Return to 1975-1979

Vision 108

March 75 No. 108
947 Years of Service
The Company’s decision to present a gift of their choice to all w i t h 30 or
more years’ s e r v i c e got us doing some s u m s . We worlced out that the initial
28 people who received gifts at Mitcheldean had totted up 947 years of
service — surely a remarkable record w i t h in Rank Xerox.
K E Y (years of service in bracl^ets) A Reg Arnold (44) B Fred Court (37) C Henry
Ptiillips (36) D George Weatfierley (36) E Ron Wriggleswortfi (36) F Bernard Smitfi
(35) G Bob Walton (35) H Jock Currie (35. now retired) I Fred Brown (34) J Ray
Davies (35 now retired) K Les Tuffley (33) L Frank Edwards (33) M Ron Williams
(32) N Lilian Criddle (32) O Bert Cowmeadow (32) P Iris Stanton (32) Q Bob
Taylor (32) R Len Hart (32) S Joe Bennett (31) T Les Wright (31) U Roy Nicholls
(30) V Roy Smith (30) W John Brain (30). Missing from our picture are Laurence
(Max) Miller (46) Tommy Knight (35) Phil Cleal (32) Eric Wright (31) and May
Stidder (30) who were unable to get to the photo session. Photo: S. P Hamill
The team of seven w/omen who went out to Venray initially — from the left:
Vivien Wilks, Marjorie Davies, Ethel Peglar, Phyllis Christopher, Lorraine Eckley, Betty Davies
and (seated) Sue Barnard. While there Sue had her 22nd birthday which was celebrated in
traditional Venray style — decorations at her place of work, sweets and handshakes all round.
Several of these ladies offered to stay for the whole six weeks, Sue was one who did,
so she was able to discover the delights of Carnival time.
An emergency operation was called
for. Relay bases were causing
trouble in the console unit of a
number of 7000 machines made at
Venray and already in the field. They
had to be pulled in to undergo
surgical treatment and got back to
work, quickly.
Venray sent us an SOS. Could we
send them 20 operators who had
had 3600 experience to assist with
the emergency op?
Soldering was involved, and that is a
job at which our women operators
are particularly adept.
Ralph Zimmermann, who acted as
co-ordinator, told us: ‘My immediate
reaction was: we shan’t get any of
our women volunteering to go out.
But, as it happened, they were ready
and willing to go.’
In the shortest possible time a force
of 12 men (from RXMP Assembly,
Welwyn Plant and Uxbridge) and
seven women (from Electrical
Sub-assembly and 4000 Department)
was assembled and arrangements
were made to fly them to Venray in
the middle of January.
For the first time ever, women
as well as men operators have
been sent on a ‘tour of duty’
Within a remarkably short time the
‘expeditionary operators’ reached the
same standard of quality as their
Dutch colleagues, with whom they
formed a very good relationship.
The men stayed until the completion
of the job; the majority of the women
came back after four weeks and
were replaced by a further female
We would have been willing to stay
out there,’ said Vivien Wiiks, one of
the married women who went first,
but it seemed fairer to let some others
have a chance to go.’
Over the Brewery Vkll
As part of a move to improve
communications and give people a
better sense of involvement in the
overall Plant plan, departments are
being invited to make informal
presentations to selected
representatives of other departments.
First in the field have been Works
Engineering, who chose a pictorial
package (an introductory talk by
Les Inskip or Tony Newman, backed
up by slides plus a home-produced
colour film) to give ‘a sharp and
(hopefully) lasting impression of the
reality of our job’ in the space of
some 40 minutes.
The slides were prepared by Tony
Austin-Bailey of Projects Planning;
he also provided a talk-over on tape
for the film made by Eric Tose of
Work Study (Industrial Engineering)
assisted by his colleague John
Called ‘Over the Brewery Wall’, a
title inspired by the old Wintle’s
poster, the film featured many of the
300 or so members of the department
in the course of their work.
As both slides and film showed, this
covered a wide range of activities
from planned maintenance to
security, from transport to carpentry,
from the legal aspects to what you
might term the ‘sewer side’ of the
department’s functions.
At the conclusion of each
presentation, criticism was invited
from the audience.
Eight of these presentations have
been given to date, including two to
Works Engineering personnel
themselves, and the response has
been encouraging.
Several people have been honest
enough to admit that there were
aspects of the department’s work
which they had not hitherto
Well, did you know that the
department has to be familiar with.
among others, the Theatres Act,
because of the occasional presence of
members of the public in the Social
Centre ?
Did you know that nearly £100,000
a year is spent providing electricity
for Mitcheldean site alone?
Did you know that maintenance men
occasionally have to penetrate the
nether regions (70ft down in some
places) to inspect the main sewage
system in the interests of site hygiene ?
From the mass of information packed
into the presentation, one gleaned the
impression of a department called
upon to tackle a multiplicity of jobs in
servicing the site and providing
production support.
Film director Eric, professionally
known as Big ‘E’, has given on the
page opposite an account of his
experiences which might serve to
encourage — or deter — other
departments considering the making
of a film for their own presentation.
You will also note that our back page
this month is devoted to our traffic
wardens — another facet of the
Works Engineering function.
The whole team pictured on the shop floor at Venray during the first few weeks.
Right: Dixie Dean, who once worked at
Mitcheldean, now lives in Holland and
works at Venray Plant Recently crowned
Carnival Prince, Dixie proved that an
Englishman is quite capable of carrying out
such a demanding role, even though he
lost a few kilos in the process I Here he is
pictured with his Dutch wife.
They all seem to have had a great
time; they stayed at the Holiday Inn
at Eindhoven and managed to visit
Amsterdam, Antwerp and Dijsseldorf
at the weekend.
Those who were out there from
February 8 onwards were particularly
lucky — they were able to see for
themselves how Venray celebrates
carnival time, with processions of
floats, a public mock wedding and
gallons of beer and good humour.
