Reminiscence and Resource Centre

TECHNICAL
COLLEGE

ARTIFACTS

BATA RECORD

OPEN DAYS

BATA
REUNITED

BATA-VILLE

REUNION

NEWSLETTER

AROUND
THE WORLD

LINKS

CONTACT US

V ADAMCIK B ALLEN D ANDREWS H ANDREWS
IRENE BAILEY J BRAY J CALLENDAR
MRS CERMAK J CHAPMAN H CHILDS
D DURRANT R ELSTOB A FEDORCIO R FIELD
G FRANCIS J JAMES S KNIGHT J LARKIN
A MARCANIK C MERCER R PARKINSON A PERRIE
C & M PRITCHARD V PURKISS D REARDON K STANLEY
L WADE T WARREN A WHITCOMB P WHITFIELD
I joined Bata at East Tilbury in 1960. I joined the wholesale contracts department as assistant to Harry Webster and later Cliff Reeve. This section of the wholesale department was charged with tendering and contracting to supply government departments with footwear - education departments (plimsolls, and the  army, navy and RAF boots and shoes.

We became so successful at producing footwear to meet the high specifications set by the government departments that eventually we were allowed to replace the traditional government inspectors trained and approved by the government inspectorate. This was complimentary to the high standards Bata achieved but could have repercussions.

The rate of output at East Tilbury was so rapid that any faults only became apparent many weeks into a contract, but this rarely occurred. However, on one occasion I was summoned to an army ordnance depot to investigate a fault in a few of many shoes we had supplied.

When I arrived I was taken to a huge warehouse where some of the offending shoes were set out for me to inspect. I soon established that a few shoes among the 200,000 we had supplied had tacks protruding up through the insole.

In my youthful innocence I must have smirked, because I recognised that it was a relatively simple task to send a small team of men up to the ordnance depot, inspect the complete consignment, remove any offending shoes, and replace them.

My smirk was rewarded with a sharp reprimand from the elderly gentleman charged with demonstrating the problem to me. "You may think it funny, young man," he said, "but do you realise that if we were at war now, you would be on a charge of treason?" I was careful to hide my mirth.

I left Bata in 1965 and subsequently became a doctor of psychology and have published 37 academic textbooks, but I have many happy memories of my time at Bata and the many people I came in contact with while employed at East Tilbury.

ALAN WHITCOMB
Fundraising

Purchases made via this link aid funds for the Reminiscence and Resource Centre.