Queen’s Award


An Oldham Evening Chronicle Supplement to commemorate the achievement of Platt Bros. (Sales) Ltd

Tuesday, September 20, 1966


Five Northern factories employing 8,480 workers. 3

You name the language – they translate it. 7

It’s not just machinery – now it’s a complete mill to be sold. 16

Future holds even greater promise… Teamwork is key to Platt Group Success. 24

Platt’s don’t take reputation for granted. 34

It’s all done by Computer. 41

TMM — always looking ahead. 41

Through her fingertips, she meets world. 42

Picture view of Platt’s men at work. 50

Powerful and efficient publicity. 51

This was the Henry Platt factory way back in 1821. 58

Dave Parker picks production team.. 65


Lifetime with the firm.. 71


Platt's have 74 cars-but still they need to hire more. 74

From Check Boy to Director. 76

Russian demand for capital equipment will continue. 79




Training is Key to Future and Platt’s go for it at all levels. 97


A Platt’s Tribute after 1903 fire. 106


Bodies with his morning flakes. 109

Milestones in the history of Platt’s. 111



The Queen's Award to Industry is a richly coveted

prize awarded for exceptional

performances in Britain's export drive.

Platt Bros. (Sales) Ltd. is one of the first

winners of the award, which Lord Derby

presented at a special ceremony at the company

headquarters in Featherstall Road, Oldham.

But the Queen's Award is, in effect much

more than a recognition of current achievements.

It is the crowning of a remarkable

record of selling abroad that has been constant

since this virile sales company was set up in

in some 70 countries. In one year – 1964 -

personnel travelled over 2 million miles, and

their air tickets alone, without taking into

account accommodation costs, totalled something

like £75,000.

The company - it employs over 200 - is the

central selling organisation for cotton and staple

fibre spinning and doubling machinery manufactured

by the Stone-Platt textile machinery

division - the largest group in its field in the


v. Twenty-five directors and senior executives

are constantly engaged in world-wide selling ..•

wherever there is potential business. An active

policy of initiating trade and following up

inquiries is vigorously pursued by the company.

I Working hand in hand with Platt Bros

(Sales) Ltd is a network of 80 agencies covering the world. These agencies have an intimate

Knowledge of local conditions and requirements,

and they are all supported by frequent visits by

Oldham based directors, technical sales representatives and consultants.

The result is a closer customer contact

-both commercially and technically-and a

strengthened sales force.

On effort alone, let alone results, it would

seem that this latest industrial award, with its

Royal endorsement, has been well and truly earned.



Five Northern factories employing 8,480 workers


PRODUCING the goods for Platt Bros. (Sales) Limited to sell across the world are five factories situated in the North of England, employing over 8,480.

These Individual companies, which are come under the umbrella of Stone-Platt Industries Limited, are Platt Bros. and Co. Ltd.. of Oldham, which employs 2,200; Howard and Bullough Ltd., at Accrington (2,500 employees); Dobson and Barlow Ltd., at Bolton (2000); and in Yorkshire, Prince-Smith and Stells Ltd., of Keighley (1,600); and Longclose Engineering Co. Ltd. at Leeds (180employees).

 Together, the factories have a total production area of four million square feet, and they are among the most modern in the world.

To justify this claim, Stone-Platt Industries have, in recent years, spent over £8 million on re-equipping their textile machinery factories. As a result, the factories have modern production techniques, flowlines, equipment and craftsmen.

In fact, one of the factories has increased productivity by 100per cent in five years with the same labour force.

Each of the factories specialises in the development and production of a specific range of machinery.




It was in this old smithy at Dobcross that Platt’s had its beginnings. Here, In 1750, Henry Platt, village blacksmith, of Nicker Brow, began making woollen carding machines. From such a humble start has grown one of the world’s most progressive and efficient Industrial empires.


You name the language – they translate it


His tie bears the proud red rose

of Lancashire, and his soft voice

is still burred with the tongue of his

native county.

Yet, at first sight and sound, this

could be misleading, because Major

Robert Bigwood, ex-member of the

Intelligence Corps, can, and

frequently does, speak and write in

any of 16 or 17 languages.

And as head of the Platt group’s

translation bureau, he is a natural

for the job, for it is frequently called

upon to tackle any of a multitude

of languages. Mastery of the three R’s of this

world, however, is barely sufficient

in such a complicated nerve centre

as the translation bureau, tucked

away in a small but ample corner

of the new Platt Bros (Sales) headquarters In Featherstall Road.

Major Bigwood and his team of

seven have not only to translate,

they have daily to display a technical knowledge associated with the

textile industry they serve.

“I can honestly say we have yet

to be stumped, although we must at

the same time admit that we have

sent one or two translations to a

Chinese agency in London  purely because they were concerned with

complicated technicalities,” said

Major Bigwood.

The team of Platt translators

supplement all departments in the

group. They translate from foreign

languages to English and vice-versa,

anything from complicated contracts

for the sales department to routine

business letters.  In addition, they have to translate

into three main languages, Platt’s

Bulletin, which goes out to estab

(Russian); Mr R Axten (French

trades departments in embassies on

every continent. They have also to

prepare, for foreign reading, technical booklets and service manuals

for Platt-built machinery sold


And there are always trade fairs

in far-off parts of the world to bring

in more translating business.

Major Bigwood keeps a record of

every translation handled in his

department. “Of course, the record

is only for statistics and can be misleading as far as the actual work

goes, because one translation in

statistical terms can, in practice,

mean a translation of 50 foolscap

sheets or more,” he pointed out. Nevertheless, in cold statistics,

the eight translators last year dealt

with 673 translations into or from

German, 641 French, 292 Spanish

and hundreds of others in anything

from the comparatively common

Russian, Rumanian and Italian to

Serbo-Croat, Flemish and modern


And there was one In Welsh!

For Major Bigwood, the wheel has

turned full circle, for he joined Platt

Brothers in 1920 at their former East

Works. I started as a lad of 18 in

the engineering workshop. I had

been at the Oldham Secondary

School and I could speak French,

German and Spanish. With those

qualifications I might have started

elsewhere, but in those days times

were hard and I had to get to work

to bring in some money,” he


Since then, Major Bigwood bas

served over ten years with the Army

and until 1962 held a senior post in

Australia with the Federal Government. Then, four years ago, he returned

to his native town and the company

he started with and he is still

learning new languages such as

Arabic, modern Hebrew and Finnish.

Those who make up the bureau

with Major Bigwood are: Mr

Kenneth Cox, who specialises mainly

in Spanish, French, Russian and

German; Mr Graham Young

(French, Russian, German and

Spanish); Mrs E Tchikani (Russian

and German); Miss S Riley

(French, Spanish, Portuguese and

Italian); Mr L Sosnovski

lished and potential customers

and Spanish) and Mr P R Edwards

(Welsh and German and studying


Filing cabinets in the Platt translation bureau are labelled appropriately with various languages dealt with. But there is one drawer

labelled “Yatosha Kwa Siku Maovu

Yake” which, interpreted, is a Biblical quote “Sufficient unto the

day is the evil thereof”. So far the translation staff have

not had cause to use this drawer

reserved for Swahili.   But with

a company deeply involved in an ever

expanding trade, they know that

one day it will surely come.

