Westwood Works 1903-2003
A key characteristic of the Company was the number of long service employees. Long Service Presentations were held every year after WW2, in the beginning for those with 50 years service. "The company originally presented gold pocket watches after fifty years service but this practice was discontinued and gold wrist watches were presented after 40 years' service from 1951 onwards. This policy was reviewed again in 1968 and the period reduced to 35 years At the same time, the opportunity was taken to offer a wider variety of gifts because it was felt that some people would prefer to have something other than a gold wrist watch". At the time that this report was written by A.I. Baker (in September 1974) about 50 people qualified in in the UK group each year.
In 1968, the recipient could choose from quite a wide range of gifts:
On the day of the Presentations, the wives of recipients received a letter from the Chairman: "This evening I shall have the pleasure of making a presentation to your husband as a mark of the Directors' appreciation of his 35 years loyal and faithful service to our Company.
We would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the part which you have played in your husband's service with this Company and I would ask you to accept with our thanks the accompanying gift of flowers and a spray which I hope to see you wearing at the dinner tonight".
The bouquet of flowers was to the value of 17s.6d. and the spray of flowers to wear at the dinner was to the value of 10s.6d. Each recipient also received a buttonhole - "to help the Chairman to recognise the recipients at the dinner".
In 1979, it was decided to aim to reduce the period from 35 to 25 years. In view of the numbers involved, a plan was implemented to stage the reduction over a period of years;
65 employees attended the 1981 Long Service Presentation which was held in the Baker Perkins Sports Club in Alma Road
In 1979, the value of gifts given by the Company permitted by the Inland Revenue was £3 per year of service.
There is a story recounted at a group company Long Service Presentation evening in 1975 that is worth re-telling: This really was a one-off situation:
"A Peterborough employee called Harry Hooker - an engraver in the Cutter Shop - had already had a gold watch for fifty years' service and so when he eventually clocked up 60 years the company was at a loss to know what to give him. Eventually someone came up with the idea of a radiogram and, as a special mark of his exceptional service, a record for each year of service to go with it.
Having bought the radiogram and the sixty records, the company decided to have someone take it round to his house to complete the surprise. When the gift was made at the home, although accepted with thanks, Harry told the company that there was just one problem - his house was all gas and he had no electricity at all.
In the end, to ensure that he could make the most of the gift, the company arranged to pay for electricity to be installed".
Another relevant story belongs to the time that gold wrist watches were the norm. One employee already had a watch and suggested to the company that he would like his wife to receive a gold bracelet instead. The company readily agreed and he was the envy of every man (and woman) in the room on Presentation Night.
It should be noted that while the above form of reward for long service was common across most of the Baker Perkins Group, the American company adopted a different approach. At Saginaw, long service was recognised by the presentation of pins which were issued every five years. The pins incorporated a ruby for every five years of service. After one accumulated twenty five years the rubies were replaced with a diamond chip.More information on this can be found in The History of Saginaw.
|1970||1971||1971||1973||1974||1975: CPO Retirement Ceremony||1975|
|1975||1976||1977||1977: Long Serving Foremen||1977: Plate Shop Long Service Presentation||1978||1979|
|1979||1979: November||1979: November||1979: December||1979: December||1979: December||1979: The Farrow Twins with Gold watches|
|1980: Long Serving Foremen||1980||1980||1981||1981||1982||1982|
In 1989, the Printing Machinery company was sold to Rockwell and thereafter, the 2 companies - Rockwell PMC and APV Baker FES - held separate LSP ceremonies.
APV Baker FES
|1989||1990: Invitation||1990||1991: Invitation||1992: Invitation||1992||1992|
The following records of Long Service Presentations come outside the time frame of this Website, as the participants were at APV Baker, Paston when the photographs were taken. However, as the people depicted spent most of their working life at Westwood Works, it is appropriate to include them.
2004/05 was the last big formal Long Service Presentation event. The number of employees reaching 25 years service even over a two year period had fallen below the point where such an event was viable. Instead, each recipient’s anniversary is now marked separately, or if there is more than one in a month, in a combined ceremony, on or as close to the actual date as possible. The recipients still receive a certificate of thanks, which is now presented by their departmental director, and can choose a gift or gifts up to a certain value - this has been approximately doubled to reflect the fact that the company is no longer incurring the costs associated with a big formal event. The ceremony takes place at the workplace, with a few immediate and usually long-serving colleagues present, and the event is still recorded with a photograph and a mention in “Link” – the Company house magazine.
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