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Ex-Coventry car workers sought for book

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Stenningphotographic
South East England
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1 of 18  Sat 19th Feb 2011 7:42pm  
Member: Joined Feb 2011  Total posts:5

A freelance writer/photographer by trade, I am trying to get in contact with former workers in the city's motor industry (60s through to 2006). I am seeking to write a book not about the vehicles themselves but the lives of workers within the plants, their families etc. - tales from the shop floor in a nutshell. In short I would be very interested in hearing from anyone with a story to tell.
Ex-Coventry car workers sought for book
rojwhittle
derbyshire
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2 of 18  Wed 7th Sep 2011 9:31pm  
Member: Joined Aug 2011  Total posts:57

Hi, I am also writing a book about the Coventry car industry, although much more about the cars and the businesses. I worked for Harry Ferguson Research in the early sixties, which, as an apprentice, included a stint at Standard Triumph on placement, and later at Jaguar, in body design. I would be pleased to have a chat, and would love to help in any way I can. Please drop me an email. Roger
Ex-Coventry car workers sought for book
NeilsYard
Coventry
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3 of 18  Mon 12th Sep 2011 2:46am  
Member: Joined Aug 2010  Total posts:1704

I started my working life as a trainee at Ryton circa 1986 after Peugeot Talbot had taken over from Chrysler. I was involved in the launch of the 309 - the first Peugeot built at Ryton. Went on to work as an engine fitter on the track. I recall my amazement in my very first week of employment when the entire factory stood on the shop floor and voted to walk out - I stood trying to work out what was meant only to realise I was almost alone in the factory as everyone had already gone following yet another 80's union pay dispute. Happy to contribute a few more anecdotes of my experiences.
Ex-Coventry car workers sought for book
Stenningphotographic
South East England
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4 of 18  Sat 17th Dec 2011 1:44am  
Member: Joined Feb 2011  Total posts:5

The Coventry project is best summarised thus: "On the scrapheap? Whatever became of the Coventry car workers"- the good times, happy memories, bad times, what if anything they feel might have saved their jobs, what they are doing now and their hopes for the future. I would like to reassure potential contributors that I am not looking to profit from other people's misery but rather write a comprehensive account of life on the lines, the people and communities that surrounded it. I'm interested in anything sensible(!) people have to contribute but I'm also trying to build it into a thicker, in-depth plot that concerns central characters who feel comfortable with their lives being expanded in greater detail. Naturally, I am happy to alter names to protect people's identity/privacy. You didn't happen to know Paul Velda and/or his family by any chance?
Ex-Coventry car workers sought for book
K
Somewhere
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5 of 18  Sat 17th Dec 2011 10:38am  
Member: Joined Nov 2011  Total posts:567

Hi I worked for Coventry Climax and Jaguar in Coventry, the former 1973-74, the latter 1975-84, in both cases in the engineering department. If I can help, please contact me via the Historic Coventry website.
Ex-Coventry car workers sought for book
morgana
the secret garden
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6 of 18  Sat 17th Dec 2011 2:01pm  
Member: Joined Nov 2011  Total posts:2234

My mum and dad both worked for Jag, had 7 children living in a 2 bedhouse, dad went on to work for Humber, Rootes, until he died, 3 of my nephews have worked for Jag which two also prior worked for Rover too, brother in law worked for Unbrako my sister his wife worked for Lear who made the seats for Jag my uncle also worked for Jag if you want a bit more info you can contact me via contact button on Historic Coventry under my name. Myself used to work in the offices of Pistons Ltd.
Ex-Coventry car workers sought for book
Alvisnick
France
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7 of 18  Sat 17th Dec 2011 9:21pm  
Member: Joined Oct 2011  Total posts:23

On 7th Sep 2011 9:31pm, rojwhittle said: Hi, I am also writing a book about the Coventry car industry, although much more about the cars and the businesses. I worked for Harry Ferguson Research in the early sixties, which, as an apprentice, included a stint at Standard Triumph on placement, and later at Jaguar, in body design. I would be pleased to have a chat, and would love to help in any way I can. Please drop me an email. Roger
Hi Roger I have an especial interest in the Alvis company and its products. I also have plenty on the history on that particular firm and would be pleased to associate with you re Alvis with appropriate credits.
Ex-Coventry car workers sought for book
Stenningphotographic
South East England
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Thread starter
8 of 18  Tue 20th Dec 2011 4:56pm  
Member: Joined Feb 2011  Total posts:5

