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6 brands you might not expect to have been made in Kirkby; Here are your memories of working in Kirkby factories and businesses.

Byline: Jess Molyneux

Kirkby has always had a proud history and strong sense of community, which dates back to the hard work residents and businesses put in to build the town we see today.

Over the years many businesses have come and gone, but fond memories, relationships and pictures ofKirkbythroughout the decades still remain to this day.

Many families in Kirkby still have links to the famous industries, companies and long-standing businesses that once stood in the town, with different generations of the same family even working alongside one another.

From Kirkby Industrial Estate which was a product of the war years, to a diverse range of trades which were scattered across the town, Kirkby has welcomed and said goodbye to manufacturers, engineers and everything in between.

Here are some of the Kirkby-based businesses we have loved and lost over the years - along with some of your memories.

In 1953, frozen foods brand Birds Eye established a factory on Kirkby Industrial Estate, which employed thousands of workers for over three decades.

Different generations of local residents produced meat and vegetable products in one of the most modern and larger factories in the country at the time.

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But in 1989, it was announced that the Kirkby factory would close later that year, which led to a demonstration of 2,000 people.

When the factory eventually closed, 1,000 jobs were lost.

Best known for its delicious ice-creams and lollies, as well as other sugar confectionery, the business was started in 1935 by William Pendleton.

Pendleton's three sons continued to run the Newset Road-based business until 1979, when it was sold to Associated British Foods.

It was popular for its Twicers ice-creams which many people across Kirkby and surrounding areas associate with their childhood memories.

Echo reader Anne Radcliffe recalls members of her family working for Otis Elevators in Kirkby.

She said: "Both my brothers worked in Otis Elevators, I worked in Lancashire Truck and John Dickinson LTD. They made paper products. envelopes etc."

Another reader, Linda Ellis said: "My dad worked in Otis Elevators."

Dave Sullivan added: "My Dad worked at Otis Elevators on Moorgate Road for many years, remember going to the Christmas parties in the early 60's."

Peter Gower said he was employed in a factory close to Otis and remembered stories about people who worked there.

He said: " I worked in the accounts department of a precision engineering works, Relham Products Limited, and Betabite Hydraulics Limited. Several days before my starting date I broke my ankle in a parachuting accident but turned up for work anyway on my bike.

"Many of the "shop floor" workers lined up to applaud me off the premises at the end of the working day.

"Later I worked at A.C. Delco and my father in law worked in the stores at Otis Elevators.

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"The gates of the two factories were very close to each other. My father in law used to tell the tale of a guy he was asked to train at Otis. When asked whether he had clocked on he replied, 'No, I couldn't find a clock card.'

"It turned out he should have started at A.C.Delco and had walked in the wrong gate.

"My wife worked at Fisher Bendix and we met at Kirkby College of Education as we were both granted day release by our respective employers."

James May said: "I worked for the Kraft Food for a while on permanent Nights from 10 till 6 for [pounds sterling]1 an hour which was good money at the time."

Pauline Fenwick said: "I worked at the Kraft and birds eye great memories and loved working in Kirkby and the people were lovely to work with."

Thelma Dewsbury said: "My mum worked in the Birds Eye in the 50s, the Kodak when it first opened and in the Kraft for a sort time she also worked in some of the schools on school meals. My dad worked in the Kraft from 1960/1 until 1978."

Trisha Macauley said: "My Dad worked for Hygena as a veneerer, I think that was on the Kirkby Estate."

Tony Miller posted: "Don't forget Hygena... bought out by MFI who used the name for years."

Mark Neill said: "Otis lifts , kraft foods, kirkdale haulage, ritsons haulage, vernons plant, birds eye ,rentokill ,hygena i used to deliver roller towels to them for initial towel supply in the early 70s."

Cheryl Simpson said: "My mum worked for Hygena in Kirkby in the 1950/60's, think she worked in the office there."

Peter Connolly added: "What about Hygena? In its' time makers of very fine kitchens - - - and market leaders .The sales director in the '70s only drank champagne . His daughter was featured on their new QA brochure."

Ray Sephton said: "I started a printing apprenticeship at John Dickinson stationery in 1968. A large factory, the first one you see on Lees Road. It was in the main an envelope making company.

"They also produced paper Carrier bags and wage envelopes. I'm sure there must have been upwards of 800 people working there. The best job I ever had and stayed there till it closed some 26 years later."

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Arthur Hurst said: "I also worked in John Dickinson's from 68 till it closed, a great place to work. I was an engineer and started on wage envelopes and finished on 16 x 12 inch envelopes the smallest to the biggest."

David Green commented: "My wife and I worked for John Dickinson in the early 60s."