And they wait, not with apprehension, but with the confident

knowledge that they have yet to be




Hartford Works – Oldham’s contribution to the industrial force backing Platt Bros (Sales) Ltd.


The Queen’s Award to Industry, conferred

upon Platt Bros. (Sales) Ltd. for outstanding

export sales records, is indeed a coveted

honour, an index of success...

• In the three years 1963 to 1965 inclusive, export

sales increased by 244 per cent.

• Value of overseas sales last year was almost

£8 million, constituting 90 per cent of total


• Since its establishment in 1947, the Company

has negotiated export contracts worth more than

£225 million, supplied to 70 countries.

Platt Bros. (Sales) Ltd. is the Groups central selling organisation for cotton and staple fibre

spinning and doubling machinery.

From modern headquarters in Oldham, a staff of

more than 200 is engaged in all facets of global

marketing, from market research through to

after-sales service.

Exporting is big business, tough business. The

most dynamic sales force could hardly hope to

succeed without the backing of top-quality


Platts have that backing.

Many years of manufacturing experience, skill and

know-how, allied to modern production techniques in the most up-to-date plants result in the finest

range of textile machines available today.

Platt’s. . . The world’s greatest exporters of textile


Holders of the Queen’s Award to Industry.

We’ve a reputation to maintain!


It’s not just machinery – now it’s a complete mill to be sold


Platt’s at Oldham have been

selling textile machines to the

world for over a century now, and

they are still selling them.

Within the last decade, however,

there has been a new development—

to sell the machinery along with

complete mills.

Already, complete textile mills

have been sold through Platt Bros.

(Sales) Ltd. In Sudan, Guinea,

Indonesia and, nearer home, in

Ireland, and work has just started

on a mill being built and equipped

for the Iraq government.

These package deals have been

negotiated by Platt Bros. (Sales)

Ltd., who have brought in other

British firms to form consortiums

to carry out the projects. The result

has been a large input into the

British economy, much to the delight

of the governments of the day.

Package deals serve a dual

purpose, too. For In addition to the

smaller, specialist companies being

given ‘pick-a-backs’ into overseas markets by the larger companies in

the consortiums, the terms of the

deal usually permit the buying

countries to obtain credit facilities

which would otherwise be difficult,

if not impossible to arrange.

The majority of these deals have

been with governments rather than

companies, and in some cases the

setting up of a textile mill has also

been the setting up of a new


The package deals handled so far

have involved something over £20

million, and there’s a promise of


“We think there is a great future

In this type of venture, and in

addition we still sell our textile

machinery in the conventional

manner,” said Mr. K. T. B. Rimington, managing director of Platt Bros. (Sales) Ltd. He pointed out that

other countries had been equally

quick to see the possibilities that

there were in the package deal field.

and competition was keen.

Mr. N. A. Spink, sales director Iin

charge of the special projects

division which has been set up within

the sales company to handle package

deal affairs, took up the story. He

said that quotations could be given

within eight weeks of information

relative to the project being received.

The setting-up of a complete

textile mill or, as is frequently the

case, establishing an industry is

quite a complex business. To start

with, there is usually market

research required into the needs of

the country being served, both in

quantity and quality. Then the type of equipment

necessary to the setting-up of an

industry, from raw material to

finished product, including air

conditioning and electrical installations needs to be researched, and

finally there is the question of

designing the mill in which to house


How a typical package deal is

evolved can be ascertained from the

story of the setting-up a few months

ago, of a textile industry In the

republic of Guinea.

It began when the newly

independent republic realised quickly

that cloth imports were a vital

factor in the national economy, and

that the establishment of a complete

textile factory equipped with

modern machines and run on modern

lines, would not only be of considerable financial benefit to the country

but would also be a corner-stone in

an ambitious industrialisation programme.

Preliminary discussions on a suitable scheme started early in 1963and following several months of

further negotiations with the Ministry of Economic Development,

a contract was concluded with a

consortium headed by Platt Bros

(Sales) Ltd.

Guinea’s first textile project had

started, and based on import

statistics and per capita cloth consumption over preceding years, it

was decided that the new factory

should set a target of supplying just  over half of the country’s textile


On this basis, it was assessed that

there would be scope for the

importation of more specialised

cloths, and there was room for a

home trade expansion once the

industry had settled Into full production with an adequate trained


And so plans were prepared for a

textile plant which would eventually

employ some 900 workers and consume about 3700 tons of raw cotton,

to be converted into 24,000,000 yards

of finished Cloth for distribution

among Guinea’s 4,000,000 inhabitants.

The project, however, did not stop

at the design, supply and installation

of a complex range of machinery

and equipment, and with the building in which to house It. It also

included provision of a housing

estate for management staff, a

separate office block, a mechanics’

and electricians’ workshop . . . it

even anticipated the need for a

bicycle store and canteen.

Then there was the training of

staff to take into account. Preliminary training was organised both in Britain and on site - some of the

key operatives were, in fact, brought

to Oldham where they were taught

initially In Platt’s training school

and later at Oldham Technical


European staff, on whose practica1

experience the success of the plant’s

early years would depend, were also


The terms of the contract also

included every possible aspect of

assistance, from provision of office

equipment to vehicles for transporting raw cotton and finished goods,

from suggestions for landscaping

the entire site to the Initial supplies

of chemicals.

Heading the consortium was Platt

Bros (Sales) Ltd., who supplied

spinning machinery, and the associated companies were Richard

Costain (Gulf) Ltd., who carried out

the clvii engineering and building;

Coseley Engineering Services Ltd.,

who dealt with the structural steel-work; British Northrop Sales Ltd, who supplied weaving machinery; Mather and Platt Ltd, who supplied the finishing plant; the English Electric Company Ltd, who supplied electrical equipment; and Hall and Kay Ltd, who provided the air conditioning plant. As Mr Rimington says, international competition is bound to become keener and there will be more and more package deals.



Future holds even greater promise… Teamwork is key to Platt Group Success

By Mr. F. G. Hawkings – group director of the Platt group

Well over l00 years ago, the

name “Platts” became
associated at home and abroad

with the worlds beat textile

machinery. Today It still is, and the

presentation of the Queen’s Award

this week to Platt Bros. (Sales)

Ltd., by the Earl of Derby, underlines this achievement,


In fact, it is true to say that

Lancashire made textile machinery


been preeminent throughout

the world since the industry first

came into being, and is maintaln4ng

that pre-eminence today. From this

one might assume that the company

has conducted its business in

more or less the same way for over


a century in reasonably similar

trading conditions.

In reality, however, there have

been enormous changes, both

domestic and external, which have

altered the whole trading environment, and it must be a source of

satisfaction to all at Platt’s that in

a new world the old pre-eminence


               What have these changes been?

