I was very fortunate to be invited to my Grandad’s retirement it was a very special occasion we travelled together in his Austin 7 car to Hendham Vale works in Manchester. We met up with all his colleagues and was shown around the works the people were so friendly they wanted me to work for Small & Parkes and had a job waiting for me. The large restaurant had been converted similar to a theatre with a stage at the front. With speeches from the directors and Managers and a talk by Grandad on his happy working years.
He was presented with many gifts a gold pocket watch a Selecta Multi Purpose Tool a DIY lathe, drill, saw. Just to name a few.
The following archived document gives high praise to John.
Retirement of Mr. J. HORSFIELD
JOHN HORSFIELD retired from his
Position as Woven Brake
Lining Manager at Hendham Vale Works
On the 3oth November, 1951.
Mr. Horsfield came to Small & Parkes Limited in October, 1921, having previously been Underground Machinery Superintendent with the South Leicester-shire Colliery Co. When he took over the Brake Lining Department there were less than twenty men employed in the department.
The building housing his depart-ment had previously been a weaving shed and soon after Mr. Horsfield’s arrival the present brake lining depart-ment was built around the old building without disturbing the manufacture.
It is interesting to recall that in 1921 there was no technical department or Drawing Office to guide the pro-gress of manufacture. Manufacture was confined to “Don” No. 1 Asbestos MetAttic and “Don” “A” Quality Linings.
Although methods were crude by modern standards the general process of manufacture was basically similar to that employed today.
Mr. Horsfield, like so many of his contemporaries at Small & Parkes Ltd., traces the modern development of Brake and Clutch Linings at Hendham Vale from the arrival of the late Mr. A. Kay, who was formerly one of Mr. Colin Macbeth’s chief assistants at the Dunlop Rubber Co. Mr. Cohn Macbeth has been consulting engineer to Small & Parkes Ltd. since 1924. It would be difficult to over-estimate the benefits which Mr. Kay’s technical knowledge, combined with Mr. Horsfield’s practical experience, gave to Small & Parkes Ltd. over the years.
Certainly their influence will be felt as long as woven brake lining is made at Small & Parkes Ltd. Not in brake lining alone is John Horsfield’s influence felt. He has nourished several small projects which have now grown to the status of separate departments. “Don Flex” Clutch Discs, Railko Bearings and Laminates, and
“Don” Molded Brake Linings were all started in the Brake Lining Works whilst it is not generally realized that the start of the Webbing Department lay in the manufacture of “Don” Bonnet Tape in the Brake Lining Department.
There can be few senior staff members, both on our outside staff and at Head Office who did not get their first knowledge of brake lining from John Horsfield.
When we asked him, he could not remember the number of people who had been in his works for training. “It’s a pretty good lot” he said.
Now to the future. John says he likes tinkering with cars and electrical apparatus and hopes to have more time for this in future, and for his house in Timperley. Both Mr. and Mrs. Horsfield’s daughters are married and they have four grand-children. After recovering from his serious illness a few years ago, he feels he should take things easier.
But John Horsfield will not leave us yet, he is going to carry out a special task for the Indus-trial Brake Lining Department. He has always been interested in Industrial Brake Lining although for many years his work was almost completely concerned with Transport Lining Now he will devote himself to the investigation of special industrial projects.
So John Horsfield moves on and Harry Jones who started with him as a boy in 1924, takes over the Woven Brake Lining Department, but it will be some time yet before, for the last time, someone somewhere in Small & Parkes Limited says, when faced with a problem, “We’d better ask Mr. Horsfield” and later on the letter comes back with those familiar pencilled notes in one corner, always written on the slant and signed.