Author Topic: Letter of job offer with Douglas (Kingswood) Ltd  (Read 6462 times)

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Offline Dave

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Letter of job offer with Douglas (Kingswood) Ltd
« on: 22 Dec 2011 at 07:47 »
Many thanks to Ray for sending in this interesting letter and note.

Quote from: Ray
I thought this letter sent to me in 1946  following my application to rejoin Douglas (Kingswood) Ltd following 5 years service in the RAF may be of interest to members. I was quite pleased with the offer of 6 pounds, 9 shillings and 6 pence for a 40 hour week.





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« Last Edit: 22 Dec 2011 at 07:55 by Dave »

Offline Dave

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Re: Letter of job offer with Douglas (Kingswood) Ltd
« Reply #1 on: 26 Dec 2011 at 19:27 »
I asked Ray if he could possibly tell us a little more about his time at Douglas and he very kindly wrote up these notes on his early years working at the factory. He added "I have so many happy memories of my time at Douglas that I could write a book." That would be a very interesting read. Thanks again Ray.

Quote
I started my working life at Douglas (Kingswood) in 1935 at the age of 14 in the Inspection Dept. Mr Stride was in charge with a young lady assisting (the total complement until I arrived ). I was put to work checking engine components such as cylinder barrels with a go/no-go plug gauge and various gearbox shafts etc with a micrometer or gap gauge. I found this boring and decided to ask for a transfer to the Fitting Shop which included bench work, welding, brazing, tube bending, drilling etc.

My request was soon granted and thereafter I enjoyed every minute of my time at Douglas. My 16th birthday could not come soon enough so that I could start motorcycling. I bought my first Douglas with carbide lighting for £3 and I was hooked for the rest of my life.
 
I learned very quickly, the foreman and everyone in the department gave every assistance in showing me all the different skills that I was soon actually making components. For instance starting with tubular headlamp supports, collecting the tube from stores, hacksaw to length, trap both ends in a flypress, drill a hole and grind a radius both ends and finally deburr.

Components were usually produced in batches of 100 on a peacework basis such as sixpence per 100 which was added to the basic wage. This encourages keeping your head down and completing the various operations as quickly as possible. If you wanted a word with someone they would usually keep working while conversing.

Other components such as handlebars required a little more practise, hacksawing the tube to length, lighting the gas burner under the container of pitch and resin and when molten filling the tubes. It took time to cool and harden so other jobs could be worked in between. The 4 bends were formed on a large steel table using the appropriate size rollers. The electric motor under the table drove a series of large gears and the control of the bender required very careful operation to obtain the correct angles. The bars were then placed in a gas fired oven and to melt out the filling which could be used again. Holes were drilled on an angle and finally the bars were passed to the grinder and polishers ready for chrome plating.

Later I was introduced to oxy-acetylene welding and following a period of on the job instruction and practise became skilled enough to commence welding front forks, exhaust pipes, mudguards, petrol tanks etc. The quality of the welding had to be very good so that the grinders and polishers were kept happy. Later on when we began making aircraft components I passed the Air Ministry tests for welding steel and aluminium. In fact I was involved with making and welding components for the Tipsy monoplane that was made at Douglas. It was test flown at Whitchurch airfield by Squadron Leader England.

I was very pleased to accept the Douglas offer of employment following my spell in the RAF. In my opinion it was a great company that gave me and other young lads every opportunity to learn engineering skills that gave me in particular a great start to a career in engineering. I really enjoyed the years that followed , being involved with production of the T35 and later the 80 and 90 plus bikes. Walter Moore was engaged to assist with refinements on the T35 and later Freddie Dixon was brought in to help with the Plus bikes. Great days.

My second spell at Douglas lasted only 11years because Westinghouse Brake and Signal took over and I thought it was time to move on. I accepted the offer of a good position with another precision engineering firm where I stayed for the next 21 years.

However, I will never forget the happy years at Douglas and the opportunities they gave me and who wouldn’t want to be paid to work on motorbikes with motorbike people.   

« Last Edit: 26 Dec 2011 at 20:00 by Dave »

Online Doug

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Re: Letter of job offer with Douglas (Kingswood) Ltd
« Reply #2 on: 27 Dec 2011 at 03:17 »
Ray,

Fascinating stuff to hear a little bit about the tasks that went on inside the factory! You might well have made some of the bits on my '36 Aero 600.

-Doug

Offline raydee

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Re: Letter of job offer with Douglas (Kingswood) Ltd
« Reply #3 on: 27 Dec 2011 at 11:10 »
That's a nice thought Doug, quite a possibility. Thanks for that. How I would love to own a '36 Aero 600, a really great bike.
Ray.

Offline johnd

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Re: Following job offer with Douglas (Kingswood) Ltd
« Reply #4 on: 31 Dec 2011 at 15:51 »
Not  wishing to be upstaged by my Brother Ray (raydee), may I offer this post that I hope may interest members ?.
Rays, and my Father who was also employed by Douglas Kingswood in Bristol, had an opportunity to purchase (for me) a 1949 Sports Douglas, which I believe was the only model coloured bright red, later nicknamed the 'Fire Engine' by my work colleagues.
This bike had been specially produced, packed in a case at our local (Avonmouth) docks for transporting across the Atlantic for exhibiting at a New York motorcycle show.
However, a necessary export licence could not be obtained in time resulting  in the bike being returned to the Factory where I collected it in 1950 and rode it for a number of years (I wonder where it is today).
It was a beautiful looking machine with the 'Sports' upswept exhaust pipes etc., and I have attached a black and white picture (doesn't do it justice), also a scan of the receipt for £109-17-0d.



« Last Edit: 17 Jan 2012 at 19:01 by Dave »
john28

Offline raydee

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Re: Letter of job offer with Douglas (Kingswood) Ltd
« Reply #5 on: 08 Jan 2012 at 17:19 »
Ray,

Fascinating stuff to hear a little bit about the tasks that went on inside the factory! You might well have made some of the bits on my '36 Aero 600.

-Doug