The whole team, men and women,
were back at Mitcheldean by the end
of February.
Deep in Works Engineering
something stirred. A voice was heard
to say: ‘How about a film ?’
‘Great idea, who’ll do it?’ asked
A third little voice, sounding as if it
were chewing on a pair of Army
surplus boots, said : ‘I will.’ The art
of moving pictures was alive and
living in RX Mitcheldean.
In the past I’d never touched
anything more complicated than my
old Brownie 44B, so in need of
professional advice I visited RXMP’s
own Ken Russell — Jack Seal.
Jack smiled knowingly in his strange
Midland manner and offered his
first sound piece of advice: ‘Don’t
whistle in here, it’s b . . . .y
On Jack’s further advice I and my
co-director John Martin trotted off to
winkle out David Lowde in Training.
‘We’re making a film, got any
equipment?’ David shook his head
and said ‘Yes’ (never did find out
why), then he showed us what gear
he had. Very fine indeed, but not
exactly what we were looking for, so
back to Jack.
He waved his wand, muttered
something like ‘Adbra Cadabar’ (he’s
a terrible speller) and produced from
his old checked cap one automatic
camera and a bag of film.
Full of profuse thanks, we set out to
astound the movie world. Not for
us the flashing lights, dewy-eyed
starlets and romps on the casting
couch. We ploughed through piles
of grubby laundry, bathed in the
delights of Fetter Hill and clung like
flies to the clock tower of
St Michael and All Angels in the
Our film complete, we sat down and
decided the cutting sequence —
that’s fatal, believe me. Meanwhile
Jack prepared the opening and
closing sequences in his own
inimitable manner.
The developed film arrived, and my
first move after seeing the ‘rushes’
was to tear up my cutting script, roll
up my sleeves and get on with the
real (reel) editing. My stout
companion John Martin had by this
time gone on holiday rather suddenly.
Editing complete, we presented the
film to Tony Austin-Bailey and said:
‘OK, put words to that.’ He did,
some of which I can’t even spell
(or repeat).
We finished on schedule, an hour
before the Board Room Premiere —
still, who was to know ? 1 won’t say
it will win an Oscar, but there
again . . .!
For anyone contemplating making a
film for the first time, here are a few
tips from my wealth of experience.
Firstly, don’t do it: secondly, if you
must, befriend an experienced
photographer; and thirdly, always
use a tripod — it eliminates the
constant handshake (and I don’t
mean the congratulatory one).
Big E’
The Art of
Coarse Film Makin^^
Comment on the
OF SAFETY The recent Health & Safety at Work
Act, which went on the statute book
in August last, is set out in a thickish
booklet with a cover the colour of rich
cream. The contents are every bit as
indigestible and difficult to wade
With a view to getting a predigested
version, a seminar was held at the
Plant on January 9, and James Tye,
Director-General of the British Safety
Council, was invited along to explain
the Act and its implications.
But even he was unable to give a
precise answer to every question
fired at him by senior management.
For, as with most Acts, it will
probably take several years, and the
submission of various test cases,
before the interpretation of the
wording is crystal clear.
The Act comes into effect fully on
April 1,1975. Royston Charles,
Personnel Services Manager, told us
that it aims at rationalising existing
safety regulations and establishing
new codes of practice, fixing the
responsibility for offences and the
penal system that will operate (fines
of up to £400 in some cases, and in
other cases fines or imprisonment of
up to two years or both), and raising
health and safety at work to a new
Basically, it is an ‘enabling’ measure;
it sets up a Commission including
representatives of employers and
employees with power to amend
existing laws and propose new ones,
these being enforced by a Health and
Safety Executive, an inspectorate
We asked Les Davies, as chairman of
the Main Safety Committee, for his
‘The Act doesn’t do away with the
1961 Factories Act,’ he said. ‘In my
opinion, what it does is to support it,
add to it and give it more bite.
‘The new Act was tabled about 1971,
then it was shelved. At that time we
at Mitcheldean were starting to
reform our safety system. We
adopted many of the provisions of
the Act then, so we have a head start.’
Although the Act itself comes into
force fully on April 1, the Health and
Safety Executive came into being on
January 1. As from that date, an
inspector can enter a factory at any
time and, if he finds a company
contravening existing provisions, he
can issue an improvement notice
requesting the matter to be put right
within a certain time.
If the issue is a serious one in his
opinion, he can slap a prohibition
notice on a section, or on the whole,
of the plant, whereas hitherto an
inspector had first to prove an
offence had been committed before
a magistrates’ court.
Appeals against notices can be made
to industrial tribunals which are
being set up. In the case of an
improvement notice, the company
concerned can wait for the appeal to
be heard; but in the case of a
prohibition notice, they are guilty
until proved innocent, and have to
carry out the instructions until the
decision is reversed.
Generally speaking, the Act makes a
company responsible for ensuring the
health, welfare and safety of
employees, of keeping them informed
about arrangements and consulting
them. The employee in turn has
responsibilities in maintaining
conditions of safety and avoiding
endangering himself or other people.
Managements will have to have a
written policy statement on safety and
health; and the Companies Act has
been amended so that directors now
have to give this subject a place in
their annual report.
As we went to press it was announced that
short time work at IVIitcheldean was to be
introduced as from March 17. This move,
perhaps not unexpected in view of the fears
expressed by IVIr IVlorfee in his New Year’s
message, affect only those directly engaged
in copier and duplicator machine production
— up to 1,800 of the total of 4,600
employees — with normal basic pay
guaranteed for the subsequent six weeks.
Said J. Maldwyn Thomas, Rank Xerox
Chairman and Chief Executive: ‘Rank Xerox
has progressively expanded its manufacturing
capacity over the years, investing to meet
market demand. In the present economic
climate, however, we are finding that, in
most of the countries in which we operate,
demand is below our current rate of
‘In these circumstances, some action is
essential, but we propose to act in closest
collaboration with our employees’
representatives to ensure that the effect on
our people is minimised.’
