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Westwood Works 1903-2003

Group Newspapers

Group News Contact Financial Contact Insert APV Baker Gazette APV Baker News APV News

The first edition of Baker Perkins "Group News" was issued in August 1964. In a Chairman's message Sir Ivor Baker said :

"I am very pleased to introduce this first issue of "Group News". The publication of such a journal has been under consideration for a number of years.

It recently became increasingly apparent that it would usefully serve to inform employees at all levels in the companies of the group about each other's activities and the decision was taken to launch it with this issue.

As the name implies, "Group News" will describe the achievements and the personalities that combine to make the group successful, and all of you are invited to make suggestions to your own company correspondent about items of interest that you would like to see included in future issues.

Many of you in James Halley at West Bromwich and Baker Perkins at Westwood works will already have been indirectly responsible for this first issue. It has been printed on the first Halley Aller web-fed offset litho printing press to be manufactured and sold by the group and which is now installed in a printing works at Peterborough. All future issues will also be printed on this very successful press, for which we see a bright future.

I sincerely hope that you will enjoy reading "Group News" and that it will achieve its aim of bringing individuals and companies within the group even closer."

The first issue featured the installation of a new English Electric Leo computer at Westwood to take over payroll work and announced the agreement with the Amalgamated Engineering Union for four-year instead of five-year apprenticeships for craftsmen at Baker Perkins Ltd.

Ian Howie was the first Editor and Robin Dunseath the first company correspondent for Baker Perkins Ltd. Alan Burgess took over as Editor of "Group News" in 1965.

It was decided in 1971 that economies had to be made and the last issue of "Group News" came in January of that year. However, two years later, the concept was revived with the publication of "Contact", with Ian Wright as editor. This was to a different format, printed on higher quality paper which allowed better reproduction of photographs - but with a broadly similar content.

Management's policy of keeping the work force fully informed extended also to providing full information on the company's financial performance. Reports on the half-year and year-end results were featured in the Group Newspaper from the start but a new publication "Financial Contact" - first appeared in 1976 as a separate booklet distributed with the March issue of "Contact". This not only attempted to explain the company's financial performance, including a "Review" by the Group Managing Director, but also included an update on the performance of each of the main operating companies. It used graphics to clearly put over the financial message and also included progress reports on each of the main operating companies. There was a very noticeable difference in style between how the Company communicated with its employees compared with how its performance was presented to its shareholders.

1976 1977 1978 1979 1980

This form of "Financial Contact" became the norm until the Summer 1981 issue of "Contact" when, for cost reasons, it took the form of a 4-page insert matching the existing format of "Contact" itself. However, the emphasis on the use of clear graphics continued.

A four-page news sheet was introduced in November 1983 as a regular service for Westwood employees of Baker Perkins Ltd. (i.e. it did not include news about Baker Perkins Holdings Ltd). This attempted to improve levels of communication within the company. As well as news about major internal projects, new appointments and similar items of interest to Westwood employees, Insight aimed to provide more information about the state of the business. We are not clear how often "Insight" was published nor when publication ceased (The latest issue we have seen is dated December 1984). If anyone can confirm the frequency of issue and final date we would be very pleased to hear from you.

In 1987, after the merger between Baker Perkins and APV, the Group Newspaper appeared for a short time as the "APV Baker Gazette". APV Baker being the first name chosen for whole of the new group. The publication then included news from all of the companies of the enlarged group. As a result of a naming competition this was soon changed to "APV Baker News" In 1988 the name of the parent group was shortened to APV and the newspaper was renamed once again as "APV News".

In Spring 1990 the first issue of a new newsletter for employees at APV Baker at Peterborough and Bedewell was distributed. This provided a level of local detail not possible in "APV News" with its worldwide group coverage. In the event, "Link" proved to be particularly useful in keeping the workforce informed of progress during the closure of Westwood and the move to Paston in 1992.

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