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Rolls-Royce, Ansty

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Wearethemods
Aberdeenshire
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1 of 33  Mon 30th Jun 2014 10:05am  
Member: Joined Jun 2013  Total posts:356

Having worked at the topic's facility for more years than I care to remember I was saddened to read at the weekend by way of the Rolls-Royce Heritage Trust Coventry Newsletter that the site has already been part demolished including the Front Office Block and Main Reception just by the Main Gate. The building was originally opened on October 1st 1957 by Sir Frank Spriggs KBE as the Armstrong Siddeley Motors Engineering Centre. Also being demolished just inside No. 2 Gate are the original pre-war Airfield Buildings. The site as it was can still be seen thanks to Google Streetmaps. Maybe you could take some current photos now Midland Red for posterity. Yet another piece of our Industrial Heritage disappearing Edited by member, 2nd Jul 2014 11:04 am
Industry, Business and Work - Rolls-Royce, Ansty
excoventrykid
Cambridge
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2 of 33  Tue 1st Jul 2014 11:40pm  
Member: Joined Feb 2013  Total posts:5

As an apprentice electrician in Coventry during the 60s I spent many months at Ansty working on the test house that was used for testing the RB211 engine later used in Concorde. I can recall also working in the other test houses where the Mamba and other engines were tested. I believe that an underground test area was on the same site but I never got to work there. Another memory of that time was in the field next to the plant there were literally thousands of Hillman Avengers complete other than windscreens due to a shortage. Those were the days, although I left Coventry in 1988 I am still fiercely proud of the city of my birth even though it has now all but disappeared. Sad
Industry, Business and Work - Rolls-Royce, Ansty
Wearethemods
Aberdeenshire
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Thread starter
3 of 33  Wed 2nd Jul 2014 11:02am  
Member: Joined Jun 2013  Total posts:356

Hi excoventrykid, the RB211 engine was used in the Lockheed Tri-Star. Concorde had Bristol Siddeley 'Olympus' engines (4) which were a derivative of the Olympus Engines in the Vulcan bomber also 4. Another derivative of the same engine was used in Type 42 Destroyers (2) and the carrier Invincible, Illustrious & Ark Royal (4). If that wasn't enough another standard of the Olympus was installed in many power stations throughout the UK (including nuclear) the first being Hams Hall, Birmingham in the early 1960's and St. Helier, Jersey. All the above with the exception of the aero type were manufactured & overhauled at Ansty. (R-R having taken over B-S in the late 60's). The RB211's tested at Ansty were not flight engines but the areo derivative 'industrial' models a fleet of which (16) are used for pumping all the oil & gas ashore at St. Fergus nr. Peterhead in Aberdeenshire. The repair and overhaul of the 'Industrial' version for both types of engine (Olympus & RB211) was transferred from Ansty to Aberdeen in 1990 (I moved with it!). The Ansty site was originally an airfield and the Avengers were stored on many occasions on the old main runway prior to being sold. They always seemed to move when Ryton was on strike! Rumour had it that when a 'glut' of cars had been made, management would 'orchestrate' a strike, then whilst saving money on overheads and wages etc. with no cars being produced the 'backlog' of cars would be distributed to dealerships etc. without any disruption! Edited by member, 2nd Jul 2014 2:16 pm
Industry, Business and Work - Rolls-Royce, Ansty
ccfc67
coventry
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4 of 33  Wed 2nd Jul 2014 3:08pm  
Member: Joined Apr 2014  Total posts:6

Worked in the RB211 shop at Parkside Coventry after serving an Apprentiship at Rolls Royce - great times were had as RR was the number one Company back in the 1970/1980 led by the late Phil Higgs works convenor
Industry, Business and Work - Rolls-Royce, Ansty
NormK
bulkington
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5 of 33  Wed 2nd Jul 2014 4:29pm  
Member: Joined Jan 2012  Total posts:854

I was in and out of the factory a lot in my time, because we had men in there. The gatemen were something else, on my way in they would ask where I was going and then let me in, but on the way out they wanted to look in my van and question me about the tools I had, I was a mechanic and had loads of tools. I got so fed up with it so after a while I would invite them to look in the back as I was going in so they could see what I had. The word Jobsworth comes to mind. Angry
Milly rules

Industry, Business and Work - Rolls-Royce, Ansty
Wearethemods
Aberdeenshire
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6 of 33  Thu 3rd Jul 2014 8:20am  
Member: Joined Jun 2013  Total posts:356

Hi Normk, I would guess that was about 1983-84. Sometime after the Falklands Conflict a number of 'fiddles' (for want of a better word) were uncovered. A few of these involved parts being stolen to order. An R-R van driver was arrested and charged as part of the Police enquiry. The MoD understandably became quite agitated and insisted that security be stepped up, part of which necessitated 'searching' outside Contractors and random employee vehicles. Shortly afterwards R-R purchased some farmland either side of each gate and created a carpark for all employee vehicles so no one could park within the Company perimeter. Subsequently all vehicles allowed on site were checked upon exit.
Industry, Business and Work - Rolls-Royce, Ansty
mickw
nuneaton
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7 of 33  Thu 3rd Jul 2014 8:48am  
Member: Joined Oct 2013  Total posts:450