Here is a quick sampling of initial reaction
to the development around the Plant:
‘Our main worry now is: what’s going to
happen when the six weeks are up?’
‘I think the Company have been very fair.’
‘If there are to be any casualties later, I hope
that prior consideration will be given to
long-serving people.’
‘I’m not going to cancel that carpet for our
‘As a district councillor I am concerned
with the wider impact on the Forest as a
whole. The employment situation is finely
balanced in this area ; industry is finding it
difficult already to obtain development
certificates and there are not the job
opportunities to keep the youngsters here.’
‘We were disappointed. We thought things
were getting slightly better, judging from
the improved profits that were reported, and
as union representatives we would like to
have been put in the picture at an earlier
stage. We were very impressed with the
approach of our local MP, Mr John
Watkinson, who was invited to the Plant
for discussions with management and with
us: he certainly helped to lower the
We^re Setting New Safety Standards
Since IPSES (International Product &
Environmental Safety Council) was
set up about a year ago, it has held
council meetings in Tokyo and
Washington; last November it held its
third such meeting in London.
A corporate body, its council consists
of representatives from Xerox, Fuji
Xerox and Rank Xerox, and three of
the latter from Mitcheldean — John
Walker, Manager, Product Safety,
and Stan Wheeler, Manager, Optical
& Electrical Laboratory, of
Engineering, and Dave Mills of RX
Manufacturing Group — were among
the delegates at the November
IPSES has initiated a Product Safety
Policy, the objective of which is ‘to
assure that all Xerox products and
materials in all operating units meet the
generally recognised standards and
good practices for safety and physical
environment wherever marketed’.
Any machine or consumable placed
with a customer by any operating
unit of Xerox Corporation is subject
to this policy, and products
distributed or recommended by the
Corporation, although manufactured
by others, are included.
Our Mitcheldean delegates told us:
‘We want a safe product and we
want to ensure that none of our
processes creates an environmental
hazard. We’re going further than just
keeping within the law — we want
to show a responsible attitude
towards the community.
‘So we are setting standards that will
cover all safety aspects of our
products — acoustic noise, explosive
dust, intense light are among those
that have been identified — and the
practices that IPSES establishes will
have to be complied with.’
Several of the proposed standards
have already been drafted and agreed
by interested parties and some, like
the electromechanical standard, are
beginning to be used by design teams.
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Petrol problems don’t worry Derek
Shuttleworth of 4000 Design
Engineering. He comes to work on a
pushbike and the only fuel he burns
up is his own energy.
His home is at Skenfrith, 20 miles
away. Them thar’ hills don’t bother
him — ‘They make cycling interesting,’
he says.
It takes him an hour and 20 minutes
to get to Mitcheldean, though once
when there was a heavy fall of snow
it took three hours. ‘But I don’t know
of any car you can hoist on your
shoulders and carry across country
when the roads become impassable.’
He reckons to come off his sports
model about twice each winter
because of ice, but at the time of
writing it looked as if Derek was
going to stay on top this season.
He’s been club cycling since he was
15; like cyclist Sam Phillips of PED,
he belongs to Ross-on-Wye &
District Cycling Club, and does the
occasional bit of racing and touring.
He’s kitted out his family too so they
can all enjoy camping holidays by
pushbike; he rides tandem with his
six-year-old daughter while his wife
takes the three-year-old on her bike.
Cycling has opened up other
interests for him too, such as bird
watching and photography, and he
enjoys walking too (remember it?).
Commented Derek: ‘There’s been a
terrific change in attitudes towards
cycling in recent times. People
never used to understand why I did
it — now they ask me about buying
a bike themselves.’
Why does he do it ? To keep fit ?
To cut down on travelling costs?
The answer is simple: ‘I cycle
because I like it.’
It’ll take a fast talker in Finishing
Department to leave secretary Jane
Williams behind.
She recently passed her 120 wpm
examination at ‘Cinderford Tech’ and
now she’s getting geared up to take
the 130 wpm one.
Twenty-two-year-old brunette Jane
comes from Soudley where her
father, Harold Williams of PED, was
lately the landlord of the White
Last year she got engaged to a
professional musician (he leads the
group Profile who have played at the
Plant once or twice) and she’s had
to get used to fitting in with their
engagements. ‘I never get taken out
at weekends,’ she said.
Like the ladies of old who sewed
while their champions went off to do
brave deeds, Jane has taken up
tapestry, but not on the Bayeux
scale though I
She showed us the hunting scene
she had started on. ‘It will come in
useful as a firescreen or something
for our future home,’ she said.
‘One thing I’ve discovered — you
need a lot of patience for this kind of
To see Ernie Holmes at work you
make for the fuser roller section in
the Machine Shop. We called to see
him at his home in Mitcheldean
where he lives with his wife, son and
On arrival we met a display of
antique weaponry on the wall; we
dodged an aircraft hovering just
inside the door before coming face to
face with Joan of Arc at the stake,
a caveman and his moll, a Centurion
tank, a Trinity House light vessel
(with lights) and the Royal Scots
Greys about to charge.
For Ernie is a model-maker; he’s also
an amateur artist, glass engraver and
military history buff.
‘The Napoleonic wars are my
favourite period,’ he told us. ‘The
costumes were so colourful’, and he
showed us some of the fine books
he has acquired on the subject.
During his eight or so years with us
he’s earned quite a reputation as a
cartoonist too; he’s always produced
an amusing Christmas poster for his
section (Bob Walton keeps a
collection of them). Then last year
he made his workmates a 1975
calendar with a laugh for every
month. (See cartoon, page 12.)
