Spotlight on towns’ industrial heritage
PUBLISHED: 13:00 21 January 2017
My archive spotlight this week hovers over mid Norfolk’s industrial heritage, centring on the market towns of Dereham and Fakenham.
The once-famous firm of Hobbies of Dereham provided fretsaw products to the world until its closure in the 1960s. In this picture from 1954, Mr T Whitney is verifying assembled fretsaw frames.
In the same year, the clock firm of Metamec was exporting thousands of clocks from its premises in Dereham. Betty Twaites is seen putting the numerals on just one of the many timepieces manufactured there.
Metamec’s parent firm, furniture makers Jentiques of Dereham, were profiled in June, 1959 - however I have no further details for this photo of a worker planing a stack of wood.
The Wayland Manufacturing Company in Drift Road, Fakenham had just opened in February, 1961 when our photographer dropped by and took this shot of the main work room where local women were employed making trousers and slacks. The firm was established in 1956 by Richard Harmer of Norwich; the Fakenham area was chosen because sufficient labour could be found locally.
A new grain dryer completed at Village Farm, Houghton was installed in August, 1960. The dryer kept pace with five combines, cleaning and drying the corn for storage as it was carted off the fields. The plant was installed by Sculthorpe agricultural engineers Oliver Rix Ltd and housed in a steel-framed asbestos-clad building measuring 131 ft by 60 ft in which 800 tons of grain could be stored in silos.
A worker at the trailer builders Crane’s of Dereham, featured some time before the firm merged with the American firm of Fruehauf to form Crane Fruehauf in 1963.
Dry cleaning machines of a new design are being made at the Dereham factory of Richard Garrett Engineering Ltd in May, 1974. Both machines were for export, one to France and the other to Norway. The firm had a workforce of about 100 and was once the engineering department of Hobbies Ltd. After the takeover of Hobbies the works became Dereham Engineering Ltd, before being taken over by Richard Garrett.
A new company formed to extend the use of solar energy moved into a factory unit at Rash’s Green, Dereham in February, 1977. David Reid (right) one of the founders of Solchauf Ltd and Bryan Sutton who has worked on the development of the solar panels seen in the rear, inspect a solar still.
Factory employees at Crane Fruehauf of Dereham organised a trailer-building session for charity one weekend in June, 1988. The trailer, being assembled by (from left) Pat Stolworthy, Maurice Stagles and John Monument, was to be sold in the normal way and would fetch up to £10,000 which would be donated to local good causes.
The Ford dealership of JJ Wright in Dereham was celebrating its fiftieth anniversary in November, 1962. Joseph James Wright originally came from King’s Lynn to open up a bicycle shop in Dereham’s Commercial Road in 1888 and moved up to motorcycles before branching out into cars.
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