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Ross-on-Wye

Woodville - The Company's Position in the Community

The company has always felt that it should try to serve the community well and this had been apparent ever since the company opened in Ross in 1961.

Mr Brewster, one of the first directors, became a popular local figure and showed a keen interest in sport and indeed he instituted an annual swimming race across the river Wye. It was due mainly to his efforts when in 1965 the company opened the towns first swimming pool, which was indoors and heated, at a cost of 20,000. It was originally intended that the pool should be used only by company employees and friends but the company showed its generosity by allowing the pool to be used by local schools free of charge. The pool which measured 60 ft x 30 ft was officially opened by the then member of Parliament for Hereford, Mr David Gibson-Watt, who took the first dive from the board. The running cost of the pool was fairly low because the heat came from the same boiler which supplied the presses.

Ever since the factory opened in Ross, it always honoured its obligation of keeping the site clean and did much to keep the character of its rural surroundings. The company spent quite a substantial amount on shrubbery to keep the site attractive and the surplus land, which Woodville hoped to utilise in the future, was sown with grass seed transforming what was originally an eyesore to an attractive meadow, on which goalposts were erected for use by the Works football team.

Many charitable donations were made to local groups and organisations, the local hospital could perhaps be considered the main beneficiary with donations being made to both the physiotherapy and casualty units, one of the donations exceeding 2,000. The managing director felt that as the company employed 10 per cent of the towns workforce that it would be appropriate for them to donate 10 per cent of the cost of the physiotherapy unit.

The company also showed concern about employees safety and this was reflected by the number of safety awards which the company won.

In 1977 the company won the prestigious Bland Payne safety award for Wales and the South West, which had been won the previous year by Hawker Siddeley. Included with the award was a free trip to the United States for two of the safety committee representatives.

This award was followed up in 1978 by winning the William Nicholl trophy. The company's accident rate was one of the lowest in the country for a rubber manufacturer, which was renowned for being notoriously dangerous.


Examples of parts produced by Woodville.

Woodville Ford Escort parts
Ford Escort car seals
(Click for a larger image)
Woodville pump seals
Centrifugal pump seals
(Click for a larger image)


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Sources

Many of the details are taken from The History of Woodville Polymer Products by Gary Minton. Gary was doing a industrial placement, presumably as part of his education, when he created the original document. - Thanks to Dennis Eagles for supplying these details



[Page updated: Feb 15 2011 13:31:58]






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