In 2001 I inherited my grandpa’s retirement watch. I’d seen it at first as a piece of family history but realised on looking at the inscription on the back that it is a piece of Birmingham history too. The inscription engraved on the back says “Presented to A E Arthur Esq by the Members of the Bright Bolt & Nut Manufacturers’ Association, the Cold Headed Heat Treated Bolt Association, the Metal Thread Screw Manufacturers’ Association in gratitude for his services to the Industry and in token of their high esteem and regard, March 1946.” Albert Edward Arthur was born in 1881 in Walsall. He left home at 16, moving to Birmingham to find a job. Family history says he started work as a clerk in Thomas Haddon & Stokes, rolled thread screw, bolt and nut manufacturers in Digbeth and eventually retired, aged 65, as Managing Director.
It is amazing to see all the different trade associations relating to the production of fastenings, nuts and bolts that have now disappeared – a whole world of work and industry now gone forever. Thomas Haddon & Stokes became part of GKN in the 1940s. Grandpa died in 1977 aged 97!