WW2 Redditch Manufacturers

I managed to complete the third of the documents produced by Redditch manufacturers showing their work during WW2 for today, VE Day.

This concerns the new factory built by BSA on the Studley Road to manufacture the BESA machine gun for the British military. They had the contract in early 1938 and began building the same year. By July 1939 they had produced the first working machine gun off the production line.

This document was produced by the BSA to mark that event and I scanned it to images about 10 years ago for a WW2 event.  I do not have an original version and so I am not sure if I have the correct page order.nevertheless, from the images I produced a PDF and, converted that to a ‘flip book’.

You can find and read these documents from Britannia Batteries, the Royal Enfield and the BSA at:

http://redditchhistory.com/publications.htm

Royal Enfield WW2 Document

I have created a new ‘flip book’ from a document produced by the Royal Enfield during WW2.

Royal Enfield had an important role to play during WW2 in producing, as well as bicycles and motorcycles, much specialised equipment . To meet the demand they established satellite factories both within and outside the local area.

I have scanned this 44 page document to produce a PDF and, finally to a ‘flip book’ which gives the appearance of a book.

I have now placed both this and the Britannia Batteries document on my Redditch History site at http://redditchhistory.com/publications.htm

WW2 Document ‘Front Line Current’ Britannia Batteries.

We are approaching 75 years since we celebrated the end of war in Europe and plans were in place to have a celebration this year. Before coronavirus, these were in place to mark the event, both in the UK and our European colleagues, and the government changed the Early May Bank Holiday to the VE weekend of the 8 May.

However, now we have other, more pressing problems to consider, and the preferred method of contact is via the internet.

I have therefore been looking at my personal archives to see what I have which may be relevant to this situation and I have some documents produced by our local manufacturers which may be of some interest.

The first of these, and the smallest file size, is a document entitled ‘Front Line Current’ from Britannia Batteries which describes the activities in WW2. I have produced this as a ‘flip-book’ which you can download at http://www.alcadhistory.org.uk/extras.htm

If you have problems with this not working as a link, and I have found a problem with the link from the smartphone version then you can view directly at http://alcadhistory.org.uk/flipbook_front_line_current/mobile.html

I have more downloads which I plan, always subject to ‘problems’, before VE Day.

New ‘Flip-Book’ of NiCad Manual

I have continued to work on the document supplied to me by Jean Asher, the daughter of W.S. Thomson who worked at ‘The Batteries’ at Hunt End and Union Street from 1938 to 1972. He produced a manuscript ‘Nickel-Cadmium vented pocket plate storage batteries.’ for the publisher McGraw Hill which was never published. Jane supplied me with a photocopy of the manuscript which I have scanned and using OCR (Optical character recognition) converted to a Word file and then to a PDF.

I have now gone a step further and converted the PDF into an on-line ‘flip book’ which gives the look and feel of a ‘real’ book.

You can view this from a link on the ‘extras’ page on the website.

http://www.alcadhistory.org.uk/extras.htm

Please scroll down to the bottom to find it and let me know if you find that this interesting.

Nickel-Cadmium vented pocket plate storage batteries.

I have been working on a document supplied to me by Jean Asher who is the daughter of W.S. Thomson who worked at ‘The Batteries’ at Hunt End and Union Street from 1938 to 1972.  He produced a manuscript ‘‘Nickel-Cadmium vented pocket plate storage batteries.’  for the publisher McGraw Hill which was never published. Jane has supplied me with a photocopy of the manuscript which I have scanned and using OCR (Optical character recognition) converted to a Word file and then to a PDF.

With plenty of time to spare as I am self-isolating, I have now finished this and it is now available as a downloadable pdf.

This is rather a specialist area and there will be only limited interest, but I think that it is important that technical information of this type should not be lost and will be available for future historians. I have added a short history of the ‘batteries’ over this period and Jane has produced a biography of her father.

It is a pdf file with bookmarks to all the major topics and is best viewed with a desktop pdf reader such as Adobe Acrobat Reader rather than a browser pdf reader.

You can download the document (pdf size 6.2 MB) from the ‘extras’ page on the website.

http://www.alcadhistory.org.uk/extras.htm

scroll down to the bottom to find it.

V2 rocket battery 1945.

I am currently working on converting a document supplied to me by Jean Asher who is the daughter of W.S. Thomson who worked at ‘The Batteries’ at Hunt End and Union Street from 1938 to 1972. He produced a manuscript ‘‘Nickel-Cadmium vented pocket plate storage batteries.’  for the publisher McGraw Hill which was never published. This is rather a specialist area and there will be only limited interest, but I think that it is important that technical information of this type should not be lost and will be available for future historians. Jean has supplied me with the original manuscript which I am scanning and using OCR (Optical character recognition) to convert to a Word file and then to a PDF. This is quite time consuming, but I plan to publish this as a downloadable pdf later in the year.

Meanwhile, Jean has passed to me several communications received by her father including the post war tests carried out on the V2 rocket.

