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Old 1st Sep 2019, 4:12 pm   #21
G6Tanuki
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Default Re: History to be axed

I can totally understand why businesses aren't interested in keeping a museum (unless that is their business _is_ being a museum).

What some people see as 'valuable artifacts' others see as 'clutter taking up space which can be better put to more-profitable uses'. Curation [along with proper records-keeping and access-control] costs money! It's no good having a load of 'stuff' if there are no searchable records and the only person who knows what it all is is aged and in ill-health. Even less use when said 'volunteer archivist' dies and you find he's the only one who knows the boot-up password to the 25-year-old PC on which he supposedly recorded the details.... [a few years back this happened to an organisation I know. They presented me with some flip-top boxes containing around 100 serially-numbered 5.25-inch floppy-disks which contained - somewhere - 'the database' and loads of scanned documents/photos - and asked if I could help. I said no].

Sad, some may say - but a business is there to make money for its shareholders not keep archives of old-stuff.
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Old 1st Sep 2019, 4:33 pm   #22
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Default Re: History to be axed

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Originally Posted by Hartley118 View Post
Kelvin Hughes, as can be judged from the name, is a company with history, tracing its roots back to Lord Kelvin and even further back to the 17th century with the Hughes family of clockmakers. When I was with the company, it was well-known among the staff that I was keen on recording and preserving the company's history: an enthusiastic senior engineer even devoted much of his own time in retirement to cataloguing some historic items and records. Those historic items of equipment and many records are now safely stored and displayed in Ilford musem.
I'd always thought of Kelvin Hughes as a Scottish company, so was surprised to find that these items are located in Ilford.

However, the Wikipedia article you linked to states that the company headquarters are in Hainault.

(For those not familiar with the area, Hainault is in the London Borough of Redbridge and the Redbridge local history museum is located in Redbridge central library in Ilford.)

Until recently I'd lived in the Ilford area for over 40 years but never knowingly encountered Kelvin Hughes so I started a little search of my own, using Google earth.

I started with Hainault industrial estate but couldn't see any thing resembling the buildings in the picture in the Wikipedia article. Refreshing my memory I spotted the bus stop but there are no bus routes through the estate so I was obviously off course!

The only other suitable place I could think of was in New North Road - which is quite long. So I did a trawl from end to end but came up empty handed. A Google search gave me a PostCode in New North Road which conveniently includes a bus stop. Again nothing.

Google earth goes back to 2008, so I started there. Bingo! The name on the building is obviously a more recent update but is there clear enough. Fast forward to August 2011 and the same picture emerges, complete with radar scanners: https://goo.gl/maps/epTgGjXEfVcTqsTZ9

The next view is November 2012 but now the scanners and the name have gone and the gates are locked: https://goo.gl/maps/VLDQFBvrPN1HDUqv8

The empty site lingers on for a while but, by June 2015, not a trace is left: https://goo.gl/maps/QwBXq3GiLDDcuNxd7

Hence my confusion earlier. That Wikipedia article is badly in need of updating!

The company lives on under a new owner but is now based in Enfield.

An excellent pdf, 100 years of production at Hainault shows that the Hughes part of the concern is responsible for the Hainault connection.
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Old 1st Sep 2019, 4:34 pm   #23
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Default Re: History to be axed

I wish I had kept more paperwork and stuff from my days at Rumbelows.
Ive got some bits n bobs including promotional items, training videos and some VHS TV adverts which were looped for use instore , ive even got old wage slips.
Another company that slid quietly into history almost without a trace now when Thorn closed them down and I am sure what ever was left was disposed of by the Nomura Group when it acquired Thorn .

I tried to contact other ex employees over the years but almost without success.
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Old 1st Sep 2019, 5:43 pm   #24
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Default Re: History to be axed

If feeling venomous Mike (and I'm not at all surprised) my first instinct would be to roar in there and claim any stuff that YOU donated...back! If I was nearer I would come with you.

What was that old proverb? A man with one eye on the past is blind in one eye, but a man with both eyes on the future is blind in both eyes. Probably glib, probably sexist by today's standards....and probably misquoted. But you get the general idea.

