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Wilkes and Godwin

BOBJ

knowlegable brummie

I wonder if anyone knows anything or has any pictures ofthis plating/polishing company, which was based in Charles Henry Street. Myfather Lewis James worked there from the 50’s until his death in the late 60’s,ending up as some kind of supervisor/manager. I went there a few times as asmall child in early 50’s, having seen inside no wonder he died young at 53.

 

sweeney todd

Brummie babby
I worked there as a young plater in late 50's doing chrome, cadmium, copper and silver plate with bronzing for latter two. I worked with/under two brothers, one being a foreman. One was called Steve. My older sisters worked there too on "wiring up". The supervisor seemed a decent bloke but unable to remember his name, not surprisingly after 60 years. One labourer was crazy enough to make a habit of throwing a wet sack into the degreasing vat and as soon as the vapours dropped lower he used to jump in to retrieve whatever metalwork after it was degreased prior to the vapours rising again....one day, he couldn't get back out quick enough and he was overcome by the vapours which killed him. Some days later, I saw his hearse pass the company frontage on its way to a cemetery. Another episode was when another labourer "attacked" the supervisor in a scuffle over the labourer hitting my sister....labourer who was in his 60's, was instantly dismissed. Sorry, thats about as much as I can remember.
 

BOBJ

knowlegable brummie
Hi Sweeney todd,
thanks for the reply, at least I have found someone who worked there, at the time you mention I think my father would have been foreman of the polishing shop, so maybe as a plater you would not have come across him, thanks BobJ
 

sweeney todd

Brummie babby
I worked there as a young plater in late 50's doing chrome, cadmium, copper and silver plate with bronzing for latter two. I worked with/under two brothers, one being a foreman. One was called Steve. My older sisters worked there too on "wiring up". The supervisor seemed a decent bloke but unable to remember his name, not surprisingly after 60 years. One labourer was crazy enough to make a habit of throwing a wet sack into the degreasing vat and as soon as the vapours dropped lower he used to jump in to retrieve whatever metalwork after it was degreased prior to the vapours rising again....one day, he couldn't get back out quick enough and he was overcome by the vapours which killed him. Some days later, I saw his hearse pass the company frontage on its way to a cemetery. Another episode was when another labourer "attacked" the supervisor in a scuffle over the labourer hitting my sister....labourer who was in his 60's, was instantly dismissed. Sorry, thats about as much as I can remember.
Thank you for your reply, BobJ...a great pity I couldn't add to my previous post, esp: concerning your father. The bloke who was over the whole works may have been your father but other than telling his build, (which was relatively stocky but not fat) and attire, (grey two-piece, or maybe with a waistcoat) I would say he was in his fifties. With regard to the polishing shop: although plating was very hazardous at that time, I think polishing, even with the so-called protective clothing was certainly not my cup of tea. Using the polishing mop with bits of polluted, dirty bits of cotton flying off was alien to me. The blokes wore masks and goggles but with so much muck on the glass goggles, its no wonder some blokes occasionally dispensed with them for a one-off job or foreigner. Sorry I was unable to help any further but good luck to you in your life.
 
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