Apprentice intake 1964

By Ollie Taylor

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Apprentice intake 1964' page

Click on the photograph to enlarge the image.

Back row (standing L-R)

Pete Pickernell; Tony Barton; Graham Aston; Graham Coughlin; Jonathan Swift; Tony Hope; John Martin; John Leyfield; Colin Eagles; Mike Lane.

Front row (sitting L-R)

Keith Bradley; Eddy Summerhill; Bob Baghurst; Dave Hamilton; Bert Ravenhill; Gerald Williams; Peter Turner; Harry Pickernell; Fred Mclearie; Wayne Roberts.

Can you help us add some memories to this photograph? Perhaps you are in the photo and remember what it was like to be part of this apprentice intake or an apprentice in the 1960s? If so, please leave a comment below.

This page was added by Ollie Taylor on 28/11/2012.
Comments about this page

I notice that the young man sitting next to Gerald Williams isn't credited below the photo; his name was Peter Turner in case you didn't have his name. I also think that the lad next to Bert Ravenhill is Dave Hamblet(t) and not Hamilton? I may well be wrong after all this time though! Me, well I'm in the back row and the only one without his overalls not buttoned up, out of step as usual! In years to come at Fieldings I was known to most people as Chippy Aston. It is great to see some old faces, brings back all sorts of memories, some good, some bad, but mainly good ones. I still use an expression that Bert Ravenhill said to me way back then, pointing to his head and then his feet.......up here for thinking and down there for dancing!! Oh, and also, when I had done something wrong on one of the lathes and replied to him 'that I thought'........he said to me , you are paid to work, not think! I've no complaints though,as what I learnt then has stayed with me. I look forward to keeping up with the site and hopefully sharing some more memories. Chippy Aston

By Graham Aston
On 28/12/2012

Dear Graham That's great - thank you for sharing these memories with us. We'd be interested in the other memories that you have. For instance, how did you come by your nickname? Best wishes

By Paul Evans
On 28/12/2012

Hi Paul, I got my nickname "Chippy" during my spell in the toolroom in 1966. I was being shown how to sharpen various taps, dies, milling cutters, and any other cutting tools that needed to have a new edge ground on them. The man I was working with then used to "wind me up" and I would "bite back" and he decided to call me "Chippy" because he thought I had a big chip on my shoulder for a lad of 17! I think his name was Brian Kemmet, not 100% sure about the surname but I'm sure he was Brian. Maybe someone else can remember? I seem to remember the foreman of the toolroom at that time was a big man named Bill Howells? There was another young man in there they called "Lester" Piggott but I don't remember his proper first name.

In the heat treatment department was a man named Bob(?), but sadly, again, I can't remember his last name. In those days, the heat treatment area was a "black hole" first thing in the morning before the old lights warmed up, I seem to remember it resembled a dark cave! It was modernised in the end though and looked very different. Hopefully I can send some more memories of my time at Fielding's fairly soon. Graham "Chippy" Aston

By Chippy Aston
On 10/01/2013

Thanks Graham, what a funny story about your nickname - I bet there are countless other stories of the banter between folk in the workshops that you can recall?!

It's fascinating to hear about the heat treatment room. Not a lot of people can remember it so it would be great to hear more about it - and the toolroom. I'll be putting a page with a few memories of heat treatment in a day or two so it'd be great if you could comment on that too!

