Cadby Hall
Department Index

V Block construction. 1926 picture

Foundations for the Frood factory at Rannoch Road.

Part of the power distribution for LEO 1 1953.

Racking and ventilation trunking for LEO 1 computer 1950.

......Cadby..Hall...Estates .and...Services........


Cadby Hall Estates & Service (Previously Works Department)

The title of Cadby Hall Estates & Services is a relatively modern title to what, for many years, was known as the Works Department. In fact the Department's pedigree goes back to 1894 when the company first occupied Cadby Hall and converted the ramshackle buildings that had once been Charles Cadby's piano factory into a modern food factory. The first adaptation was carried out on what was known as 'A' block and this became the first bakery. In the same year a team of craftsmen, and labourers, were responsible for the work carried out on the first teashop in Piccadilly which opened in 1894. Thereafter the Works Department was associated with all the major work on subsequent teashops, restaurants, Corner Houses, hotels, factories, offices, sports grounds and directors private residences right up to the 1960s. You could not do anything in the firm without the Works Department having been there before. Every type of trade and profession was represented; the architects, draughtsmen, planners, steel erectors, bricklayers, plasterers, carpenters, plumbers, engineers, electricians and painters. When work was complete on new projects then the Works Department were responsible for maintaining them to a high standard. For this, new craftsman were required and included, marblers, glaziers, French polishers, cabinet-makers, coppersmiths, guilders and even steeple-jacks who looked after the lightning conductors and other items high up on buildings. When a new tea factory was required in 1919 the Works Department were called in and as well as building the factory and installing the boiler-house and water tower, they dug out a canal basin so that the tea, which was landed at London Docks, could be brought to Greenford by the most economical form of transport, river and canal barge. Within the tea factory grounds they laid railway lines (which connected to the Great Western mainline system) and installed overhead conveyors for moving product from building to building. No job was too big, or too small. The Works Department even built the first hotels, including the huge Cumberland Hotel which opened in 1933, swimming pools and computer rooms. Their craftsmen were at the top of their profession and one could only marvel at their talents. They were prepared for everything, one day somebody would be laying a dance-floor and the next someone else would be clearing drains. Even the factory equipment was maintained, and sometimes built, by the engineers. Some 2,000 people were permanently employed by the Works Department during the 1950s and probably more prior to that date. Until 1928 the Works Department came under the control of Alfred Salmon, director.

With such a vast and complex assembly of properties to maintain the Works Department were not all located together. Some were based at Cadby Hall but there were others up and down the country. At Cadby Hall plumbers, carpenters, painters etc. had their separate places of work which changed from time to time as circumstances required. At one time for example, after the Second World War, the painters were situated in St Mary's College and were constantly employed in keeping the place in good order. Food quickly absorbs the smell of paint and so all paint used in the factories was odourless. Much painting was done at night for obvious reasons. Paint spray-guns were extensively used and two sprayers could use 14 gallons of paint in a single night. The paint trade paid additionally for special work and Lyons honoured these arrangements. 'Heat' money was paid when work had to be done on or near machinery which was especially hot. 'Dirty' money was paid for work associated with very difficult and dirty jobs. 'Boat' money or 'Danger' money was paid for exterior work when carried out from boats or cradles slung from the roof.

The Joinery Department, which also fell under the umbrella of the Works Department, was located at Rannoch Road. It was here also where the sign writing section was situated. The teashop letters, and swags, were also hand-made here. During the First World War about 50 girls took over from the men in this department. They made all types of work from doors to counter tops for the shops.

As a separate unit within the Works Department was an office who were responsible for job costing. In a single year 11,000 different jobs were undertaken by the Works Department and it was the responsibility of the Works Office staff to keep track of these. Many of the clerks had to be familiar with the 'foreign' expressions commonly used in the construction industry. An order for 'alligator belt fasteners' or a 'half-horse motor' caused no more amazement to the staff than an order for a pot of paint or 14-lb hammer. The labour costs of a particular job were calculated by adding together the various staff times sheets. The time sheets were also used to calculate each man's weekly wage. Next the cost of materials had to be calculated. The workmen ordered their materials from the Stores Department and a copy of the order was sent to the Works Office where it was priced and valued. At one time all new building work required a licence issued by the Ministry of Works. This set out the estimated time and cost of the work. But raw materials prices fluctuated in price so the Works Office had to be constantly aware of this and alert departmental managers who may have to apply for supplementary licences or adjust the plan. When all the costs were known the office could calculate how much a particular job had cost against budget. It was very labour intensive with pieces of paper floating all over the place but management did have control of almost every item of expenditure.