John Patrick Kerrigan posted: "I worked at John Dickinson's in 1962 as a mech fitter till I got the sack for smoking.. Never looked back after that!..!"

Marianne Marsh: "I used to work for Henry Diaper who at the time owned Amazon Studios. X"

Mark Williamson: "Big employers of my day were Makro and Cellar 5 that was next door to it on Hornhouse Lane."

Dolly Pybis: "I worked for Lybro downland bedding birds eye.

Andrea Hawksey: "Yorkshire Imperial Metals, they made copper on the site of the Copper Pot pub. My Dad was bricklayer in the furnaces for over twenty years."

Brian Foote: "My mum worked in common wealth curtains."

Sandy Pool: " IM..their kids party's at Christmas were the best I've ever been too...they even made sure every child's name was on the present...and always great presents...then in my young adult years the social club and hot pot was brilliant ...happy days ...60s and 70s."

Alan Ogilvie: "YCT, Yorkshire Copper Tube opened in Kirkby in 1951, closed in 2016. Was a major employer for the area. Look up the Veterans of YCT Facebook page, lots of memories and photos. I worked there for 37 years."

Barbara Shiers Was Hassell: "My dad worked in cold stores, Vincent Hassell."

Paula Jaggers: "I worked for downland bedding i was a pillar turner ...befor that me and my mate scriv tryed to cross a picket line untill we were seen off ha ha ha"

Carol Wynne Bowden: "Worked in lybro facing kodak making jeans."

Dot Laycock: "I worked in Hart&levys. Loved every minute there."

Kathy McKeever Briggs: "Amasco part of Tarmac roofing and flooring company, worked for them for 10 years as a wages clerk, they were on Charleywood road."

Nikki Hughes Mckenna: "AC Delco practicality nearly everyone worked there. I would always say to my mum how do you know that person. Oh I worked with them in Delco"

Paula Greenway: "The Kraft, Otis Elevators, Pendleton's Ice Cream, Yorkshire Imperial Metals, Fisher Ludlow (Bendix), The Kodak, Massey Ferguson, Cross International."

Franny Seary: "Window world run by Tony Sanderson in the Admin buildings..... Williams Harvey ( with the big tower/Chimney) Steel smelting works.....Kerrs fire fighting materials think."

Jean Genie: "Bambergers, made pallets. My husband worked there in early 70s. He was fine until one of the pallets fell on his head!! Small stove enamelling firm Newmet, my dad owned it, from 60s to 80s."

John Oneill: "Worked in Dingwall Black stationery firm loved it great people,and some great laughs,anyone else remember..??"

Ena Burgess: "I worked in symingtons sewing factory on kirkby industrial estate making bra & suspenders belts 1960 we use to put the jukebox on in our dinner time and jive in the canteen in our dinner time also worked down & bedding cardboard box factory loved those days so carefree xx"

Tommy Day: "Kirkby containers in Webber road which later became chambers great place to work paid good money, moved to Winsford in the early 70s."

Barbara Cross: "Me and my two cousins worked for cliffs it was a tongue packing factory."

Angela Vermiglio: "Fisher Bendix. Dubiliers, Yorkshire Imperial."

Edward Scoggins: "I had some great days at plesseys going through hole in the fence to ressy at dinnertime."

Christopher John Murphy: "I served my apprenticeship at Murray Scientific Instruments from 1976."

Joe Mcintyre: "Itec yts, started on the estate then moved to southdene then kirkby college, helped many a young person gain skills and get a job, me included."

Debbie Glascott: "Pendleton ice cream factory."

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Violet Bolan: "I worked birds eye fabulous memories xxx"

Lyndsey Richardson: "My mum and nan both worked at the Delco in the 70s x"

Maria O'Rourke: "There was a munitions factory out in Kirkby. My granddad worked in it during the war."

John Watson: "John Watson my dad worked in the delco he was a fitter"

Barry Gore: "I started my apprenticeship as a Carpenter and Joiner with Kirkby Council in Depot Road, right at the top of the Industrial Estate. I lived in Croxteth View with my mum and dad and sister.

"I would get the bus 19A or 19c up Moorgate Road with my dad and get off at the start of the Estate. Dad worked in Dickinson,s factory, and then i would walk the rest of the way to the council depot.

"Kirkby Works went bust building an little estate by Kirkby Station so i was transfered to Liverpool Direct Works working out of Bewley Drive Depot on the maintenance of properties in Kirkby."

Do you have any memories or pictures of famous Kirkby industries, companies or long-standing businesses ? Email:


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Publication:Crosby Herald (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jul 20, 2019
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