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

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

Redditch History Society Exhibition

The Redditch Local History Society exhibition at Forge Mill Needle Museum for 2019 is entitled ‘My Redditch Memories’, and runs from Thursday 31st October to Sunday 24th November 2019.

For this ‘living history’ exhibition, the Redditch Local History Society are collecting together stories about people and events in the town from a wide range of residents.

The Redditch Advertiser has a write up at https://www.redditchadvertiser.co.uk/news/17379412.major-exhibition-launched-to-record-redditchs-history-by-redditch-local-history-society/

And more details can be found at the History Society website at http://redditchhistorysociety.org.uk/activities.htm

The image was taken by the late Philip Davis, who was for many years the Local Historian at Redditch Public Library (a post that has long since disappeared), and a stalwart supporter of the history of our town.

Bordesley Abbey

I have added a new site I have created http://www.bordesley-abbey.org.uk/ to my group of Redditch History Sites.

This is specifically designed to support the activities of the Forge Mill Needle Museum http://www.forgemill.org.uk/ from the point of view of the volunteers at the museum who are active in promoting the Abbey ruins.

Next year we are planning to have a special weekend; Bordesley Weekend’, linked to the ‘Festival of Archaeology; organised by the Council for British Archaeology http://www.archaeologyfestival.org.uk/

I am currently working on links to Wikipedia at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bordesley_Abbey but this is my first attempt at adding to this famous Wiki.