Reminiscence and Resource Centre

D Oates leaves to join design staff at Bata Pinetown in South Africa - 1963
Now a qualified designer, Doug Oates, left on Monday by air, to take up a position in the design department of the Bata Shoe Company of South Africa, at Pinetown, near Durban.

A graduate of Bata Technical College, of which he was captain in his graduation year, he has spent the last two years in the design department, at East Tilbury, under Mr O Hautler, the Company’s chief designer.

When a student at Bata Technical College, he attended the Cordwainers’ College, gaining his diploma at the College and becoming a British Boot and Shoe Institution graduate and automatically an Associate of the Institution.

In the two years since he graduated his progress has been carefully watched and he was chosen to take the position at Pinetown after a thorough training. Mr Hautler says he regrets losing such a promising young designer.

Oates has gone to join another Bata Technical College graduate, Malcolm Hill, who is chief designer at Pinetown. Mr Hill has visited East Tilbury when on business in Europe, saying he likes to come back to the place where he learned his calling.

Mr Hill is probably best remembered at East Tilbury for his prowess as a sprinter.
Talking to Bata Record about his new job, Mr Oates said recently, “When I joined Bata Technical College I was determined I wold make the grade and I worked hard to make sure that I did.

“It was not easy for I am not one of those brilliant people to whom learning comes easily. I had to slog at it but I feel that coming from a shoemaking area - Leicester - helped because I had grown up in the atmosphere of shoes.

“When I got through Cordwainers with reasonable success I felt I had got my foot on the bottom rung of the ladder, but the top was still a long way off.

“I was fortunate that the Company was able to place me in the design room and there Mr Hautler gave me all the help and assistance possible.

“When I heard there was a chance of going overseas I was delighted. Later, when I learned I was to go to Pinetown, I was even more delighted for I have always wanted to see Africa.

“I am looking forward to meeting Mr Hill, whom I remember seeing briefly at East Tilbury when he came to Europe for the Forward Conference. It is also good to know there is quite a big team of East Tilbury trained experts at Pinetown, who will be able to put me right if I happen to feel a bit strange at first - but I don’t imagine I shall if everyone is as helpful and friendly as I have always found Batamen to be at East Tilbury.

DOUG OATES