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BACON, Alice Eleanor (1879-1961) was one of the most senior employees of Lyons up to 1960. She was born in a fifteenth-century inn, in the Suffolk village of Nayland on 18 November 1879 and was youngest of three sisters (Flora, Lillian and Alice). Throughout her life she was always known as Nell. Her father, James Bacon, contracted smallpox from one of the overnight guests and died at an early age, leaving the family almost destitute. At seventeen years of age Nell Bacon travelled to London with her sister Lillian for Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee celebrations; the first time either of them had been on a railway journey. During their visit they both successfully applied to become temporary waitresses at the Piccadilly teashop, taking up their appointments on 31 May 1897. Both were attractive, hard-working young women and were taken on to the permanent staff. Nell's country charm and Suffolk accent endeared her to many, and her tables at the teashop were the most popular. Lillian married Edwin Jones, a teashop inspector, after a short period and resigned her position.
Nell, on the other hand, quickly progressed to become a teashop manageress in 1903 and chief superintendent of all teashop staff in 1909. On 25 November 1922, at the age of forty-three, she secretly married the divorcee Frank Andrew, a jeweller's manager. Nell Bacon was reticent about her private life and few people within Lyons knew of her marriage. This was not entirely for personal reasons but through a desire not to draw unnecessary attention to her changed status, since management attitudes then were less tolerant to career women than today. Nell Bacon continued to work insisting on high standards within the teashop administration, she expected obedience from her subordinates, was well respected by both management and staff but did not suffer fools gladly. She established a school for waitresses where each girl would undergo two weeks intensive training and associated with this was a dressmaking department where each girl's uniform was tailored to size. There is no doubt that her managerial proficiency played a significant part in the Lyons teashop success story.
In 1925 she introduced the famous Nippy uniform from ideas she had seen in the fashion windows of London's Bond Street. The uniforms became an instant success and the Nippy waitresses, to whom she was closely associated (and frequently referred to as Nippy No 1), became icons in British society at this time and many years thereafter. During her employment with Lyons, Nell Bacon was responsible for more than 10,000 staff at any one time and over half a million waitresses passed through her charge. She occupied a company flat over the teashop in Streatham High Road, where for a while she employed her mother, Alice, as housekeeper.
Although Nell Bacon was extremely talented and highly respected among her peers, equality for women, at least in Lyons, had not yet arrived. Nell Bacon never progressed beyond superintendent, a considerable achievement nevertheless for a country girl. The highest accolade she probably received was when Harry Salmon referred to her as 'our senior woman executive' when presenting her with a silver casket, on 2 June 1947, commemorating her fifty years of employment. Alice Eleanor Bacon continued to be associated with the teashops until 1957 achieving 60 years of service; she died, in Brighton, on 28 June 1961. No other female employee ever achieved her record of service, indeed no female was ever promoted to the board of Lyons in its entire 100-year history.


BARRINGTON, Dorothy (1901-1989) was the last of the original Nippy waitresses having served 47 years with the company. She started as a waitress at Maison Lyons Bond Street in 1923 but previously had been a professional dancer and had appeared at the Old Vic, London. On 1 January 1925 the Nippy waitress was created with a new image and uniform. In 1933 Barrie, as she was universally known, moved to the Marble Arch Corner House where she worked until her retirement in 1969, aged 69 years. In formative years, all the Nippy waitress were presented with a cake on the anniversary of their formation. Each cake was decorated with the appropriate number of candles commemorating the respective anniversary years. On Barrie's retirement she received one of these cakes which had been discontinued in the 1930s. As the presentation was made on Christmas eve it was appropriate that it was a Christmas cake. The records show a number of ambiguities with Barrie's service record. Her retirement announcement in 1970 records her age as 69 and in 1971 that she served 47 years with the company. This would make her birth year 1901 and her start date with Lyons as 1923/24-this is considered to be accurate because she started work before Nippy was created. However, her obituary in 1989 records her age as 80 with 37 years service and pension records show her birth as 1 February 1909. This clearly is at variance with the earlier records. Dorothy Barrington died on 29 April 1989 aged 80.


BELLAMY, Albert William (1911-1980) was born on 1 July 1911 and joined Lyons in 1925 as a student trainee in the Construction Department under Charles Fenn and in course of his training worked in the Architects Department, the Building Buying Office, the Cost Office, the Surveyors' Office and the Joinery Department. In the early 1930s, when the Cumberland Hotel was being built, he was made assistant to the clerk of works there, and had the same role later when the Strand Corner House was extended and the restaurants modernised. In 1937 he was assistant to the building manager and three years later was working on war damage and survey claims. In 1942, though in a reserved occupation, he joined the Royal Engineers with a direct commission as Captain and worked on building projects for the Army and on minefield clearance. Bill, as he was universally known, returned to Lyons in 1946 in the Building Department and after two years was sent to the company's tea estate in Nyasaland (now Malawi) to build a new tea factory there. By 1951 he had returned to the UK and was involved in reconstruction and building maintenance at the Trocadero Restaurant and Regent Palace Hotel. By 1965 he had become Cadby Hall's building manager and in 1968 became head of Cadby Hall Estates & Services. He retired in October 1975 having spent fifty years with the firm. Albert Bellamy died on 19 January 1980.


