One morning at the office, when I went into my office at the printers I worked for as a salesman, I had a call from a Mr Price who was an engineer. He ran a small engineering firm with his dad, the family lived on the site of the engineering business and he said they needed some ‘compliments slips’ to put in with their invoices and ‘the like’. He advised that the design needed some updating as they still had a Gloucester number as a telephone contact. They had not even got as far as the area codes, which indicated that they did not visit the printers very often. I said that I’d be delighted to come and see him to discuss what he needed, and got directions to the farm where they worked.
It did not take long to find and the whole place was a revelation. Thee workforce was father and son, and together with daughter in law, wife and small child( who’s cot was in the corner of the office) and that was it. They had within these large farm sheds lathes and machines of every size. When I asked what they made, they simply said they could make almost anything.
They were popular with the local farming community, one farmer later told me they’d made a cheese press for her. In their spare time, they restored steam powered engines and the one above is the engine that used to power the Waring and Gillow furniture factory in the midlands. Almost all of their collected machines were in working order. In another part of the collection of worksheds was an entire area just for the engines, all lined up and in spick and span condition.
Outside the sheds there were other pieces of machinery ready for their kind restoration. They were also good enough to let me photograph the area. I ventured that it was a shame that they could not turn the place into a museum, and a working one at that, but they said that the Council would never let them, due to health and safety restrictions.What a missed opportunity.
The Two Mr Prices: they should be celebrated in some way.
This all happened in 2004, so the little girl who slept in the cot in the corner of the office will probably be in her 20s now. I’ve heard nothing further of the magnificent Mr Prices.
I just hope they were able to carry on with their superb work