Now he’s working on a more
ambitious 1976 version — a larger,
multilingual one with the days and
months in English, French, Italian and
Ernie was a regular, not in the Army
as you might suppose, but in the
RAF (he was an aircraft fitter), and
his last tour of duty was at
Laarbruch, a NATO base well known
to many of our secondees at Venray.
Today you may see him on certain
occasions wearing a blue uniform
once more — only this time it’s the
dark blue one of a ‘special’.
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Everyone in Mail I Stationery gives a
hand with Monday’s maxi mail load.
Above: Ray Carter and John Keal
tackle the Datapost. Right: Letters
are quickly sorted into 48
labelled racks.
The increase in postal rates introduced this month, which is
expected to boost the cost of our outgoing mail by some £9,000 a
year, has focussed attention on the Mail Room. Stationery too is
topical as an area where people are being asked to make economies
because of shortage of supplies, quite apart from the cost factor.
Both areas come within the orbit of Administration Department
which we have been featuring in recent issues.
The aim is to give the Plant ‘firstclass’
service, and to this end some
significant changes have been made
to Mitcheldean’s own private post
office over the past year.
It has been moved to more spacious
accommodation in Building 23 and
designed and equipped to bring it
closer to the GPO concept of an
ideal mail room.
As the door is marked No Admittance,
you may never have noted some of
the changes, but you will probably
be aware that our Mail Room is now
staffed entirely by men, the everincreasing
mail load having proved a
bit too much for the ‘mail girls’ we
used to employ.
Women still feature in our mailing
system, however. At Sam from
Monday to Friday, all members of the
Mail/Stationery team (and that
includes some ladies) gather in the
Mail Room to cope with the inrush
of post.
On Mondays, when the post includes
Saturday’s as well, it becomes
something of an avalanche as we
saw for ourselves when we called.
The GPO had delivered ten sacks of
mail — 427 lb of it — and the
pressure was on to get it dealt with
and out to the far corners of the
Plant post-haste, so to speak.
While the women opened the letters
addressed simply to the Company,
our postmen and their helpers
worked at speed, sorting mail
addressed to individuals or
departments into the 48 labelled
Brian Baldwin loaded his trolley with
the sorted mail and trundled it out to a
smart new mail van, all in Rank
Xerox livery, ready to deliver round
the site.
That was just the incoming mail; but
the job of receiving and distributing
internal mail goes on all day, with
collections regularly being made
from 32 internal letterboxes.
Two minibuses call in at the Mail
Room three times a day for Lydney
and Cinderford mail. Some buildings
at Mitcheldean get three or four
deliveries a day, the heaviest load
for any one location generally being
that for Design Building 38.
Communications Manager Roy
Brooks claims that ‘we provide a
better service than the GPO. What
postman,’ he asks, ‘would deliver a
letter to Mr Brown, Ross-on-Wye?’
Yet that is the sort of task the Mail
Room have to handle. Sometimes
they get samples in envelopes just
addressed to ‘Mitcheldean Plant’ with
nothing to indicate who the samples
are meant for.
Sometimes it’s an internal envelope
addressed to, say, Mr. A. Williams,
without benefit of building number,
department or code.
Ray Carter, who is in charge of
Mail/Stationery, told us: ‘It’s no
exaggeration to say we spend an
hour every day trying to trace the
right recipient, contacting Personnel
Records and so on, all because of
insufficiently addressed mail.’
So next time you address an envelope,
spare a thought for our ow/n
personal postmen.
They hold GPO Mail Proficiency
Certificates but the course they took
didn’t include mental telepathy !
The Last Post
So much for the incoming and
internal post. Then there’s the
outgoing mail. All day long it
builds up — items to go in pouches
for other RX locations, airmail letters.
hda Bale (foreground) and Phyllis
‘elp by opening letters addressed
the Company and sort them into
jove: Brian Rawlings loads the
111 into the van ready to take
e site. Note the registration plate I
first-class mail, Datapost, readystamped
private post (it’s all part of
the service) — pigeonholed in the
24 racks provided.
At 5.15pm the GPO call to pick up
the mailbags and take them to
Gloucester, for the Plant is eligible
for free collection of parcels and
Currently averaging about half a ton
a week, outgoing mail has been
showing a steady rise, due to
increased mail to Observatory House
(Field Engineering), Slough; to
Welwyn (where Denham Supply
Centre has been relocated); and to
Milton Keynes.
Datapost, which gives a door-to-door
overnight delivery service and is
used principally by Engineering, is
also a factor.
Wiiile tfiis data about our mail service
is fresh in your mind, we invite you
to have a stab at the none-too-serious
quiz below.
Tom Drury collects mail from one of 32
internal letterboxes. Right: George Hyett
copes with the metered mailing (franking)
machine. The rate required is dialled— any
post not marked first class goes second.
Postage spent and credit balance is
recorded on registers.
Things in the ‘Dead Store’ down in
Stationery are coming alive again.
The ‘corpse’ may be a folder or a file
discarded because of the words
printed on it. But with an economy
label pasted over them, the item is
ready to start life again.
Recycling is the trend today, for
stock items are not only getting more
expensive, they are also getting
impossible to get I
‘There is a world-wide shortage of
pulp; some paper is on 12 months’
delivery,’ Ray pointed out.
Mail Quiz
1. In order to operate four rounds a day
on Mitcheldean Plant site, the Mail
Services use:
(a) A flock of Brian Lampshire’s pigeons
trained for the purpose.
(b) Mail vehicle.
(c) Shanks’s pony
2. Outgoing mail costs per month from
(a) £500.
(b) £1,100.
(c) £1,700.
3. True or false? When addressing
interoffice envelopes, the Mail staff
actually prefer that you do not include
the full name and initials of recipients or
their department, building number and
floor number, as they enjoy tracking
down this information — it provides them
with a challenge and excitement as they
have nothing else to do.
