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Party time for the workers and all their families in the 1960s

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: April 07, 2014

By Dan Shaw

  • 1965 party at the Ship & Rainbow, Wolverhampton

  • Workers' children gathered on stage for the 1962 annual party

  • The John A. Smith Ltd annual children's party at the Co-op Hall, Wolverhampton, 1961

  • Staff and their wives at the 1966 dance at the Wulfrun Hall

  • Having a good time at the 1965 staff dance

  • John A. Smith Ltd staff dance at the Civic Hall, Wolverhampton, 1963

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THESE happy pictures belong to Bernard Francis of Walsall and date back to the time when companies would regularly organise grand events for their workers and their families.

In the 1960s Bernard was a draughtsman for John A. Smith Ltd, based at the Niphon Works, Wolverhampton. The three pictures on the left of this page were taken at the works' annual children's party in the 1960s.

The first was taken on March 4, 1961, at the Co-op Hall, Stafford Street, Wolverhampton. The second was taken almost a year later, on March 3, 1962, at the same venue, and the bottom picture was taken at the Ship and Rainbow, Dudley Road, Wolverhampton, on February 27, 1965.

Did you attend a John A. Smith party as a youngster, do you recognise any of the other children?

The pictures on the right-hand side were all taken at the works' staff dance. Our top picture dates from February 1, 1963, at the Civic Hall, Wolverhampton. Standing, from left, are Pat Francis, Monica Flavell, Mary Cooper, Stuart Ingram, Bunty Ingram, Peter Henk, Margaret Halfpenny, Val Abbotts and Edna Reid. At the front are Roy Flavell, Bernard Francis, Ken Reid and Sid Abbotts.

Our second photograph was taken at the dance at the Civic Hall in 1965. From left we have Mrs Cooper, Ron Cooper, Stuart Ingram, Pat Francis, Bernard Francis, John McHugh, nephew of the famous Wolverhampton-born tenor of the same name, and Ann Hildick.

Our last photograph was taken at the annual dance on March 11, 1966, at the Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton. From left are John Souster, John Ray, Coral Ray, Jean Souster and Pat Francis.

What are your memories of these John A. Smith works parties? Have you a story to share of working there?

Did your works lay on similar dances and parties for its staff? Have you pictures to share with readers? Contact dshaw@blackcountry bugle.co.uk or write to our editorial address.

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