Smithfield's Renault dealership please? I'm told it was in Marston Green.
From my days at Serck Services, if my memory serves me right, it was simply Marston Green Garage in the mid 70's then became a bodyshop only? Renault franchise moved to the garage at Bacons End / Cooks Lane in Chelmsley Wood. Long time ago!
 

vicfarlowe

veteran brummie
From my days at Serck Services, if my memory serves me right, it was simply Marston Green Garage in the mid 70's then became a bodyshop only? Renault franchise moved to the garage at Bacons End / Cooks Lane in Chelmsley Wood. Long time ago!
OK. Thanks very much.
 

vicfarlowe

veteran brummie
Smithfield sold the Marston Green site in the summer of 1977 to Cheylesmore Garage of Coventry, but, they still had a garage in Warwick Rd Solihull called Broad Oaks Garage, John.
I think I must have heard the name Broad Oaks all those years ago. Thanks for the info.
 
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