4. True or false? The Mail staff enjoy
processing large envelopes that are
improperly sealed, because they are
hooked on the taste of envelope glue.
5. Overnight mail delivery is made to
RX locations
(a) Every time there is a full moon.
(b) Whenever the mail staff get in the
(c) Every day by pouch or parcel.
6. If you move and you want to receive
your mail, you should :
(a) Hang a note on your office door or
(b) Tell no one.
(c) Inform Mail Room.
7. How many items of mail are handled
per day by mailing staff?
(a) Approximately 15,000, two-thirds of
which are intersite.
(b) Actually 8 7 ; all those envelopes you
see Mail staff carrying around are just to
make them look busy and to impress
With apologies to Xerox Corporation’s
‘The Digest’. Answers on page 11.
Clerk Jean Harper has been earning
the title of Chief Chopper. ‘I have to
cut requisitions down; it’s got to be
done in fairness to others. If one
person gets more than his fair share,
someone else may have to go
So it makes sense to be economical
with everything. Cost-conscious
Roy Brooks recently attended a
training session and noted with
Continued on page 9
Jean Harper (below) and John Keal run the
Plant’s own W. H. Smith store. Jean, who
has been appointed Chief Chopper of
requisitions, says: ‘We’re down to bare
necessities’ and that has nothing to do with
the picture gallery behind her desk I
Harold Potter of Works Engineering takes
some birds for training flights. A relative
newcomer, he lost his novice status last
year by winning Drybrook Club’s season and
also the Gloucester Federation race from
Weymouth in which 3,247 birds took part.
Harold’s wife Pat works at the Plant too,
^’ in Cleaning Services.
Pigeon fancying used to be l<nown
as tiie ‘cap and muffler sport’.
Today its image is rather different.
The Queen races pigeons (she has a
loft in Norfolk, run by a manager),
and sums like £4,000 have been
known to change hands for a
feathered champ.
But one of the attractions of pigeon
racing is that it is open to all. The
OAP with pigeons housed in a
tea-chest in his backyard has as
good a chance of winning a race as
the millionaire with his palatial
air-conditioned loft boasting every
pigeon convenience — maybe better,
since the OAP will probably give his
few birds more individual attention.
Mitcheldean Plant, we discovered, is
rich in pigeon fanciers, all members
of numerous clubs which exist in the
locality. The clubs are grouped in
Federations; Gloucester & District
Federation has some 18 clubs,
including Drybrook, West Dean,
Lydney, Blakeney, Newent and two
at Cinderford which fly North and
South (that means the birds fly back
from points in the North or South).
We talked to Jim Davis of Lydney
Medical Department, treasurer of
Blakeney Club for five years and
‘unofficial secretary’ of the FOD (a
group of four Forest clubs who fly
with the West of England South
Road Combine).
He told us that, with the possible
exception of the peregrine
falcon when swooping on its prey,
which is sometime an adult pigeon
the racing pigeon is probably the
fastest bird on the wing. Its current
speed record is believed to be
97mph (with a tail wind I).
The bird is also famed for its ability
to fly long distances and can
average 40mph for ten hours.
From the start of the racing season
at the end of April until the moulting
season starts in September, South
flying events build up from a distance
of some 50 miles to the long
500-mile or so haul from La Reole in
the South of France.
If, like John Thomas of PED, you
fly in National Club races, your birds
may do 700 miles from Pau in Spain
(they fly out there by ‘plane).
How do the pigeons find their way
home? No one knows. ‘There’s no
jockey on a pigeon’s back,’ says
Dennis Lowen (Engineering Drawing
Office) who is assistant secretary of
Drybrook & District Flying Club (his
wife Iris is secretary).
Right now the breeding season is well
under way and winners of future
pigeon grand prix, fresh from the
nesting boxes, will soon be undergoing
At five days old a ring is put on the
bird’s leg bearing the number under
which it is registered with the Royal
Racing Pigeon Association (formerly
the Royal National Homing Union).
From about one month old, it starts
getting used to the basket in which
it will be travelling; it is trained to
As a member of Cinderford B District
North Road Flying Club, Terry Randall had
the fastest pigeon over the year for 1974; he
was also top prizewinner in the Gloucester
Mid Week Flying Club, competing against
the County’s best. With him is his wife
Yvonne, his eldest daughter Nicola and the
trophies he has won since 1967. That’s an
automatic timing clock on his knee, by the
way. Below: Brian Lampshire’s daughter
Jane {Goods Inwards) and wife Eileen
(Mechanised Stock Records) with two of
Brian’s stock birds. The one on the right
came from America, by plane I
return to its loft from ever-increasing
distances, and at three months starts
racing in earnest.
Sitting on the tiles when it comes
home is frowned upon — it must go
through the trap into the loft so it
can be clocked in without delay.
Sometimes wives and families join in
the fun and race along with father,
having a flutter on their favourites. But
even if they don’t participate, wives
tend to get involved.
If the birds are detained because of
bad weather, the fancier himself has
to go off to work in an agony of
suspense and his wife, or a friend,
watches for the birds and clocks
them in.
Sometimes the ‘ministering angel’
touch is required. Yvonne Randall,
4000 Dept chargehand, whose
husband Terry (PCD Shop Control
Supervisor) races pigeons, told us
how a bird once arrived back with its
crop slit, probably by telegraph wires.
She promptly got a needle and thread
and sewed it up, successfully.
Pigeon racing rather absorbs a man’s
Saturdays. Instead of putting up
shelves, or taking the family out, he’s
away at the club or scanning the
skies for birds or ‘phoning his pals
to find out if any have been sighted
Appreciating this, many clubs now
organise family social activities and
fete the ladies at the annual prize
presentation. However, more lady
fanciers are appearing on the
horizon — possibly on the principle
that ‘if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em’ —
and Drybrook Club even hold a
ladies’ race.
