Unlocking Stourport's Past

The Old Anglo

The Old Anglo building 2007 in Mitton Street


1917: When I started work, I went home from school just after my thirteenth birthday and Dad came home and he says 'you aren't going back to school; I've got a job for you.' So I went to school in the morning and work in the afternoon.

56 hours was the standard week then and I had 5 shillings a week -25 pence a week and I thought I kept the home, you know. That was at the Anglo Enamelware Limited, in the Time Office; There were two sections to the Anglo, the one in Mitton Street, the other in Baldwin Road" There was a whistle on top of the boiler; a cord or a wire used to go all the way from the time office to the top of the boiler, and if you pulled it it opened a valve and the whistle blew. This used to have to be blown at five to six in the morning, and at five to nine when it was breakfast time and at five to two when they came back from their dinner, then you worked to half past five.

At that time the war was on, and for years and years they made water bottles for the army, literally hundreds and hundreds of thousands of them. They brought what we call tinkers down from the Black Country and the bottles were made by hand; they were covered in felt, had a cord on and a cork in the top, and they were enamelled. They started with just a piece of metal. Well it got to the point where they couldn't keep up with it by hand, and from America they brought a machine which made the tins: the bottle just went round a time or two and the bottom was on, whereas before it was actually knocked on, all the way round. Then about that time spot welding came in and they used to rivet the neck on. The war brought that about.

But ordinarily, in everyday life, they used to make practically everything in enamel; and why the enamelware that they made was so good was that it didn't rust. They put a coat of what they used to call 'grey' underneath (so that it did not rust if chipped). They sent to India millions of rice bowls, and they found it was cheaper to build a factory in India and make the rice bowls out there. In the office where I worked, all along the mantleshelf was a row of enamel plates, and on them were all the different ships; They would have an order for so many thousand plates for HMS Ebenezer or whatever it was. There was always a very very big show in Hamburg in Germany and you know, there was no one to touch them at all. They've done enamelware that you'd think was porcelain. That was a real job that was; they could not afford to do that.

I worked there about two years, then there came a vacancy tor a young lad up at the Foundry (the same people that were Kendricks at West Bromwich owned both the Anglo and the Foundry.
This page is under construction
This page last updated 01 March 2007

back to index page