F1rst, there has been a great

increase In the spread of the textile

industry across the world. As each

new country has reached maturity,

one of the first industries to be

established is a textile industry and

although this has led to contraction

In the old industrial countries, the

demand for textile machinery has

been large.

Secondly, this has led to the

growth in other countries of textile

machinery industries to share in

world demand, and this rate of


growth has accelerated sharply

since the war. Competition is

therefore keener today than ever


Thirdly, the development of new

fibres has given rise to a demand

for entirely new types of machinery,

and the pace of technological

change is fast.

These external changes have

taken place while other changes

were being made which affected

Platt’s profoundly.

The merging of the British

spinning mach1nery manufacture,

and the formation of Textile

Machinery Makers Ltd in 1931,

gave a shape and a competitive

strength to the industry which have

stood it in good stead.

Platt’s was at the centre of the

new grouping. Later, through


further amalgamation, Platt’s

became connected with more companies in Yorkshire, so that today.

through the parent company,

Stone-Platt Industries Ltd., the

Platt Group is the world’s largest

supplier of textile machinery.

This group, comprising 9,000

people in 15 companies, with a wide

product range extending from preparation and spinning machinery to

warp knitting and dyeing, and with

a turnover in 1965 of £22m., is, I

believe, one which can more than

hold its own today in a competitive

world, and can expect in future to

grow in strength.

What are the basic requirements

to ensure that this happens? First

must come the ability to sell, and

selling capital equipment is a complicated task.

An effective salesman must have

a wide technical knowledge of his

equipment because the buyer will be

a technologist. He must be a

Linguist, he must have a thorough

understanding of export finance and

he must be tough.


In this field, every successful

organisation must be particularly

well equipped, and the record of

Platt Bros. (Sales) Ltd. is convincing proof.

Since the company was formed in

1947, It has gained export contracts

valued at £227,000,000, and in the

past three years alone has won oversea orders in excess of £27,000,000.

In fact, last year some 93 per

cent of the company’s total turnover was for export.

In addition, by virtue of the

initiative taken by Platt Bros.

(Sales) Ltd., gaining contracts

for complete mills — including everything from the erection of buildings

to training overseas operatives — it

has obtained export orders for more

than £8,000,000 for other British

companies since 1963.

In citing these figures, it will be

appreciated that however good the

salesman, he can have little hope of

real success unless his products are


Here, the contribution of the

group’s research company TMM (Research) Ltd


has been impressive, and was recognised by

the Textile Institute’s jubilee award

in 1964.

In this company, 15O people carry

out a group programme of research,

both in the field of textile technology

and mechanical engineering. The

fact that over the last 15 years the

productivity obtainable from the

group’s spinning machinery has

increased by a factor of three is an

 indication of the ingenuity and

effort of all those in the group

concerned with research and

development, and is the dividend

from a policy Of substantial and

increasing investment in this field.

Each year the group is acquiring

more sophisticated plant and is at

present evaluating the benefits of

computerised production control and

tape-controlled machine tools. But

in the last resort it is the individual

production effort of each man that

matters, and the Platt Group has

always been, and continues to be,

fortunate in the quality of the

people who comprise it.

Whether one is working In Oldham, Bolton, Accrington, Keighley,

Leeds, or Burton, in Bombay, Karachi, Sao Paulo or any other places

where a Platt nameplate decorates

a door, the accent must be on the

future, on new products, new ideas,

new methods, new processes. The

past has been impressive but the

future holds even greater promise.


               The deserved success of Platt

Bros (Sales) Ltd, which this issue

Commemorates, has been won by the

Individual efforts of each man and

 woman in that company. They are a

 credit to themselves, to the company and to Oldham.



But their efforts would not have

been successful without the contributions

from all the other members

of the group who, through research,

development, design and manufacture, produced the goods for export.

This is good teamwork, and with it

the group is well placed for the






Platt’s don’t take reputation for granted


Having been in the forefront of textile machinery

manufacture for close on 150 years, it is natural that

Platt’s should by now have become “the first name in textile



To achieve this accepted trade mark it has been necessary for a constant high standard to be maintained, and it has. In fact some Platt built machines are still in operation almost a century after they were installed.

These days however it is not nearly enough to trade on a past reputation. “Established in 1821” means little or nothing to modern industrialists seeking modern efficient machines.

While the company is proud of its achievements and world-wide reputation for quality, however, it cannot be said that Platts are living in the past.

If anything, it is the opposite. Only recently, the company was involved in the manufacture and commissioning of the most modern automated spinning plant in Europe. This plant provided 100 per cent increase in productivity and reduced the number of operatives necessary to work the department from 60 to 32.

This, however, is only one aspect of present day policies being carried out at Platt’s. Technological advances are a continuing process in the constant bid for better, more efficient and more sophisticated machinery.

The current range of textile machinery manufactured by Platt’s …


More than 75 per cent of the

company’s current production is now

shipped overseas in the face of the

fiercest competition, and from this

it is clear that Platt’s still produce

the finest textile machinery In the


Indeed, at the Brno trade fair in

Czechoslovakia last October the

company’s Century High Production

Comber was awarded a gold medal.

From 399 entries put forward by

20 countries covering a wide range

of industries, only 31 medals were


At the presentation of awards, it

was said: The committee compared

the present-day world standard with

that of the exhibits, and awarded

gold medals only to those exhibits

that surpassed this standard in

technical and economic results.”

Over the years, Platt’s has

received 40 similar awards for

quality at various exhibitions.

To back up their claim that their

machinery is the best, Platt’s insist

that it is properly installed and

commissioned. For this reason, a

globe-trotting team of fully-trained

engineers is maintained to erect

plant and equipment in overseas


To ensure a steady supply of trained personnel, the company  was one of the first to institute a student engineer training scheme, which enables student engineers to carry out – as part of their training – practical research work to assist them in their studies for degrees and higher national diploma courses.

This scheme has been highly praised by the Royal College of Advanced Technology, Salford.

Naturally, student and apprentice training forms an important part of the company’s policy, but Platt’s also set the pace by running staff appraisal schemes to provide training for men who are considered potentially suitable for future management.

With a considerable investment to create and train for the future Platt’s is constantly striving to increase productivity and efficieny.

In recent years a large building programme has been mounted and new

machinery bought,

Platt Brothers has one of the

largest machine shops in the

country in which they manufacture

all their own packing cases. These

include specialist packs for overseas


Nowadays, there is scarcely a production

process that cannot be seen

in operation at Hartford Works including spring making and the latest methods of covering  components

with Polyurestrene,

It would seem that with a

dynamic management backed by the

resources of Stone-Platt Industries,

the long-established Oldham company

of Platt Brothers is determined

to remain the first name in textile

machinery manufacture.




In keeping with the growing

responsibilities and success

of Platt Bros. (Sales) Ltd.

these new offices were built in

Fatherstal1 Road South to

house the staff and activities of

what constitutes the nerve

centre of a world-wide organisation.

The offices were opened in

January, 1965, with the Government represented by Mr.

Douglas Jay and the town of

Oldham by the Mayor, Councillor Edward Kenney.