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Old 1st Sep 2019, 6:20 pm   #25
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Default Re: History to be axed

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Originally Posted by Sean Williams View Post
We have a similar mentality at my employers - several of the older engineers (myself included) squirrell away equipment that we remove from older machines.

Not to build a museum, but because "it may come in handy"

There used to be a stash in the workshop under a bench, that has yielded several useful items over the years, and has saved our bacon more than once, sadly, this has now all been scrapped, and the policy is a simple one - if it is second hand, it goes in the bin.
Yes Sean. That is what I found. I was often the contact for many obsolete parts or equipment, sometimes even asked to look in my own garage! Yes, surplus parts that were officially bought as surplus from the company and not just "won"! After I retired, just a very few years ago, support for some gear was soon withdrawn, as nobody knew anything about it, how to test it, or were really interested in support. The new manufacturing using the 5S scheme also hampered my attempts at maintaining obsolete gear for valuable customers, as "used" items did not fit in with the grand scheme of things when it came to storage or certification. Thing was, the same customers used to say they really liked our company's products because we always had such good after sales support!!

Terry, the 100 year history of Kelvin Hughes is a lovely link. Thanks.
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Old 1st Sep 2019, 6:22 pm   #26
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Default Re: History to be axed

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Originally Posted by terrykc View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hartley118 View Post
Kelvin Hughes, as can be judged from the name, is a company with history, tracing its roots back to Lord Kelvin and even further back to the 17th century with the Hughes family of clockmakers. When I was with the company, it was well-known among the staff that I was keen on recording and preserving the company's history: an enthusiastic senior engineer even devoted much of his own time in retirement to cataloguing some historic items and records. Those historic items of equipment and many records are now safely stored and displayed in Ilford musem.
I'd always thought of Kelvin Hughes as a Scottish company, so was surprised to find that these items are located in Ilford.

However, the Wikipedia article you linked to states that the company headquarters are in Hainault.

(For those not familiar with the area, Hainault is in the London Borough of Redbridge and the Redbridge local history museum is located in Redbridge central library in Ilford.)

Until recently I'd lived in the Ilford area for over 40 years but never knowingly encountered Kelvin Hughes............

Hence my confusion earlier. That Wikipedia article is badly in need of updating!

The company lives on under a new owner but is now based in Enfield.

An excellent pdf, 100 years of production at Hainault shows that the Hughes part of the concern is responsible for the Hainault connection.
Yes Terry, the Kelvin origin of the company was in Glasgow- in Hillington, but there’s now barely any presence in Glasgow. In any case that would be under the name ChartCo, the brand of the marine chart supply department. Incidentally, that’s a great example of the way that companies evolve beyond their history. From being originally Henry Hughes marine chart supply department, ChartCo is now the world’s largest supplier of marine electronic data, not only for navigation, but also for all the regulatory requirements in the marine industry. Excessive focus on history might have resulted in them just continuing to sell paper charts.

Thanks for highlighting that ‘100 years’ historical pdf. That’s typical of the material that our voluntary archivist Harry Harvey RIP unearthed and preserved for posterity. I do, however, find myself wondering whether the company’s relatively new German owners will maintain the online presence of that document. Think I might make a copy just in case.......

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Old 1st Sep 2019, 7:00 pm   #27
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Default Re: History to be axed

Thamks for all the suggestions and support from all the contributors its been very good to know it's the norm

I am not feeling venomous as such just sad.

We have always had great links with TfL's transport museum so that might be a possible new home for some of the rare kit.

I find our younger staff aren't all totally diinterested it's just they have been lead to believe we are in a technicalogical age where all the old stuff is out of date umtil after a conversation or in a product meeting they suddenly learn the new "thing" they ar implementing is the same using differnt hardware implemented in software that was a stratagy used for some 50 years or more using bulbs, bells and batterys.

Anyway nothinng will happen for a week or two I will let you know what happens.

Cheers

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Old 1st Sep 2019, 9:37 pm   #28
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Default Re: History to be axed

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Originally Posted by robinshack View Post
Thing was, the same customers used to say they really liked our company's products because we always had such good after sales support!!

