On Thursday the 7th of November 2019 Philip’s factory which has employed thousands of people from Hamilton will close its doors for the final time. This iconic building and world known company will be trading from Wellhall Road for four final day’s and has employed men and women from Hamilton for the past 72 years.
Hamilton used to be a manufacturing hub after the coal mines closed and we prided ourselves on having a world known brand based on our town. The last seventy employees will down their tools next week and the building will fall silent.
The amazing Christmas display that has been enjoyed by many generations will no longer be switched on and soon we will have a new housing estate built on its land.
This powerful company once stretched across the Wellhall Road and today there is still an underpass going under the road which transported goods to the lorry depot which was sold off in the late eighties to have the Barratt housing estate built.
In its heyday, Philip’s factory once employed over 2,000 people and over the past thirty years the business has downgraded in size before being taken over by Signify and many of the former workforce were all highly skilled people.
Today, I have gathered some pictures from my archive at Historic Hamilton and would like to share some of your stories of working at the factory. I would however like to document even more and If you have any pictures of Philips factory that you can send, then please send them to HistoricHamilton@icloud.com and we will host these on our website which is viewed in Many countries around the world.
In 2016 Historic Hamilton reader Glancy Clark sent us a newsletter from Philips and was printed in June 1969. These letters were called “The Philham Newsletter”. In the letter was a list of activities & events which included School trips to the factory, they followed Employees and told of people visiting the factory. In Glancy’s 1969 letter there was also a note of one special employee who was leaving.
Philip’s very first operator was leaving in June 1969. Her name was Mrs Emily Glancy and she first started with the company in November 1945. Mrs Glancy had worked at Philips for 24 years and in this time, she only worked in two departments. She was one of the very first select bodies to be still working at the factory since it opened. When she started at Philips, she wasn’t married and was called Emily Green and in 1969 she was still known to her colleagues by this name. When Emily first started, she worked at the transformer department and then moved over to miniature lamps in 1950. In October 1963 Emily married her mobile crane driver husband and she was leaving because they were planning on adopting a baby boy on the 28th of June that year. Her friends and co-workers wished her well and hoped that this was the start of a much larger family.
In 2016 Bill Hunter sent this picture of his late Father in Law, who was called George Service. Bill told us: “This is my late father-in-law George Service worked at Phillips for many years. He developed MS. This is him leaving the factory.”
Charlie Dunsmore added, I worked at Philips ‘K’ building from 1969-1977, first in the ballast gear and then the press shop.
Anne McCarroll also worked at the same part in this tear.
Ann Leach told us “I never worked there but went to many of the Philips Christmas parties. My uncle worked at Philips, best known as Big Bobby Leckenby”.
Debbie McLean told us that her mum worked there in the late 1960’s to the early 1970’s.
Margaret Hewitt said “My auntie, Rene Cunningham worked in the canteen. My uncle, Arthur rafferty worked for London Carriers and our very good friend, Rene Whitehouse did the wages, I think.” “I worked in Phillips during the holidays from Hamilton College – 1968 – 1970. I packed lightbulbs for two years and then made shavers during my last year. Have many hilarious memories of my time there. Poor Grant McKinnon didn’t know what to do with me!!!”
Karen McDade said: “Worked in Philips from 2000 till took redundancy in 2012. Lorna, Tracey, the newsletter looked slightly better by the time we were leaving xx”
Barbara Seaton told us: “My Dad worked at Philips Hamilton from about 1949. Before that he was glass blower at either Philips or Stella in Middlesex. He was the Union Rep at Hamilton in the late 1950’s early 60’s.”
Catherine Patterson told us: “I worked there first i was in A building then moved to M building John C Dunsmore was Charge Hand Jackie Wilson was Supervisor. In Packing. Jean Copland. Linda Charmer’s happy day’s”
Janette Bouette said: “I worked in Phillips as a apprentice in the tool room, from 1951 until 1956. I served two years of national service and returned for 4 more years. My father R.A.F Bouette worked for Phillips in England and transferred to Scotland when Phillips opened. My father was in charge of the test lab.
The time spent as an apprentice was one of the best years of my life and the training, I received served me very well when I emigrated to the United States in 1967.”
Elizabeth Tennant told us: “Worked in Phillips from 1959 to 1966. Bookkeeper/ comptometer operator ….that was in the days before computers !”
