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Westwood Works 1903-2003

Baker Perkins in the Community

A culture of involvement in the local community permeated every part of Westwood Works, the management giving employees every encouragement to spend time and effort, both inside and outside company hours, in getting involved in many facets of local activities. Many examples of such work will be found throughout this website including the charity fund-raising events shown in Gatherings, many of the Sports Club Activities and the Christmas Parties for disadvantaged children. A number of employees worked in local politics as Local Councillors, some having the honour to become Mayor of Peterborough, others serving as Governors of local schools. The schools/industry interface was of particular interest to the Company and initiatives such as "Trident" and "Young Enterprise", both of which introduced to schoolchildren concepts and experience of the world of work, were enthusiastically promoted, with Careers in Engineering and "Young Engineer of the Year" also being strongly supported.

Senior managers and Directors played a part in many other aspects of Peterborough life. Sir Ivor Baker and Sir Franklin Braithwaite served as Vice-Chairmen of the Peterborough Development Corporation while other senior managers were prominent in the local Professional Bodies Group and other similar activities too numerous to mention.

Much effort was also put in on behalf of charities, both in terms of organising fund-raising events and from regular donations from wages. The following images indicate that these activities were a long-established feature of the culture of the organisation.

1920: Westwood Mothers' Outing 1920s: Hospital Saturday Parade 1920s: Fancy Dress for Hospital Saturday 1920s: Enjoying Hospital Saturday 1920s: Travel Agents - Hospital Saturday 1936: Baker Perkins Charity Float

1938 Hospital Fund Raising Carnival at Alma Road

After passing through local streets, the procession ended up at the Baker Perkins Sports Ground in Alma Road. It is understood that the Carnival Queen was Dorothy Larman, sister of Jack Larman - ex-Fitting Shop Foreman.

1967 onwards

1967: "Week at Work" scheme 1976: Delivering gifts to local Children's Home - financed by Charity Football Match 1977: Peter Headland and Wendy Daniels on Project Trident 1980: Young Enterprise Managing Directors' Reports and Presentation Evening 1980: Jack Hunt School Young Enterprise Company visits the Houses of Parliament 1980: Young Enterprise Company with Jack Hunt School 1981: Sports Club Cheque for St. George's School for the Mentally Handicapped
1986: Young Enterprise Company at Arthur Mellowes Village College 1986: BP Sports Club donates £3,000 to Guide Dog Association 1986: £1600 donated to Peterborough Hospital at Home by the Sports Club 1990: Collection for "Children in Need"

Baker Perkins Apprentices, Walter Blades and Brian Prentice built a replacement weathervane for the Peterborough Customs House (See also Trainees in Action) The base is steel - the driving pinion of a chocolate melangeur - and the ceramic bowl rotates on glass marbles. The weathervane was presented to Peterborough City Council in December 1956 and installed on top of the Customs House cupola by Jim Deboo and John Warwick.

Charity Football Matches

It will be seen from the above photographs that organising Football matches was a popular way of raising money for charities. Mary Baxter remembers such events from the mid-1970s:

Corporate Donations to Charity

In common with most major UK corporations, Baker Perkins made annual donations to charities on top of actively encouraging its employees to get involved in working within the local community as illustrated above. Such donations were required by the companies acts to be published in the annual report and accounts of the Group. In 1978, Baker Perkins Holdings donated a total of nearly 34,000 to some 142 different charities. Much of this was directed at organisations concerned with the welfare of young people with 3,000 going to various children's charities and youth organisations and over 6,000 to a number of educational organisations, including Project Trident - a provider of work experience for school students. The first priority, however, was to those charities whose aims could be of direct or indirect benefit to employees or the communities in which group factories operated.

The Cresset

In May 1973, A.I. Baker suggested to the Board that the company support an appeal for funds to build a new social centre in Bretton, the first of the new townships being created in Peterborough by the Development Corporation. The new facility was to serve not only the 30,000 people living in Bretton and the West of the city, but the city as a whole.

The concept of the Cresset was unique, not only because of the very wide range of facilities it was planned to provide for all members of the community under one roof, but because it was being organised through the active co-operation of twelve sponsoring bodies, both statutory and voluntary. A.I.Baker and S.C. Hargreaves were members of the Steering Committee and J.S. Hardy acted as Treasurer of the appeal fund.