BIRD, Peter (1934-2017) Peter Bird, author of LEO: The First Business Computer and The First Food Empire: A History Of J. Lyons & Co. has died at the age of 82. Published in 1994, LEO: The First Business Computer was the first to document the development in the 1950’s of the World’s first business computer by J Lyons and Co, who were then more famous for their tea shops and cakes. Peter then went on to write about the origins of J. Lyons & Co itself in 2000. Both books were meticulously researched and compiled, with original photos included from the respective documented eras.
Peter worked at J. Lyons & Co between 1964 and 1991, starting as a Computer Operator on LEO III and then eventually rising to Company Director of Lyons Computer Services. In the late 1980’s Peter began his research into the origins of why and how the company decided to embark on building a computer. This initial interest led to writing these two important books.
It also led to him becoming an expert on all J. Lyons & Co related history and trivia and he was often asked to by TV companies to provide information and artifacts. The most famous being an appearance on Nigella Lawson’s episode of Who Do You Think You Are? Nigella’s great grandfather was a founding director of the company.
Peter was born in North London in 1934, the second son of a solicitors clerk Jack Bird and his wife Eileen (nee Darnell). Bombed out of their home in 1940, the family were evacuated many times. After the war Peter joined the merchant navy, rising to 1st Officer. He left in the early 60’s and started work at J. Lyons & Co. 
Whilst having never written any books or articles before, Peter got the writing bug when starting his research into LEO and this inquisitiveness and attention to detail were his guiding lights throughout the long process of putting together two very professionally authored and packaged books. He would continue to supply articles for the Lyons website and correspond with any Lyons related inquiries. A very generous and knowledgeable man, he was honored this year by the LEO Computer Society (http://www.leo-computers.org.uk/) when they dedicated their ‘LEO Remembered’ book to him.
He is survived by his son Philip Bird and two grandsons Alexander and Jake.


BROIDO, Daniel (1903-1990). Daniel Broido was born in Kirensk, Siberia on 17 May 1903 while his parents were in exile for their political beliefs. Shortly after Daniel Broido’s birth his parents escaped to England and Daniel was brought up by his grandmother. His parents returned to Russia in 1905 and again lived illegally, in St Petersburg, working for the Menshevik movement, which itself became deeply divided in 1912. After the revolution of October 1917 his parents found themselves at odds with the ruling Communist Party and from 1920 they lived in exile in Berlin, where Daniel's father worked for the Russian Trade delegation.
Daniel studied at Berlin's Technical University, obtaining his degree in Mechanical Engineering, and started working for the General Electric Company (AEG) and then for Rotaprint. In 1934 Herr Fischer, Director of Rotaprint at that time, made arrangements for Broido to travel to the United Kingdom to work at the Rotaprint agency in London at a time when the German authorities were vetting all workers. During World War II Daniel Broido worked for Caterpillar Tractors on tank design; he volunteered for the Army but was turned down because his work with Caterpillar was considered more important. Because of his having volunteered for the Army and his work on tractor design he was given British citizenship without delay in 1946. He returned to Rotaprint but soon left them to join Olding Developments Limited, where he became Managing Director and Chief Engineer. In 1950 Olding Developments Limited was sold to the British Tabulating Machine Company Limited (BTM) and his inventions and patents were transferred to them. He became senior Development Engineer on optical reading machines, becoming a pio­neer in this field with over 100 patents to his credit. Among his inventions was the first sterling calculator, single cycle decimal calculator, computing scale, graph reader, and the printing calculator. He invented the first bar code system, which he called mini marks, and patented this on 6 February 1954.
In 1956 Raymond Thompson of Lyons recruited Broido as Chief Mechanical Engineer for all aspects of the LEO computer and he worked closely with Dr Pinkerton, designing optical mark reading machines such as the Lector. When Lyons started to export their computers to Eastern Europe Broido acted as interpreter and Sales Di­rector. He spoke fluent German and Russian and had a very good working knowledge of Serbian. He was transferred to ICL at the time of the mergers and was mainly responsible for East European sales. Between 1966 and 1970 he made 34 trips to Eastern Europe for ICL, of which 21 were to the Soviet Union. He spent a lot of time receiving delegations of engineers and other important guests from the eastern block in promoting sales for ICL computers. Daniel Broido married Nordi Osten in 1940 and they had two sons, Michael and Stephen. He died on 10 October 1990.