The races are highly organised
affairs, run under strict RRPA rules.
Members take their birds along to
the club for ‘marking’; each pigeon
acquires a rubber ring bearing its
race number; timing clocks are set,
and forms filled in in great detail.
The railways no longer transport and
liberate the birds; today they are
taken by feeder service to specially
equipped transporters, owned and
run by the Federations, the cost being
covered by race fees (birdage).
These are driven to the liberation
point and the birds are released
simultaneously in their thousands.
Immediately they return home, the
rubber rings are removed, put in a
Brian Lampstiire (Supervisor, Site Cleaning-
External in Works Engineering) lets his birds
out for their daily circular tour, taking in the
Canteen Building. He feeds them on maize,
beans and a titbit of hemp. Helps them get
high, we suppose.
‘thimble’ and slotted into a sealed
automatic timing clock which is
taken along to the club later in the
day as proof of performance.
The velocity of the birds, in yards
per minute, is calculated (sometimes
to three places of decimals) from the
time taken and distance covered.
Every member’s loft is marked on a
map, with the distances between it
and the liberation points computed
by the RRPA.
Gloucester Federation payout last
season to prize and pools winners
amounted to £3,674-30, so the
financial interest is not inconsiderable.
John Thomas, who was formerly
secretary of Tewkesbury Flying Club
and is now its treasurer, told us that,
for three years running, he and his
partner have been highest prizewinners
in the club, and last season
they collected £400. ‘But the money
isn’t the chief thing. What really
matters is the sense of achievement
one gets when a bird has done well.’
Brian Whittington (RXC service
Continued from page 7
approval that both sides of the flip
chart were being used !
Items held in Stationery range from
flip charts right down to tiny knob
pins. Stock items made of paper or
card come in 800 different varieties —
forms, cards, envelopes, multi-carb
stuff, coloured collating paper — all
kept in numbered bins whose
contents are carefully recorded on
stock cards.
A check has to be kept on amounts
and it is up to John Keal and Jean
Harper to make sure items don’t drop
below a certain level.
The largest part of the store is given
over to forms printed to 0 & M’s
specification: purchase orders,
coding forms for use in the
computer, even the requisition forms
which eventually come back
completed as stationery orders.
There is strict control over certain
forms, such as those used in SOLAR,
and Stationery have to report back
to File Control what forms have been
issued to certain departments.
Before anything printed is ordered.
Stationery liaise with 0 & M to check
that there is no change in format.
Printing orders are reduced wherever
possible by in-house copying, as in
the case of telex forms, car
authorisation notes, etc.
We asked Ray how people could
help most in the economy cause.
‘By not using new plain envelopes
where internal envelopes will do,’ he
said. ‘An internal envelope has 32
lives, if treated kindly.’
chargehand), whose 40ft-long loft
was featured in Pigeon Gazette,
reckons that in his case it’s ‘pigeon
blood’ — ‘Our family have been
racing pigeons for the last 70 years’,
he told us.
There are other pigeon fanciers we’ve
not yet mentioned : Bill Morefield
and Stan Beach (RXC), Ralph Jones,
Cyril Miles and Stan Pettiford
(Machine Shop), Len Harper (Works
Engineering), Larry Gardiner
(Transport), Johnny Hawker (Stores),
Fred East (Stock Control,
Administration) and probably more —
but space is limited.
Two points raised by Dennis Lowen
are worth repeating for the benefit
of any non-fanciers reading this:
Firstly, if you’re trigger-happy,
remember that bird you’d like to
bring down may be worth a lot of
Secondly, don’t get too possessive
about any stray pigeon that lands on
your doorstep. Pigeons have been
known to return home after several
years’ absence — they’re not called
homing pigeons for nothing.
Julie Ward (Financial Accounting) and her
bridegroom, Phillip Witts (Sorter, Lydney)
after their wedding at Holy Trinity Church,
Drybrook, on February 1.
J. Ingram
Stuart Meek (Reliability Engineering) with
his bride Heather Bird after their wedding
on January 25 at St Michael’s Ft All Angels,
Richard IMovak
Our apologies for a mix-up in dates.
Richard Novak who featured in
International Meetingplace last month
came to this country in 1958 and joined the
Company in 1966 (not 1970). He has now
left RX Cinderford and is currently working
as temporary chargehand in 7000
DANCE! , Finishing Department
Saturday April 19
in the
Social Centre Ballroom
Tickets from : Roma Meredith
or Ethel Constant (Auto Plating Dept.,
BIdg 2 9 / 1 ) , ext. 325/329 int.
B i r t hs
Emma Jane, a daughter for Ken Smart
(Sheet Metal Shop, RXC) and his wife
Glenys (formerly Production Control), on
December 2 1 .
Mark, a son for Peter Skelton (RX
Cinderford) and his wife Lin, on March 2.
Noel James, a son for Fred Pritchard (4000
Dept.) and his wife Margaret (formerly
Central Records, PED), on March 5.
21st Birthday
Kelvin Burt (Works Engineering) on
March 8.
Jane Beddls (Engineering Records) to
Keith Parker on February 19.
We report with regret the following deaths:
Charlie Daniels (labourer in Electrical
Sub-assembly) on February 12, at the age
of 58: Charlie had been with us since
November 1971.
Harold Morman (RX Lydney) on
February 18; aged 60, he had been with
us just over four years.
Reg Kentsbeer (section leader, PED) on
February 27 at the age of 4 8 ; he joined us
in September 1967.
We would like to extend our sympathy to
their families.
If you have, then please —
let your departmental correspondent know,
or leave it at any Gate House for
collection by me,
or post It to me at Tree Tops, Plump Hill,
or ring me — It’s Drybrook 542415.
Myrtle Fowler, Editor
Taking the picture above was one
commission which Jack Seal turned down.
