Newsletter – May 2009

May 6th, 2009 by JCope

Ray Porter opened the May meeting by detailing the forthcoming social and ramble and the visit to the Drakelow Tunnels on 24th June.  Ray then introduced the speaker, Bernard Mills, talking on ‘Shopping over 200 years – a History of Kays of Worcester’.

Bernard was the founder and current Chairman of the Kays Heritage Group.  He started with John Skarratt’s clock and watch making shop of 1794.  Skarratt’s grandson took over the business before selling up in 1896 to William Kilbourne Kay who had worked in Skarratt’s shop.  Kay started ‘Kays of Worcester’, selling jewellery, clocks and household goods by mail order and supplying clocks to the Great Western Railway.

We saw photographs of the company’s extensive premises: the Art Deco architecture still appeals and we were treated to many period views of employees at work.  Bernard had managed to speak to several of the pictured workers in their later years and was able to relate many of their anecdotes.

Our speaker punctuated his history of the company with fascinating views from the Kays catalogues.  Sadly, time passed all too quickly both for Kays and for Bernard’s audience: we reached 2007 and Kays’ withdrawal from Worcester.

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