The pictures above were sent to us in April 2015 by Angela Seagreave and her dad is in the picture. The first one on the left is Angela’s dad who is out in the yard of Philips enjoying a break and in the second picture are in Angela’s words, “The three Stooges! Angela told us: “The three stooges right to left jimmy Madden (Alfie) Tommy Seagrave and Gibby McConville in Philips Factory”.
In May 2019 the late Frank Sweeny sent us this picture of Philips Football team. Frank, who is no longer with us, told me at the time:
“”It was taken over 35 years ago at the Philips Factory on Wellhall road – the team won the Philips European cup in Eindhoven where they played the tournament every 5 years – we beat Philips Blackburn in the final and all the guys in the photo worked at Philips Hamilton.”
In the picture we have: Left to right, Mr Greenwood (director), Tam Bain, Dougie Stewart, Tam Goodwin, Davy Pollock, Wullie McGrorty, Ronnie Stewart, Wullie Glass, Andy Scott, Bob McCallum (team manager), John Barr, Will Carroll,Andy o’ Halloran, Wullie Halbert, Danny Cunning & Frank Sweeney.
Aileen Henderson told us: “Christmas parties were amazing; my two daughters went to them. My husband, Willie Henderson worked there for 44years also my brother, Colin Hunter and my father Jack Hunter…….happy days.”
Audrey Carlin said: “I remember feeding a few of these guys lol. Good memories. This was taken about two years before I started in Philips Factory.”
This picture was sent to us back on the 24th of August 2019 and it was a Philips outing. The picture was sent by Harry Paton Evans and he told us: “”A Philips outing in the late 1940’s, very early 1950’s to Blackpool. My Dad, Harry Evans was a Works Superintendent and ran one of the main production lines after his War, around late 1949 early 1950’s.” Harry I believe that this could have been either the very first Philips summer outing, or one of the first, so thanks for sending this.
Mags Gillan Wrote: “My Uncle Steve, (John Stevenson) worked for Philips and travelled all over the world. Sadly, he was taken from us too soon. X”
Donald Orr said, “The woman standing to the right of the man in the very dark suit, is my auntie, Betty Orr, a longtime employee at Philips. Worked there till she retired!”
Ann Docherty said: “My mums next door neighbour fae fleming court used to work in there yrs ago..john dyet.. dont no what dept though. Would have been the early 70s….”
In December 2015 Tom Sorbie sent this picture of him standing on the roof of the Philips factory. Tom Told us: “”The photo was taken in 1984, I think. Certainly, no later than 1985 as the photographer got paid off that year. We had been painting the gantry that used to run between H and G buildings and I climbed up beside the clock. No health and safety in those days!
I worked at Philips for many years although I was never actually employed by Philips as it was sub-contractors I worked for (Falcon Contracts and latterly MITIE). I was the factory painter. Attached is an old photo of me posing by the clock which stood on the roof of G building.
Keep up the good work with your great FB site.”
Paul Kane told us: “Worked in the fluorescent tubes building for six weeks summer 1973. Not the five foot line that had just had installed a mechanical rotating piece of kit with a grab arm that would always stick. Health and Safety aye right you just took cover as Jimmy (the line manager) would girl the tubes along the line like javelins. Poor man took a breakdoon that none of the fitters could sort. Happy days.”
Tom Sorbie also told us: “When I finished up at Philips in February this year the painting side of my job had mostly ceased (I’d painted everything there was to paint) and I was mostly helping out with general labouring.
One of my last jobs was to assist in clearing out junk from various rooms/old offices which had to be thrown in a skip. Tons of stuff which lived in the archive room was also taken away for shredding. You have no idea the amount of old Philips photos contained in that room. These photos were of course not for the shredder/skip but were kept. They have a great photographic record and we spent a good hour or two going through them.”
Linda Thomson told us: “I was made redundant from philips after 20 yrs…worked in sodium…best place av ever worked..”
Bob Baird also sent us a picture of his dad at work in Philips and Bob wrote: “My Dad, John Baird worked in the factory for 34 years til 1987. Started in lamps, then boiler house for long time then “the plant” /maintenance. Got a few pictures somewhere.”
Below are the pictures attached to these words. Please share your memories of Philips and if you do have any pictures, then we would like to see them.