Regretfully, the GUESTBOOK is no longer available.
 
This page will contain raw material and information for update access.
Thank you for your continued interest.
If you can help any research, please forward information to Marcel. He can be contacted by e-mail via marcelboschi at aol.com

June 2010

Neil Mitchell writes:

Park Works - A Walk Through The Past

Shortly after Park Works closed down, I was working for a motor and pump repair company and I was lucky enough to secure a meeting with the Weir Pumps repair team who were occupying part of the old works offices, at the bottom of 2 Bay, to discuss a repair to two small pumps they wanted carrying out.

Whilst proceeding along the driveway to the main gates, memories flooded back to the hundreds of times I had made the same journey, especially passing the point where my late father had parked his car.

On reporting to the Security Lodge, a familiar face greeted me. Ian (I never knew his surname) was on duty for his last week before moving to Wormalds offices on Grimshaw Lane. I walked into the covered yard to be met by rubbish and leaves strewn everywhere instead of a pristine area that had met so many visitors.

On the left were the remains of the Canteen, a vast area filled with tables and benches, and the all-important pay booths where, every Friday night at clocking off time, you queued with your brass pay disc, stamped with your payroll number, to collect your weeks wage from a tin can with the corresponding number.

The Boiler House, facing the Canteen, had been a temple to the steam age with its windowed frontage, terracotta-tiled floor and tiled walls. Gone were the shiny water gauges and assorted pipework and valves; all just left to tarnish.

The once immaculate War Memorial, commemorating the employees who had answered the call to arms and not returned, was covered with dust and grime and was a shadow of its former glory.

I stood and mused awhile and the noises of personnel going about their business flooded back. (That thoroughfare could be as busy as Deansgate on a Saturday afternoon). I visualised the rows of lorries parked against the wall of the Wages Department and Post Room; the Gents' toilets where, after morning break, rows of men, with their daily newspaper rolled up and neatly placed into the rule pocket of their overalls, waited to be allocated their ration of toilet paper by Billy the *** (I won't reveal his full nickname) - the ration being six sheets, delivered in engineering parlance, two for roughing out, two for cleaning and two for polishing.

I moved on through the rubber swing doors to the bottom of 2 Bay, which was being used for storage. From here you could see along the Bays to the remnants of idle machinery which had once supplied the world with first class equipment; but, more poignantly, which fed and clothed the family of Mathers - and their households.

I must admit to having a moist eye that day.

Neil Mitchell

November, 2007

Dear Sir, please read the attach from my brother Phil Boardman who lives in Perth, W. Australia. Both of us worked for M&P. Phil was sent to Aussie on a job and never came back. Is there an ex-Employees Association or similiar? How do we leave any information on the Guest Book or get in touch with past workmates etc.

Thank you, Sincerely, Alan Boardman.

Dear Alan,
 
Thanks a lot for the Mather and Platt's site. We've had trouble accessing the New Guestbook and hence contact any of the people there, and it seems you've had more luck.
And also, we can't open the attachment in the last email regarding your letter to Paul. We don't even know what an .ODT file is!
 
If you can get into the guestbook or indeed anywhere to leave a message for M&P employees, can you leave this message?

My name is Phil Boardman, (phil_boardman11 at hotmail.com) I served my apprenticeship from 1966 in the Practical Training Workshop, where I chose General Machinery as my future. I think it was initially in Bay 14 with a foreman named Vinnie Haddock. Vinnie retired, then we moved down to Bay 2 I believe, where Peter Dorer became foreman. I finished my apprenticeship in 1970 where my main duties were the installation of Textile Machinery, and in 1975 I was fortunate to be selected to install a large job in Adelaide, Australia. Two of us went over, the job took 8 months to isntall and commission, fell in love with Australia, went back to M&P and made my mind up to immigrate to Australia. 8 months later I immigrated. I now reside in Perth, Australia, in Guildford, and have been here for 31 years. Some of the names I remember from my time with M&P include Johnny Carter, Peter Beazly, Alan Brackenridge, Phil Bowdler, Tony Farrell, Ken Swaney, etc. I'd love to get in touch with any of these people or indeed anyone who served in M&P in that time.
 
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Thanks,
Phil and Matt

October 2006

Greetings to my former associates at M&P India.
I ran into this web site and was touched by the words of Kris Mennon. I had the pleasure of working with him at Chinchwad, Pune, for about 6 months, when I was training at the factory. I also had the pleasure of working with Percy Isherwood, Bodas, and Rassum, at that time. I worked for M&P at their Bombay office as a Sales/Contracts Engineer from 1969 - 1974 under Kishen Mubayi.

I recall the good times I had selling and servicing the high quality pumps of M&P. I enjoyed working with each of my colleagues and superiors, including Sunil Shah Singh, Shetty, Oscar Saldhana, etc. If any of my former associates happen to read this note, it would be great if they would like to keep in touch with me via email. My email address is vaswani77at yahoo.com

Though I live in the U.S. now, I visit India, primarily Bombay and Delhi, almost every two years. I would love to meet some of my old associates during my next trip, especially Sunil, Shetty, and Oscar. My next trip should be some time soon.

With best wishes,
Mithoo Vaswani

June 2006:

From Maxine Fairlee by Guest Book Entry (Guest Book currently inoperative) Email read:

Great site. I joined M&P in 1974 as an office junior in pump department and left 13 years later. I learnt a lot in those years, met many friends too. What memories I have of a great company. Good luck to all.

