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The Reyrolle Story: 38 – Yet Another Merger

Faced with increasing competition Reyrolle continues to diversify.

To purchase a copy of Robert Owen’s history of the giant Tyneside manufacturing firm please click on http://www.amazon.co.uk/Reyrolle-Story-History-Co-Ltd/dp/1905295073/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1245678876&sr=1-1

About this time, two of Reyrolle's employees made it to the top in local politics. Drawing Office Section Leader, Alf Southwick, became Mayor of South Shields in 1968 and Vincent Fitzpatrick, for many years Works Convener, held the same position in 1971.

It was a Reyrolle tradition that every employee who completed 40 years service was presented with a gold watch and those who completed 50 years service an illuminated scroll. In 1968 there were 42 gold watches, each presented by Chairman Sir Harold Mullens. The presentation was a major event when speeches were made and photographs taken.
Speaking on behalf of the recipients, Bill McConway, an Assistant Superintendent, said "Thank You Reyrolle for forty years job security.’’

In a lighter vein, Mr McConway repeated a conversation between two of his younger workers, one of whom expressed surprise that he was old enough to qualify for a gold watch. "Of course he is" said the other; "He can even remember when Sunderland were in the top half of the league!"

Another merger took place in 1969. This was between the new Reyrolle-Parsons Group and the 3,000 strong Bruce Peebles Group of Scotland. The Bruce Peebles organisation manufactured a wide range of electrical products similar to theReyrolle Parsons Group and it was logical that a major programme of rationalisation should follow. The outcome was that the Reyrolle element of the organisation was divided into three Product Divisions as follows:

1. A large Switchgear Division

2. A much smaller Medium Voltage Equipment Division known as MVED

3. A Relay, Protection Gear and Instrument Division known as RPGID.

At the same time, it appears that a degree of diversification took place as The Times wrote about Reyrolle's venture into hydraulics, a new pipe division and expansion of automation systems.


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