Lesney Matchbox in Rochford

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By David Murphy

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Lesney Oral History Archive, can you help?

Hello everyone. I'm currently putting together an archive of testimonies from former employees at the Lesney Matchbox factories in Rochford and East London.  After a promising response from East London's community resources about the factories there, I hoped placing a notice on the RDCA might extend the project out to those who worked at the Rochford/Southend plants and who might still remain in the area.

I think this is a hugely valuable part of British Industrial Heritage, and from what I have seen, it is also under-represented in our local history archives.  This, along with my love of the toys themselves, motivated me to begin doing something myself, and is what brought me here.  The project is still really in its early stages, but I hope that by making contact with relevant individuals, it can be possible to help preserve this important part of social and manufacturing history for future generations to learn about.

An important element of the archive is hearing - and potentially recording - the memories and recollections of former employees and those associated with the Lesney factories in Hackney.

- Did you or a family member work at Lesney's?
- Did you or a family member work with an associated industry, or as part of the Lesney supply chain?
- Do you have any documentation, photography or film that's related to the Rochford/Hackney factory in any way?
- Do you have any other material that might be of interest?

If you, or someone you know would like to contribute to this important project please post here, or alternatively feel free to contact me directly on  07881751666 , send an email to  lesneyarchive@gmail.com , or write to us at  60 Stamford Hill, London, N16 6XS. Thanks in advance, David

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This page was added by David Murphy on 14/08/2013.
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I landed in Hackney in 1977 in the Throwbridge Estate, my mother told me to go down and look for a job in Matchbox Lesney, so I went down on a Friday and was told to start on Monday, could not believe my luck, 15yrs old working in a toy factory!  I worked on the injection moulding floor just doing general tasks.  One day I was sweeping the floor when one of the fitters said "Oye paddy that's an old man's job, go an ask the foreman can you train as a mould setter".  I did , so became a setter, and then moved on into the fitting shop. It was a fantastic place to work, Stan and George were the two fitters' names , canteen was great , and the place was huge. I called around with another guy there from Walthamstow , we both had motorcycles, Colm was his name a rocker , he had a Suzuki GT250 while  I had an RD125 Yamaha,

I loved the craic in the place, the women were always taking Mickey, and they had a massive bus service for the workers. When I left in 79 I was saddened, and always visited when ever I went back to London, some great times there and good memories. I would love to know if anybody remembers Colm the biker as I have lost touch , I think the charge hand's name was Jim and the foreman on the floor was Roy.

By Tony byrne
On 28/09/2021

My Mother who was at the time named either Miss Jennifer Irene Mabel Harper or Mrs Jennifer Irene Mable Knight, worked at Lesney Matchbox Rockford in the mid to late 1970's. I understand she would have travelled from Shoeburyness. Sadly my Mother passed away aged 51 in 2003 in Torquay. I believe my Mother worked in the Matchbox Factory.

By Justin knight
On 13/11/2019

My father Jim Brown was a toolmaker there in the Late 60's early 70's.  I can't be sure when.  Sadly Dad dodged off in '88 aged 53, working at York's in Basildon at the time. I still have a huge collection of Superfast, bought on the staff discount scheme for my brother and me. I must have been around 12 at the time, which puts him there around 1970.  Anyone remember him?

By Jim Brown
On 07/02/2019

Hi there , I was a forklift driver at Rochford, I worked there from 79 - 82, my name Steve Lapwood , I went there straight from school and my mum Margaret was a production clerk in Plastics.

By Steve Lapwood
On 16/03/2015

My name is Dave Hart, I was adopted by William (Bill) Hart and worked at Lesneys between 1972 and 1975 along with Bill with Ray.

My birth name was Webb and I believe my brother Ian work there some time after I left.

I have been looking for Ian for many years as we were separated in the 60's so if any one knows any information about Ian Webb or his name might have been Falconer, as he was also adopted, I would very grateful if you could let me know.

By Dave Hart
On 05/10/2014

Can anybody remember the bus driver at Rochford, Doug King? He passed away last week. God bless him he was a nice man.

By Fred Williams
On 22/02/2014

I used to work there as a bus driver. If there is anyone else out there please get in touch by email to  fredwilliams42@googlemail.com

By Mr F W Williams
On 02/02/2014

My name is Roy Dowling. I worked for the company for 27 years. I was one of the 4 people sent from LONDON head office as key members. My job was to run injection moulding as engineer service and mantenance charghand. This made me one of the first on site but also the last as I had to clear the place for the bulldozers. Keep in touch.

By Roy Dowling
On 10/10/2013

My father was employed by Lesney from 1966 to 1975 in Hackney. He then transfered from Hackney in 1975 to Rochford where he stayed until he was made redundant in 1979. His name is Alexander Hughes and he was the Works manager whilst at Rochford.

By Paul Hughes
On 10/10/2013
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