Dear Marcel   - Can you help please?  My grandfather, Herbert Barton Chantrey worked for Mather Platt at the beginning of if the 20th century.  He was in Abyssinia installing hydro-electricity to Addis Ababa about which he wrote a fascinating account in the Mather & Platt house journal of the time (unfortunately I don't have the copy).  He then went to India, presumably still with Mather & Platt where he was involved in the installation of a hydro-electric station at Nainital.  He died in Nainital sometime around 1926 of bronchitis and was buried there.  My husband and I are going to Nainital in May this year (2006) and I would love to find his grave.  However I am finding it very difficult to get any information about him or his death as my grandmother died many years ago and she destroyed all her records before she died.  I do know that he was a Mason and that they were at least present at his funeral if not actually instrumental in arranging it - my grandmother being back in the UK at the time.   Any information would be very welcome.   Liz Atkins

Albert Lambert
A.E.L.

March 2008 - john at netspace.net.au wrote ...

Hi Marcel,   Just found Mather & Platt pages on the internet, and was delighted to know that you had compiled a history of the firm.   I hope you don't mind me giving a few of my memories to add to your collection. 

Memory being fickle, I can't guarantee all this is true, but I believe it is.   My father (John H Whitelock, although he was always known as Jack at work) started as a Premium Apprentice at Mather's, Newton Heath, in 1922, and became a Research Engineer with them.  In the 1930's he was sent from the Research Dept on trips to South America, India, and Canada, possibly because they wanted a technical representive to assist the local sales staff.  This would have been 1933, 1935, and 1937, and as all the travel was by ocean liner he was away for some time.

I am trying to remember the name of the person in charge of the Research Dept whom my father headed up to - I think it was Dr Barclay.   At the beginning of the war Loris Mather was made Director of Aircraft Production for the North West of England (Avro and Fairey were in the area) and my father was seconded from M&P as his Technical Assistant for the duration of the war.

After the war, having overseen the work of a large selection of North West ngland engineering companies during the war, my father decided that he could improve himself and left M&P and he joined Locker's Engineers in Warrington.  Later he went to South Africa as Manager for ACEC, a Belgian heavy industrial company more like Metrovicks than M&P   During University long holidays I worked at M&P in 1949, 1950, and 1951, as a Special Apprentice, (as Premium Apprentices were then called).  I was paid two pounds ten shillings a week of which six shillings and ninepence was taken off for National Health; I was promised Five Pounds a week after graduation. 

Frank Hill was in charge of the apprentices.   Mather's had relaxed some of their rules since the end of the war, but when I was there nobody was allowed to stop work to have tea - the labourers had to make the tea and bring it to you as you worked.  Smoking on the job had only recently been permitted.  If you arrived five minutes late in the morning you were docked 10 minutes pay, ten minutes late, 20 minutes pay, fifteen minutes late, 30 minutes pay and later than that you were sent home.  The cloakroom attendant clocked you in if you went to the loo, and if you stayed too long or turned up more than once a day, you had to see the medical dept and get a note.  

The five day week had been introduced, but after a couple of weeks everyone clamoured to come to work on Saturdays - firstly it was time and a half, and secondly they wanted to get away from the household chores and shopping their wives made them do.   On graduation from University of Manchester Faculty of Technology (later UMIST, now I see it is back to University of Manchester!) in 1952, I emigrated to South Africa to work as an engineer for Anglo-American Gold Mines.  

In Johannesburg I met John Martin the MD of the South African Branch of M&P.  He had started as a premium apprentice at the same time as my father in 1922.  I also met Maurice Gow who was in charge of sales - he was in my class at school in Sale and at Manchester Grammar School.  I see that he died last year.  

Although my father died in 1980 I still remember little comments he made about various people at Mather's - such as the first John Taylor who refused to have anything to do with a motor car which he could not enter with his top hat on.   Loris Mather had a 1936 Daimler and a 1937 Lanchester, and he lent one or the other at times to my father to take our family on holiday, usually to the Wirral.   

When I was at M&P, I was often told by the artisans I worked with that the firm paid less than rival firms, but because during the Depression they had never laid anyone off, (although everyone, both labour and staff, took a cut in pay), they would not consider leaving.   The experience I gained in pump fitting, electrical fitting, and foundry work, were of great benefit to me for my rest of my career in engineering.   Kindest regards   John F Whitelock

and from John Pinkstone ...

Dear Mr Boschi   - I am researching my Grandfather's experiences in  WWI and believe a Capt Mather was in charge of his unit.  I believe he was Killed In Action but have not been able to find any reference to a "Capt Mather" of the Manchester Regiment.   I would be very appreciative if you could confirm a Mather from Mather & Platt did serve in the Manchester Regiment.  I would be interested in his rank and confirmation if he was KIA.   My Grandfather died several years ago but often spoke of a Capt Mather.  Estimated time around 1916.

From Charmaine Wooldridge (Rothwell) ...

My Grandfather Colin William Rothwell, born 25.12.1849, Goor, Holland was named after Colin and William Mather.

His father Ephraim Thomason ROTHWELL (b.1816) worked for the company. Between 1839-1856 he was in Holland (as eight of his children were born there). In the1861 Census, he and his sons were at the Salford Works. Do you have any records around that time? Also did any of their employees go to Germany, Holland or France (Ephraim's father was a bleacher in Saint Quentin,France in 1840) to work in similar industries for the company as my grandfather and his siblings were born in Goor Holland, their mother being from Cuchenheim (Rhine and Moselle)? I would be very interested in any information you may be able to supply, or any suggestions you may have.