'Poppa', as he was known in the family, was very well respected by Laurie Mather and all the other members of the Board for his expertise in so many aspects of engineering. He had an intimate working knowledge of the whole company.
Francis Edward Williams (pictured here) was known by all as "Ted". He started work at Mather & Platt somewhere around 1935-6 and stayed there until his retirement in May 1962 He died in January 1972.
He was Chief Maintenance Engineer with a staff of some 400 people, mainly men, and his work covered many jobs throughout the works, but he had a lot to do with the 'sprinkler' department and 'pumps', not only within the works but outside as well. For instance he was responsible for the upkeep of the pumps which made it possible to keep petrol flowing to the allied forces in Europe during the second world war (PLUTO - pipe line under the ocean). This was situated somewhere between Manchester and Liverpool in a secret location. He was the one responsible for renewing the pumps in the Severn Rail Tunnel which kept at bay the seepage of water in that tunnel. The pumps were, of course, built by Mather & Platt.
The grounds around the works were also his responsibility and he made sure that everything was always in good order, and that the groundsmen were kept busy at the jobs and as a result the exterior of the works always looked excellent, with flowers in the gardens and everything neat and tidy.
Ted was a very popular at Park Works with both the workforce and the senior managers and the Board of Directors. He always wore a homburg hat and a navy and white spotted tie. In fact, when he retired, his job was taken over by three men. Ted was a very skilled engineer and could turn his hand to anything and everything, both in the works and at home. He installed central heating in his own home years before the second world war. He also built his own air-raid shelter, suitably equipped with periscope and other luxuries. Mather and Platt had their own apprentice school. Donny Davies was the headmaster. He was killed in the Munich Air Disaster along with some Manchester Untied Football Club people.
Mather & Platt looked after their staff to a great degree. They had a very efficient sick bay, staffed by a skilled matron and trained nurses. There was also a special room where staff could go to receive sun ray treatment. Sports Day was one of the highlights of the year for the staff and was regarded as very important by the Board. This was held at the Sports Field at Fallowfield, a suburb of Manchester, some distance from the works. There were regular social occasions including dances which were held in the staff canteen. Dinner dances were held at the Manchester Limited, a restaurant now closed. Once, all the senior men at Mather & Platt went to a football match in Scotland, by coach. When Arthur Roberts, the works manager, found out that many of his senior staff were going, he made them take two coaches, which he personally paid for, because he said that he did not want all his top men in one coach.
Fred Evans adds - Although all the above was written by my wife and her elder sister, I can vouch for the way that Mather & Platt cared for their staff, for I personally worked there a few weeks after leaving school, and although I wasn't suited for such work, the treatment I received before, during and when I was leaving left me in no doubt that not only was Mather and Platt the largest engineering works in Manchester but that they were also the most caring and considerate of their staff. There were other engineering works in the area but Mather & Platt was the only large one actually within the city boundaries of Manchester.