It’s all done by Computer

Control over stock of over a million spare parts, involving something in the region of £2 million in capital, is maintained by a computer.

The computer which cost £53,000 when it was installed for Platt Bros and Co Ltd last year, handles the company’s account processes – including the payroll of some 2,000 employees.

By introducing the computer, the company has been able to reduce stocks and at the same time obtain accurate information on the stock position.

The computer—an ICT 190

comprises a central processor with

4,096 words of magnetic

storage, having a word cycle

of six microsecs. It has a 300-ce

per-minute card reader, a 100-

per-minute card punch and 300 line

per-minute line printer.



TMM — always looking ahead

The sales company and the

Production companies of Stone-Platt Industries are backed up by

yet another of

the group’s units.

It Is TMM (Research)

Limited, the central research

and development organisation

which is based at Helmshore.

TMM (Textile Machinery

Makers) is responsible

for research, development and

the testing of plant and constant appreciation of new

fibres. The company also provides an invaluable technical

service to spinners both at

home and abroad.

Naturally, a close link is

maintained between the

research and sales company.



Through her fingertips, she meets world



She was waiting happily in the

queue for Johannesburg when I

called. And what's more, she

frequently has the same trouble

with Istanbul and Rio, writes Alan


Not that 15 to 20 minutes is all

that long, when you know that once

your transport arrives you will be at

your destination within ten seconds.

And in any case. there are always

the comparatively easy hops across

to Europe that can be done at any

time when there are a few seconds

to spare.

The only trouble is that there are

no passengers on the International

“transport" system that is Platt's

Telex centre. All that it carries are

messages - many of them vital - to

company directors, salesmen, agents,

'fitters" and customers scattered in

many distant parts of the world.


Nevertheless, the “conductor"

Mrs Hilda Mellor, who has operated

the Telex system since it was

introduced to the Platt organisation

with the opening of its new sales

company office two years ago, feels by now that she really is a woman of the world.


“Although I only see the messages from other countries in cold type, I now feel I know the operators at the other end. Certainly I know the individual ways they put messages over.”

But Mrs Mellor has a deeper feeling bout her job that is far more than one of a mere personal contact with some anonymous friend across the sea. “I often feel humble when I realise that my speed and accuracy in transmitting vital information could well mean more or less work for thousands of employees within the group whose livelihood depends on orders being on orders being secured In some far off place,” she said.



Mrs. Mellor has always had an

interest in telecommunications, and

it appears to have stood her in good

stead for she knows practically

every dialling code that will connect

her with regular contacts. But

there’s a dialling code directory at

hand, just in case.

The Telex — similar to a newspaper

teleprinter — is an automatic type

writer which enables one subscriber

to dial another and then proceed to

type a message... a kind of

mechanical telephone without voice.

Like the telephone, It Is comparatively easy to dial contact with

“local” calls — in Platt’s case,

Europe — but “trunk” calls to some

parts of the world often mean a wait

of up to 20 minutes, and Telex operators in various parts of the country

have to queue until it is their turn

to occupy the line.

There is also the question of cost,

for this method of contact, although

valuable, is expensive, and more

time costs more money.


So in the interests of economy,

Platts have a machine allied to the

Telex that records the typed

message on punched tape, so that

when the line is clear the tape can

be fed into the Telex and the

machine will type at 88 words a

minute, or virtually twice the

manual speed.

Without doubt, the Platt Telex

system has enabled the sales company to secure some contracts by

virtue of sales representatives being

able to obtain vital Information

during negotiations abroad.

The Telex office has been

described as the pulse of the Platt

organisation----and if that is so, Mrs.

Mellor is surely its heartbeat.





Picture view of Platt’s men at work


Powerful and efficient publicity

In a highly competitive age it is no longer sufficient to

have a first-class product and men who are technological

experts, as well as first-class salesmen to sell it.

Nowadays it is an absolute

necessity for production and sales

departments to be backed by a

powerful and efficient publicity


And the Platt group is no exception. Publicity for the textile

division is planned and put into

operation from Oldham.

Publicity in the world of a

dynamic Industrial enterprise, how

ever, is more than the mere placing

of advertisements and the right type


of news items In technical publications important though it is.

It means all this and more. Working under Mr. R. Bagot, head of the

textile group publicity, are photographers, graphic designers and

artists, copy writers for advertising,

technical authors and publicity production men.. . all experts in their

own field and who combine to make

up a forceful team geared to gain

maximum impact in any publicity

field they set out to conquer.

An important task for this team

of 24 Is organising stands to demonstrate group products throughout

the world. ‘We have to arrange the

lay-out of the stands and supervise

their building, and in many cases

see the job through, although on

some occasions we hand over the

final supervision stage to our sales

representative covering the particular part of the world we are dealing

with” said one of the team.

Having recently exhibited at the

Moscow Trade Fair, similar fairs

are due to open in the Immediate

future in Mexico City and Greenville, South Carolina. Other exhibition stands organised from the Oldham base include those at Peking,

and India, and plans are already in

hand for the International Basle

Fair in 1967.

Sales and technical literature has

also to be prepared for the groups

sales representatives, agents and

textile mills scattered throughout

the globe.

One of the major if routine projects undertaken by the department

is the regular publication of Platt’s

Bulletin, 16,500 copies of which are

circulated to existing and potential

customers and Government trade

departments in all parts of the

world. It is printed in three foreign

languages as well as English.







This was the Henry Platt factory way back in 1821


This workshop


Ferney Bank,


Road, Oldham,

was opened by

Henry Platt in


He employed

a staff of five,

- and, because he

was short of

money to pay

them, he tried

to borrow some.

He met Elijah

Hibbert, a

partnership was

formed, and a

second Industrial


had started.

This revolution

was the


growth of the

Platt textile



business, which,

from this

 humble beginning, has developed into a multi-million pound world-wide network.



Within Platt Brothers there is a Guild of

foremen and Supervisors with

membership of about 90.

The principal aims of the guild are

to promote social and welfare

benefits for members and

encourage craftsmanship.

The guild was formed 20

years ago, and since then it

gone from strength to strength.

From time to time it has

meetings with the management

and a number of guild

suggestions for improvement

have been adopted.

Once a month, a committee

of nine, under the chairmanship

of  Mr Fred Clough, meets in

the staff canteen in working

hours to discuss the affairs of

the guild.

On the social side, the guild

organises such things as

bowling handicaps and cricket

matches, skittle competitions,

and annual outings and dinners.

With improved craftsmanship

in mind, the guild award prizes

of tools to apprentices who

have earned them. On a wider

scale within the factory, two

officials of the guild compare

notes with management recommending

winning departments In a competition for

cleanliness and efficiency.




For Platt Bros. (Sales) Ltd.

to sell first class textile

machinery in the markets of

the world. It is necessary for

the works of Platt Bros.

and Company Limited, one of

the production companies, to

back up the quality claim in the

goods they turn out. This means that modern techniques



in up to date premises are a

necessity and to this end the

company had spent some £8 million in recent years.

