26 thoughts on “Ashmore-Benson Pease

  1. I have correspondence to ABP in 1914. It is from the letter books of Charles Edward Rhodes, one time President of the Institute of Mining Engineers. It concerns the provision of concrete winding engine houses for a new colliery at Llay near Wrexham in North Wales.

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  2. As part of my family history I am trying to piece together the life of John Bowes Archer who I think was the personnel manager for ABP If anybody has any knowledge of him I would be very pleased to hear from them

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  3. My husband Douglass Jolly worked at Ashmores in the 60s. We left U.K for south Africa in 1982 while working for I.C.I. He passed away 1990 at 59 caused by heart attack.

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  4. Frank White married the widow of Thomas Donald Harris in 1945. TD Harris was KIA in Tunisia in 1943. Does anyone have any information on Frank and his wife Ruhamah in Stockton?

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    • Thomas Donald Harris, Durham Light Infantry, died 28/3/1943
      I know Frank and Ruhamah had at least one child whose own children still live in the area as I spoke to one of them a while back in relation to a photo of my uncle Thomas Donald Harris. I also spoke to another relative in Sheffield which is where Ruhamah came from.
      Ruhamah died 1987, her child died in 2010.
      Ask Picture Stockton for my e-mail address if you feel I can help you more.

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  5. My late father Laurie Fryer worked in the XRay offices department I think at Ashmores in the 1960’s . I have a photo of him wearing a white coat and it has other men and women who worked with him. One of the women became his second wife.

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  6. My dad worked for Asmores, first at Parkfield and then at South Works, where it eventually became Whessoe. He was a goods inwards clerk. I served a student apprenticeship with Power-Gas from 1964 until 1969 as an instrument engineer. The first year was taken up with drawing office training at South Works with Eric Hugill and craft appreciation training at ICI Wilton. For 2 summers, I did a site job on steam/naphtha reformers at Isle of Grain, Kent and Coleshill, West Midlands. It was a superb learning ground was PG – I still use a lot of what I learnt then and only last week met one of the engineers who I worked for.

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    • Colin Allison – Just to let you know, Eric Hugill who is my uncle is living in happy retirement in Fairfield with his wife Joan. He has just turned 92 years old, Joan who is 89 years old also worked in the offices at Ashmores. Her first husband Michael Egan was killed in a works accident while working at Ashmores in 1960.

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      • Thanks Glenn – Eric was (and probably still is) a lovely bloke who taught us all the fundamentals (and some more advanced techniques) of technical drawing. It would be nice if you passed those sentiments on to him when you next see him. I moved away from the area in 1982, but have now moved back, to retire in Yarm. See, I can’t stay away from a fantastic area!

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      • Another Ashmore-Benson-Pease & Co Ltd., drawing office apprentice here Glenn. Eric was our drawing school manager, aided and abetted by Alerick Hosey. Eric was a gem of a man in the drawing school and a pleaseure to be with. He and Alerick worked us until our fingers bled; we had some great times and they both needed eyes in the back of his head to keep us in line which they did with a little discipline, but mainly a joke.
        His wife Joan was in the typing secretarial pool at Ashmore’s too, and another lovely person. It’s really good to hear that both are doing well. They had the same sense of dry humour and that is why they get on so well together.

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        • Sadly Eric Hugill passed away in hospital on 8th January 2015. He was 93 years old and still fairly fit and well until relatively recently. As previously written he was a lovely and well respected man who worked us hard in the training school, but with good humour and an eagerness to see us all succeed in engineering.
          Rest in Peace Eric, you deserve it.

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  7. In the mid-sixties, Power Gas Ltd was supplying Steam Reforming and Gas Recycle Hydrogenator equipment to the gas industry in the UK. Some of their plants had a major problem with reformed gas boilers. The tubes in these were being corroded by the carryover of potassium carbonate from the ICI 46/1 steam reforming catalyst. On behalf of the gas industry I had to visit the Power Gas offices in Bowesfeld Lane where I met one of their chief designers. Power Gas thought they had a solution to the corrosion, unfortunately they did not.

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  8. There are three books that I know of published by Power-Gas Corp Ltd/Ashmores, Benson, Pease & Co Ltd. They are ‘The Market Cross, Stockton-on-Tees’ (1950), ‘Stockton To-Day’ (1953) and ‘The Stockton Scene’ date unknown. A card inside the book of sketches ‘The Market Cross’ from ABP states ‘With Best Wishes for a Happy Christmas and a Prosperous New Year.’ The sketch artist H R Lowry was the father of the late Mike Lowry of Richmond Road, Oxbridge, Stockton. Mike Lowry spent most of his working life in the motor trade in Stockton. ‘Stockton To-Day’ gives a publication date of 1953. In the foreword it refers to the book of pencil-sketches that was presented to the many friends of ABP three years before. ‘Stockton To-Day’ is a book of black and white photographs portraying the present character of the town at the time. The photographs were taken by Frank White A.I.B.P., A.R.P.S the staff photographer. There is an interesting photograph of the ladies department in Robinson’s Department Store. The third book ‘The Stockton Scene’ must be after 1953. As previously stated it is a book of colour sketches of the area by the late local artist Alec Wright of Stokesley. Probably issued in the mid 50s. The first book is in portrait format approximately 5″ x 7″ and printed on good quality art paper showing some of the High Street buildings that were demolished in the late 60’s. The other two are in landscape format approximately postcard size. I believe that these books were issued to customers prospective and otherwise and also issued to the employees of the companies.

