H Neale and Co

Apprentice 'banging out' ceremony

These are two photos, taken c1982, lent to us by Margaret Brock who worked for H Neale and Co the bookbinders that was situated on the Charfleets Industrial Estate.

The company was a family business founded in 1917 and incorporated we believe in 1930 but it ran into difficulties in 1994 when the employees were made redundant and the firm went into receivership. Lionite-Mele Ltd, a Cardiff based subsidiary of an American Company, bought the firm which was eventually dissolved in 2002. (Public records)(Echo Newspaper Group Archive)

The photos show two apprentices that had ‘done their time’ during the ‘banging out’ ceremony.

As I understand it they were taken through the factory with all the staff banging on tables etc making quite a din. The staff used to mix buckets of everything they could find and once outside this was poured over them.

Were you there? Are you in these photos? Did you work for the company? Please comment below.

Comments about this page

  • I worked at NEALS in the mid50s, it was so cold in winter there were ice hung from the beams, we used to wrap a blanket around our waists and take hot water bottles, I wore fingerless gloves, no talking and music twice a day, you had to ask to go to the loo, Miss BROWN was a little woman with small specs and a crisp white overall, her hair in a tight bun, one look and you shut up.

    By Margaret (14/03/2017)
  • The lady who left that comment is a different Margaret, not me-Margaret Brock!

    I worked at H. Neales from September 5th 1977 to November 30th 1984. At the age of 16, I was petrified walking into there on my first day and to be honest, was quite snobby about working in a factory and told people I was only there for a while (as really I hoped to  pursue a dream of becoming a teacher). I ended up working there for 7 years and felt really sad when I left albeit to have my first baby Charlotte.

    My colleagues at H. Neales were like a big family to me, supportive and kind. We were really busy at times-I remember doing hours 8 a.m to 7p.m weekdays , Saturdays 8 till 12 and Sundays 8 until 12 when things got really hectic at Christmas time. After Christmas  work would be really low for a few weeks and we would sit around getting paid to do nothing! That’s when the group of girls I worked with used to play cribbage and other card games. 

    Talking of pay, I remember being thrilled and feeling very important when I was awarded Merit Money for being a good worker—£2.50 extra a week!

    I work at Little Nippers Pre-School now and at times my book mending skills are called upon evoking my fond memories of Neale’s- so many nice people- too many to name - the brothers  David and Peter Neale, Agnes and Ivy the tea ladies, (I remember Ray Howard delivering eggs to their kitchen every Friday and as a youngster being amazed that he sold eggs that had double yolks!), Bill (Wood) ‘the sweep’ -lovely man, Violet Smith who used to do our wages and her lovely friend, who was my leading hand Sally Bailey and  Winnie our charge hand–…….. I still have presents they bought me from over 30 years ago.   

    By Margaret Brock (nee Costello) (26/03/2017)

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