Henry was born on 30 August 1881. On 30 September 1897, he was indentured as an apprentice Moulder in Fielding and Platt’s Foundry, where he worked for most of his life.
His apprenticeship lasted six years. In the first year of his apprenticeship, Henry was paid four shillings per week, rising yearly to 11 shillings a week in the final year of his apprenticeship.
What a Moulder did
As a Moulder, Henry would have been responsible for building up the moulds used by the foundrymen to cast the large pieces made in the Foundry. These were made from sand. The Moulder would build up the sand around the wooden pattern (or model) of the piece that was going to be cast in metal to create the shape of the item required in the sand. The wooden pattern would then be removed and the molten metal poured into the mould in the sand. The molten metal would then cool into the metal casting required.
From Moulder to Gateman
In Henry’s case, ill health caused by dust and sand from working in the Foundry and smoking led Fielding’s to eventually give him a healthier job as Gateman.
The pictures show some of the equipment Henry would use as Gateman. The whistle was used by him to call if further help was needed whilst he was working as Gateman.
The key was used by him for clocking in and out of work. Keys were only given to members of the firm that were “Staff”, all other workers were “Employed”. Jobs on the Staff were more secure and were considered more highly in those days.
Henry died on Christmas Eve 1946. On the 9 January 1947 Jack Baker, Secretary of Fielding and Platt, wrote to his wife to express the Directors’ “sincere condolences”. As a “tangible recognition” of the “valuable services rendered to the Company” by her late husband, Fielding and Platt offered her a pension of 10 shillings per week.
If you remember Henry Williams please share your memories of him by adding a comment at the bottom of the page.
Henry’s son Arthur Williams went on to serve his apprenticeship at Fielding and Platt. Click here to read more about Arthur Williams and how he met his wife, Edith May Williams (nee Willey) at Fielding’s.