This picture, taken during

the re-building phase, shows

the magnitude of the project.





Dave Parker picks production team


THROUGHOUT the Rugby League fields of Britain he is known as

Oldham's international loose forward.

But down at Platt Brothers'

Hartford Works. he is the man' who

picks the production team.

He is, of course, Dave Parker, personnel


The overall responsibility of

recruiting staff up to senior management

level rests squarely on Mr.

Parker's shoulders, which are broad

enough to carry also the problems

of industrial relations, safety and

welfare - it includes a medical service -

security and training,

A large slice of Mr. Parker's rime,

however, is consumed by the education

and training system which is,

naturally, considered highly important

by the company.

All trainees, whether student

engineers or technician trainees,

have to go through the training

school, and they are all interviewed

before being taken on, to ascertain

whether they are the right sort of

raw material and in which field they

are likely to be happy and benefit

the company .

We pay a great deal of attention

to getting the right man in the right

job, and in assessing him we take

into account all kinds of things

besides qualifications - we even

question them on their outlook on

life in general," said Mr. Parker.

Outside the training scheme,

other employees are taken on more

or less up to any age providing they

are fit for the job they are seeking

or being asked to do. But here again, a great deal of importance is

attached to putting men into jobs

that suit them.

From starting work with Platt

Brothers to virtually retiring age,

the staff is subject to an appraisal

scheme. Regular reports are submitted

to management from departmental

heads, with recommendations

of likely promotion candidates,

These men - or women - are interviewed

from time to time, and if

they prove to be men of the substance

demanded they automatically

fall into consideration for promotion.




ANYBODY who has ever

experienced difficulty in booking

a holiday abroad will hardly

envy Mr. Vernon Jennings his job.

For Mr. Jennings, as shipping

manager for Platt Bros. (Sales)

Ltd., is responsible for arranging

the transportation of men and

material to all parts of the world.

He is a full-time travel agent, and

much more besides. Not only has

he to arrange travel for Platt

personnel going abroad, but he has to know the most direct or quickest air routes to get from place to place.


It might well be that there are two

or three airlines operating from

one part of a country to another,

in which case I have to know the

type of aircraft they are flying

on the route, one being faster than

the other. In fact, it is sometimes

quicker to wait a day for a faster

plane," said Mr. Jennings.

But booking flights is only one

aspect of the job Mr. Jennings has

to do. He has to obtain visas for

the men, and this means that he

must always have an up-to-date

knowledge of the regulations

affecting entry into various

countries .

His department is also responsible

for keeping records of the many

and various inoculations and

vaccinations that are necessary

for world-wide travel.

The movement of men, however, is

far from the simplest of Mr.

Jennings's problems. He is also

responsible for moving machinery

and equipment by sea. At one time

he saw three complete factories shipped abroad in the short space

of 18 months.

 “I recall, that one consignment of

9,000 tons went to Indonesia in

three ships one after the other,"

he said.

Under some contracts, Platt Bros (Sales) Ltd has been responsible for shipping complete factories, including the structural steelworks building and civil engineering plant, electrical equipment and air-conditioning plant being built or installed by various companies

involved in the consortium project."

“We even shipped out lorries to

carry the equipment from ship to

site," said Mr Jennings.

All the involved administrative work does not keep Mr Jennings entirely deskbound. He has at times to make survey trips along the routes proposed for major projects to ensure that everything will run smoothly.





Lifetime with the firm

A man who has been with

Platt Brothers all his working life is Mr. Billy Haworth,

supervisor of the tool room. And

when he retires next Friday, it

will not only be the end of 58

years of service with the company,

it will be the end of an era.

For Billy Haworth joined the

company as a lad of 12 as a

check office boy earning 2s. 2d.

for each 53-hour week. "Times

were hard then, it is true, but

I think we enjoyed ourselves,"

he said.

A year after starting with the

company, he was transferred to

the tool room and began learning

a skill in which be was to become a true craftsman.

Mr Haworth believes that

Things have improved 100 percent since he started. A major

improvement is the fact that

apprentices are now better educated

when they embark on a


Looking back over a half century

of working for one

firm, Billy Haworth does not

regret it. "The company has

always been a good one to work

for even, in the days of the depression,

and I have enjoyed my

working life," he said.

Although he is retiring, it is

unlikely that Mr. Haworth will

be forgotten, because he is leaving

behind for the present

apprentices the tools be has

treasured for many years. All

except the first be ever made -

a rough measuring Instrument -

which he is taking home.



The man with the overall responsibility

for keeping the Oldham

factory running smoothly is Mr.

Ernest Lazenby, managing director

since last June of Platt Bros. and

Co. Ltd.

And it's a full-time job, too.

Although Mr. Lazenby believes in

delegation, and letting those given

the job get on with it, he also

believes that a managing director

should have a full knowledge of

what is going on within his works.

I make it a point to get round

the factory twice a week to keep an

eye on things," he said.

The job of a managing director is

multifarious, involving financial and

development policy-making for

board recommendation.

It means also that he must be

abreast of developments in the

industry, particularly in the camps

of competitors. And then there are customers to be kept happy, and

this occasionally means hurried

trips abroad.

 Only last week-end, a telephone

call came through which resulted in

my flying out to Casablanca to

negotiate terms of contract," said

Mr. Lazenby.

Running a large factory is a time consuming

task and jobs are

frequently taken home. And even

on holiday it creeps in occasionally.

"Only the other week an important

customer rang me up at my hotel

with a problem that had to be sorted

out,' he said.

The lot of a managing director is

indeed a busy one. But Mr. Lazenby

would not change it…  because he

enjoys doing the job.


Platt's have 74 cars-but still they need to hire more

The responsibility of keeping the

wheels of the Platt fleet of cars

and commercial vehicles turning

rests squarely on the shoulders of

11r. Lawrence Marcroft, the company's

transport manager.

Mr. Marcroft has 74 cars and 14

commercial vehicles at hand to

answer the transport needs of

directors, salesmen, fitters and the

like. But even this number is not

always enough.

 We have a lot of cars, I know,

but we still have to hire as many as

12 a day on occasions when we are

busy," he said.

All the vehicles-they range from

minis to mammoth articulated

lorries of 12 tons-have to be serviced regularly. “We run a policy of preventive servicing, which means

that by doing very frequent checks

on the vehicles, repairs of a very

minor nature can be spotted. This

means that a half-hour check can

save what might have become a ten hour

repair job," said Mr. Marcroft.

Under Mr. Marcroft is a team of

five car mechanics, one car-washer.

a greaser, an administration cleric

and seven chauffeurs. He often has

to provide cars and chauffeurs at

very short notice, occasionaly to

travel abroad on exhibition duties.

“It is not unusual to be telephoned

at two in the morning by a sales

representative and asked to have a

car waiting at Ringway Airport in

a couple of hours time."

Last year the Platt fleet of

vehicles swallowed up a total of

21,000 gallons of petrol and 12,000

gallons of diesel oil in the cause of keeping Platt’s men and materials moving.