The presentation to him of a cheque on his
retirement as works photographer at the end
of January was made by Information Officer
Jimmy Bake at a party given for Jack and
his wife. People at Rank Xerox HQ
contributed to his leave-taking present.
‘Perhaps’, said Jimmy, ‘this was to
compensate him in some measure for the
hours he spent one day on top of the
canteen building waiting for a certain
DC10 to circle over the Plant I’ During his
six years with us. Jack earned himself a
reputation, not only in the realm of straight
and cine photography but also for his
inventive approach to the preparation of
slides for training and presentation
purposes. He served on the committee of
our Amateur Photographic Club and it was
while he was chairman that it fell to
Mitcheldean to act as hosts for the
Gloucester Film Festival in 1973. Its success
was due largely to Jack’s organising ability.
February Retirements
Our best wishes to the following who
retired In February: Ted Bennett
(Remodelling), Horace Hook (Supply
Centre), Bill Miles (Machine Shop), Tom
Rawlings (Electrical Sub-assembly),
Maurice Watklns (Tool/Consumable
Mrs J . M. Bailey, ext. 377. Lift required
daily. Bream to Mitcheldean, staff hours,
willing to share petrol costs.
A party of 12 Rank Xerox pensioners and friends recently returned from a month’s holiday
at Magaluf in Majorca during which time they enjoyed perfect Mediterranean weather with
temperatures in the 70’s and 80’s. They had the pleasure of meeting Dick Hebden and
Pat and Barry Leach, ex-Rank employees from Welwyn Garden City, who now run a bar at
Magaluf, and who wish to be remembered to all in Purchase at Welwyn. Their address is
Willie’s II, 5 Edificio Nova 3. Magaluf, Majorca. As you can see from this picture, the party
from Mitcheldean occasionally got behind with the drinks I
Dance Programme
to December 1975
Saturday September 13
Saturday October 18
with the popular
Saturday November 29
supported by
New Y e a r ‘ s E ve
To be certain of tici (Roy S t e w a r d or D o r i s Meek) and book them in advance.
Tournament Progress
As we went to press we obtained the
following progress report on the various
tournaments being held :
Skittles: The men are down to the last
32 teams and due to start round 3 while
the ladies first round is scheduled to
commence on March 18.
Chess: It is hoped to get to the finals of
the Portman Trophy individual contest by
early autumn. The semi-finals of the
Wickstead Shield (interdepartmental) with
Information Systems v. Design and
Knightshifters (4000 Assembly) v. Group
Inventory Control have been played off
and the finalists are Design v. Group
Inventory Control.
Football: The semi-finals are to take place
on April 13 at Weston-under-Penyard and
Lydbrook, with the final at Harrow Hill on
April 27.
Table Tennis Trophy
A men’s singles competition for the
Ted Wenderlish Trophy has been arranged
for March 25 in the Ballroom at 7pm. A
men’s doubles and possibly a ladies’ singles
will also be played.
Sunday Shoots
The Shooting Club attended the Norton
Shooting Club’s skeet practice (a form of
clay shoot) on February 23 and, on Sunday
March 2, held a clay shoot of their own
at Shapridge Farm, Abenhall.
If any members wish to take advantage of
the club’s re-loading equipment, will they
please contact Charlie Probert, ext. 319,
or Hubert Burton, ext. 728.
A busload of likely lads from RX Cinderford
went on a day trip to London in February.
Having spent a happy day avoiding ten
million cars, one breakaway group of four
seeking a bit of night life, got a taxi to Soho.
They found a nightclub, paid £2 50 just to
get in and another 25p to hang up their
coats, then made for the bar.
The barman said ‘No beer.’ So they
decided just to wait for the show. Said a
bouncer: ‘No drink ? Then out you must go ‘
They decided on four whiskeys and the
barman advised a bottle. It’s cheaper that
Just how cheap you can gather from the
following lines: they were taken from a
narrative poem which Geoff Norris,
co-organiser of the trip with Pete Skelton,
wrote to commemorate the affair:
Like lambs to the slaughter, a bottle they
And there dear reader, is how they got
Twenty-two quid was the price to be paid.
The barman must have thought he had it
Then up spoke one yokel, as quick as a
I’ve thought up a way fer us t’save cash.
One half-bottle, ole mate,’ he said, ‘if we
The barman replied: ‘Sixteen quid you will
So into their wallets the yokels all looked—
By now they each knew that their goose
had been cooked.
Answers to Mail Quiz: 1. (b) and (c). 2. (c).
3. False. 4. False. 5. ( c ) . 6. ( c ) . 7. (a).
W h e n s e n d i n g i n i t e m s p l e a s e g i v e y o ur
e x t e n s i o n n u m b e r and/or d e p a r t m e n t t o e n s u r e
i n c l u s i o n .
For Sale
Baby Walker, cost £10 new, hardly used,
will sell for £7 o.n.o. E. Cole. RXC,
ext. 19-17.
Child’s cycle, as new, suit boy or girl 4 to 9
years, £18 o.n.o. Reg Matthews, Goods
Inwards, ext. 416 or Coleford 3745.
1972 Astral Ranger Tourer, 12ft, 4-berth,
loose covers, oven-cooker, toilet, fitted
carpet, 2 gas bottles and regulator, salon
awning, £520. C. Popejoy, 11 St Annals
Road, Cinderford, after 6 pm.
Mitcheldean, 2-year-old detached house in
quiet cul-de-sac. Central heating, garage,
Hygena-fitted kitchen with wood panelling.
Large lounge, separate dining-room, 3 beds.
Reduced for quick sale to £8,950.
M. Cheshire, ext. 1111.
Vogue knitting machine, as new, hardly
used, easily operated, £35. Mrs E. Baldwin,
ext. 1198.
GEC 3Kw Slimline night storage heater.
Ross-on-Wye 2210.
