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We are delighted to announce that our next Open Day will be held on Saturday 21 October from 10:00am to 2:00pm.  We have usually held our Open Days during the week so this is a great opportunity for those who are normally working to come along and visit us.

Displays at a recent Open Day

What’s more, we are going to hold the event in the old Admin building on the Bata factory site.  The venue will be the ground floor of Building 13, as it is more formally known.  For those of you who did not work in Admin or who are not familiar with the numbering system used by Bata, this is the first 5-storey building on the right as you enter through the original factory gates.

Please note, there is a considerable amount of work taking place at the moment, in and around the factory site.  The owners plan to create a new vehicle entrance next to the ‘car wash’ (the former garage site).  The reason for this is that there are new properties being built in the area of the old car park and EDP building.  At the time of writing,  we do not know which entry will be available.  Therefore, we suggest, for those of you coming by car, that you use the Bata Memorial Park area for your vehicle and carefully walk across the road to join us.

Depending on numbers we hope to offer a guided tour at 12 noon (£3.00 per person) around the Bata Estate by volunteers including the well-known local historian Mike Ostler.

The Bata Heritage Centre volunteers will be very happy to meet and greet old friends as well as new ones.  Come and visit us and see more of the history and heritage of the British Bata Shoe Company in East Tilbury.

Exciting news about our next Open Day – 21 October 2017

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6 thoughts on “Exciting news about our next Open Day – 21 October 2017

  1. Just read story by John Tusa. I was an engineering apprentice for 5 years in a department numbered 711 ran by a Mr Hlavenka. Great memories of the factory and remember working inside one of the big ovens in the rubber factory and riding on the old fire engine called a Skoda. Does this still exist?
    Haven’t been back to site since leaving after finishing my apprenticeship in August 1961 so will be excited to be able to visit.

    1. Kevin, Thank you for your comments. We look forward to seeing you at the Open Day and we’ll be able to chat about your experiences in the Engineers Department and apprenticeship. Hopefully, we’ll be able to find some pictures of the old fire engine too!

  2. I used to supply board to Bata, there was a picket line outside the gates on a couple of occasions, I cannot recall the year, possibly late 1970s, we were asked to turn around. They clapped, whooped, and cheered when I reversed and departed. I had a forlorn feeling that the end of Bata was nigh though. It could not resist the way the tide was turning against Industries based in the UK. Sure enough, although the strike ended after a few weeks, the days of Bata were well and truly numbered. I recall the inside of buildings had tall ceilings, were dimly lit and always draughty and cold. The staff I dealt with did not look happy people and this was long before the strikes, it was not a bundle of fun dealing with them. I loved the buildings. They had ancillary workshops dotted around the main site. It felt like a army camp in some ways. If I can will revisit on the open day 21 October.

    1. Hallo John. It would be great to see you on 21 October if you can make it

      Your comments on staff morale are interesting. Like all organisations, some staff feel unhappy in their work while others get a lot of job satisfaction. It would be interesting to know more about the unions within Bata and the power or otherwise they may have had. Likewise, it would be interesting to know whether or not strikes were common. Perhaps one of our volunteers or any former employees can shed more light on this? Further comments are welcome.

  3. Delighted to see that you are to have an Open day on October 21st will try and attend. I have written a piece on the old Bata Memories website. Building 13 also housed the advertising and display departments with areas set aside for dummy window displays, we’d photograph them and send them out to branches as templates to copy. Bata shop managers used to curse us, simply as it is easy to dress a shoe shop window from the front especially if there is no glass in place ….. Th managers of course not only had to dress the displays from the rear but in reverse only seeing the back of the shoes they were positioning with great precision….. 🙂

    1. Hi Julian, We really hope you can make the Open Day – it would be good to see you and chat about some of your memories.

      It was great to read your amusing anecdote about the photographic templates for window displays and the ‘trouble’ they caused the shop managers!

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