9 thoughts on “ICI intake of Messenger Boys

  1. ICI gave me a start as a messenger boy in the Work Study Department, then I sat a test to be a student indentured apprentice, for 5 years, during which we studied at Technical College, one day / one night per week to achieve our HNC or City and Guilds. PT was enforced until you were 18 for one half day a week. Reaching 21 National Service for 2 years then back to ICI stayed in workshops ended up doing Plant Shutdown work, I changed my job and left ICI at 31, retired at 55 as a Project Manager. Went round the world and enjoyed my career, ICI training was the best, as time proved. That’s me second row 4th from the right. John Muat. Don Bennington last on the right. Remember faces not names.


    • Head Wrightsons actually built a lot of the gear you people maintained in your plant shutdowns, so I.C.I. was only one of numerous company’s on Teesside who had really good apprentice schemes back in the day.


  2. Llike Colin Booth who was a class mate of mine at Newham Grange Secondary Modern Schoool, I left the ICi in 1951 to take up a position with the Head Wrightsons Apprentice School. Under the direction of Mr Harry Soppet MBE. A wonderful experience after a very traumatic first employment with ICI. This was one of those opportunities in life that changed the whole direction of my future career. Which culminated in Australia when I retired from the Rio Tinto Group Of Companies as Principal Consultant Project Controls.this position meant that was involved with a great number of the great Australian Projects over the period, such as the Mines and Plant at Paraburdoo, Tom Price, Weipa, Century, Bougainville Copper, Kalimantan, and many other multi Million Dollar projects which were exciting times for those involved. I often wonder what my life would have been like had I taken up the ICI offer of a welders labourer.I am surprised at the demise of the ICI group over past few years, but on reflection if the Management of the Messenger Boys scheme was anything to go by maybe I should not be so surprised. Best wishes to any of the boys on the photograph who are still with us.


    • Ben the demise of ICI was no mystery to me, they sold the patents and plants for the heavy chemicals round the world. We had men working in Russia and India building plants which opened and sent heavy chemicals back to the Uk at half the price ICI could charge. The Unions ruled the roost, we would go to all day meetings in the club where the mixed union members would not even agree as to have tea or coffee. We knew the drill, let them demand then give them a big lunch everything alcoholic free then say, “as soon as we get an agreement you can go home on pay”, half an hour job done.
      We managed to stop the one man one job syndrome and got Multi trade working but all too late. They were concentrating on exotic chemicals with high value, no need for massive plant no need for large maintenance groups and in the end sell the heavy plant left, some of it is still running under new names. It is the story of Teesside Heavy Industry, failure to change, short sightedness on the part of the unions and Poland Korea Japan and latterly China reaped the benefits.
      Many of the best Teesside men went abroad to work for big company’s, my class of 14 pupils at Richard Hind all ended up in management somewhere, in the end as the works closed down they went off to Oil Rigs Gas plants in the Desert some to Canada Australia and New Zealand, you cannot keep a good Tees man down.


    • I think the lad on the back row, extreme left could be my husband, Bert Atkinson. He would have been a messenger boy at that time, was not offered an apprenticeship so found one at Riley’s Boilers returning to ICI as a fitter after doing his National Service. Took voluntary redundancy in the early 70’s and went to work at Pickering’s Lifts.


  3. Must have been the late year intake. I was in the intake just after Easter. I note all the boys have their jackets fastened. Not risking a loss of points. I finished quite well from that given a posting to ICI plastics. Stayed there till Jan 51, left to start my apprenticeship at Metro Vics


  4. Sixty odd years ago and the only ones I remember are myself second from the right looking at picture middle row, Jimmy Moony second from the right front row, leader Roberts, spectacles front row, and Denny sitting right of Roberts. Is there any one who can fill in some of the others and any history of them over the past sixty odd years? I had an interesting meeting with Mr Denny years later while visiting England on one of my regular visits, we met while filling our cars with petrol at the Harburn filling station, we had a short discussion in which I said I had done reasonably well over the years and reminded him of the job offer of welders helper he had offered me all those years ago.


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