Bush factory memories

Since our Stories from the Stores exhibition finished, staff and volunteers are still busy working on the social history collection. Work has continued on the audit, adding information and images to our database, and looking through some stories you left whilst visiting the exhibition.

As Bush Radio was a local factory, it was no surprise that many of you had stories relating to our radios. Some of our visitors told us about the work they did at the factory, including June Warmingby who told us,“I used to work for Bush Radio between 1960-64. I’d buy all of the components and liaised with factory and drawing departments. The site was called Ernesettle, just below the Tamar bridge.”

Bush Radio (DAC90A) – AR.2011.870

We also got some very detailed information about this object in particular, which is a DAC90A. Mr Saunders, who worked at Bush in various departments from 1949-1967, saw it and remembered that, “the older version used larger valves, but then Mullards (from where we received the valves) produced a smaller all glass 8 pin valve, thus ensuring a smaller radio (and also better ventilation)”.

This radio was popular from the 1950s onwards. It’s a classic, and no wonder it brought back the memories! As Derek Brown said, they are “all items from my past, in London and Southampton.”

You can read more about some of our other Bush objects such as our Music Centre  or TR82C. If you’d like to share any more thoughts, then we’d love to hear from you.

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2 thoughts on “Bush factory memories”

  1. It was my father E ” Ted” A Carter who was sent to Plymouth in September 1948 to set up and manage Bush’s second factory. He was accompanied by Mr Bennett and Mr Reg Jessup and their families. To me, aged 10, leaving Surrey for the seaside after earlier family holidays in Torquay, was a dream come true. For my brother , aged 15 the move from the London area was a disappointment! We were all allocated Council Houses in Honicknowle and Dad’s work began. Staff were recruited, asembly lines set up and training on the assembly of televisions began. Bush was just one of several firms attracted to Plymouth as the city grappled with the inevitable slimming down of the wartime navy and dockyard and the resulting need for new employers and jobs.
    I believe Dad, whose life had started in very humble circumstances in south London, was very much “hands on” in his manager role and took great pleasure in the dedication and enthusiasm of the work force which exceeded 2,500 eventually and all Bush production moved to Plymouth. Sports clubs were set up; he turned out for the cricket team despite restricting wartime injuries. That team had notable success in Plymouth Leagues and also in fixtures against east Cornwall teams. A Ladies Choir flourished and there were social events such as the annual Works Dance. And my father was active in voluntary associations such as St. John’s Ambulance and the Rotary Club and supported Plymouth Argyle.. He loved his adopted city, as we all did, but he took early retirement from Bush, worked for a time with W G Heath ( electrical contractors and retailers) before the wartime injuries took their toll. He died in 1972 aged only 65. My mother Lily Carter lived on in Plymouth to 1987 and then came to live close to us in Oxford, dying aged 95 in 1998.
    I never really made it back to Plymouth, except in holidays, after my university education took me up country but my brother now 82 has enjoyed a happy retirement in the city! Whenever I cross the Tamar bridges I point out to my wife the lovely setting of Ernesettle and the former Bush factory.

    Barry Carter now aged 76 and an Old Boy of Plymouth College

    PS I would much appreciate hearing reminiscences of others who knew Bush and my father.

    1. Thank you Barry for your comment. It is really valuable for us to have this information! It certainly sounds like your father was busy in his years here! I have added a link to your comment on our database record of the Bush radio featured, as it’s really useful to be able to record the stories about our social history collection. If anyone else has memories they’d like to share, I know we would be glad to hear of them.

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