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Ranton's, Commercial Road, Brentford
This popular page has attracted much interest since the first photo from Fay Twydell was published in 2011. Since then people have sent more photos and their memories of working here: please write if you can add to the list of names - every bit helps!
Following the publication of Fay's photo, Diane Lockie wrote 'My Dad Peter Newman worked at Ranton's & Co Ltd from 1950-1991 in Commerce Road Brentford. The company moved from Cricklewood in July 1939 to Commerce Road.' Diane scanned some photos from an album given to her dad when Ranton's closed down. One shows the workforce in 1949.
Jean Banaszak, Sam Fox, Stephen Privett, Rosemary Davies, Patsy Langley, Joyce Marchant (nee Stockley), Christine Sheppard (nee Payne) and Chris Mundell (nee Lewry) have contributed memories and names.
Chris Mundell has also prepared a key which follows the workforce photo.
The webmaster has added a couple of news items: a wedding in 1945 of employee Ivy FIELD, and an advert for canteen staff, 1960.
At the end are some notes about the later years, including a photo of the frontage taken by Fay Twydell in 1997.
A list of the people remembered (many are not in the photo) follows; search for a name using your browser (ctrl-F):
Thanks to Chris Mundell (nee Lewry) for preparing a key to the photo:
Sam Fox, August 2011: I was interested in the photos of Rantons sent in by Diane Lockie especially as I am in the group photo top left hand corner, I knew Dianes dad Peter as I worked there 1948 to 1960.
Rantons was a very family orientated company with several generations of the same families working there at the same time, there are three members of my family in the photo. I met my late wife there, I am now with one of the ladies in the front row of photo, third from the right we are both in our late seventies we were sixteen when it was taken.
The men in the suits from the left were Mr Humpheries the works Manager, in the middle Major Brooke-Hitchen ex military man, I cant recall the other ones name. The photo only covered about 60% of the workforce as it was taken one lunchtime, also there was a night shift operated.
Other firms in Commerce road were Permutit water softeners Elizabeth Shaw, chocolate factory and Sycamore woodworking company. There were always plenty of jobs going, and it was not unusual for girls to leave Elizabeth Shaw on Friday night and start work at Rantons Monday morning and vice versa.
Jean Banaszak wrote in October 2011: My mum used to work at Ranton's when she was a young girl, she became ill while working there by getting powder on one of her lung's. Her name then was Phoebe Francis, my mum passed away in 2006 at the age of 81.Top
Stephen Privett, August 2012: I was just looking at the old Rantons Factory and It bought back memories for when I worked for them.
I was with them for a few years in the early seventies. My Grandfather also worked for them ( John Beasley) He was a lorry driver for them. One of my neighbours also worked there ( Sid Gomm) he was a charge hand on one of the shifts in the moulding department.
One of my Bosses was called Bill Monton. I can see some old faces but can't remember their names , but I know there was a few that worked there were related. I worked in the stores department. I also remember that there were such things as a firms outing.
A couple of other names I`ve remembered. John Wild who was the main Manager at the time I was there.
A lot of the work force there at Rantons were Asians and on a few days a week Rantons had some folk with special needs come in from the care home up the road.
Rantons also did home work you got paid by the gross. My Grandfather used to deliver them to peoples homes and used to deliver to Birmingham I used to go with him when I was younger and before I started at Rantons myself. Brentford now is far different from the Brentford I remember.
A couple of other factory`s in Commerce Road was Falcon Pipes and Art Masters (paint by numbers) and also BRS road haulage`s.Top
Rosemary Davies, February 2013: I have memories of Rantonís as I worked there from 1966-1968. I was a Records Clerk and used an Addo-X machine. My immediate boss was Anne Cuthbert who was a lovely lady to work with. Other people that I remember working in the same office were Dot, Mr Bates, Margaret and Peter Clarke. Mr Letley had an office to himself just off the main office. I also remember a Mr Papworth.
Gillian, Pam, Barbara and Leighton worked in the upstairs office.
During the course of my work I often had to visit the factory floor and Elsie was in charge there. Terry and Victor worked in the stores.
It was a very happy and friendly place to work. I only left because I was getting married and moving to Croydon. I was Rosemary Harris in those days.
Patsy Langley, June 2013: my mum is in the line of ladies who are seated in the front, on the kerb, sixth in from the left. She has a white dress on, which is falling over her legs. Her name then was Joan Kendall. She was a factory worker who worked there in wartime and carried on after the war ended. Patsy added in January 2014: I can also see my aunt (mumís sister) in the group. She was my aunt Molly Smith and she is located third row from top, ninth in from the left. She was big breasted and also worked in the factory alongside mum. She died in 1995 and mum died in 2011.
Joyce Stockley, February 2014: I worked at Rantons for about 2 years, 1954-56, my cousin Peter Newman worked there and as I was leaving school he reccomended me to go to work for Rantons. I was 15yrs at the time, my job was to polish off the filed edges of the plate, dishes etc. I do not remember many people, but Reg was the chargehand , and I do remember Alfie Horne, also the person who helped me to settle in my first employment and a very good friend was Miriam Dallibar. Peter Newman worked there for many years, after I left I went to Walter Robertson, at the top of the road, by Brentford Bridge. I enjoyed working at Rantons, because everyone was so helpful and friendly.
Christine Sheppard (nee Payne), March 2014: I worked at Rantons between 1963 - 1966 I knew some of the people in the photo. Sam Fox lived 2 doors away from me, and the 3rd lady on the bottom row I think was my sister as she worked there then. I have fond memories of working at Rantons. My mum worked there in the canteen when I was small, I used to go to work with her, I remember Mr Smiles and Bob Cox when I was a child.
Chris Mundell (nee Lewry), November 2016: My father Frank Lewry, who will be 91 this month, worked there from about 1952 until he retired. He started out in plastics design and ended up as the Technical Director.
The 3 white coats on the left, the top one is Bob Tharby and on the right of the picture in the white coats the one on the far right is John Smiles who was studying structural engineering with my father at college and was in the Territorials where his commanding officer was the son of a chap who owned a plastics company so John went to work for him and later brought Frank Lewry into the company. My father has very happy memories of his working life there.
Items from the newspaper archive (Findmypast)Middlesex Chronicle 22 September 1945
Reported the marriage between Lionel William BLIGHT, R.E.M.E., and Miss Ivy FIELD at St John Isleworth. 'The bride is a hydraulic press operator in the employ of Rantons, Commerce Road, Brentford.'
The newspaper has more details of the service and includes a photo of the happy couple.
Kensington Post 01 July 1960
Birmingham Daily Post 8 August 1969 has an article title
British Industrial Plastics, a member of the Turner & Newall Group, and Ranton & Co. Ltd., a subsidiary of Grovewood Securities Ltd., are to form a new company to be known as British Melamine Tableware Co. Ltd., which will handle the marketing of both Melaware and Gaydon tableware products.
The headquarters and sales office of the new firm will be at Brentford, Middlesex.
The name Ranton continued to be used in signage:
In 2011 Fay Twydell provided this photo taken in 1997, 'this is near the canal, they made injection moulded goods such as plastic plugs etc and also Melaware at the time I worked there ca 1960'.
The building has an Art Deco air about it suggesting it was built in the 1930s (the 1935 OS Map from this date shows just a Toffee factory in this area).
The Victoria and Albert Musuem has some pieces made by Rantons.
Please get in touch if you can add any names or have memories of Ranton's.Top
Published May 2011; last updated November 2020