The communication says…

‘T am writing to thank you for your efforts in supplying batteries for the rocket experiments made in Germany. The batteries arrived on time, gave the desired performance and created a very favourable impression amongst the German staff. Will you please accept the enclosed with my very best wishes, as a small memento of your co—operation.’

This was probably ‘Top Secret’ at the time but is significant that our Redditch battery manufacturer was called upon to supply batteries to support the initial development of the post war rocket development.

As we all know, Wernher von Braun and over 100 key German engineers were moved to the United States and others moved to the United Kingdom and , particularly, the USSR, where they further developed the V-2 rocket for military and civilian purposes. The V-2 rocket also laid the foundation for the liquid fuel missiles and space launchers used later.

Anthony Green

Alcad History News

Two things concerning my Alcad History site http://www.alcadhistory.org.uk/

I had this nice e-mail from India….

‘I am Sunil Trikha from India. I visited Alcad thrice in 1980s in connection with transfer of technology for Punjab Power Pack. I have many pleasant memories.

I still remember my friends Mr. David Way, Mr. Cummins & Mr Tony Gray. I learnt a lot from them.

During my first visit Alcad was at its peak with Carpentry shop, component production shop & tool room.   It is great to find that you are keeping memories of ALCAD alive.

Wishing you best of health. SUNIL TRIKHA’

I well remember visiting India in the 1980s to resolve a battery problem in a nuclear power station and visiting important customers such as the railways. I found the people there friendly and helpful and it has some good memories. I still have some mementos which live in my living room to remind me of the time.

I have also been working on a document supplied to me by Jane Asher who is the daughter of W.S.Thomson  who worked at ‘The Batteries’ at Hunt End and Union Street from 1938 to 1972. He produced a manuscript ‘‘Nickel-Cadmium vented pocket plate storage batteries.’  for the publisher McGraw Hill which was never published.

Jane has supplied me with the original manuscript which I am scanning and using OCR (Optical character recognition) to convert to a Word file and then to a PDF. I will have to recreate the graphs, etc, into a modern format and I will then publish this as a downloadable pdf.

This is rather a specialist area and there will be only limited interest, but I think that it is important that technical information of this type should not be lost and will be available for future historians.

I plan to work on this over the winter when there is less to do in the garden and at Forge Mill Needle Museum.

Tony Green

Snooding Hook

Andy Green sent me a nice picture of his mother’s Snooding Hook which is used to create the incredible range of fishing flies which were produced in the town.

Andy told me that she used to tie the tiniest of hooks by the gross on this, working for Taylor (Taylor Made) as ‘out work’ in the Sixties.

I have seen fly tying demonstrations at Forge Mill Needle Museum and at Redditch Local History Society from retired Redditch exponents and it is fascinating and highly skilled.

Andy contacted me as he found my ‘Brief Introduction to the Fishhook Industry in Redditch’ presentation in my Industry page of my History of Redditch website, and, I am pleased to say, how much he enjoyed it. http://redditchhistory.com/industry.htm

It is always very gratifying to get feedback from visitors.

Walk around Bordesley Abbey site with Scour

I had an interesting morning on Saturday 25th May with the Scour team and artist Andrew Howe exploring the historic landscape of the Bordesley Abbey site. This one of the range of workshops organised by the Scour team which can be found at http://www.forgemill.org.uk/web/events/

An overview of the Scour project can be found at https://scourforgemill.wordpress.com/2019/04/08/scour-ii-the-museum-in-the-landscape/

We had a 2-hour gentle walk which followed generally my Arrow Valley North walk which can be found at

http://www.redditchwalks.org.uk/index_htm_files/arrow%20valley%20north%20walk.pdf

The participants were a nice group and it was a pleasure to explain the history of the area during the walk. The walk is only 2 miles (3 km) but we took about 2 hours to cover the terrain as the purpose was to thoroughly explore the terrain and the relationship to its history. For me, it was excellent to interact with such a motivated group.

In the afternoon they went on to make some interesting artwork and it is planned to publish a small magazine about the walk which will include these and some of the history.

There is a range of workshops organised at Forge Mill by the Scour team. Bookings can be made at http://www.forgemill.org.uk/web/contact-us/

Scour Arts Project

The Scour Arts Project is back in Redditch for 2019 with Scour II at Forge Mill Museum and the Arrow Valley Country Park!

This was previewed in the Redditch Standard at https://redditchstandard.co.uk/news/arts-council-boost-to-help-residents-rediscover-old-redditch-town/ and the Redditch Advertiser at https://www.redditchadvertiser.co.uk/news/17551777.funding-secures-family-friendly-follow-up-project/

Details can be found at https://scourforgemill.wordpress.com/2019/04/08/scour-ii-the-museum-in-the-landscape/

I am involved in the one day art work and workshop at Forge Mill on the 25th May 2019 where we explore the local landscape with a gentle 2 hour walk with myself and artist Andrew Howe followed by a workshop.

Details can be found on the poster and from the Scour website (above)

Tony Green 13th April 2019