ICI Awards Dinner

Long serving employees were of course highly valued by ICI. Awards were given to these employees and presentation dinners were held for those serving twenty, thirty, forty even fifty years. Very often various generations from one family may have worked for ICI. Is your family one of these? Watches, clocks, medals, fridges, trays were all gifts that employees might be able to choose from.

26 thoughts on “ICI Awards Dinner

  1. Hi,
    My father was Thomas, Tommy West. He received his silver watch and gold one later for my mum. My daughter had my mothers stolen in a burglary this year. It was Garrards of London and was valued at £900. ICI rewarded well in those days.

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  2. My Father Joseph Kidd was also an early employee in 1922 as recorded on the slip of paper signed by E.Gill as introduction to Brunner Mond. First his job was a checker of Goods In, he was promoted to Staff Grade in the Supply and Distribution Department where he served until September 1939. He was a member of the HAA Heavy Anti Aircraft Unit at Middlesbrough which was his second world war service.
    He returned to ICI in 1942-3 after demob and served The Supply Dept at Ki Ora where they had been evacuated from Head Office Billingham. Dad, ordered many of the Staff Awards for Service to ICI. He also received his gold watch for thirty years service.

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  3. I have my Dads 20 year service Buren, now in use as my electric one needs new battery. I will probably keep the Buren in use some time. 20 years was at Runcorn Heath, Standards Department.

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  4. I have my grand dads 30 year service watch dated 1953 from ICI, his name was John William Hughes, he died in 1958 when I was two. Does anyone remember him?

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  5. Hi, I have a watch I found 20 years ago,it is engraved; 20 years service 1960, the name is J Hodgson.
    I would love to find out the history of it.
    If any one can point me in the right direction, my email can be obtained via the Picture Stockton Team

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    • My Grandparents are in the top picture. Robert Johnston received a watch which I assume could have been for 40 years. His widow wore the watch for many years as then did my Aunt – unfortunately she was broken into and the watch is now long gone – such a shame

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  6. Yes, the man on the left is indeed Alec Zealley(sic), my Grandfather, who was I believe the Chairman of the Billingham Division of ICI for some years up until the early 1950’s. Reading Mrs Mearns’ comment about her Father’s letter leads me to add the following comment of my own. It may be that Alec is in fact receiving, not presenting, the tray, as I do recall a very similar tray being in his home after his retirement. A feature of the tray, was the engravings on it of the signatures of a large number of the people he worked with during his time in Billingham. This form of gift was decided upon because I understand that he was well regarded on the site for his close connection with the people he worked with and many people wanted him to have a permanent record of their good wishes on his retirement. Sadly the tray is no more; it was stolen. Doubly sad because I understand it was in fact silver plate, not solid silver, and therefore whilst both beautiful and of great sentimental value, virtually worthless to the burglar, as when melted down it will have yielded very little silver for onward sale and probably just ended up in a hedge somewhere!

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  7. I would like to thank Frank Bowron for his reply after my Grandads Gold watch was stolen,
    also my Nans Gold wedding ring was stolen as well. I have just received the valuation for these two items both together so I am not sure what the watch is valued at but Frank, get your Grandads watch valued – £1200 for the two items is what they will pay to replace them. Of course they cannot be replaced.

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  8. Most of the ICI’s gold presentation watches were made by Buren and were in 9ct ‘rose’ gold. I have my Grandad’s 30 year award watch still in its presentation box and its worth about £180. If it was in 18ct it would be worth about £250. It still keeps good time 59 years on.

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  9. My Grandad worked for ICI and was presented with a gold watch for him and one for my Nan. It may have been when he retired from the Huddersfield Works or it may have been a 30 years long service award, I’m not sure. I gave my sister in the USA my Nans watch many years ago and I kept my Grandads. Recently I was burgled and the watch was stolen. I am trying to find out the approximate value of the watch. I should have, but never did, get it valued. The police asked if I knew the make, no idea but it was inscribed on the back.

