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THE BLACK COUNTRY MEMORIES CLUB

OUR MEETING 23RD AUGUST 2001 Page 2

Beldray Watering Can Reg Aston brought along this old, locally made, watering can.  It dates from before 1950 and must be very rare, especially with its original label.  The rose is brass and the body is galvanised iron plate George Philpot George Philpot was amazed to find the watering can at the meeting.  George had been a tool maker at Beldray and had made the tools with which these cans were made!  He told us that "Beldray" was an anagram of Bradley. 
The company's logo(right) , which is still visible on the old Beldray building in Mount Pleasant , was a bell on a wagon (for which the old word was "dray")..
Beldray Logo
Also on the horticultural theme, Isobel Bickley brought these two flower pots.  Round the rim of the one on the left you can see the words "Ward Darlaston Staffs".  These pots are not moulded but hand made and Isobel thinks they may be 100 years old. Flowerpots Michael and Janice Maddox had heard about the saga of the
cabbage walking stick and came with this item - it's not an umbrella but a walking stick made to look like an umbrella, the handle and what looks like the fabric all being carved out of cork!
Michael and Janice Maddox
"Workman's Mug" Ray Harris showed us this mug. If you look carefully you can just see that written on it are the words "Workmens Canteen A. Hickman Ltd Bilston " It seems to be at least 100 years old.
Ray has to be congratulated on rescuing this mug from the jaws of death: it was about to be thrown in the dustbin when he got it.
It is an amazing survivor and a witness to the way workers lead their working lives at Hickman's all those years ago.
John Thompson Medal Reg Aston brought along the John Thompson long service medal left It has a bronzed finish. John Thompson Medal Frank Sharman owns
the medal left It has a silvered finished. If you
stayed long enough, you got a gold one. Does anyone have one we can photograph?

On seeing these medals Trevor Genge told us:   "You may be surprised to learn that I began work at John Thompson's. Perhaps my move to education was accelerated when I learned of the strange formula for monetary reward that accompanied them. I may have the amounts wrong but the system went like this. Along with your bronze medal you received 30/-.  With your silver at 25 years you received £2-10 shillings - less the 15/- already received! A gold medal at 50 years earned £5, but guess what happened to that!  You can manage the arithmetic for yourselves".

Sankey's Engagement Form Left: Terry Ratcliffe showed us this "engagement form" from Sankeys, which was issued to Terry's father, John Ratcliffe, when he joined them in 1952. It gives details of his previous employment and gives the terms on which he is employed by Sankeys. He starts with a probationary period, during which he can leave at any time and they can sack him on one day's notice. After that the post is permanent. It is interesting that this was issued many years before the Contracts of Employment Act made it compulsory for employees to be given a statement of their terms and conditions of service; before that many people had nothing in writing. Sankey's seem quite progressive. Perks of Job On the back of the form the employee's attention is drawn to several of the perks of being an employee: the holiday savings club, the benevolent fund and the social and sports club.  

This was a busy meeting, so this report goes on to a third page, which is mainly about the people from the MEB at Major Street who came to the meeting.  Click here to read all about it. 

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