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The Reyrolle Story: 56 - Living Where You Worked?

There is an announcement that houses are to be built on the site of a massive Reyrolle building.

To obtain a copy of Robert Owen's history of the famous Tyneside manufacturing firm please visit 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

In 2004, the Department of Social Security re-deployed its 200 office staff, who worked in the former Reyrolle seven storey building, to North Tyneside and left the massive ghost-like building standing empty. It took over two years before The Gazette headline read in December 2006, "Eyesore Building to be Demolished". Further reading indicated it was to be replaced with 29 new houses and a sheltered housing complex. So, just like the New Town location of twenty years earlier, the Hebburn site was to finish up as a residential area with possibly former Reyrolle's employees living on the same piece of land where they had worked many years earlier.

As 2007 dawned, thankfully all was quiet on the old Reyrolle front. Did this mean that the remains of Alphonse Reyrolle's Company had, at last, found a permanent role and an optimum size of about 600 employees, as a Tyneside satellite of the giant German-based Siemens Company? It would be a brave person to say yes.

The old Reyrolle factory was renowned for its good working environment, so it was a shock to learn in the summer of 2007 that the former Company was being taken to the High Court for allegedly providing unsafe working conditions. The action was born following a writ taken out by the wife of the late Gordon Shepard whose early death was due to asbestos-related malignant mesothelioma. Mrs Shepard claimed 150,000 and accused Reyrolle of negligence by allowing her husband to be exposed to deadly asbestos dust and fibres whilst working as a tool-maker from 1955-83.

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