When family and friends worked at Plessey’s

Surrounded by housing and the busy Frederick Street shopping area, the large Plessey Telecomunications factory and the smaller Mary Harris clothing factory in the new industrial complex at South Shields in September 1971.
Surrounded by housing and the busy Frederick Street shopping area, the large Plessey Telecomunications factory and the smaller Mary Harris clothing factory in the new industrial complex at South Shields in September 1971.

An aerial photo of the “new industrial complex at South Shields” taken in 1971, and zeroing in on “the large Plessey Telecommunications factory and the smaller Mary Harris clothing factory” was just the job for jogging memories.

For it encouraged thousands of you to take to the Gazette’s Facebook page to see it and scores more to write posts about family and friends who worked at Plessey’s.

Ian Douglas took to email to say: “I worked there 68 to 74 with a girl called Sheila Roxbury, Sheila Spedding then” while Sheila Douglas, was Sheila Spedding, “worked on the big boards, cable forming with Sheila Roxby and Greta”.

Some readers had more than one family member working there as Pam Donkin explains.

“Both myself my husband, my sister, brother-in-law and dad all worked there, great place to work,” she said while Amanda Chattaway said: “My mother Doreen Tanner, my Aunty Vera Lowrey and Aunty Valerie Binks, all worked there, happy days!”

Linda Falconer posted: “My sister, Margaret Thompson, worked there for years and I worked on the switchboard for six months in 73.”

Another ex-employee was Val Hall who said: “I worked there with my good friend Liz Lewis Scorer” while Colin Warkcup told how he “worked there on the nightshift, 1971 to 1976, circuit test”.

Sherrie Loft revealed that her mam worked there, Eileen Loft.

“She was there when it was Rank Bush,” said Sherris, “now we are going back a lot of years.”

Lilybet Nicholson took to social media to comment: “I worked there when it was ISL then Via Systems, then Circatex. Was there til the bitter end.”

Other readers to make mention of a family connection included Allyson Stewart, who said: “My dad (Bill Hardy) worked there in the 1970s”; Maureen Glister, who told how “me and my husband worked there,loved it”; Dawn Tennet revealed that “my mam worked there, not sure when, but she was Geraldine” and Ian Hannent posted: “my auntie worked there,Elsie Butler.”

As well as recalling past Plessey workers, other readers also remembered the Mary Harris factory.

Bev Robson Mullin was another reader who wanted to share her memories. She wrote: “My mam, Edna Robson, worked there, I always remember her talking fondly of the place” while Anne Oxley said: “I think my dad, Billy Farrell, worked there; have fond memories of Xmas wen I was very small, they brought a huge hamper and massive selection box to our house.”

Kezza Clift got in touch to say: “My cousin, Susan Allen, (nee Kerrigan) worked in the gold room, I think” and Marian Brooks told how she “worked there when it was Interconnections ... loved it.”

James Nichols took to our Facebook page to recall the following people – Glenn Hopper; Paul Hunter; Anne Marie; Nikola Hunter; Charlotte Micham; Kyle Cape; Jess Mason and Gillian Dunn, and asking Chris Dunn ... spot our house?

Other readers also gave a shout out to ex-Plessey workers.

Debra Mouat Johnston typed in her nanna Kitty Mouat; Margaret Dixon, her sister Jen Doughty and her friend Audrey Lister; Susan Young, her mam Lillian O’Donnell and mother-in-law Iris Young and Victoria Greaves, her dad Brian Greaves, while Tracy Brook said: “My Auntie Pat Ball worked there.”

Joan Mather got in touch to say: “I worked there for Rank Bush until 2000 when I took redundancy.”

Syd Dickinson also commented, saying: “My old house is in here, across the road to the Mary Harris factory, near the scrapyard.”

What are your memories of Plessey’s and other South Shields factories?