A.I. Baker argued that Baker Perkins was known to set the lead locally in supporting appeals and other companies would be influenced by what the company did. It was agreed that Baker Perkins would make a generous contribution towards the £1.3 million cost of the project and work started in February 1974 with completion in the summer of 1975.

It is gratifying to note that some 36 years later, the Cresset is still meeting the needs of the local population.

Local Radio

It should come as no surprise that Baker Perkins also invested in supporting the setting up of a local radio station - Hereward Radio. The company was represented when the radio consortium was first started in 1975 and, in 1979, invested 37,000 - holding just over 8% of the share capital. The perceived benefits - "the provision of a valuable service to the community in news, information, education and entertainment" - were very much in line with the Company's aims and accepted responsibilities.

Freedom of the City of Peterborough

One of the oldest surviving traditional ceremonies still in existence today is the granting of the "Freedom of the City". It is believed that the first Freedom of the City of London was presented in 1237. The medieval term 'freeman' meant someone who was not the property of a feudal lord, but enjoyed privileges such as the right to earn money and own land. Town dwellers who were protected by the charter of their town or city were often free - hence the term 'Freedom of the City'.

The Freedom of the City has been described by the leader of Peterborough City Council as - "the most honourable distinction that a local authority can bestow upon an individual or organisation and as such, it is awarded rarely". In the more than 100 years which have elapsed since 1906, when first bestowed by Peterborough City Council upon Andrew Carnegie, the honour has been granted to some 46 local citizens and organisations. Among these have been two ex-Baker Perkins employees:

2008: Geoff Ridgway

2012: Dick Preston

Some photographs of the Freedom of the City ceremony held in Peterborough's Cathedral Square on Saturday, 8th September 2012 can be found here.

Mayors of Peterborough

A number of Baker Perkins employees have served with distinction as Mayor of Peterborough. These include:

G.A. Smith (who disliked being photographed and is the only Mayor without a portrait in The Town Hall)
1958/59: Mayor

Frank Mackman
1968: Mayor

Jack Farrell
1974: Mayor

Murdoch Charteris
1974: Deputy Mayor
1979/80: Mayor

Thomas Gray
1967: Deputy Mayor
1981/2: Mayor

Geoff Ridgway
1991: Mayor

Peterborough Magistrates

The Magistrates Courts for the Soke of Peterborough were in the Sessions House (now a restaurant) in Thorpe Road. These closed in 1978 when the Queen opened the new Peterborough Courts in Bridge Street. Baker Perkins employees who have served as magistrates include:

F.C. Ihlee served as a Magistrate

Harold Crowther served as a Magistrate

Sir Ivor Baker was a Magistrate on the Soke of Peterborough Bench, acting as Chairman of the Bench from 1973 until his retirement in 1978.

Stephen Hargreaves served as a Magistrate from 1970 to 1994.

Wendy MacArthur was a serving Magistrate from 1970, retiring in 1993 and was Chairman of the Peterborough Justices from 1992 to 1993.

Peter Marshall was appointed as a Magistrate in 1975 and continues in this capacity to date.

Special Constables

A number of Baker Perkins employees were long-serving members of the Special Constabulary. This photograph was taken in the early 70s and includes: Tony Moll, John Eden, John Wright, Maurice Wright, Frank Coaten, Ken Goodrich, Steve Hudson and Phil Smith.

Honours

A number of Westwood employees received Honours from the Queen for their contribution to the Company, the industry or to the community at large. Among these were:

A. Ivor Baker

Knight, CBE

Joseph. S. Baker

OBE

Bob Baxter

MBE

Eric Bird

BEM

Franklin Braithwaite

Knight

J.S. Carolin

MBE

Harold Crowther

CBE

Jim Deboo

OBE

E.H. Gilpin

Knight

Ron Jackson

MBE

Dr William Marshall

OBE

Charles McCaskie

OBE

John Peake

CBE

Jim Stanley

BEM

Ray Wilkins

OBE

It is possible that we have missed someone, if so we apologise and would appreciate being notified.

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