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Name: Phil Gardner 19.02.09
Subject: The Good Old Days

Message: I started at Sayner Lane in September 1973 as a financial analyst. True to form for the time, the foundry was shut due to a strike! Dick Adcock was MD, Dick Aldridge was Financial Controller, John Herron (Philip's dad) was personnel manager and Trevor Haggar was production manager in the Gravity Die Foundry. At that time WYF had 3 aluminium foundries and 3 iron foundries at Hunslet plus the iron foundry at Keighley, employing approx 2400 staff producing huge quantities of castings and losing even huger amounts of money! Memories of the time include some horrendous drinking sessions in the Brookfield with John (Willie) Flockton, Roger Hilditch and John Swaby (I never attempted to keep up with them!), plus many nightmare inducing practices which would have the place closed down immediately today - anyone remember Granville James standing under the cupola in no3 foundry breaking a 'bridge'? By about 1984 the iron foundries had closed and aluminium production rationalised onto the riverside site, employing around 185 staff in total. By this time I had reverted to my original career in engineering and was project engineering manager. Things pottered along precariously until we were sold off to Eisenwerk Bruhl in 1987, a privately owned German automotive iron foundry wanting to enter the expanding aluminium casting market. They had bought the Austrian aluminium foundry Mandl u. Berger the previous year. This was my first introduction to Berndt Horstkamp, our new MD. I had a tremendous respect for Berndt's technical wisdom, but his people skills were distinctly lacking. Phil Herron can tell a few tales on this topic!. Nuff said. Think I'd better call it a day for now. Any more old oldies out there? Phil


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