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British United Shoe Machinery Co.

plan for 1926 extension
An envelope
Plan showing an extension in April 1926 - Architects Gotch & Saunders
from an envelope

The company's main works were in Belgrave Road, Leicester. By 1905 they had branches in London, Norwich, Bristol, Kettering, Northampton, Stafford, Glasgow & Leeds. They advertised:

"We can supply anything from a Tack to a Full Factory".

The company started their branch in Rushden about 1914 in Station Approach. After WWI it moved to a new building in Midland Road. It supplied machinery to the boot and shoe makers on a rental basis. They also serviced and repaired the machines.

The Midland Road factory.
Above: the factory in Midland Road, now used by Stanley Hunt Printers, looks much as it did when it was built. The garage was added in 1926, with an extension to the works.

Rushden Echo, 16th November 1917, transcribed by Kay Collins

Presentation—On Friday last the staff of the British United Shoe Machinery Co. Ltd., presented Miss Nellie Roberts with a pair of silver candlesticks and a silver photo frame, on the occasion of her leaving Rushden, to take up duties in another neighbourhood. Mr F Smith, manager, made the presentation, and said how sorry they all were that she was leaving. Miss Roberts thanked them all for the kindness shown to her, and they all wished her the best of luck.

Rushden Echo, 27th December 1918, transcribed by Kay Collins

A Pleasing Presentation was made on Friday evening last, at the Rushden depot of the British United Shoe Machinery Co., to Mr. Childs, who is leaving the firm to become the managing director of the Rushden Heel Co., Park-place, Rushden. The presentation was made by the district manager, Mr. T. Smith, who referred to the long and happy connection of Mr. Childs with the firm and the excellent work he had accomplished in his 15 years with them. He deeply regretted Mr. Childs’ departure, having been associated with him all the time he had been with them. Had Mr. Childs remained he would have taken a high position with the company. He was highly respected throughout the district, and was much esteemed by his colleagues and the firm. He was voicing the general opinion when he wished Mr. Childs’ great success in his new venture. He asked Mr. Childs’ acceptance of a case of carvers and a pipe. In acknowledging the presentation, Mr. Childs said he was very sorry, for many reasons, to sever his connection with the firm with which he had spent so long and pleasant a time. He had been extremely well treated by the directors, and he was especially sorry to leave the Rushden depot. His work with his fellow employees had been of a very pleasant character.

Top centre of this 1950s picture is John Cave and Sons Ltd, factory built in 1901, and later extended. The grass area below is the land of their 'Comonwealth Sports Ground'. Also in this view, bottom left of centre is the old open-air swimming pool.

Across the road from the sports ground is the factory of Wilkins & Denton (formerly Bignells) and near the bottom right corner is part of the Jaques and Clark factory.

At the bottom the railway track and the old British United Shoe Machinery factory, now occupied by Hunt's Printers.

Pen for 75th anniversary
This pen commemorated the 75th anniversary of the company. It belonged to Molly Powell who spent most of her working life at the "BU".

Now deposited at Rushden Museum 2013

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