Rob
Yes, I've also seen the change in focus between providing first class, cheap, long term "as and when" support as a aid to future sales, to providing extremely expensive support contracts as a way of garnering more income. Usually support is also ended sooner to force people to "upgrade".

You can be sure that a bean counter somewhere worked out the latter approach brings in more cash ........ at least in the short and medium term.
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Old 1st Sep 2019, 11:16 pm   #29
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Default Re: History to be axed

re #23, coincidentally, while reading these posts I happen to be in the middle of playing an LP that I once picked up in a local charity shop for 50p, "Rumbelows Exclusive Jubilee Collection" : "25 memorable tunes"; "more than one hour of music". Evidently produced for the Queen's 25th anniversary. Somewhere I have another charity shop find, an LP record of pop singles, issued by GEC as a dealer promotion, but not in connection with the Jubilee.
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Old 2nd Sep 2019, 7:11 am   #30
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Default Re: History to be axed

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re #23, coincidentally, while reading these posts I happen to be in the middle of playing an LP that I once picked up in a local charity shop for 50p, "Rumbelows Exclusive Jubilee Collection" : "25 memorable tunes"; "more than one hour of music". Evidently produced for the Queen's 25th anniversary. Somewhere I have another charity shop find, an LP record of pop singles, issued by GEC as a dealer promotion, but not in connection with the Jubilee.
Wow , now that's a blast from the past.
I have a feeling that they were given away with certain music centres in the shops .
Recall seeing a few of them around the place along with some promo picture discs too.
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Old 2nd Sep 2019, 10:57 am   #31
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Default Re: History to be axed

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We have always had great links with TfL's transport museum so that might be a possible new home for some of the rare kit.
Interesting. What sort of transport related kit did the company make, Mike?

The museum at Covent Garden has been dumbed down in recent years - I hope this hasn't extended to Acton.

When a lot of the collection was hidden away at Ash Grove Garage many years ago, I was a member of a Transport Trust group granted a private viewing. Fascinating!

Ah! Inspiration! If TfL aren't interested (or interested in all of it), contact the Transport Trust.

They may be able to suggest museums and collections who might be interested in preserving the collection for the future.

If you want to make contact by phone, the office is staffed on Wednesdays.
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Old 2nd Sep 2019, 11:20 am   #32
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Default Re: History to be axed

We can learn an awful lot from history, and with the recent 'heads-up' for the general public about repairing items again, whoever said 'there's no future in the past' must have injured a foot.

That said, our company have recently relocated, owing to our industry, we offered interesting instruments & equipment to museums up and down The UK, of the ones who responded, they were 'out of space'. Needless to say, it was all scrapped, since storing is expensive and not a sound business model.

Some bits remain in the workshop at work (as you do), some of it can never enter the public domain and when the time comes, some of it will fit in the boot of the car!

Not-so-oddly/typically, a good number of enquires from other staff members 'do we have parts for ...' ... & so far, I've been able to supply some parts, keeping loyal customers happy, on the proviso they understand the parts are obsolete and they're getting the very last from stock.

Sad times indeed, and not uncommon these days. If only I had a larger workshop at home.

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Old 2nd Sep 2019, 1:13 pm   #33
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Default Re: History to be axed

Yes. Our local Lincoln Road Transport Museum is jam packed with barely space to squeeze between the vehicles - despite a new extension built only a few years ago. Some of the vehicles have to be stored off site as a result.
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Old 2nd Sep 2019, 1:36 pm   #34
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Default Re: History to be axed

Unfortunately we never do seem to learn from history. Some examples of the dangers of over-reliance of imports for strategic goods I gleaned from old books that various libraries were throwing out are:

that at the outbreak of the First World War it was discovered that the British Army and Navy got the dyes for their uniforms from Germany, which led to the establishment of ICI;

that, in the Edwardian era, German companies were selling arc light carbons (of vital importance for Naval and coastal defence searchlights) at below cost to corner the market, meaning that GEC, appreciating their strategic value to the nation, made them at a loss;

and that prior to WWII, all the plastic film base for still and cine films had been imported from Belgium.
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Old 2nd Sep 2019, 2:33 pm   #35
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Default Re: History to be axed

I suppose we could all club together and buy a few shipping containers and bury them at the bottom of a mine creating a huge time capsule to be opened in 100 years or so time ?
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Old 2nd Sep 2019, 3:47 pm   #36
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Default Re: History to be axed

That's a possible, a programme on TV the other night about 'mining' previously capped-off landfill sites to reclaim the millions of pounds worth of materials buried, which can now be recycled.

