Page 2. SD Enthusiasts' Club Newsletter - Winter 2021.
A VARIED CAREER AT S&D Part 2.
I REMEMBER FORMER WORK COLLEAGUES.
By Keith Rogers.
Former SD Employees share memories at a ‘Get Together’ in November 2011.
When I started to work at S&D in 1967 Bob Edlin headed the Jig & Tool design team and Arthur “Curly” Warren was a draughtsman. We shared an office with the Planning Department headed by Fred Astridge with Bruce Hurst looking after fitting and welding and Eddie Archer (who I knew from K&L) and Alan Aldridge looking after machining.
Keith Masters was the toolroom foreman with Paul Hyde as his chargehand. The must have been about twenty toolmakers including the machinists and cutter grinders. There was a re-organisation when the new apprentice school was set up in the machine shop as Keith was appointed to run it and took with him two good toolmakers Dave Porter and Doug Flint. Paul Hyde was promoted to Toolroom foreman and Johnny Kempson became his chargehand. When the company took over Geoff Bridge’s St. Neots company we used to have to make frequent visits to St. Neots and in the summer John and I sometimes stopped for a pint in Stotfold.
A memorable event took place in 1969 when a new employee arrived in the office. The newcomer arrived in a red suit with a unique hair style. Jaws dropped! Who was this looking completely different to the rest of the people in the office? Malcolm Bates came to S&D as Publicity Manager straight from Medway College of Art. Bob Edlin had arranged a space for him in the Jig & Tool office which we shared with the planning department. Malcolm was very fortunate that Bob had taken him under his wing as anyone who was not an ex-apprentice, like myself, sometimes found it difficult at S&D. Malcolm fitted in very well, taking in all the ribbing and banter and he gave as good as he got. I seem to remember that he spent most of his Friday afternoons working out his expenses. When the new office block, that’s still standing, was built Malcolm ended up with a large studio and an assistant – poor girl.
Malcolm Bates with the “1922” SD Freighter at Edenbridge in June 2009.
Keith Masters provided many trainee draughtsmen, the first being Mick Thrush whose father I had worked with at K&L. Mick went on to become the company’s buyer. Others were Ronnie Fink, who was a dedicated follower of fashion, looking immaculate in his flared trousers and kipper tie. Others were Bob Chamberlain from Stevenage and Steve File. Steve built a kit car with a VW engine, he made a wonderful job of it, I had a ride in it once, a bit too fast and hard ride for me. Alan Brosnan was working on the Jig Borer in the toolroom and asked if there was a vacancy in the office, there wasn’t at the time but when one came up I had no hesitation in offering it to Alan. He eventually left and did well for himself at BAE (British Aerospace) at Stevenage.
The new offices in Icknield Way – all that remains of the main SD Factory.
After S&D I became a self employed draughtsman and worked for about 20 companies, work varied from tooling the Eurofighter windscreen, electro-optical night sights, concrete floors, and for the last two years before I retired, designing cardboard box making machines in St. Albans.
I am now 81 years of age living in Warrington. We moved here after I retired as my daughter and family live here, my son is a lawyer in Munich. I still pursue my hobby of model engineering and am a member of the Warrington club which has a 5” gauge track of almost half a mile long in South Warrington.
I have many happy memories of S&D.
Keith Rogers. December 2020