Years roll back at engineers' reunion

MEMORIES of the golden age of Ipswich engineering were shared in the sunshine at Ipswich Transport Museum.Dozens of former employees of companies such as Ransomes Sims & Jefferies, Cocksedge & Co, Ransome and Rapier, Bull Motors and Revealls attended a reunion.

By Nick Richards

MEMORIES of the golden age of Ipswich engineering were shared in the sunshine at Ipswich Transport Museum.

Dozens of former employees of companies such as Ransomes Sims & Jefferies, Cocksedge & Co, Ransome and Rapier, Bull Motors and Revealls attended a reunion.

The event was organised in the light of the demise of many historic engineering companies in Ipswich and this was an excellent chance for old pals to get together.

It is hoped this will become an annual event and on a blazing hot day, former colleagues enjoyed trips over the Orwell Bridge in a double-decker bus.

Joint organiser Tim Reeves said more than160 people had attended the Cobham Road museum for a coffee and a chat about old times.

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He said: "I worked for Ransomes for 30 years from 1951 to 1981 but there are still people here today that I never knew, especially some of the factory workers. This is a great chance for old friends to get together."

Among the old friends meeting up again were Don Turvey and Geoff Teague. Don, 69, worked for Ransomes and Rapier while Geoff, 75, worked for Ransomes Sims and Jefferies.

Don had one particularly interesting tale to tell regarding a confusing sign. He said: "We have a cast iron sign here which has caused a lot of interest as we don't know what kind of machinery it could have come from.

"The sign mentions a six-and-a-quarter ton safe working load, yet a spring compression of 25 tons. That's a very high compression for any piece of machinery yet the sign came from Ransome Rapiers and nobody can shed any light on what type of machinery it is for."

Also on display were old photos of the Ransomes sites and old manuals with instructions for pieces of machinery.

Pride of place though went to a slab of engraved stone which had come from Egypt 100 years ago which had an interesting story.

Tim Reeves said: "The slab was a piece of stone excavated from the site of the old Aswan Dam dating from 1903. Ransomes made the gates for the original dam and this piece of stone was engraved and presented to Ransomes 100 years ago.

"What's even more interesting is that it vanished a few years ago and turned up in Bath – but we managed to get it back to Ipswich!"

n It is hoped the reunion of former Engineers will become an annual event. Any former engineers who wish to get in touch for next year can contact Brian Dyes or Tim Reeves at Ipswich Transport Museum on 01473 715666.

They are also looking for volunteers to help renovate all kinds of old pieces of machinery. Contact Brian of Tim on the same number.

 

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