BROWN, Charles (1875-1969) started his working life in 1889 as a baker and qualified as Journeyman with J. Lyons. He was born in the West Indies on 25 September 1875 where his father, Robert Brown, served in the Royal Artillery. Robert Brown married a 19 year-old widow Elizabeth Ellen Connell (nee Dermott) at Staines, Middlesex in 1867. The first child (Robert James) was born in Gosport in 1869 and their second son (John Nicholson) in 1871 at the Royal Artillery barracks, Woolwich. In 1873 Robert Brown was posted to Nova Scotia, Canada, where a daughter (Mary) was born but died within a fortnight. Charles Brown was born in Nova Scotia on 25 September 1875 and when only seven months old the family were posted to Bermuda and two more sons were born (George Alexander 1878 and Thomas Alfred 1880). In July 1880 their son John died aged 9 and in November the family returned to England due to the deteriorating health of the father, Robert Brown. He died of pulmonary tuberculosis in Portsmouth on 15 December 1880. There was no pension or relief for widows in those days and the wife, Ellen, as she was known, returned to London to live with her widowed mother in Lambeth. The family at this time were penniless and in wretched poverty. On 15 August 1881, on the death of the widowed mother, Ellen Brown and her children were admitted to the Lambeth Workhouse. Soon afterwards the boys attended local Norwood Schools. The mother (Ellen) remained in the workhouse with the youngest son, Thomas, until May 1882 when he died of convulsions, aged 20 months. In July 1882 the three Brown brothers left Norwood schools and were separated. Charles went to St James School, Tooting, and his older brother to Anerley School, Penge. It is not known where George went but he may have continued to live with his mother until she died in 1886. After a year Charles was transferred to Anerley but probably never again saw his brother Robert because children in different age groups were segregated. Robert left school in 1887 and Charles in 1889 when 14 years old. Charles was discharged from Anerley School to a Mr Thomas, baker, of Penge but in 1891 he moved to Wandsworth and lived as an apprentice baker with James Provins of 332 York Road. By 1901 he had moved to 39 West Ferry Road, Millwall, sharing accommodation with Mary Guy (Baker) and John Sheffer (foreman baker). On Christmas Day, 1901, Charles Brown married Sarah Dowding who had recently returned from Connecticut, USA, where she had been living since 1890. They had seven children: Frederick Charles (1903), Lilian May (1904), Olive Annie (1905), Robert George (1906), Lucy Ellen (1909), James John (1917) and Alexander (1920). Little is known of Charles Brown's employment at J. Lyons despite his having worked there all his life. He appears in an early photograph of Lyons bakers in 1908 and it is thought he was part of a team baking bread for the Royal household. Their bread contained at least 5 per cent more white flour than the standard mix. There is evidence too, from family memories, that he was involved with cake production and in particular Swiss roll manufacture. Charles Brown retired shortly after the end of the Second World War and on retirement was offered a lump sum ex gratia payment or £1.00 per week for the rest of his life. He took the latter and died on 21 July 1969, aged 93 and still drawing his £1.00 pension. This obituary has been largely compiled by Wendy Brown, granddaughter of Charles Brown.

To see photographs of Charles Brown click on: http://www.kzwp.com/lyons2/people.htm




BRYSON, Robert Edward (1881-1948) was born in Camden Town, London, in 1881 and died on 26 July 1948 age 67, after a long illness but only after a short absence from his work. It is not known when he started work with Lyons but at 19 he was already an assistant architect and it is known that he worked with Charles Oatley (the company's first architect) before his death in 1922. He was a specialist in interior design and in that sphere was responsible for many of the company's restaurants and hotels. He was an authority on the history, design and construction of furniture and gave talks in this subject. Since 1911 he had been a Licentiate of the Royal Institute of British Architects. Bryson worked under Charles Oatley in the design and building of Lyons' First World War memorial and was responsible himself for the design of the Second World Memorial. He was an unassuming man and did not need to advertise his skills or boast of his profound knowledge and varied experience.


BUTLER, Sidney Joliffe (1875-1936). Born in 1875 and died on 23 September 1936 aged 61. He was head of the Engineering Department and had joined Lyons in 1912. After serving an engineering apprenticeship in Stock-on-Tees he joined the P&O shipping company becoming one of the youngest sailing engineers. Subsequently he established a general engineering and iron-founding concern at Wokingham, Berkshire, where he was a town councillor. He took charge of the extension to the Northern Nigerian Railroad, involving the prospecting, mapping and laying down of hundreds of miles of railroad track and the building of bridges. He founded the Masonic lodge there, built the Temple himself and acted as the first organist. S. Butler left a widow.


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