You'd get a fair few containers in there too once cleared, and judging by the way newspapers were 'preserved' since the mid 80's, the survival rate of items stored should be pretty high too, especially in shipping containers.

I'm keeping/preserving a little in my home workshop, and sharing the knowledge to the younger generation for the future, if my little bit helps anyone in some way, that has to be a good thing(?)

The stuff I've intercepted/saved from being landfill over the years, and now it would be classed as criminal to suggest such an end to these items.

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Old 2nd Sep 2019, 7:04 pm   #37
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Default Re: History to be axed

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Originally Posted by terrykc View Post
Quote:
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We have always had great links with TfL's transport museum so that might be a possible new home for some of the rare kit.
Interesting. What sort of transport related kit did the company make, Mike?
We make Traffic related products so Signals (Optics Detector Controllers), Motorway, Enforcement (for example Average Speed, Bus Lane, Box Junction and Hazardous cargo), JTMS, V2X, Traffic Systems, Monitoring, Low Emmisions Zones, Charging Zones, Tram interface, Variable Message Signs Car Park systems. On top of that Rail is the same division (Mobility) so we do things like Cab Secure Radio.

The kit I am mostly trying to preserve is the earlier Traffic controllers made by ATE and Plessey. A couple of years back (May 2016) I managed to get a controller recovered built in Poole in April 1976 it had been in service for 40 years.

It was still working on removal.

We build equipment for Europe and US as well as UK and Export to virtually everywhere, Notable exceptions France and Australia

TfL is one of our largest single Customers.

Cheers

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Old 2nd Sep 2019, 9:08 pm   #38
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Default Re: History to be axed

Apparently- back in the day Marconi Chelmsford (I think it was the New Street works) had a 3D model of the critical part of Chelmsford, in a glass case in the foyer. It was originally made for the Luftwaffe and was accurate down to individual trees.

I would hope it survives. But it's exactly the sort of thing that for a decade or so would have been considered bonfire fodder.
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Old 3rd Sep 2019, 10:55 am   #39
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Default Re: History to be axed

Hello Dave,

yes, the model of the Marconi and Hoffman works is still around.
Last time I visited it was on display in the Chelmsford city museum, along with a Marconi transmitter and a rack of diversity receivers and also a television camera IIRC.


https://www.chelmsford.gov.uk/museum...ocial-history/


Regards
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Old 3rd Sep 2019, 1:24 pm   #40
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Default Re: History to be axed

I would be very cautious in believing in the notion that Museums are the answer to preserving technological history, perhaps the letters but not the inventions.

Years ago my bother donated a wire recorder to a Museum. They couldn't see an obvious way to monetize it (don't you just love that term) with a display that would interest joe public and like everyone else they were short of space. They threw it away.

Museums generally work well for functionless Objets d'art, not electronics. So they are fine for household artifacts, paintings and the Mummy or two plundered from a Pyramid.

The skill set often doesn't exist in the Museums to do any useful restoration on electronic equipment, except perhaps to rip out a CRT and put in an LCD screen with a fake display to fool the paying public. Sounds cynical, well maybe, but I see this all the time.

I am of the opinion now that all electronic technical relics should be in the hands of private collectors who understand them, can restore them and before they pass on, hand them to other interested collectors. Don't trust these things to Museums (with some unique exceptions), it is not going to guarantee their existence into the future and what is left of the apparatus will crumble away without the right help. Each private individual is the one who puts in the effort & funding and provides the home to store the thing. For some people it might just be one TV or radio they can preserve, if everyone interested contributes it makes light work and it is free from the constraints of corporate funding/approval or any other kind of fundraising assistance that the bean counters would never approve of.
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