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Report - - N C Joseph Ltd, "SonA", Stratford, 2006. | Industrial Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - N C Joseph Ltd, "SonA", Stratford, 2006.


dweeb

Super Moderator
Regular User
I'm putting this report up again for the sheer lack of information anywhere on the net about this firm...

N C Joseph were a pressworks. They manufactured "Swan" and "SonA" brand kitchenalia from their Stratford on Avon works. (SonA stood for Stratford ON Avon)

The firm made Jelly moulds, percolators, kettles, saucepans, irons etc. In the 1990's something happened and the firm switched to the manufacture of motor car body in white components.

As an apprentice I used to have to go to N.C.J with the blokes I was shadowing to discuss changes to parts they were making for the firm I work for. I was captivated as I walked into the retrotastic enterance, greeted by a glass case filled with the firm's old wares. Inside the factory had not changed in decades. The suspended conveyers which took the appliance pressings from the press hall to plating shop were all still in place. The presses themselves, many over 50 years old and still banging away were a sight to be seen!

The company came close to making appliances again towards the end of its life, in the form of components for a new design of washing machine, which had a removable drum. You used the drum as a washing basket, simply slipping it in the washer on wash day. The problem was it 'walked' on spin cycle, several yards according the the bloke that was telling me, and the company that patented it ran out of money for development.

N.C.J was bought by a larger company, along with CovPress Ltd. The Stratford works was by now largley unused. It was closed and the two firms were merged.

The works was flattened almost instantly, most of the presses scrapped. Not even the road name bore the name "Joseph" and today all traces of the works have gone.

I really owe N.C.J for my interest in photographing industry today. Even then I thought that the inside of the factory was amazing, almost a thing of beauty in a certain way. I fully think my photos could be the only internal shots of the works from its closure.

In the glass display case I mentioned above, there was a book on the firm, I assume published for an annaversary of its founding. I have searched and searched for a copy, or even the title, in vein. Even the Stratford Library have never heard of it,but then its nothing to do with Shakespear, so why would they care:rolleyes:

If anyone reading this has that book, or knows what its called please please E-mail me lightthedark@hotmail.co.uk

Lame photos,I was a n00b and only had a 3mp canon ixus (I know, CANON!!:freak)

SONA22of24.jpg


SONA1of24.jpg


SONA23of24.jpg


SONA2of24.jpg


SONA20of24.jpg


Dispatch, where the finished appliances were stored ready to go to the shops. Note the barbed wire, to stop any would be thieves getting at the completed goods!
SONA12of24.jpg


SONA7of24.jpg


The chain conveyer, which carried the pressings to their next stage of manufacture
SONA10of24.jpg


The demolition of a later extention revealed this old wall painting
SONA3of24.jpg


Wilkins and Mitchell, one of the biggest makes of press in the country. This was an 800 tonner. The dial shows if the ram is up or down, TDC "Top Dead Centre"
SONA17of24.jpg


The offices, sadly the door was locked...
SONA13of24.jpg


The walking washing machine!
SONA11of24.jpg


SONA15of24.jpg


SONA16of24.jpg


SONA21of24.jpg


SONA24of24.jpg


SONA4of24.jpg


SONA5of24.jpg


SONA6of24.jpg


SONA8of24.jpg
 
Last edited:

caiman

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
You know much about it mate?
A bit. The company that made them - Monotub Industries - was set up by the inventor, Martin Meyerscough and was very popular with investors for a brief while - they thought they were buying into another Dyson. But it was not to be - the machines had serious design faults and were unreliable - most got returned. "Which" magazine tested several - all of which broke. Production stopped in February 2002 and Monotub went bust in January 2003.

The inventor bought back the rights to the design for £1 and in 2003 set up a new company - Titan Washing Machine Ltd. In 2006 or thereabouts the new company started manufacturing the machines in Zhongshan, China. They claimed to have fixed the problems but apparently they are still very unreliable.

http://www.titanwashingmachine.com/
 

Southoman

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
G day I was looking for information on my teapot a, J.414 Made By NCJ Ltd at SonA Chrome The Aluminium Works Stratford - On - Avon England, and found your site !
We too had lots of great industrial manufacturers here in Australia using great machines made in Great Britain, anything British made was always superior in Australia !
BSA, Whitworth etc sadly many have gone the same way as your great manufacturing buildings and contents, lost forever ! Is it silver plated aluminium, polished or chromed aluminium. Anyone with info regarding the teapot would be much appreciated.