From Check Boy to Director

The claim by Platt's that they

believe in promotion from

within is backed up by living proof.

It is in the form of Mr. Arthur Jones

who, four years ago, was appointed

to the board of Platt Bros. and Co.


Mr. Jones started work with the

company in 1920 as a 12-year-Old

check boy. Later, he served his

apprenticeship in the machine shops

and fitting departments.

Born in Oldham, he received his

early education at Freehold School and later studied at Oldham

Municipal Technical College and at

the College of Technology, Manchester.

During his 46 years with the company,

Mr. Jones has held several

appointments, including those of

rate fixer, estimator, foreman, superintendent,

production manager ,

works manager and general works


Today, Mr. Jones looks back with

pride at the prosperity of the firm

and his personal rise through the

ranks. But he can still remember

the lean years, particularly the

slump of the late twenties when he

worked only three days every two



Russian demand for capital equipment will continue

By Mr. S. C. SEWARD,

chairman of Platt Bros.

(Sales) Ltd., and Britain's

No. 1 salesman to Russia.


During 1963-4 the USSR Foreign

Trade Corporations purchased

capital equipment (that is, plant,

machinery, machine tools and

electrical equipment) at an average

rate of £920m. per annum. £700m.

per annum was spent with Comecon

countries and the balance of £220m.

per annum was spent in western

Europe and Japan, with relatively

small purchases from the US.

Purchases from UK manufacturers

and engineering contractors average

£20m. per annum. The value of UK

exports of capital equipment is

expected to Increase considerably

during the latter part of this year

and during 1967-8, when shipments

of plant and machinery will be made

in connection with orders placed by the

the USSR Foreign Trade Corporation in the UK during 1964-5 for

large textile fibre, chemical and

textile projects.

According to current Soviet

Government planning, this demand

for capital equipment is likely to

continue and there is no reason to

believe that the Soviet Union will

not continue to Import equipment at

current rates.

The same allocation of orders will

no doubt continue in the future—

that is, approximately 75 per cent of

requirements will be purchased in

accordance with trade agreements

with Comecon countries and the

balance from Western Europe and

Japan, with perhaps increasing

purchases from the US. It is known

that there will be large purchases of

machine tools required for the

expansion and re-equipment of the

USSR automobile Industry. The

Soviet authorities have also

announced plans for the re-equipment and  expansion of certain

of the textile producing industries.

During the past 12 years

Many British capital equipment

Manufacturers and contractors,

operating as separate companies or

in consortium, have carried out large

and successful contracts  in many

parts of the USSR, including products for tyres, chemical products, food handling

and textiles.

In addition, there has been a constant

demand for plant and machinery of

all types required for re-equipping

and expanding existing factories and

national services.

It is expected, and certainly hoped

by British suppliers, in view of the

large purchases by the UK of USSR

products  (for example, timber, hides,

special metals. etc.) that, in order to

maintain a more realistic balance of

trade between the two countries, the

Soviet Union will give favourable

consideration to the purchase of

British products of all types, including capital equipment, during the

coming years.

The first essential in selling any

type of product to the Soviet Union

is to realise that one is dealing with

a State organisation and not with

individual companies.

In order to establish the necessary

contacts with Soviet purchasing

organisations and personnel, it is

essential that representatives of the

British firms should make personal

visits to Moscow, not only once but

maybe several times. These arrangements can generally be made in the

first Instance in conjunction with the

Trade Delegation of the USSR.

London. It is regarded as an

essential courtesy that early in any

discussions or negotiations, a visit to

Moscow should be made by the

senior executive of the British

companies concerned, preferably at

managing director or director level, in order to confirm the company's

interest in the project under

discussion and thereby establish


Soviet States purchasing is always

in accordance with established procedure.

The placing of contracts is

decided by technical specification,

price, delivery and-particularly in

connection with large contracts - terms

of payment (that Is, credit


Allowances are made and premiums

paid for technical and

specification advantages, always provided

that these advantages are

accepted by the buyer's technical

specialists and the seller is prepared

to agree reasonable guarantees of

quality and performance.

Nevertheless, the Russians place

a high value on personal relationships,

and mutual confidence

established between Foreign Trade

Corporation and a firm or individual

plays a large part in creating a

favourable atmosphere in which

sometimes difficult and complicated

discussions and negotiations can be

carried out. It is natural and logical

that the buyer's technical and commercial

representatives, who are

often heavily involved in negotiations

connected with many projects

being discussed with potential

suppliers from several different

countries, should favour placing

orders, with those companies or

individuals with whom they have

had past dealings and who they

know "will never let them down."


In connection with most contracts

involving capital equipment, several

State organisations are involved,

namely, the State Planning Commission

(Gosplan), the industrial

Ministry concerned (for example.

Ministry of Light Industries or the

Ministry of Chemicals) who are

responsible for planning the technical

details of a new project, and

eventually the Ministry of Foreign

Trade, which controls the buying

corporations who are responsible for

negotiating and placing the contracts.

In recent years the buying

corporations have been more inclined

to facilitate direct discussions

between potential suppliers and the

representatives of the Soviet planning

and engineering organisations

involved, and also the end-user.


Representatives of the trading

corporation are always present and

participate in these discussions .

The final negotiations are conducted

by the Foreign Trade

Corporation's professional negotiators.

These negotiators are highly

experienced and their success

depends upon buying at the best

possible prices and on the best

possible terms. With these objectives

in mind the negotiators are prepared

to conduct the negotiations with

tenacity and patience. These negotiations

can be protracted and

sometimes exasperating, often due

to delays necessitated by circumstances

beyond the control of the

negotiators. It should be borne in

mind however, that the negotiators

would not spend time and effort

unless they were prepared to close

a contract, subject to satisfactory

prices, etc.


The Foreign Trade Corporations

will insist on a detailed contract

which imposes on the sellers strict

and clearly defined conditions to be

fulfilled in the contract, including

inspection procedure, penalties for

delayed delivery, quality guarantees

and, in the case of a complete

complex, guaranteed performance,

At the same time, the trading

corporations will consider and accept

reasonable protective clauses on

behalf of· the sellers according to the

circumstances surrounding the contract. This is particularly important,

in connection with contracts for the

supply and erection of complicated

technical projects in the new manufacturing areas being established by

the Soviet authorities thousands of

miles away from the traditional

areas. Handling of the equipment

can be difficult due to the inexperience of the local labour and

extreme climatic conditions.

Difficulties and damage can occur

due to the lack of sufficient

experienced personnel during the

erection, "running-In" and handing

over of the plant. The seller is

advised to take protective measures

against these hazards by suitable

clauses in the contract and provided the clauses are realistic and

fair they will be accepted by the

foreign trade negotiators.

While the conditions of contract

imposed by the Soviet corporations

make strict demands on the seller,

the observation of contractual

obligations by the trading corporations is acknowledged to be beyond

reproach. The USSR buying

corporations have established a

world-wide reputation for their

adherence to and fairness in

interpreting the terms of a contract

once agreed.

