It is a great pleasure to me to propose the toast to the L.S.A. in the Golden Jubilee Year of the Association, particularly as we are honoured and delighted to welcome Lady Eleanor Mather and Peter as our principal Guests of Honour. This gives us all a timely reminder of the memory of Sir William, our late President, who supported the Association so loyally and enthusiastically - from when he succeeded his father, Mr. Loris Emerson Mather in 1960, to when he was Chairman of M+P and later also, after he retired. We remember Bill with great affection and respect. It is also particularly interesting and gratifying the we are sharing this Golden Jubilee with Her Majesty the Queen who came to the throne in such sad circumstance at about the same time that the Mather & Platt Long Service Association was inaugurated. 1952 was quite a momentous year!
Reported in OUR JOURNAL Spring 1953
A total of 136 employees attended and, as a result of the meeting, the M+P L.S.A. was inaugurated. An official committee was set up under the Chairmanship of Charlie Garside and a constitution agreed for membership.
It is worth quoting the Objects from this constitution:
Membership was open to all male employees who had been employed for 30 years service with the Company, with a monthly subscription of one shilling. The first President was Mr. Loris Emerson Mather, Chairman of the Company and other Directors who had the necessary 30 years service would be invited to join as Hon. Vice-Presidents.
The Association quickly gathered strength and by November 1952 the total membership was 275. The present membership - despite many recent years of economic difficulty, contraction and redundancies - now stands at 298 with, I am pleased to say, 13 lady members, and growing, who now enhance our annual occasion. Marion Dowson, incidentally, made the breakthrough as the first lady member with 30 years service - starting in 1936 and becoming a member in 1967.
The birth of the M+P L.S.A. 50 years ago was initiated by the grassroots workforce and was an indication of the loyalty generated in Mather & Platt from the beginning of the 19th Century into the 20th Century - and now into 21st Century, and still as strong as ever. This was never due to the Company dishing out an easy life - as we will all testify. We experienced tough times together and difficult decisions had to be made; but in our various ways we always rose to the challenge with the pioneering spirit which helped to make the Company one of the leaders in the industrial revolution which this country (and this region) gave to the world.
The name of Mather & Platt established a world reputation for excellence and innovation, not only in its products pumps, electrical motors and generators, textile machinery, food processing machinery and fire protection (to name just the main ones) but also and equally important - in the training, education and welfare of its people. This is the very heart of any organisation which means to succeed and to play its part in the community at large.
It was of particular importance to me and to many of my contemporaries, being a scared 14-year-old entering the world of work to find out quickly that I had joined a company with first class apprentice training. I still remember my start in Pumps 7 Bay - and the first week or so filing studs, polishing brass, removing packing, taking a container to collect Blue Steam , going home with heels painted white etc.! But it very quickly moved on and I started to benefit from the Works School, continuing general education at outside Technical Colleges and then to pursuing professional Engineering qualifications. The result was a loyalty to Mather & Platt and its name and reputation, which has outlasted many of the industrial giants of the 19th and 20th Centuries and is still a name respected throughout the world.
In this country, M+P was trading until a few years ago in its own right but, in a rapidly changing world with increased mobility and with the global economy, its trading name has virtually disappeared and has been replaced by worthy successors Weir and Wormald who both share the basic ideals which M+P developed over its history. The Weir and Wormald subsidy that each provides annually for this dinner and our annual meeting is tangible evidence of that.
We have seen Park Works almost reduced to a pile of rubble and the site cleared for other developments. But some things survive and cannot be destroyed: our loyalty, affection and gratitude to the name M+P, with so many wonderful memories to treasure and pain and heartache to remember too, but this is what a family is all about! And the name, Mather & Platt still lives on in our Long Service Association - through you, the members - and will continue to live for many years to come. We are demonstrating, through our members, that despite the increasing pace of change in the world, there are indestructible aspects of daily life we value and which are strengthed though the friendships and companionship we share in the Association.
The Mather & Platt Long Service Association is in good heart and the name M+P is in safe hands for some time to come. A final word our guest Marcel Boschi is writing a book The History of Mather & Platt Ltd. and we wish him success and offer our help and encouragement in this enormous enterprise. We look forward to hearing of his progress.
I invite you all to stand and join me to toast the Mather & Platt Long Service Association in its Golden Jubilee Year.
|December 2003: Norman writes (see Guest Book) "My father, Arthur Ellison, worked at M&P Park Works from the 1920s to 1962 when he retired as the foreman of the Machine Tool Maintenance Dept. He was born in Lower Broughton, Salford and lived in Camp St. His father (my grandfather) W.T.Ellison, designed the early "Non-Rush" Turnstiles which are still at many stadiums throughout the world - including Old Trafford cricket ground and, until recently, at Maine Road football ground."|