Craig Whitby
Beechmont Queensland
Australia
 

Attachments

bluebedouin

Here to help.
28DL Full Member
G day I was looking for information on my teapot a, J.414 Made By NCJ Ltd at SonA Chrome The Aluminium Works Stratford - On - Avon England, and found your site !
We too had lots of great industrial manufacturers here in Australia using great machines made in Great Britain, anything British made was always superior in Australia !
BSA, Whitworth etc sadly many have gone the same way as your great manufacturing buildings and contents, lost forever ! Is it silver plated aluminium, polished or chromed aluminium. Anyone with info regarding the teapot would be much appreciated.

Craig Whitby
Beechmont Queensland
Australia
I went to work at Josephs in 1971,my first job after leaving school.I worked in the spinning shop which basically made the smaller items,sugar bowls,teapots etc from a flat aluminium disc.
An idea can be got from this video.
The teapot in your picture would have been made in a similar fashion but the mould was metal & in sections.(Think of a terry's chocolate orange!)
The segments would have the pattern cast on them which would be pressed into the aluminium from the inside.As far as I'm aware your pot wasn't made in my time there but I did see some of them laying around various sections of the factory.
I left in 1974 so unless they re-issued them after that,your pot would be pre '71.It's only polished aluminium,I'm afraid,not silver plated.
I have found a couple of items at car boot sales.A couple of months ago my brother found an old payslip of mine in a drawer at home.
 

Attachments

dweeb

Super Moderator
Regular User
See this kind of stuff shows why what we do is important. Try finding photos of the inside of that factory anywhere else on the net!
 

Southoman

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
G'day mate thank you for the vids, pics and info on my teapot . I use it everyday using Billy Tea leaves it makes the best cup of tea !
Regards
Craig Whitby
 

Southoman

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Gday mate glad my inquiry on NCJ SonA helped you !
Kind regards
Craig Whitby
Qld Australia
 

Sheilsy

28DL Member
28DL Member
Thank you for posting this, it solved a riddle on a family heirloom!View attachment 762765View attachment 762765View attachment 762766
Hi, I have one of these Work Boxes exactly the same as your one! My one is a family heirloom too, handed down from my Mum who, I think, got it from her or my Dad's Mother. Mine has a design number on the bottom 709599, but I haven't been able to find out when that was registered, but the pattern identical to your box. I was using it today and decided on the spur of the moment to Google the name.
 

Maggie B

28DL Member
28DL Member
Hi,

I found your thread when trying to find out more about a large pan my mother owns. We still use the pot to make soup. My mother was given this pot at the start of her married life, she has been married 56 years, by her mother, and she in turn had been given it by her mother. Mum wanted to know more about the pan and she is so pleased I have found your post. Pictures of our pot are attached. The lid was lost a long time ago but the handles are still very secure. Any further info on it would be much appreciated.

Maggie
 

Attachments

Louis Balfour

28DL Member
28DL Member
I used to be a customer of NC Joseph in the late 1980's, eg making vehicle fuel tanks. They were specialists in deep drawn presswork although much of their equipment was ancient prewar mechanical knuckle presses with huge unguarded cog wheels. At the time they had a big contract making domestic satellite dishes for Sky but, like stainless tableware, the market moved on and the site was more valuable for redevelopment.
 

Peter Dashey

28DL Member
28DL Member
I'm putting this report up again for the sheer lack of information anywhere on the net about this firm...

N C Joseph were a pressworks. They manufactured "Swan" and "SonA" brand kitchenalia from their Stratford on Avon works. (SonA stood for Stratford ON Avon)

The firm made Jelly moulds, percolators, kettles, saucepans, irons etc. In the 1990's something happened and the firm switched to the manufacture of motor car body in white components.

As an apprentice I used to have to go to N.C.J with the blokes I was shadowing to discuss changes to parts they were making for the firm I work for. I was captivated as I walked into the retrotastic enterance, greeted by a glass case filled with the firm's old wares. Inside the factory had not changed in decades. The suspended conveyers which took the appliance pressings from the press hall to plating shop were all still in place. The presses themselves, many over 50 years old and still banging away were a sight to be seen!

