As you will have realised from earlier posts and from Peter’s absence in the photograph of the committee and Honoured Guest, he was not able to attend the reunion. However, he was able to record his response and this can be heard by CLICKING HERE.
Sadly, this is of poor recording quality and a transcription of his speech can be read below.
Robbie, vice-chairman, Eric, honoured guest, Jonathan, fellow veterans.
I was greatly honoured to receive the position as Chairman of the association and I would like to thank all of those people who elected me to the post. I am very sorry I can’t be with you this afternoon due to circumstances beyond my control.
In the past it has been my job as Chairman to ask the new President to take up his position and also to brief him on various aspects of the Presidency. This year I haven’t had to do that and one of the things I have always advised the President is to limit his time. Well, I’m in that position now where I’ve probably got to limit my time concerning my speech this afternoon.
But I want to break it up into one or two parts and the first part concerns the history of our Company. You all know that the history of our Company is very important and is documented in a number of books written by other people, the most important one being that written by Bill Baker who was charged by the Company to write the history from the beginning up until 1950. Later on you will hear from one of our veterans about how we can consolidate our history. But I want to get a point concerning what Sir Robert Telford told me when he asked me to clear his office out. He had charged Jim Aikman to get in touch with all the mangers in the various divisions in the Company to ensure that senior staff wrote down the story of their operation, designs of the equipment and various stories concerning the installation. While some of these were done, and when I cleared Sir Robert’s office, it took me as you can imagine several days, because of the amount of books that he had kept I found some of the requirements requested by Sir Robert and I have handed these over to the community.
So I want to appeal to all of you to continue the history of the Company, it is necessary for you to put pencil to paper or on tape and submit it to, probably our secretary, Barry so he can pass it on to the speaker you’ll hear about later on. This is very important and even if you only have a small history of our Company please put it down on paper so that in the future other people will know what happened to this wonderful Company of ours. I had the pleasure of working for the Company for nearly 48 years and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it, although I must admit that there were times when I didn’t get on too well with a certain managing director.
Coming to my second point concerns Marconi House in Chelmsford. As you all know I’ve tried very hard to ensure our good relations with the owners of this building; it is now in the hands of Bellway Homes and although I have an understanding and discussions with them it is far too early for them to make any comment as to what will happen with regard to Marconi’s in the new building insofar as the history of the Company being recorded or a room available for us to put some of our artefacts. I had invited one of the directors of Bellway Homes to come and talk to us at our AGM but unfortunately that did not happen. I will keep in touch as far as possible with the new owners and if it is ever with him we will have some of our equipment held at the museum, the Industrial Museum, at Sandford Mill.
It is very difficult to persuade Chelmsford Borough Council to recognise the work that Marconi and his staff did in the town of Chelmsford. On many occasions I have visited the small city council and discussed with them the movement of the statue and also to recognise in greater detail that which not only Marconi’s but the other big industrialists in the town brought the revenue into Chelmsford in many many ways and, in particular, the shopkeepers who also gained from the presence on Marconi personnel. I will keep on trying but in the long run I am afraid it is up to other people to ensure that the city council does come up with some recognition of Marconi.
Now to my last point. As I said earlier, I have enjoyed being with the Company for 48 years and I served under nine managing directors. I got on with them extremely well with the exception of one who as you probably know took a great dislike to me in fact fired me three times in one day. However, I was able to wear the badge as everybody else in the factory did “I survived Glasgow”.
Now, as I said, I travelled with the Company, overseas visits for something like 12 years until I became Publicity Manager. So I will just recall just one or two points in that career of mine. The first I suppose is when I attended an exhibition at the IBC in the Intercontinental Hotel in London; the senior staff had disappeared for lunch and I was left with one other person to look after the stand which had cameras, everything, vision mixers and other things on it. A gentleman came along with a lady and was quite interested in the equipment, I showed him round and he was genuinely interested in the cameras and at the end of the visit I said to him “Can I have your card please because I’d like to follow this meeting up”. He turned round and said to me “Well you didn’t recognise me but my name is Weinstock”. I’m glad I treated him with great respect because when the senior staff came back from their lunch and I told them who’d been on the stand they were most concerned. But all was well, It was Sir Arnold Weinstock in those days not Lord Weinstock.
Well, that was one story. The other story was, of course, probably my biggest order ever and that was when I went to Egypt eight times in twelve weeks and came back with a most fantastic order from Egypt Broadcasting television outside broadcast vehicles, cameras, television transmitters, telecines, vision mixers etc. an absolutely fantastic order. And I came back to England with that and there were great celebrations and when I went into the factory and told the factory manager what had happened great cheers went up. This was probably one of the highlights of my particular career.
Well, unfortunately I can’t be with you this afternoon and to circumstances beyond my control but can I wish you all veterans a very good year and I hope you’ll do something to record the history of our Company.