These notes were written by Thomas Harold BEACH in November 1994
These notes will go a long way to indicate that there has been a relation employed by the company since it was founded in 1826 by Edward & Stephen Sheldon. In 1884 it was known as Cannon Holloware Co. Ltd., the name was changed in 1900 to Cannon Iron Foundries Ltd. through the years since then it has had various designations until about 1962 when it was taken over by G.E.C. In 1994 on Friday Sept 9 the factory was closed, all production and its facilities had already been transferred to Creda, Blythe Bridge near Stoke.
My father Samuel BEACH worked at Cannon for 54 years and retired in his 68th year, he was taken to work by his uncle Samuel TURLEY, who at the time of the Centenary celebrations at Blackpool in 1926 was presented with a wallet containing £10 for 54 years service.
He in turn had been taken by his uncle Thomas TURLEY, quoted as a long serving Iron Worker in 1872, these figures suggest if he worked for Cannon for 46 years he was there at its founding.
One of my father's first jobs was to collect the "gas money" from each moulder for gas light used during his working hours, the times of starting work varied according to the hours of daylight. He was presented with a clock for 50 years service in 1955.
I was taken to work at Cannon in 1933 at fifteen years of age as an apprentice and eventually became Production Manager, I retired in May 1981 through ill health.
George BEACH, my uncle, was at one time chauffeur at Coseley Hall, the home of the Sheldons and Claytons until the first motor lorry was bought, it was a Halley, registration number E7859, it had solid tyres and carbide lamps for road lighting. A lad was engaged as a driver's mate and to attend to the lamps.
In those days it took a week to go to London and return, the mate's name was Dick Norton, who latterly became general dogsbody in the garage.
Before the transport fleet increased to any size, the company had horse and flat carts which were used for local deliveries and collection, other deliveries went by rail, the goods yard was close by> Other carts were tippers an dwere used to take black sand (moulding sand) from the foundry yard to the tip.
The stables for the horses are still there today on the corner of Havacre Lane and Darkhouse Lane. The stables were originally owned and occupied by L.M.S. Railways. As time passed, lorries or vans took over from the flat carts and a Fordson tractor took over from the tipper carts.
Uncle George BEACH left Cannon because his religious beliefs were such that when told that he would have to work on a Sunday, he walked off the ground. He was always very active with the football team and Wolverhampton Works Football Association, but although asked to go back to be interviewed, he refused. He was a Councillor on Coseley Urban District Council and was appointed Chairman of the Council in 1956, his inaugural service was held at Providence Chapel, Coppice. He would not allow the various flags and standards inside. His wife (Helen O. GLAGUE) was also a Councillor, both Labour.
Now we come to the ADDISS's, family Fanny was a packer in the pot warehouse, it was such a dirty job that on any occasions I was allowed into the works you could see her completely covered form head to foot and hands with hessian sackcloth.
Julia ADDISS worked in the core shop on what was known as the new side, she was used to make some of the more intricate cores and other experimental work.
Alma ADDISS worked in the packing warehouse and was annually taken to Earl's Court, London for the Ideal Homes Exhibition to unpack the exhibits and repack on the closure of the Exhibition.
One other member of the family, by marriage, was William Edgar HARRIS, he worked in the dispatch department, primarily packing appliances for export in wooden crates and helping to load vehicles when necessary.
In 1937 there was an engineering department built in Darkhouse Lane, for Chemical Plant production, where the vessels were made and enamelled.
Now at this stage Cannon occupied approximately 35 acres and employed 1800 people. The original site was the "Dowry Piece" which was between Biddings Lane and Coseley tunnel. In 1986 there was a serious fire which destroyed the original buildings in Havacre Lane, on demolition of the chimney stack they found a stone showing 1882, this stack was demolished brick by brick and re-erected in the Black Country Museum for the anchor forge. I had, some time before, when the Blacksmith's shop at the Cannon closed had the anvil and the tools collected by the Museum.
In 1963 I was presented with a gold watch for above 25 years service.
Cannon was responsible for the first Radiant Convector Gas fire, the first "Eye" level grill on a cooker, the first cooker with a Rotisserie, Spit and Kebab attachment, separate grill units, wall mounted (heated) by gas and electric, a double Oven cooker for hotels etc and a 50/50 cooker, the purchaser decided gas oven, electric hob and grill or vice versa, the gas and electric companies saw this off - they couldn't agree on connection and maintenance.
This is family connections and a history of Cannon - sadly now no more...
Thomas Harold Beach
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