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  9. John, I worked at Ashmores in 1956 – 1960 in the Bowesfield Lane Office. I too have these books in my possession, my Grandfather worked for Ashmores for many year at Bowesfield Lane and then up at the South Works, he was given these books by the company. I seem to recall ‘The Market Cross’ being given to him at a Christmas time around 1950, which he has written in the front of the book, and the other one was given after that time. That is all I know about them.

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  10. Two small books published on behalf of The Power Gas Corporation and Ashmore, Benson, Pease and Co. Ltd have come into my possession. One is titled The Market Cross Stockton on Tees, and is full of black and white drawings of Stockton on Tees by H R Lowry. The other is titled The Stockton Scene which is a ‘short pictorial review of some of our town and its surroundings’, which are copies of originals by Alec Wright of Stokesley. I’m guessing these were both given to visitors and potential customers of the aforementioned companies, that is unless someone knows better. Also the books contain no dates, does anyone have any idea when they may have been available?

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  11. Yes my father did work, amongst other plants, on the Hydrogen Plant. According to a report in the then ICI newspaper he was one of the first ammonia makers on the Billingham site. At the time of his death he should have attended a celebration of 40 years of ammonia making. In 1923 he was initially a processman going through the ranks of chargehand, group foremann in 1929 being one of the original four on the Gas Plant of that time. He was Gas Plant Shift Manager by 1939 and in the next year Assistant Plant Manager on the Hydrogen and Sulphur Removal Plants. The report states that ‘shortly before his retirement he was mostly concerned with the Hydrogen Plant’. So Mr Starr said that my father coming from Power Gas would be a God-send to the early ICI. His Power Gas experience led to him working using Power Gas type producers making hydrogen and ammonia for synthesising ammonia.

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  12. Power Gas was set up by Ludwig Mond in the late 19th Century. The Power Gas process produced a fuel gas by blasting air and steam through a bed of coal. The resulting fuel gas, which consisted ot carbon monoxide, hudrogen and nitrogen was used to work huge internal combustion engines. This was becoming quite common by the 1890s. Mond’s idea was to use the engines to drive generators for producing electric power. This is why the company was called ‘Power Gas’. The gas which came out of the producers contained ammonia which was reacted with sulphuric acid to make ammonium sulphate, a fertiliser. When ICI started up, it used Power Gas type producers to make the hydrogen and nitrogen which was used for synthesising ammonium using the Haber process. Ken Sawyer’s father, having worked at Power Gas, would be a God-send to the early ICI. However I am looking for a good history of Power Gas, does anyone know of such a thing?

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  13. My father, Tom (Thomas) Len (Leonard) Sawyer worked for Power Gas, as it was known briefly, prior to becoming one of the very earliest employees of what became known as ICI. He always said he got the roots of his skills that proved of great benefit at the Synthetic as ICI was originally known by its early work.

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  14. The offices of a company called The Power-Gas Corporation Limited, a member of Davy-Ashmore Group, was also situated on Bowesfield Lane. Anyone remembers this company? I worked in this company as a graduate engineer from 1964 to 1966, during which time the company provided accommodation for me in its hostel at 37 Yarm Road, as I was an overseas employee from Hong Kong.

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    • Hi Mr Wong, As a Belgian student in economics, I spent the 1965 summer months at Power Gas Ltd as a trainee. My boss at PG Bowesfield Lane HQ was a Mr Edwards, a Welshman, in charge of recruiting engineers and scientists. I was also accommodated at the PG mansion located at 37 Yarm Road. Mrs Stephanson was managing the house and above all was supervising the little international community staying there. I don’t remember you in particular: my recollection is a very interesting group of bright young fellows coming from all over the world: Hong Kong, India, Pakistan, USA and one British native from Chester.
      That -too- short experience in the English speaking industry was an asset in my 35-year long professional career as a sales executive officer active in the Belgian glass industry. Please let me know if my recollection coincides with yours. Best regards Luc Caudron

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  15. I’m afraid I can’t remember you Ann but I can remember Miss Flintoff, she seemed a bit eccentric! Nell Sedgewick was my supervisor, other girls in the office were Mary Smith, Betty Nattress & Margaret Weatherill.

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  16. I worked at Ashmores in 1956-1959. I was working in the post room and Miss Flintoff was then my supervisor, I then moved over into purchase ledger and Mr Lenny was then my supervisor.

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  17. This is the Filing Dept at Ashmores offices on Bowesfield Lane. This was taken about 1957/8, that’s me in the foreground I must have been about 17 then!!

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  18. ABP was based on Bowesfield Lane in Parkfield Stockton.The offices have been demlished and I think that either new offices or houses are to be built on the site.

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