In last weeks Bugle we printed Mrs Hilda Roses recollections of the Friar Park Community Association during the 1940s. Mrs Rose has also given us a copy of the 1949 West Bromwich Youth Handbook. This makes very interesting reading because not only does it have full details of all the activities and organisations available to young people in West Bromwich but it also contains many adverts by Black Country businesses offering job opportunities to teenagers just leaving school.
36 companies advertise for school-leavers in the handbook and among them are many well-known Black Country names. Those advertising are:- Geo. Salter & Co, of West Bromwich, spring and balance makers; the electric lighting giants Joseph Lucas Ltd, with their eight factories in the Birmingham area; the manufacturers J. Brockhouse & Co, of Hill Top, West Bromwich; the Birmingham Co-Operative Society; William Mills Ltd, of Friar Park Road, Wednesbury, founders in aluminium; spectacles and ophthalmic lens makers Lessar Brothers Ltd, Lesbro Works, Hylton Street Birmingham; tube makers Accles & Pollock, Oldbury and Birmingham; the printing firm of Manifoldia Ltd, West Bromwich; the electrical company Simplex, of Oldbury, and its sister companies Creda, Mersey and Lundberg; the engineers Evered & Co, Smethwick; J. B. Brooks & Co, Great Charles Street, Birmingham, makers of saddles and Antler travel goods; Vowles Aluminium Foundry, West Bromwich; the Standard Spring Co, West Bromwich; thermal engineers the Incandescent Heat Co, of Cornwall Road, Smethwick; Birchley Rolling Mills, Birchfield Lane, Oldbury, makers of steel bars; the electrical engineering works of Walsall Conduits Ltd, Excelsior Works, West Bromwich; Supreme Laundries, of Crankhall Lane, West Bromwich; makers of fastenings, Newey Brothers, of Tipton and Birmingham; hydraulic specialists Tangyes Ltd, Smethwick; the nail manufacturers and wire-drawers Hall & Rice Ltd, Old Meeting Street, West Bromwich; industrial reclamation and scrap merchants John Cashmore Ltd, Great Bridge and Newport, Monmouth; Kingfisher Ltd, Charles Street, West Bromwich, makers of tubular steel furniture; medical supplies company Cuxson, Gerrard & Co, Fountain Lane, Oldbury; Barrows Stores Ltd, Corporation Street, Birmingham; the engineering firm of Charles Bunn Ltd, Herbert Street, West Bromwich; the West Bromwich Spring Co, George Street, West Bromwich; the Benson Motor Body Co, Phoenix Works, Roebuck Street, West Bromwich; Lingards Clothing Co, Musgrave Road, Hockley; Rootes Group car dealers J. Sharratt & Sons, Carters Green, West Bromwich; Hills (West Bromwich) Ltd, Albion Road, West Bromwich, makers of steel components; Sandwell Casting Co, West Bromwich; the Dart Spring Co, West Bromwich; and ironfounders; and engineers Archibald Kenrick & Sons, Spon Lane, West Bromwich.
Help in finding a job for school-leavers was also on hand from the West Bromwich Education Committee Youth Employment Bureau, which as the handbook says, exists to help boys and girls under 18 years of age to choose the right career, to find them suitable employment and to advise and help in all matters connected with industrial welfare. The Youth Employment Bureau had offices at the Education Offices in Highfield, West Bromwich, and were open six days a week.
We have reprinted a selection of the job adverts. Many of the business stress the social benefits of working for them, such as the quality of their canteens and the sporting facilities they offer. Most are keen to encourage the idea that a job with them means a long-term career with good opportunities for advancement. From reading these adverts today it also clear that the jobs for boys were very different to those for the girls.
Some of the names we have listed were among the biggest businesses in the Black Country employing many hundreds of people. There must be many former workers among our readers that remember starting work after leaving school. Maybe you chose your first job after seeing an advert like the ones we have here. Any stori
es, memories and photographs of your first days at work we would be glad to share with our other readers.