OUR RECENT run of articles on West Bromwich printing company Kenrick & Jefferson has brought in a few responses from readers with their own connections to the place.
David Humphries of Sedgley writes: “I was very interested to read in issue 907 of 14th January about K&J. I collect fountain pens and I have two which carry the name Kenrick and Jefferson, West Bromwich, alongside the filler lever on the barrel of the pen. On the reverse is the K&J trade mark.
Museum “One of these pens is in mint condition, the other being much used and worn. I an wondering if Kenrick and Jefferson had these pens made for them or did they in fact make them? “I have been to the pen museum in Frederick Street in the Jewellery Quarter to investigate. They have a similar pen to the ones I own in their collection. The curator there feels that the pens were made elsewhere and bought in by K& J. The pens probably date from the late 1940s and are typical designs of that period. I am wondering if there is any reference in the House of K&J book which recently came into your hands.” Having gone through the whole book, we can say that there is no mention of pens, but there are still several wonderful photographs of the ‘K&J Family’ at work, producing various items of stationery, books and all manner of printed material, which we haven’t yet featured. We came to the end of the text of the book in our last edition, but here’s another selection of photographs which shouldn’t be overlooked, all dating from 1953.
We begin in the Binding Department, with Mrs M Durden, who is using a stamp to hand number what looks like a pile of invoice or receipt booklets. In the Envelope Factory, Departmental Manager J Gibbon and two of his female colleagues, in pinafores and headscarves, are operating a fast-running envelope-making machine.
We’re now almost at the end of the factory tour. Working in the Despatch Department is F.L. Pridmore, and behind him G Davis, assembling ‘brown paper packages, tied up with string’, ready for despatch to the customer.
Which takes us outside the factory, and into K&J’s own garage and Maintenance Department. Crouched over the bonnet of an Austin van are foreman W.J.T. Warren and C.D. Collier.
Finally, in the canteen, the woman responsible for filling the bellies of hundreds of workers over the years, Mrs Clarke, the canteen manageress.
Coming forward a good few years into 1975, we have an amusing item from Mrs Vera Poulton, who writes: “I too have a copy of the House of K&J book, which my late husband Len Poulton received. He spent all of his working life there, apart from army service during the Second World War, where he unfortunately lost his left leg.
He stayed with K&J until he retired in 1981.
Card “I am enclosing a greetings card sent in 1975, which I think will be of interest to you. It shows some of the staff in caricature. Len is shown as the trainer.” In fact, there is a complete list inside the card explaining exactly who’s who in the ‘Kenrick and Jefferson United’ team: Team Manager: Mr Tom Jefferson, Managing Director.
Team Trainer: Len Poulton, Account Executive.
Team Coach: Mrs Valerie Page, Assembly.
1 John Sidebotham, Greetings Cards Manager.
2 Dennis Troop, Sales Manager.
3 Stan Ashmore, Assistant Sales Manager.
4 Maurice Guest, Works Manager (Greetings Cards).
5 Les Dean, Photo Manager.
6 Vic Hurley, Litho Manager.
7 Mike Winnett, Finishing Manager.
8 Bert Rollason, Assembly supervisor.
9 Dennis Lester, Account Executive.
10 Gerry Gordon, Four Colour Machine Operator.
11 Jack Hill, Driver.