 Finally, knowledge of the Soviet

Union's continuing large demand for

capital equipment is a challenge to

all British manufacturers and contractors.



CHAIRMAN of the award-winning

company, Platt Bros. (Sales)

Ltd. is Mr. Samuel Conrad Seward,

OBE. Born In 1908, he is married but

has no children. He lives at Boxmoor,

Herts, and is also a director

of Stone-Platt, Industries, and chairman

of Dobson and Barlow, Machines Sales Ltd.

He is also managing director of

Polyspinners Ltd., a consortium of

Constructors John Brown, Imperial

Chemical Industries and Stone-

Platt Industries. The company was

formed to negotiate and carry out

under Mr. Seward's guidance a contract

with the USSR for a polyester

fibre factory.

The initial value of the contract

is £30 million; delivery will start in

January, 1967, and all the textile

machinery - valued at some £18

million - will be supplied by Dobson

and Barlow Machinery Sales Ltd.

Mr. Seward is a member of the

executive committees of the Hispanic

Council and Luso-Brazilian Council;

he is also chairman of the executive

council of the Russo - British

Chamber of Commerce.

Mr. Seward's first appointment

was with Western Electric Co. Ltd.,

and at the outbreak of war he was

sales director of one of their associated

companies. During the war he

was deputy director of aero engine

development and production with

the Ministry of Aircraft Production.

In 1947, Mr. Seward joined Platt

Bros. (Sales) Ltd., as a director,

later becoming managing director

and finally chairman in 1963. Under

his guidance, Platt Bros. (Sales)

Ltd., have gained many substantial export orders, but of particular

interest is one contract worth many

millions for the installation and commissioning

of four textile mills in

South Korea, as part of the United

Nations rehabilitation programme.

In fact, it was for his services to

British exports that Mr. Seward

was awarded the OBE in 1964.

Although a world-wide traveller,

he has visited Latin-America-and

Mexico in particular - during the

past 15 years, and is well known to

the Mexican textile industry,

especially the cotton spinning side,

who are large users of Platt's



One of the busiest- telephone

switchboards in Oldham is that

at Hartford Works, which handles

calls for the Platt companies.

The smooth working of this

important telecommunication centre

is under the supervision of Mrs.

Gladys Urquhart, who has a staff

of four switchboard operators under


International traffic is ever

increasing through the switchboard,

and there are plans for increasing

the present 20 lines to 25. There

are over 300 extensions for Mrs.

Urquhart and her staff to remember.

In addition to the numerous calls

to and from all parts Of Britain,

there are many international calls.

"We handle calls involving distances

as far as Australia, America and

Russia, not to mention the

numerous ones to the mid-European

countries," said Mrs. Urquhart.

She finds one of the rewards of

also being receptionist to visitors is

that she often greets people from

abroad who previously have been merely familiar voices.



Ten of the employees at Platt

Brothers and Co. Ltd. had been

with the company for over 50 years,

at a count taken eight weeks ago.

The count also revealed that 31

employees had been with the company over 45 years. 26 over 40. 38

over 35 years and 59 had been on

the payroll for over 30 years.

There were many comparative

“newcomers” too. Over 25 years

service had been put in by 100

employees, while another 144 had

been with the firm over 20 years. ..

and 244 workers had been with the

firm in excess of 15 years.

“We think these figures show that

we have a hard core of loyal

workers who are happy with us,”

said one of the company’s directors.


Training is Key to Future and Platt’s go for it at all levels


Investment in the future by

big industrial organisations is

usually couched in terms related to

ploughing back capital in order to

improve or expand machinery or

structure . . or indeed set up new

premises from which to widen a


Nowadays however, this phrase

can and does mean much more. It

means making provision for the

future brainpower also, by investing

in men.

Go-ahead firms have recognised

increasingly since the war that fully

trained personnel at all levels is

more than an asset, it is essential in

modern industry.

And the Stone-Platt group, of

which Platt’s of Oldham is a part,

is no exception.

We started our scholarship

scheme In 1947 as an investment in

the future. With modern textile

machinery now so sophisticated, it

is the top-class engineers of

tomorrow who hold the future of the

 industry, and indeed the country in their hands.” Said Mr S W Archer l.ir  chief education and training officer

for the textile division, talking about one aspect of the training.



He added: “Top management

positions can only be held by men

who are fully qualified to do so, and

since Stone-Platt believe in promotion from within, we offer young

people entering the group a thorough

training scheme. This gives them the

thorough grounding they need to

climb the ladder . . . after that it is

up to them.”

Mr. Archer’s job is to advise the

whole of the textile group on policy

matters affecting training and

education and also to assist in

recruiting. In addition, he is also

involved in implementing management and staff development.


The sales company had for a long

time recognised the importance of

having a well-trained staff of sales

men, textile technicians and

engineers, backed by an efficient

commercial administration.

“In the highly-competitive world

markets, salesmen in particular

must have a high level of knowledge,

efficiency and energy,” said Mr.

Archer, who pointed out that some

of the company’s existing salesmen

had worked for the company from

leaving school or college, while

others had undergone various training schemes within other companies

in the textile group.

Mr. Archer said that during the

past seven years or so, the group had

instituted a scheme under which

young university graduates were

recruited for training within the

group at local colleges and at

customers’ mills.

“Often this scheme takes them to

various parts of the world as they

are being prepared for a sales

career.” He added that one such

recruit, who joined the company at

the age of 22, was now a sales

director covering Russia .. . and he

was still only 29.

Many of the graduates who joined

the group were multi-linguists, went, on Mr Archer, and they were given a concentrated course in textile technology, international finance

and other essential subjects

necessary in selling textile

machinery across the world.

Having first-class salesmen is all

well and good, however, providing

they have a first-class product to


This is where the training of

manufacturing and service personnel

comes in.

Student engineers, who are usually

straight from grammar or public

schools with at least two or three

“A”-level passes, and trainee technicians, who come with several “O”

level passes, are recruited. The

student engineers are sent to

universities or colleges of advanced

technology for training, and the

trainee technicians attend local

colleges on day and b1ock-release

trade apprenticeship courses.

Mr. Archer pointed out that the

system did not prevent the trade

apprentice from rising to senior

status within the group. “Many of

the existing directors and senior

managers have worked their way to

top-level executive positions from

shop floor level’ he said.

The present-day trend was for

higher-qualified men starting work

at a later age, having completed


their initial education, and then

rising rapidly to senior posts.

Mr. Archer felt that the training

system was working exceptionally

well. “The number of applicants

always exceeds the number of

places available, and at the other

end we find we have very few

failures” he said.

A training system is also run for

the training of administrative staff.

“Increasing attention is now being

paid to the training of cost

accountants, office machine

operatives, shorthand typists and

other clerical staff,” said Mr.


Although overall training policy is

decided centrally at Oldham, each

company within the group has its

own training officer who is

responsible for organising the

scheme within his own province.



Did you know that the total area

of the factory site is more than

30 acres, or that 896,000 square feet

of it is under cover?