I seem to recall that the guy who owned Sparrow Hall Hotel was involved in something a bit underhand at Rolls Royce in the early 80s I can`t remember his name but someone told me at the time that Rolls Royce had banned all employees from using the place which resulted in it eventually being sold Cheers Cheers
Industry, Business and Work - Rolls-Royce, Ansty
Wearethemods
Aberdeenshire
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8 of 33  Thu 3rd Jul 2014 10:05am  
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Roy Gallimore was the guy. He had worked at R-R previously as I recall and his brother continued to work there throughout the court proceedings albeit he was not involved. The company couldn't and wouldn't have been so autocratic as 'ban' employees from using the Sparrow Hall Hotel (situated next door to the site). Many used to go there at lunchtimes throughout the mid 80's. What happened in fact was R-R introduced a no alcohol in the workplace regime, initially shutting the on-site bar in the canteen and only offering soft drinks to visitors etc. Obviousy this policy had the desired effect of preventing employees imbibing at lunchtimes either on or off site! On the other hand part of what you say is true in that the Hotel had prospered by virtue of the fact that R-R had used the venue for entertaining customers for meals and reserving rooms for clients etc. this came to an abrupt end when the Court Case came about. Edited by member, 3rd Jul 2014 10:06 am
Industry, Business and Work - Rolls-Royce, Ansty
silversurfer
Derby
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9 of 33  Tue 13th Jan 2015 9:59pm  
Member: Joined Jan 2015  Total posts:5

What happened to the Parkside staff when the factory closed down? I remember the pretty and talented secretaries including Sue, who I think went to USA with her hubby, Ann who went to Oz with her partner, also Christine, an engineer or maybe worked in sales, little Eric Oddy, father of Christine (MP), Phil Higgs, convenor, John James, director, Mary in Post room?

Question

Industry, Business and Work - Rolls-Royce, Ansty
vulcanbomber
Coventry
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10 of 33  Sun 1st Feb 2015 9:08pm  
Member: Joined Feb 2013  Total posts:3

Hi Silversurfer. I used to work at Parkside & also Ansty. After leaving Parkside Phil Higgs went on to work at the main AUEW branch in Corporation Street & got involved in many industrial disputes/negotiations across Coventry to try & resolve them. He later retired to France & sadly died of a heart attack on January 31st 2001. His former adversary at Parkside, David Williams (Head of Industrial Relations) also sadly passed away a week later. I got to know both of them & outside of work I think they were good friends. John James retired & went back to live at Derby. Hope this helps you a bit.
J Hitchins

Industry, Business and Work - Rolls-Royce, Ansty
silversurfer
Derby
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11 of 33  Wed 4th Feb 2015 4:37pm  
Member: Joined Jan 2015  Total posts:5

Thanx vulcanbomber, sorry to hear of the passing of Phil Higgs & David Williams, I remember them both, met Mr James a couple of times, nice man, I believe his daughter worked at P/side! I also remember the girls @ 1 gate pensions dept Helen, Sue & Jean, not forgetting the lovely little Annie Sanfey who went to Oz & pretty Laramie, where are they all now I wonder, aaagh, a golden age!
Industry, Business and Work - Rolls-Royce, Ansty
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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12 of 33  Tue 10th Feb 2015 5:50pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:2077

Going back a bit before these posts, when the Armstrong Siddeley were testing the Sapphire engine etc, who were the guys that tested the rocket, next to the Sapphire test shed, it was all a bit hush-hush at the time, I was told the walls of the building they used were built to fall outwards should anything go wrong, the flame from the rocket would travel app forty feet then hit a concrete wall. It was an amazing sight, believe they had a warning alarm before firing, but can't be sure about that.
Industry, Business and Work - Rolls-Royce, Ansty
andyo123
leicestershire
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13 of 33  Mon 1st Feb 2016 6:15pm  
Member: Joined Feb 2016  Total posts:3

My first job was at Rolls Royce in 1969 as a craft apprentice. I recall at the introduction to get my haircut or no job, the hr department made us all bend forwards and shake our hair, if it went over our eyes we had to get it cut. First year was at the training school, can only remember the lecturer in the drawing office upstairs, Derek, always smoking and could barely see across the room. Rolls went bust in 1971 and I think the apprenticeship went from 5 to 4 years. We went on strike sometime around then, Phil Higgs was the convenor, then we had the 4 day week due to power cuts. Made some good mates and still in touch with one of them after 45 years. The last year was at Ansty, finished up on the Olympus aero inspection but left with 3 mates soon after.
andy

Industry, Business and Work - Rolls-Royce, Ansty
Voad
Now in Devon
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14 of 33  Thu 18th Feb 2016 9:45pm  
Member: Joined Jan 2016  Total posts:1

So very sad to hear about the buildings you mentioned at No.1 and No. 2 gate. Especially the latter, if you mean what was called the White City. I used to work in the service department as a secretary to Jim Inglis and Neil Jennings. It was the last office nearest the road and outside the office door, there was a stairwell which was reportedly where the war time pilots used to hang parachutes. Not sure how accurate this was though. Ironically, my previous employer was Chrysler UK Ltd during the time when the Avenger was being developed, I can understand why lots were stored elsewhere if there was a glut of motors. Time moves on but the name of Rolls Royce remains!
Industry, Business and Work - Rolls-Royce, Ansty
Midland Red
Cherwell
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15 of 33  Fri 16th Feb 2018 8:45am  
Moderator: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:4908

16th Feb 1942 A pair of Tiger Moths from 9 EFTS* collided at Ansty. LAC Skinner was fatally injured, while LAC Rodwell broke his left arm. * At RAF Ansty, the first school used for flying training, which arrived on 6 Jan 1936, was the No. 9 Elementary and Reserve Flying Training School which flew Ansons, Hawker Harts, Hawker Hinds, Tiger Moths and Clouds. The school was operated by Air Services Training at RAF Hamble, under contract from the Air Ministry. The school was renamed the No. 9 Elementary Flying Training School on 3 Sep 1939, days after World War II broke out. The school used Moths until 31 Mar 1944 which provided initial assessment before pupil pilots were sent abroad in the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan which was operated by Air Service Training. Post copied from topic What happened on THIS day in Coventry's history? on 17th Feb 2018 11:37 am
Industry, Business and Work - Rolls-Royce, Ansty

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