By Ollie Taylor
On 10/01/2013

Hi Ollie, I saw on the 1965 intake page that Roy Popejoy mentioned the Apprentice Association. Well, during my time as an apprentice, Jon Swift who was in my year too and a great friend way back then, became very involved with the association and I seem to remember he actually took over running it after a meeting one afternoon. We went along to the meeting and Jon brought up the point that we were paying 6d (old money) per week but not seeing anything much happening in return for it! So after a bit of discussion and Jon saying he could do it better, he was offered the job! And to cut a long story short, it was that day that eventually sent Jon down a very different career path to that of engineering! He was working on the Boko miller in the Heavy Machine Shop at the time, don't think he really liked it!! We ended up with trips to London to exhibitions etc, usually ending up in pub crawls round Soho and the like! Well, we were all teenagers and it was the 60's wasn't it!! Ha! ha! Also there were football matches and fishing comps against apprentices from other local factories. I think Jon left Fielding's at the end of his apprenticeship or just before and went on to work with young people up in Ludlow first of all, and then Birmingham. He now lives in Somerset and has retired. I am hoping to see him soon when my wife and I go up to Somerset for a weekend break. When we were younger he once said to me that he felt he spent more time at my home in Churchdown than he did at his parents house!

One other thing about our 1964 photo is that Robert Baghurst was sadly killed in a motorcycle accident in I think 1967. He was quite a character from what I can remember, very comical, the workshop "clown"! Best regards, Chippy Aston

By Chippy Aston
On 26/02/2013

Thanks for sharing the story of the Apprentice Association in the mid 60s Chippy! It sounds like Jon really livened up the association?! When you meet with him do let him know about www.fieldingandplatthistory.org.uk and tell him we'd love for him to share his memories of the Fielding's here too!

You said Jon was working on the Boko miller - what did that do? It sounds like a big job for an apprentice!

It's sad to hear about Robert Baghurst - a number of apprentices seem to have been killed in motorbike accidents. I suppose it was common for apprentices to travel to Fielding's by motorbike in the 60s? It would be good if this site were a place where people like Robert could be remembered by their friends and colleagues, too, so if any funny stories about him in the workshops come to mind then please do share them here.

By Ollie Taylor
On 26/02/2013

Having seen the recent article in the Citizen regarding the unveiling of a blue plaque. I have found it fascinating to read the comments and look at pictures regarding Fielding's. I was also pleasantly surprised to note that Chippy had commented about myself. The Boko miller was a beast of a machine from Germany and was brand new when they let me free on it. I spent some time on this and was fascinated by the many tasks the machine could undertake. I also recall the first tape drill machine arriving in the new machine shop,1968, and men from all over the factory visited it to see the machine in action, changing drills moving to different parts of the component, etc. As reported I left Fielding's the day I after I completed my apprenticeship. I had recognised earlier that engineering was not for me and had enjoyed my involvement with the Apprentice association and then the Boys club movement. This interest took me to the outdoor pursuits centre in Tenbury Wells as a deputy warden. It was here that I decided I wished to work full-time with young people and moved to Birmingham Children's Department as a child care officer. Later trained for two years at Uni and returned to B'ham where I undertook many posts, one of which was a manager of services when the Handsworth riots were taking place. Having a young family, I accepted a transfer to Somerset Social Services and lead the Children's services for the county. It goes on and on but I eventually became an OFSTED inspector from which I retired some seven years ago. As a footnote I would like to add that my time at Fielding's gave me a good work ethic, understanding of other people and a good experience of working in a factory setting which many of my later colleagues had no idea about. I have also noted that Brian Mince is still with us and I have many memories of him when I was the office boy in the drawing office in 1963. My colleague Peter Skelton was also working with him along with a young women whose name now evades me. The print room was another world with casks of ammonia and some copying staff like Julie who used to cut her finger nails on the guillotine. Yes these were good days even though engineering did not suit me but then all experiences are useful!!!

By Jon Swift
On 12/03/2014

Hi Jon!  Thanks for adding your comments and providing us with some information of your career after leaving Fielding & Platt. You certainly seem to have packed a lot in!  We are very pleased that you are enjoying the website and look forward to more contributions.   John B

By John Bancroft
On 12/03/2014

Ollie.... Graham mentioned 'Lester' Piggott, that was Mike Piggott and you can see him in the 1962 Apprentice picture in back row. Kind Regards Bob Gough

By Bob Gough
On 13/03/2014

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