A treat coming for those interested in recent industrial history of the area – many readers will have worked or had relatives that did, at the BRD factory in Aldridge – a huge, sprawling automotive component manufacturing company producing mainly vehicle crankshafts.
There are many warm memories of this place that employed thousands, and is now sadly lost; but the recollections are strong. Well, I’ve a treat coming in the next week, I won’t say yet what it is, but I’ll leave these two images with readers for debate and recollection.
David Hughes has previously written about the BRD company for the blog, Linda Mason has recorded with great love and fondness her memories of the great Aldridge factories. Many local people worked there and travelled daily on the works busses from local towns like Brownhills.
Like many large factories, the social life was almost as important as the job, and David Hughes last year supplied a 63 year old booklet from the Sports and Social Club associated with the factory which records many things – events, satirical poetry, hatched matched and dispatched – even an emigration. But also local history, a crossword and other stuff. It’s a wonderful thing. You can peruse it in the gallery at the foot of the post.
I’m hoping these pictures and David’s wonderful magazine will stir memories and debate in preparation for the treasure I have coming up – please do comment here, mail me on BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com or tug my coat on social media if you have anything to add.
You can click on any page in the gallery below for a full size version, or download the whole thing in searchable PDF form at this link here.
The BRD was such an essential part of working life in the area for such a long time. It’s good to see this and in particular to read of the Social Club’s search for land on which to build a club. I only remember it being opposite the factory where the removal company (Movecorp?) is now. It was a thriving social club and many people became members who had never worked there, like my Dad who in his day was a master cribbage player there (we have the trophies) and also served on the committee in several different posts.
When the club closed, it was suddenly and I am told by someone who moved in there to work when it became a car showroom that it was untouched from the night it had closed. There were still empty glasses on the tables.
Companies helped provide social clubs for their employees because happy employees meant loyal employees. It’s hard to think of any employers now that have this sort of ethos. Sometimes good things do get lost over time in the name of progress. Here was a fully unionised workforce who worked hard for their money and their rights and played hard too.
When the club closed it was left in a very clean condition it was cleaned from top to bottom the day after I know I was there
Only reporting what I was told, aka hearsay!
What was your dad’s name
I remember the BRD social club very well – Friday night ‘socials’ with real ballroom dancing, I think to a live band – probably two or three musicians memory of that faded … interrupted by Bingo… then ballroom dancing lessons once a week from when I was very young into teenage years. They always had a HUGE Christmas party for the children of staff that I remember well – the long trestle tables and singing ten green bottles, orange jelly (that I hated) and Father Christmas bringing us all a gift. A real chance for the family to be involved in social activities which included the whole family.
I used to work at the saucepan factory ( J.R. Mellors ) not far from BRD, but my uncle worked there for years. His name was FRED MILLS. 🙂
Hi Steve. Shot in the dark here. Did you attend R C Thomas School 1962-64 and lived on Beechdale Estate before moving to Aldridge? You were with me in Mr Warman’s class.
My dad work there on crank shaft sadly he’s no longer with us,my dad and friends ran a radio control car club and built a circuit they raced on over the road on brd football ground
My husband worked there KEN HOMER from 1972 to 2007 which he sadly died then he was on committee for several years he played football for the firm and went fishing had quite a few good memories of the good times in the social club
My husband Chris Lawlor worked there as Quality inspector for 25 years firstly on the aeroplane blades then crankshafts.My eldest son also named Chris worked there,he used to do the Discos at the club under the name Crazy Chris.HAPPY DAYS
Joyce, I worked at the BRD for eight years when I left school in 1959 until I emigrated in 1967. The first six months were on the crankshaft line under Les Sadler. Fantastic people worked at BRD and one of my favourites was Chris Lawlor. If Chris is still around please give him my regards, George Reynolds.
Joyce, I remember your son Chris as we went to the Cisco’s yes Happy days.My name is Celia and please give my regards to Chris.
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My mom & dad both worked at the BRD
SID & Joyce Tapper
Hi, Mandy. Your Mom and Dad were at the BRD when I worked there from 1959-67. I knew them well but time has erased most of what I can recollect. Regards, George Reynolds. 🙂
The supervisor in the photo is George Bennett , who is talking to Sid Birch, my dad.
My grandad worked at the BRD Gilbert Kimberley x
My mom and dad worked there. Ronald perks. Barbara perks. My mom worked the twilight shifts.my dad worked on the shafts.