In 1965 the Works Department were disbanded which resulted in a number of separate units being created. One of these was the Electrical Contracting Service, a 70-man team who were based in 44 Brook Green. Their brief was to provide a service, that was both efficient and economical when compared with outside electrical firms, to all Divisions and Departments in the Lyons Group. Their manager was A. B. Shirley and one of their first jobs was to win the electrical contract to modernise the Strand Palace Hotel bedrooms. Cubitts, who were the main contractors for the refurbishment, sent a letter of congratulations on the excellence of their work. The Electrical Contracting Service was divided into four sections, Design (under J. Child), Contracting (under J. Lee), Electricity Board negotiator (R. A. Donoghue) and lifts (under W. J. Edwards). Two fifths of their work came from hotels and the Estates Department.

The 1965 dismemberment of the Works Department also brought about Cadby Hall Estates & Services (CHE&S). Because the Lyons Bakery and Bread Divisions between them occupied approximately one half of the factory and office space at Cadby Hall, it was considered appropriate that they should be included in the Bakery Sector (not the Bakery Department), but with responsibility of looking after the other 'tenants' of Cadby Hall as well. The main ones being, Henry Telfer, Catering Division, Tea Division, Wimpy International, Town & County Catering, Catering Sales, Commercial Sector which included Computer Services and Treasury. CHE&S operated as a business, renting accommodation to Lyons department tenants and charging them for services provided. They had a turnover of £2 million. Their services were of three main types: Works, who were responsible for the installation and maintenance of electricity, gas, compressed air, steam, refrigeration, water and drainage and the building and installation of plant and machinery or other maintenance or alterations. General, who were responsible for cleaning, factory police, fire equipment, maintenance, lifts, vermin and pest control, disposal of waste, sanitation and the running of petrol and diesel oil stations for transport. And Catering, whose managed the staff shop, all canteens and staff restaurants, messes and tea points in Cadby Hall. The general engineering and maintenance work undertaken by CHE&S ranged from the replacement of washers on taps or fuses in lighting circuits to the installation of large plant such as the Harvest Pie plant for Lyons Bakery. Every day 167,000 square feet of office space had to be cleaned and each week 24,000 meals were served in the restaurants and nearly 18,000 cups of tea/coffee issued throughout Cadby Hall to mainly office staff. Until 1970 contractors were hired to handle waste products at a cost of around £20,000 per year. In 1970 this problem was solved by CHE&S when they installed a waste incinerator in E2 Block. Tom Stout, Engineering Manager, and I. Seary General Services Manager, spent some time considering the problem and their research showed that an incinerator would be the most efficient and economical method of disposing of non-recyclable waste. Major alterations were required to E2 Block. Foundations had to be laid and a first floor ceiling removed to give head-room to the 30-ton two-storey Brule incinerator. With a furnace temperature of up to 1200 degrees centigrade the machine was operated from 6 am until 8 pm on a two shift system. It reduced 10-tons of waste to 0.5-ton of ash each day. In addition about 30-ton of pig food and a further 14-tons of cardboard and paper were salvaged per week. The ash was collected by Hammersmith Council for disposal.

In 1971 the Lyons gas service department became a separate cost centre and became Colet Contracting Services. Based in Hogarth House, Hammersmith Road, and under the directorship of J. R. Woodroffe, the new company was responsible for developing business outside the Group and registered as Corgi Gas Installers. As well as providing heating and ventilation they also provided electrical consulting and installation. Although Colet were members of the Electrical Contractors Association and the National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting, they found business very competitive and most of their work was undertaken for Lyons subsidiary businesses primarily Falcon Inns (a subsidiary country hotel group) and Lyons Groceries. In 1973 they secured a contract with the Metropolitan Police and installed a number of diesel generators in police centres to ensure their vital systems were kept running in times of national emergency.

Although the individual managers of the different offices complained constantly about the charges made by CHE&S it must be said that they provided excellent services. They responded well to a crisis (like the fire in the computer room) and pulled out all the stops to help in any way they could. They were after all Lyons people and were totally dedicated. For many years the organisation was managed by Bill Bellamy and when he retired Paddy Connors took over. Like all the other departments of Lyons they too were progressively disbanded as the factories moved to new locations and old Cadby Hall was demolished. However, they took over the management of the new Cadby Hall until that was sold in the 1980s.

© Peter Bird 2005