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A place to play as well as a place to work

PUBLISHED: 15:00 25 February 2010 | UPDATED: 08:25 02 July 2010

Working away on Jumbo, the machine which drilled and cut steel girders. The picture came from John Cann, then a young apprentice, on the left.

Working away on Jumbo, the machine which drilled and cut steel girders. The picture came from John Cann, then a young apprentice, on the left.

Derek James

It wasn't so much a job, more a way of life…working on Jumbo, the monster piece of drilling and cutting machinery which was produced in Norwich and sent all over the world.

Derek James

It wasn't so much a job, more a way of life…working on Jumbo, the monster piece of drilling and cutting machinery which was produced in Norwich and sent all over the world.

My stories about the man who invented Jumbo, John Measures, and Boulton & Paul, the world famous city factory have caused so much interest.

Thank you so much for all your calls, letters and emails which have arrived from across this country and also from Canada, Australia and South Africa.

The scrapbooks brought in by former B&P workers Ray Pease and Lenny Aldridge have opened the window on the amazing world of B&P where thousands of men and women worked for hundreds of years.

This company which produced an extraordinary range of goods, from fire buckets to airships, and played a leading role in the development of Norwich pumping enormous sums of money into the economy.

John Cann lent me these pictures of him and his mates at work and at play.

The photograph taken in the Riverside Works is of him and his colleagues working on a small section of giant Jumbo in the late 1950s/early 60s.

John, that's him on the left, stared work as an apprentice platter and finished up as a general foreman. Others in the picture are Jack Duffy, Charlie Hudson, Geoff Rayner, Derek Smithhollow and George Watchall.

Geoff Andrews, the chap sitting in the middle of the picture, travelled the world helping to install Jumbo. He married a woman in Sweden where he went to live.

“B&P was an extraordinary place to work. There was a special bond of friendship between the workers. There were some highly skilled men in that factory,” said John.

And when they weren't grafting at the huge Riverside Works or at the other B&P factories they were playing darts, football or having a laugh with their mates at the busy social club.

Watch out for more pictures illustrating how B&P helped to build this country of ours by putting up a whole network of bridges.

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