HMV stereo system complete with speakers,
25W, 2 years old, as new, £80. R. Carter,
ext. 322.
Redfyre oil-fired central heating boiler, can
be seen working, £45 o.n.o. N. Andrews,
ext. 1254 or Cinderford 23018.
Three-bedroom semi-detached house
(1968) near town centre. Central heating
and garage. Quiet cul-de-sac. £9,500.
Ext. 281 or Coleford 2029.
Puch M50 red sports moped, M registration,
April ’74, good condition, can be seen any
time, £150. Mrs M. James, ext. 330.
Enthusiast: Armstrong chassis FC38,
3 waveband 8 watt push-pull (old type).
Philips 3-speed autochanger mono. 12ln.
Vltavox speaker 25 watt undlstorted output,
can be seen working. Any offers.
T. Smith, ext. 884.
Gas warm air central heating unit, 35,000
BTU, suitable for bungalow or greenhouse.
Any reasonable offer. J. Hill, 5 Harptree Way,
Mitcheldean. Drybrook 542859 or ext. 1260.
Set of ‘as new’ fitted rubber mats (black)
for Morris Marina 1.8 (K reg.), £8.
K. Drewry, ext. 1225.
Five alloy wheels, as new, suitable for
Mini, £20. J. Beavan, ext. 654.
Staffordshire bull terrier pups, 1 dog 1 bitch,
ready this month. M. Ellas, ext. 1195.
Victorian ruby ring, shank requiring
attention, offers around £20. Len Harper,
ext. 534.
Budgies first-class show birds. Dennis
Clarke, ext. 278.
Monmouth, lovely Wye Valley — bright
modern bungalow, CH, 5 rooms plus
kitchen, bathroom, gardens, near town.
Mrs. J. Skevington, Switchroom, ext. 898
Hlllman Minx 1969 (H reg) 1500cc, dark
blue, taxed and tested, very tidy car,
£450 o.n.o. Chris Rawlings, PED, ext. 761.
Coleford, Coombs Park — attractive
3-bedroomed spacious semi-detached
bungalow, full gas central heating, detached
garage and outbuildings, private open
views garden front and rear. Excellent
order £11.500 o.n.o. W. P. Trigg, ext. 522
or Coleford 2459.
Photographic model, preferably of the
female variety, for facial portrait work.
M. Quinn, Supply Centre, BIdg. 4 1 ,
ext. 454.
Rayburn cooker. H. Ward, ext. 394.
Garden shed, average size, good condition.
T. Carpenter, Stores, ext. 321.
Old model railway and model car parts for
reconditioning and re-sale in aid of
preservation and restoration of ex-GWR
9681 PT for Dean Forest Railway
Preservation Society. K. Hirst,
3 Commercial St., Cinderford, or ext 409.
Modern sideboard in good condition.
Mrs D. Whitfield Newnham 249 or ext. 1156.
A place in a shared flat or house, preferably
In Gloucester area ; needed urgently.
A. Thomas, Design, ext. 865
Holiday ’75
De luxe 8-berth caravan, 1 year old, at
delightful Amroth. Site Includes heated
swimming pool, club house, shops, etc.
£30 p.w. Stroud 2024.
Two traffic wardens on morning duty at the roundabout, one of the potential danger spots.
With traffic coming from all directions, they risk screwing themselves into the ground I
Our lower picture shows the team at the magic hour of Sam when they throw off
their disguise as traffic wardens and turn back into drivers themselves — of
forklift trucks, lorries and vans. The 12 wardens and reserves are: Dennis Beard,
Dave Board. Geoff Cornwall, Terry Gardner, Dave Grindle, Pete Harris Cecil Hopkins.
Ted Jayne, Bob Jenkins, Gilbert Meek. Brian Meredith, Rodney Pensom,
Geoff Powell and Derek Willis.
YELLOW MACKS In their yellow oilskins they look a bit
like lifeboatmen. And as they go
out to face the tidal wave of 4,000 or
so people, on foot and on wheels,
that sweeps in and out of the Plant
site every working day, they must
need something of a lifeboatman’s
What kind of men are our traffic
wardens ? How are they equipped to
take on such a task ?
‘You’ve got to be daft to stand there.’
You need a fast pair of legs to get
out of the way.’ ‘You’ve got to have
eyes in the proverbial 1’ were the
qualities they felt worth mentioning.
They’re all Internal Transport men.
During the day you can see them at
the wheel of forklift trucks, lorries
and vans, driving around the site.
But from 7.30 to Sam and from
4.40 to around 5.15pm they take
over the job of controlling the traffic
within our roadway system, taking up
their stand at potential danger spots.
The team of wardens was formed
about two and a half years ago when
the Supply Centre was built and a
one-way traffic system was
introduced. It was realised some
form of control at peak hours would
be necessary and Security called on
‘Hurray I I’ve done it—beaten the hooter
before the mad rush.’
(From Ernie Holmes’ Candid Calendar
for 1975)
the men who already had internal
transport experience.
While the police man the gates, the
wardens go on point duty, their
principal concern being to take care
of the pedestrian (and that includes
the driver before he gets into his car).
The men get normal overtime pay
and are covered by their normal
insurance. Dennis Williams hasn’t
lost any of his men yet, though there
have been some near misses. And
they are the target for the occasional
bit of abuse.
‘There’s no truth in the rumour that
they carry truncheons under their
macks though’, Dennis assured us.
When necessary, they help out as
on-the-spot mechanics, or guides to
inadvertent visitors.
Once a complete stranger who had
been following the works buses along
the main road was surprised to find
himself in Rank Xerox territory and
stopped to ask a warden how to get
out again.
A case of ‘if you want to know the
way, ask a warden.’
• Which traffic warden was knocked down
recently by a car driven by a fellow
warden ?
12 Printed in England by Taylor, Young (Printers) Ltd.