Or that the company has 2,200

employees, of which 900 are

employed in the development, technical, commercial, costs, works

administration and executive departments.

Platt’s has one of the largest

machine shops in the country,

backed by a very efficient stores

organisation and erection areas.

There is a fully-automatic painting line, with infra-red stove

enamelling facilities, and a large

packing area fully covered by

traversing cranes.

A full heat-treatment plant and a

large plating department, capable of

plating any kind of material used in

modern production, makes Platt’s

one of the best-equipped factories in

the country, and there is hardly a

modern production process which

cannot be seen somewhere in the




A Platt’s Tribute after 1903 fire

This interesting testimonial dates back to 1908. On February 19


that year there was an outbreak of fire in the timber-drying department at Hartford New Works and Platts were so impressed with the speed and efficiency of the Oldham Fire Brigade that it was decided to send the company’s thanks to the chairman of the
Oldham Watch Committee.








FOR over a century, Platt's of

Oldham have claimed, justifiably,

that the textile machines

they build are second to none.

They have also established a

reputation for a fine after-sales


It would seem that the claims and

promises made by some of the

company's earlier salesmen were

not without foundation, for

inquiries are still received from

time to time asking for spare

parts for machines supplied as far

back as the early 1900s, and even


"As it happens, we still have some

parts for our early machines in

stock, and more often than not we

can oblige. Mind you, we feel like

saying the old machine has proved

itself why not try a new one . . .

but then, that's another story,"

said one member of the sales

company staff.

Bodies with his morning flakes


down to breakfast, looked out

of the window - and saw a body

dangling from a gibbet.

He was not unduly shocked; after

all, the men who visit many remote

corners of the world to assemble

Platt's machinery become used to

various strange customs after a

while. But when there was a body

dangling 'Within feet of his cornflakes

every other day, he did think

it a bit much.

"I was out in Syria at the time,

and I soon learned that they still had

public hangings. The sentences were

carried out in the town square in

front of our hotel. The trouble was

that they left the bodies hanging for

three hours," said Mr. Hargreaves.

Mr. Hargreaves, who is 44 and the

senior technical representative for

Platt Bros (Sales) Ltd., has now

visited practically every country in

the world assembling and servicing

Platt-built textile machinery. He

now has only one continent he would

like to visit - South America. He

has already visited ten countries this


Accrington-born Mr. Hargreaves

joined Howard and Bullough as a

lad of 14 as an apprentice engineer.

After serving with the Royal Navy

during the war, he returned to the

company and joined its team of

world-travelling fitters. In 1961, he

was recruited to Platt Bros. (Sales)


" My first job with the sales company

was to take charge of a team

of 28 men from the merger companies

who had been sent to

Khartoum to install the plant in a

54,000-spindlemill which was· the

largest on the African continent,"

Mr. Hargreaves recalled.

Until 1950, fitters had to travel

everywhere by sea and land. Today

they go by air: "In 1948, I went to

Syria, and it took me three weeks

to get there before we even started

work. Nowadays I can be there in 11 hours”, he said.

Mr Hargreaves is not only involved in setting up plants and

advising, he is also responsible for

assembling machines at trade

exhibitions in various parts of the

world, and dismantling them afterwards.

During the run of the exhibitions,

he is on the stand and organises

the running of the machinery for

potential customers and visitors. One

of the visitors to the Platt stand at

the recent Moscow Trade Fair was

Mr. Kosygin the Russian Premier.

  I was surprised at the knowledge

he had about textiles, and it

came as no shock to learn later that

he had been in the textile industry,

for he certainly knew what he was

talking about," said Mr. Hargreaves.

Like the 128-strong team that he

heads, Mr. Hargreaves has to be

prepared to fly out to any part of

the world at comparatively short

notice for an indefinite stay abroad.

Who knows, he may yet get to South America.


Milestones in the history of Platt’s

• In 1750, Henry Platt, village

blacksmith at Nicker Brow,

Dobcross, began making woollen

carding machines in his smithy.

• His son, John, was born in

1767, and on the death of his

father, he took over the business of

meeting the needs of local farmers

, but he also made carding

machines, billies and looms.

• Henry Platt jnr was born in

1793, and as a young man

set up a similar business to his

father in a near-by village.

• In 1820 he moved to Oldham.

• In 1821 Henry Platt opened

a workshop in Ferney Bank,

Huddersfield Road. He employed

five people, and this was the start

of what was to become the biggest

textile machinery-making group in

the world.

• Henry Platt went into

partnership with an Oldham

man, Elijah Hibbert, in 1822, and

the business moved to larger

premises at the other side of the

town. These were to be expanded

greatly and become Hartford Works.

• Joseph and John, the two

elder sons of Henry Platt,

joined the business in 1839 and, on

their becoming partners, the firm

became Hibbert, Platt and Sons.

• Three years later, Henry Platt

died at the age of 55.

• The firm really began to

expand in 1843 with the

removal of export restrictions, and

a booming export business began.

The name Platt started to spread

across the world.

• The Platt brothers acquired

majority share control of the

company in 1846 on the death of

Elijah Hibbert.

• In 1854, the firm became

Platt Brothers and Company,

and the two brothers had become

sole owners of the largest textile

engineering firm in the world.

• The firm became a limited

company in 1868 - Platt

Brothers and Company Limited.

• John Platt died in Paris while

on an export tour of Europe.

He was 54, and the firm by now

employed 7,000 men.

• A dining hall measuring

 197ft, by 58ft, was built to

accommodate 936 men as the firm continued to expand.

• 1897, and an underground railway was built to feed the

many blocks of buildings with castings and materials


• In 1913, King George V and Queen Mary visited the company.


• By 1929, new buildings has

expanded the workshop area

to over 65 acres, and 12,000 people

were employed in workshops, spindle

works, forge. saw-mills, mines and

offices. They produced every type

of textile machinery from cotton

gins and wool openers to looms for

weaving plain cotton goods and all·

wool Axminster carpets.


• The first Stone-Platt link was

forged in 1931 by Sir Walter

Preston, a director of J. Stone who

took the lead in reorganising the

textile industry in Lancashire.


• 1939, and after the outbreak

of war the company under

took a mammoth re-organisation as

it switched to the production of

armaments and machine tools

exactly as it had done during the

previous world war.


• In 1946, Sir Kenneth Preston

the present chairman or

Stone Platt Industries Ltd succeeded his father as chairman of

Platt Brothers and Co, (Holdings)

Ltd. Three years earlier, he had been

appointed chairman of Stones, and

this latest appointment strengthened

the link between the two companies.

• By 1955. many of the older

buildings were becoming unsafe and work started on a three phase

development plan. The first

added 150,000 square feet, the

second a further 14,600 square feet,

and the final stage brought the

additional floor area to 250,000

square feet, making the total square

footage of the factory area to


• Three years later, a large

rebuilding programme was

started along with a policy of buying

 new machines, It was part of the

£8 million invested in new plant and

equipment in recent years within the Stone-Platt group.



This was digitised by William Bridge in December 2015