Home The Trial The Early Years The Middle Years Post WWIl Personell Barometers

Jack Noble

Harrold Ibbott

Fred Pither

Arthur Glading

David Day

Apprenticed to Negretti and Zambra from 1st October 1917 till full end of term (July 30th 1923)

The sales team were a lively bunch – Left to right Eric Smith, Jack Charman, Bill McDowell and John Hyde. (all now sadly deceased – Bill, John and Jack all in 2004, Eric many years ago) The photo was taken approx late 1960’s.
Jack Charman, died in October 2004, worked for N & Z from the age of 15 when he joined as an apprentice in London to his retirement aged 64 in 1985. (with a break in the Air Force 1939 -45.) After serving his apprenticeship London at Regent St , He worked as a technical representative / engineer in the London area until 1952 then moved to Birmingham and worked the Midlands region until approx 1957 when we moved to Sheffield. He moved from Sheffield to Leeds in 1963 firstly (I believe as area representative, then as regional manager), finally ending his career in 1985 after Rototherm had taken over N & Z.


The N & Z cricket team in early 1950’s?.or is it 1939?

Back row, 1st from left Alec Myers (probably assistant manager of 122 Regent Street Shop and then 15 New Bond Street until its demise in 1975, 2nd from left Bill MacDowell.5th from left Jack Charman, 7th from left next Umpire is Peter Negretti, far left Umpire is Stanley Doddwell.

Front Row seated – 1st from Left Frank Barnes senior Salesman looked after Surrey, Sussex, South london etc. he was Chairman of the Fuschia Society and had the best Temperture Control System in the world in his greenhouse!. 3rd from Left Tommy Burns general manager of 122 Regent Street, joined in 1921 retired in 1972 (story of him in 1972 Newsletters) Far left was a junior accountant or Office boy?

Do you know the others? or even one of them? please e-mail [email protected]

Sgt Jim Gadsby (see chart 23) Security Guard at N & Z Aylesbury

125th Anniversary at Aylesbury in 1975

65 Employees with 35 years service or longer photographed to mark the occassion. The second Picture shows Mr Tony Negretti (left) presenting Mr Bill Morand with a momento of the day. Bill Morand was then the longest serving employee still working and he would have completed 53 years on the 3rd June 1975.

Negretti and Zambra employed thousands of people over their existance. Some for only a short time others for their entire working life. We frequently get contacted by ex -employees and one such person was Geoffrey John Gill here is his link with Negretti and Zambra. Does any one remember him?

Geoffrey John Gill

“In the late 50’s when I was just 17 years old, I was desperately looking for any company who would take me on and train me to become a draughtsman. I Left home one morning for Victoria Station and spent the whole day knocking on doors asking if they had a job for me as a draughtsman. As the day progressed and no offers had been made so far I decided to head home to Thornton Heath. As I made my way back towards Victoria Station I noticed a drawing office materials supply shop and thought “why not! One last try”. Well they didn’t have anything either but suggested I call on Negretti & Zambra’s shop/office in Regent Street, a customer of theirs.

So off I went, late afternoon to try my luck. Well the personnel manager was most kind and agreed to interview me if I wrote in a letter of application. The final outcome was this: We don’t have a vacancy for a junior draughtsman at present but there is a young lad currently employed in this capacity and due to ill health may have to leave sometime in the future. At present they could only offer me an office boys job with the promise that if the junior draughtsman’s job became vacant, I would be considered. I was also going to Croydon College one day a week for my National certificate qualification and they agreed very kindly to allow me to continue with this four day a week arrangement. Bet you wouldn’t get that sort of help nowadays!

For the next 3 months I was getting tea, coffee and buns from a Greek cafe in So-Ho’s Wardor Street for the office staff, collecting the mail and using the franking machine and last but not least the holy of holy’s climbing to the shop roof top and collecting the charts from the Sunshine glass ball recorder, the rain gauge, barograph and the hygrometer box. You see it was common in those days for people to phone N&Z to enquire what these readings had been for the past day or so, a typical quality N&Z service. I also had to test out strips of paper that were to be used in the hygrometer based on a weight hanging from the bottom of the paper strip and the length would depend on the humidity that had been absorbed into the paper. Meanwhile tea and buns, paper clips was my world.

Then fate happened; one of those moments in life that dictate the course of the rest of your life. The boy in the drawing office decided to leave and I was, as promised given his job. From that moment on I was working in the contracts department managed by a chap named Fred Messer. I was then preparing schematic drawings for Pneumatic 30 psi process control systems and Electrical wiring diagrams. Another chap who worked in this department was called Ivan. I can’t remember his family name but this guy was the ultimate boffin. A Bill Gates look a like! He’d do a phd on just about anything just as a hobby. I’m sure he probably ended up as a theoretical scientist. Another elderly member of our contracts staff, (whose name I forget now) spent most lunch times at Christies buying antiques. This period of my time at N&Z was like a pig in the proverbial!

Then suddenly my world crashed! Fred Messer informed me that the shop/office was to be closed down and the whole lot was being moved the Aylsbury. At that time of my life, Aylesbury was the other side of the world which meant that my job was to come to an end. Fred Messer was like a father to me and said “Don’t worry, I have lots of business contacts and I’ll make sure you get a suitable replacement position in the London Area”, and true to his word he did.

I finally rose to become the Managing Director of a multi national company in Melbourne Australia for 11 years and now recently retired.I still thank all those at Negretti & Zambra that gave me the opportunity to carve out career in Process Control, Instrumentation and Industrial control systems.”

We thank Mr Gill for taking the time to contact us about his early career with Negretti and Zambra – please do like wise.