In these two clips, Arthur Rigby recalls the Pipe Shop’s foreman, George Jackson, who also knew his father well. George’s wife was also a friend of Arthur’s aunt who lived in Swindon.
Left-winger and genius
George played football for Alington (in the Barton Street area) wing. He was a brilliant left-winger who was good enough to play football professionally but his wife dissuaded him. At that time Alington had a very good side.
George was also a member of the Atlas Works Athletics Club “A” Team, 1917-1918.
Arthur remembers how George would pass on his knowledge to him and others under his charge in the Pipe Shop and what would happen if something wasn’t right.
“George Jackson was a genius. Draughtsmen would never say anything to him or argue with him or anything because George would get a big drawing out of piping or a new press and he’d run through it all and then all of a sudden he’d say ‘mmm, bloomin’ fools, mmm bloomin’ fools … Well that won’t work, they got this [pipe] going in the wrong one!’”
George would ring up the Drawing Office and a draughtsman “would come tearing down straight away” but George was always right. He knew how the flows worked practically and would sort it out.
In the second clip, Arthur describes day-to-day work in Pipe Shop and the process of bending and fitting a pipe to a press.
They started with a drawing from the Drawing Office and then bend the pipes accordingly. Generally pipes had to be screwed [have threads cut into them] first, because they had flanges on them. So, the pipe was screwed, then bent if needs be, then finally fitted onto the press.
Arthur remembers how George used to make drawings easy for the Pipe Shop workers to read.
George used to give you some sketches. You had a big drawing overall and George would draw the pipes out and he was very clever at that and then you then bent the pipes to whatever dimensions he’d given.”
He was exacting in the quality of work that he required from them. His standards were high and if pipes were not vertical (or even if they didn’t look vertical) he would ask them to be taken off the press.
George was a stickler that all pipes had to be vertical and look vertical. He’d come and he’d look and he used some bad language sometimes, and say ‘look at that pipe, what d’you think this is?! Look at it! It’s going across there! Get it down’”
Then they’d have to put it upright with the use of a spirit level.
Mr Cook and the Pipe Shop Foremen
Arthur recalls that George once got sent home because he was too scruffy by Mr Cook, then the Works’ manager. Mr Cook wanted Horace Jones to be foreman of the Pipe Shop. Horace wouldn’t take the job because he’d always wanted to work in Hydraulic Fitting Shop No. 1, where the larger machines were made and fitted. However, when Mr Cook heard of his ambitions, Horace had his wish granted and went to work in Hydraulic No. 1!
If you remember, George Jackson or the Pipe Shop in the years that he worked there, please share your memories by adding a comment below.