Happened upon some curious bits of info this past day or so and am looking to trace Joe McGhee who worked for Peugeot and left with a European Welding Qualification. A couple of people have also touched on questionable paint facilities/quality control in the body shop and poor weather-proofing at the plant generally. Can anyone add anything here?
Ex-Coventry car workers sought for book
Stenningphotographic
South East England
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Thread starter
9 of 18  Tue 21st Feb 2012 9:51pm  
Member: Joined Feb 2011  Total posts:5

Continue to receive some very interesting leads, feedback and stories. However, I am also looking to get a good flavour of the line. I've witnessed Dagenham's body plant in full swing back in the mid 1990s and obviously researched car manufacturing during the 1970s. What was reckoned to be the most unpleasant/soul destroying or difficult job on the track-the sort most people really dreaded? Some ex-Ford employees reckoned it was fitting gearboxes and lighting. Any thoughts? On another note, can anybody remember when the paint process become semi/fully automated at Peugeot? - Dagenham was c1983.
Ex-Coventry car workers sought for book
NORFOLK COVENTRIAN
NORFOLK
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10 of 18  Wed 22nd Feb 2012 3:31pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2011  Total posts:2

I worked in the drawing office at Jaguar Cars (power train design) between 1966 and 1974 before leaving for "Lotus Land" and my father was Chief Engineer at Harry Ferguson Research at Toll Bar End until he retired in 1972; I would be pleased to offer memories of such characters as Harry Mundy, Claude Bailey, Ted Addy, Ron Burr etc who were the cream of British automobile engineers in Coventry.
Ex-Coventry car workers sought for book
Tony1
Coventry
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11 of 18  Fri 6th Jul 2012 4:53pm  
Member: Joined Apr 2012  Total posts:52

I can offer you my 40 years knowledge of working in the motor industry. Please contact me by e-mail Tony1
Ex-Coventry car workers sought for book
Stenningphotographic
South East England
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Thread starter
12 of 18  Fri 31st Aug 2012 10:04am  
Member: Joined Feb 2011  Total posts:5

Hello Tony, Would be delighted to chat further but can't see your contact details. Drop me a line: Stenningphotographic@gmail.com and we'll chat from there Smile Research and help from people posting here suggests those of a technical/craft grade either retired or assumed similar roles in related industries at broadly comparable salaries. What's less apparent is the fate of those on the lines for whom this wasn't an option. For some, it may have opened up other opportunities but the only time they (from the Ryton plant in particular) are mentioned is in the context of tragedy or misfortune. I'd also like to hear from people who ran businesses in some way reliant upon trade from the factories - cafes, components suppliers etc. Michael
Ex-Coventry car workers sought for book
Mike H
London Ontario, Canada
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13 of 18  Sat 1st Sep 2012 12:15am  
Member: Joined Apr 2012  Total posts:441

A lady who used to come into the newsagents on Hipswell Highway was getting £18/hr for cleaning the windows of cars coming of the Ryton lines. She was the happiest worker there, I think. A guy who worked there came into the shop one day complaining. He said that there was a problem with the driver's doors on Avengers. They had a hole in them. 'Was that for the glass or the lock?' I asked innocently. 'Neither' he replied. So I asked him what was happening to the cars, and he told me that they were being sent to the rectification dept. 'And what then', I asked. 'When they get too many, they got to the 'major rectification' dept.' Oh my
Ex-Coventry car workers sought for book
Mike H
London Ontario, Canada
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14 of 18  Sat 1st Sep 2012 12:26am  
Member: Joined Apr 2012  Total posts:441

On 31st Aug 2012 10:04am, Stenningphotographic said: I'd also like to hear from people who ran businesses in some way reliant upon trade from the factories- cafe's, components suppliers etc. Michael
How about newsagents? We had thousands of workers from the Canley Triumph, M-F et al pass through our doors on Tile Hill Lane, and then one day, there were hardly any. It shot our business to pieces, and we finally gave up when the Co-op and the new Sainsbury's went head to head selling cut price cigarettes and confectionery.
Ex-Coventry car workers sought for book
dutchman
Spon End
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15 of 18  Sat 1st Sep 2012 12:33am  
Member: Joined Mar 2010  Total posts:3011

An assembly worker at Chrysler told me they had to issue special gloves to men on the then new Avenger production line because the panels were so thin their fingers would go straight through when lifting them. He also showed me a memo from head office meticulously typed explaining how a minor component should in future be inserted from the left hand side instead of the right which gives you some idea of how the factory was run. The Avenger was not popular with the men who built it and they were convinced it only existed to serve the export market to America where it was known as the 'Plymouth Cricket'.
Ex-Coventry car workers sought for book

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