Westwood Works 1903-2003
Baker Perkins was not only a world-renowned engineering company with major international customers, but was also at the forefront of the development of both technology and management techniques. As such it attracted visitors of note on a regular basis. For example, the awards at the annual Apprentice Prizegiving were presented by a leading figure, and both national and local politicians were eager to see the latest developments in the Company's activities.
A representative sample of such visits is shown below.
1929 - Perhaps stretching the concept of "VIP Visitors" just a little, these show Prince George (soon to be King George VI) passing Westwood Works on his way to lay the foundation stone of the present Town Hall. The amount of bunting decorating the office buildings is surprising and a lot of best Sunday hats are in evidence!
|1931/32: Bakery Managers from all over the country visit Westwood Works||1956: Conqueror of Everest visits Westwood||1956: Sir John Hunt meets Roy Westcombe||1956: Sir John Hunt is greeted by Ray Wilkins||
1956: Visit of Brazilian Ambassador to the Apprentice School
|1959: The Apprentice School Visitors Book|
|Mid 50s? - UCBS, Scotland Bakery Managers|
|1964: Sir Wm. Carron visits for Apprentice Prizegiving||1965: Sir Arnold Lindley visits the Apprentice School||1965: Sir Harmar Nicholls visits the Apprentice School||1967: Visit of the Soviet Vice-Minister for Food|
|1970: The Bishop of Peterborough at Westwood Works||1972: Visitors from Japan - Fusiwa||1973: Visitors from Central America||1975: Peterborough's Mayor visits the Apprentice School||1977: Visit of Sir Geoffrey Howe||1977: Sir Fred Catherwood at Westwood||1977: The Mayor of Peterborough in the Photographic Department|
|1979: Labour MP Michael Ward with Stuart Cadman in the Machine Shop||1979: Conservative candidate Brian Mawhinney with Ivor Henson and Mick Parker in the Foundry||1979: Chinese Light Industry Delegation|
|1981: Annual Visit of The Mayor of Peterborough||1982: Patrick Jenkins visits Westwood Works||1984: Sir Keith Joseph||1984: Kenyan Students with Works Foremen||1986: The Queen drives by||1986: Chinese Confectionery Delegation||1986: Maggie Philbin|
|1988: Russian visitors pose for a photo outside the Gatehouse||1988: Geoff Ridgway explains Extrusion Cooking to some Russian visitors||Date?: Japanese customers visit Westwood||Date?: Indian customers visit Westwood||Date?: Asian Visitors see the Fitting Shop||Date?: Technical College Visitors|
Many of the Company's overseas customers paid a visit to Westwood Works. In ensuring that they were treated with all due respect, the Company flew an appropriate flag as part of the welcoming ceremony. (See also The Company Chauffeurs).
Having customers in all parts of the world, the Company had to maintain a very sizeable stock of flags. Each flag measured 8' x 6' and was kept in the Maintenance Department in a drawer of a special compartment, each drawer being marked with the name of the country.
Requests for flags to be flown were made by individual departments throughout the company. They would contact the Company Receptionist and provide all the appropriate details. The Maintenance Department would be told a day or so in advance to enable them to have the appropriate flags ready. Changes in the political situation in some of the more volatile areas of the world meant that the latest version of a flag had to be hurriedly purchased and added to the collection.
Originally there was just the one flagpole - on top of the 1933 building. This was used for either the Union Jack or the flag of a visitor's country. It was in a very high position and the flag could be seen for many miles around Peterborough. The company was often telephoned to ask what was the occasion or whose flag was being flown. This inevitably happened when it was necessary to fly the flag at "half mast".
When the Holdings Company premises were built provision was made for three flagpoles outside the Main Entrance allowing flags of more than one visiting country to be flown at the same time. When the 1975 multi-storey office building was built, a further 3 flagpoles were erected outside the Reception Hall. This gave the company a great deal more flexibility in choosing which flags to fly. It meant that the Union Jack could be flown at all times, together with the flags that recorded the winning of various Queen's Awards for Industry. Flags were also flown for specific days of the year, the Queen's Birthday, St George's Day etc.
There was a strict protocol for flying flags, especially so when visitors from different countries were visiting the company on the same day. The flags seemed to be of great interest to a lot of employees with many enquiries as to "who are the visitors today?" To help with this sort of enquiry the name of the visiting country was also displayed in the Reception Area.
The flags were hoisted by Maintenance Men first thing in the morning and taken down before the end of the working day. Chic Dixon was one of the first men involved with flying the flags, followed later by Bill Milligan, Colin Chapman, Joe Smith and Terry Romeo taking on this duty when Bill retired.
Later, systems changed and the flying of flags became the responsibility of the Security Department, with the hoisting and taking down being coordinated with their different shift patterns.
|Bill Milligan who went from flying flags to "Flying Concorde"||Date?: Colin Chapman hoists the Flag||Date?: Where all the Flags were stored|
If you have any photographs of VIP visitors to Westwood Works that you would like to see featured here, please see this page for instructions on how to contact us.
All content © the Website Authors unless stated otherwise.