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  10. I have just re-discovered my father’s (T.L. Sawyer) 30 years’ service wrist watch presented to him in 1953. A reminder that he was one of the earliest employees at the then Brunner Mond (one of the founding companies amalgamating to form ICI) new Billingham site. I have delicately rewound it and it appears to be keeping good time. A long time since I wound up a watch! Not sure how far to go yet! Some of our fathers and grandfathers did go a long way in their service.

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  11. For my 20 year award I chose a carriage clock made by Garrard, it’s solid brass and weighs a ton! & keeps excellent time. It has a small brass plaque affixed to the back which records the occasion. At 30 years I received a gold Omega wristwatch. My father was given a Garrard wristwatch at 20 years, I think he got some jewellry for my mum at 30 years. My dad managed a 35 year? award, unfortunately my service was cut short! at 33 years.

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  12. I still have my long service watch from ICI, it’s
    still going strong. The maker was Gerard. I got mine in 1967 at a presentation at Synthonia club. The artiste who entertained us was Ivor Emanuel, the Welsh tenor.

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  13. The subject of ICI presentation watches is of interest to me. Firstly, my Father used to order them for the Supply Dept at ICI to be ready engraved for the presentation to the recipient. I remember him telling me about the one for the Chief Chemist of Casebournes Cement whose name was Stevenson. When it was delivered it had been engraved Stephenson, a costly mistake somewhere along the line!
    Secondly, most wrist watches were made by Buren, a top Swiss maker of the calibre of the Rolex. They are not made now, probably bought out by Rolex?
    I have just had the occasion to look out my Dad’s Buren watch. He was presented with it in 1952 and had done 30 years service. It is like new inside and out!

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  14. My dad still regularly wears his fathers ICI presentation watch with the expanding metal strap, which is almost 50 years old. Yes, the strap can work loose. My other grandfather, from Hallifield Street like Frank Bowron, and a related Kirby, was also given a substantial number of cigarettes when he retired from ICI in the 1960’s. How things have changed. Possibly because he lived close to Mr Zeally (above), my father worked as a teenage errand boy for him during the war.

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  15. I too have my grandfather’s 30 year presentation watch. It still runs to perfect time, but I don’t wear it because the expanding strap is now weak and loose. Its a very nice way to recognise loyal service, but these days loyalty is no longer appreciated and you’re lucky to get as much as a letter when you retire.

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  16. I still wear my Grandfathers gold watch, awarded 1960 for 30 years service, and it still works perfectly after all these years. I would love to see anymore pictures, he may be on one of them.

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  17. My Grandad, Jos Sheraton, worked for many years for ICI and could have attended this function. He retired in 1964 when I was 4 and received an engraved watch for his long service.

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  18. My father was one of the first foreman on the site. The tall man on the left doing the presentation is A.T. Zealley, who was the Chariman at that time. Mr Zealley worked alongside my father, Vic Mearns, one night when there was a breakdown on one of the plants. When my dad retired, Mr Zealley sent him a letter and referred to the night when they had worked very hard together to restore the plant to working condition.

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  19. I have looked very closely at your photograph to see if I can recognize my father who also retired from ICI in 1965. He worked in the Chalk Tower all his life. He was presented with a watch which I have kept to this day, it had a red pointer second hand. He used to tell me about Norman Evans who performed that evening. I too remember his “over the wall” patter. I will keep scanning the photo to see if I can see my dad.

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  20. I have a programme from such an ICI awards dinner. It is dated 20th October, 1960. This was the evening my late father attended, to recieve his long service award. For his award he chose a watch, which he gave to me,s omething I was very proud of. On that particular evening there were 98 employees recieving their long service awards.The programme for the evening was 6.00pm..Dinner(Staff Canteen)..7.20pm Presentation Of Awards..8.30pm .Entertainment. There were four artistes for the evening entertainment,one being the very popular Lancashire comedian, Norman Evans,famous for his “over the garden wall” sketches (the same sketches were mimicked in later years by the wonderful Les Dawson). The accompaniste for the artistes on that evening was a lady called Ada Rimmer.I suppose the entertainment format was very much on the lines of “Workers Playtime” that featured each lunchtime on the old BBC Light Programme. My father eventually retired from the ICI in 1965,after many years service for the company.

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