Showing posts from June, 2017

Flying wheelchairs, wi-fi clothes, cancer cures and world peace – Life in 2067 as imagined by young people

‘Bubble-powered rocket boots’, ‘teleporting devices’, ‘talking animals’ – just some of the future innovations as imagined by Year 6 pupils at Mansbridge Primary School at a session led by the Ford Transition project team and volunteers. It was the culmination of a series of workshops in which the children explored the history of the former Ford site and their thoughts and views on living in Mansbridge and Swaythling. In earlier sessions the children had studied archival resources such maps, documents, news cuttings and oral history quotes to look at how the site had changed over time – from fields to the Cunliffe-Owen aircraft factory during the Second World War, and then Ford Transit van production to the rapidly transforming new site today. They brushed up on their skills of asking questions, active listening and engaging with older people in a reminiscence context. So they were fully prepared and eager to find out more when they visited a local sheltered housing block and met olde

Who bombed Cunliffe Owen? The intriguing story of the bombing in 1940 of the aircraft factory in Southampton

Andy Jones, former director at Solent Sky Museum, Southampton, kept the audience at our memory sharing café enthralled as he shared the results of his research into the bombing of Cunliffe Owen during the Second World War. On 11 th September 1940 the factory took a direct hit from German bombers and 52 people lost their lives. It is a lesser-known story than the bombing of the Supermarine later that month and one that our project has been exploring through the memories of Helen, whose father was one of those killed. Andy and his team have been researching the story for a film due to be broadcast later this month and which looks at the mystery of a German bomber known to have been inside the factory at the time of the bombing. Andy showed photographs of the Heinkel at the factory taken before and after the raid and explained his efforts to identify the plane and through it find out more about its journey to Southampton. He has since pieced together the plane’

"Watch and learn" - Memories of three decades of life at Ford Transit Plant, Southampton

At our memory sharing cafe on 2 June 2017, Bob Painton, who has been a regular at our memory sharing cafes, gave a fascinating account of his time at Ford Transit plant. Reading from his memoirs he recounted memories of his working life over three decades of working at the plant.  Bob worked at Ford from 1977 to 2009. His first application was rejected until he went down the ‘green form’ route through which family members of Ford employees got priority. He described his first day at work, when he was told “to stand by someone and watch and learn” and when he made mistakes was “roundly told off in strong terms by the foreman”. He described his work as a spot welder and he took great pride in the high quality of his work. Bob painted a detailed picture of the work at the plant in those early days before automation changed working practices – anecdotes about his colleagues, the working conditions and camaraderie on the line, how some workers preferred to stay on the sa