The company came close to making appliances again towards the end of its life, in the form of components for a new design of washing machine, which had a removable drum. You used the drum as a washing basket, simply slipping it in the washer on wash day. The problem was it 'walked' on spin cycle, several yards according the the bloke that was telling me, and the company that patented it ran out of money for development.

N.C.J was bought by a larger company, along with CovPress Ltd. The Stratford works was by now largley unused. It was closed and the two firms were merged.

The works was flattened almost instantly, most of the presses scrapped. Not even the road name bore the name "Joseph" and today all traces of the works have gone.

I really owe N.C.J for my interest in photographing industry today. Even then I thought that the inside of the factory was amazing, almost a thing of beauty in a certain way. I fully think my photos could be the only internal shots of the works from its closure.

In the glass display case I mentioned above, there was a book on the firm, I assume published for an annaversary of its founding. I have searched and searched for a copy, or even the title, in vein. Even the Stratford Library have never heard of it,but then its nothing to do with Shakespear, so why would they care:rolleyes:

If anyone reading this has that book, or knows what its called please please E-mail me lightthedark@hotmail.co.uk

Lame photos,I was a n00b and only had a 3mp canon ixus (I know, CANON!!:freak)

View attachment 163078

View attachment 163079

View attachment 163080

View attachment 163081

View attachment 163082

Dispatch, where the finished appliances were stored ready to go to the shops. Note the barbed wire, to stop any would be thieves getting at the completed goods!
View attachment 163083

View attachment 163084

The chain conveyer, which carried the pressings to their next stage of manufacture
View attachment 163085

The demolition of a later extention revealed this old wall painting
View attachment 163086

Wilkins and Mitchell, one of the biggest makes of press in the country. This was an 800 tonner. The dial shows if the ram is up or down, TDC "Top Dead Centre"
View attachment 163087

The offices, sadly the door was locked...
View attachment 163088

The walking washing machine!
View attachment 163089

View attachment 163090

View attachment 163091

View attachment 163092

View attachment 163093

View attachment 163094

View attachment 163095

View attachment 163096

View attachment 163097
Wow, this is a blast from the past !
I worked at NCJ late 70’s 80’s and 90’s for my fathers Pipework company, Alvechurch Heating and Plumbing Services Ltd. (HPS). We worked for the maintenance manager Ralph Pendry bless him and the boiler man John Lee and his right hand man John Smart and also the famous Ted Hogan, it used to be such a great place to work, but I watched the gradual demise as the company could not keep up with the Far Eastern manufacturing industry.
Great while it lasted and I learned such a lot, another British company completely gone with nothing left to show it was ever even there !!!
 

jiver

28DL Member
28DL Member
I worked at NCJ from 2000 till the closedown and transfer to Covpress.
I took over from John Lee as works Engineer when he retired to Wales. He sadly died not long after. Ted retired as I started and John Smart sadly died whilst reffing a juniors football game about 2003/4.
Mono tub were a joke but NCJ were a very good going concern and profit making, but the Group owners bought into Covpress and it was decided to close Stratford and move as the land and the old Stratford canners site next door was worth a great deal of money. Also there was a lot of asbestos in the buildings and the press shop layout didn’t lend itself to modern production methods.All the presses that had been bought in the time I was there went to Coventry plus the four biggest ones on site.
NCJs name disappeared when Covpress went bust again and was bought by Liberty.
 

Peter Dashey

28DL Member
28DL Member
Wow, nice to get a reply !
So sad to learn of the passing of the two Johns, I thought the world of them and Ted !
Ralph Pendry was also a great guy. There was also another maintenance guy called Mick I think who was such a laugh, he even made fun of himself after loosing a finger in one of the presses !! I’ll never forget the mad forklift drivers Danny I think, he was a loony driving around the factory especially when he was in a mood !!!
I’d love to go back in time for a day, no risk assessments, method statements, no crap, just quote, receive order and crack on !
The amount of times I nearly fell though the roof when replacing glass window lights !!!
Scary !!!
 

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