Reminiscence and Resource Centre

Chief Engineer Completes Thirty Years’ Service with British Bata - 1963
When it was decided to build the British Bata Shoe Company\s factory, at East Tilbury, one of the first people to arrive and commence the necessary preliminary work was Mr A Marcanik, the Company’s chief engineer today. He celebrated 30 years work at East Tilbury this week.
Asked if he did not find it rather monotonous and boring to be working in one place for 30 years and on such a flat uninteresting piece of land as East tilbury, Mr Marcanik replied, “There has not been time to think about being bored and when you consider what British Bata has achieved in 30 years it will soon be appreciated that there cannot have been any monotony either.
In the Rubber Factory, Chief Engineer A Marcanik inspects a new press which has just been installed, with him are Messrs. J Matthews, J. Sedivy, P Dunning and H. Dean.
“The first job we did was the easiest - to lay out the Sports Field and put up the goal posts so that we could have a game of football when we found a spare minute.
“Then the real work of building the plant and Bata Estate began and it has never stopped since then. First we put up the original leather factory and installed the machinery, then the first rubber factory and got that working. Everyone who was here lent a hand, whether they were builders, engineers, shoemakers or office staff. “Next came part of the spreading house and a small boiler house. Then the first five storey building, now the administration block was erected, but then it held offices, canteen, workshops and stockrooms.
“About the same time we started building the houses in Bata Avenue - and so we went on. One job followed the other in almost breathless succession. The present leather factory, hotel, cinema. More houses not he Estate were going up at the same time, more machinery was coming in and being installed as more and more workshops were opened.
“The new rubber factory brought more big machinery, and in the engineering department we had to keep ourselves equipped so that we were able to deal with all the problems that cropped up, and so that we could maintain all the vast amount of machinery that was being installed.
“Roads had to be made, building had to be provided for the expanding engineers department and for the subsidiary departments.
“The coming of the war put a stop to a great deal of our progress for several years but it brought new problems, particularly those relating to the maintenance of machines and making our own spare parts because they were otherwise unobtainable.
“In 1942 there was the building of the Maryport factory which, because of the war, was not opened by the Company until 1946.
“Yes, there were many problems to overcome during the war years, and, what is more, we were often ale to help others less fortunate that ourselves. At one time we were producing gun parts in the engineering section.
“When the war ended it took a long time to get back to normal, as fas as supplies were concerned, but the Company has provided hundreds of new homes and built two new roads on Bata Estate.
“We have a magnificent boiler house supplying steam to all parts of the factory, hotel and cinema.
“A hosiery factory, a plastics plant and a fine new warehouse and the big tea centre have been build and equipped at East Tilbury.
“Overseas, the engineering department has built and equipped a factory at Kingston, Jamaica, and yet another at Apapa, the industrial area of Lagos, Nigeria,and a plant for crepeing rubber at Benin, also in Nigeria.
“Those are just some of the things we have done during 30 years at East Tilbury. How could you live with a programme like that and be bored?
“But thrown in for good measure are such items as the chairmanship of Bata Recreation Club, which I have held for the past 15 years, the chairmanship of the leather, rubber and engineering research committee, the chairmanship of the Accident Prevention Committee, the chairmanship of the Company’s Suggestions Committee and the charge of the factory fire brigade and ambulance service, of which I am commandant.
“It has certainly been 30 years packed with interest and incident. It has necessitate travelling overseas on several occasions, not only to deal with the Company’s extensions but also to keep abreast of the times and to keep myself up to date with all that is happening in other countries which is resulting in changes and developments in the manufacture of footwear of all kinds.
“They have certainly been 30 very enjoyable years and I would not have lost a single minute of one of them. But what I would like to emphasise is that all that has been done has been accomplished with the help of my managers, foremen and everyone who has worked so wholeheartedly under my direction. To them I say, “Thank you” with a grateful heart.”
On behalf of all British Bata employees, Mr John Tusa, the managing director, has asked Bata Record to express to Mr Marcanik sincere congratulations and good wishes for the future, with their thanks for all the work he has done for the Company during his 30 years’ service
A MARCANIK