During the 75th anniversary celebrations the plant was host to some of the previous site managers and directors, two of these Ron Harryman and Frank Myerscough are pictured above with the present site manger Pedro Estragues.During the visit Ron and Frank shared their experiences with P&G and in particular London Plant.
Frank Myerscough was plant manger in 1960 and is now 91 years young.
While Ron Harryman never worked at London Plant he had responsibility for it for seven years as the first Director for Product Supply.
Frank William Myerscough
Born 28th September 1921, Liverpool.
Education: Elementary School, Scholarship to Grammar School, 1939 evacuated to Bangor, Head Boy of school, supervised a hostel of 50 problem evacuees. Scholarship to Liverpool University. Studied engineering completing a 4 year course in 2 years. 1st Class Honours Degree. Top student of year post graduate scholarship (working 6 days of 51 weeks per year). During studentship fire-watched on Liverpool Docks overnight bombing. Engineering Faculty representative on the Students Union
At 21 years of age appointed Airborne weapons tester and designer - Royal Aircraft Establishment, Farnborough. At 22 years of age represented R.A.E on Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s special weapons committee in Whitehall. 1944 appointed Scientific Adviser to Aircraft and Armament Experimental Establishment, Boscombe, Devon.
1945 - peace declared. I resigned and joined Unilever. The government requested me to write a confidential memoir of my wartime activities for their Archives. 1950 I left Unilever to explore opportunities for a more rewarding career. Joined Procter and Gamble (at that time called Thomas Hedley) at the Manchester factory.
1953 promoted to Group Manager and in 1957 I was promoted again to General Production Manager with responsibility for all manufacturing at Manchester factory. 1959 promoted to Department Head (factory management status) and I was assigned to a confidential team investigating how we would run a Procter and Gamble business in Germany, I had responsibility for product supply. For each brand the options of import, contract manufacture and a P&G plant were studied. My recommendations were accepted including the construction of Synthetic Detergent plant at Worms.
On 1st October 1960 I returned to England and a few weeks later became Plant Manager at West Thurrock Plant, which at that time was on a 23 acre site with its own jetty for shipping product to the continent. There were 650 people involved in the manufacture and supply of Fairy bar soap, Oxydol soap powder, Dreft synthetic powder.
A new standard tower unit was built to make Tide heavy duty synthetic powder and associated packing facilities and a Fairy Liquid synthetic dishwasher facility was started up with packing unit. The warehouse was enlarged and upgraded.
The Duke of Edinburgh headed up a project called ‘Productivity Year’ to improve national productivity and the factory presented an exhibition of how we organised improvements in productivity and we gave demonstrations by all our employees to MP’s and on successive days to our raw material suppliers, local government and the Duke came with his entourage and the Times newspaper made a special supplement featuring our efforts to show how it could be done.
Ron was born in Greenwich in 1938 and grew up in south east London. His earliest memories were being carried by his mother to the bomb shelter and having the windows in his house blown out by bomb blasts on many occasions. Later in the war he had left the Woolworth store in Deptford fifteen minutes before a V2 rocket killed three hundred people. A lucky escape. Ron was educated at the local primary school and passing the eleven plus exam he went to the grammar school. He was not an academic star but enjoyed school life particularly the sporting side where he captained the football and cricket teams at his primary school and played rugby for the first fifteen and ran for Blackheath Harriers in the grammar school. He was deputy head boy in his final year.
On passing his A level exams he went to Nottingham University to read Mining Engineering. Apart from the academic side he played rugby and ran for the university and stage managed the enterrtainment revues. At the end of the second year he won a scholarship to spend eight weeks of the summer vacation touring mining centres in South Africa and Northern Rhodesia. After graduation he joined the Anglo American Company gold mining in the Orange Free State. During this period there was a referendum on independence from the U.K. and many events occurred that made him conclude that he did not want to have a long term career in South Africa.
On returning from Africa he went straight to Newcastle upon Tyne where his future wife of 51 years was still studying at, as it was was then called, King's College Durham. It so happened that Thomas Hedley had had a few managers leave and they were desperate to fill some managerial vacancies. Ron arrived at the right time. He was contacted on a Tuesday, interviewed Thursday, had a medical on Friday and started on Monday. Probably the quickest recruitment ever. It is interesting to note that at this time P&G had just passed $100 million profit for the first time, operated in 13 countries and employed just over 10,500 people world wide. How times have changed.
Ron's firtst job was as Department Manager Fairy Household, Perfumes and Industrial Products...........etc
Ron retired in 1998 and returned to the U.K after 12 years overseas and bought his current house in Dorset. In 2000 he was asked to become Chairman of the Steering Committee of the Oxford University Busines Economics Programme ( with P&G agreement he had been seconded as director of the programme in 1987 and had been on the Board since then ). After four years in this role he stepped down from any formal relationship with the organization but continues contact informally. In 2002 he was asked by his old school, which had gone independent during the period of conversion to comprehensive education, to be the inaugural Chairman of their Development Committee. Essentially raising funds for bursaries and capital projects. As a result of his efforts the Leathersellers Livery Company who are the Governors of the school made him an Honourary Freeman. This also led to him being appointed Freeman of the City of London. Ron stepped down from his fund raising role in 2008 since when he has spent much of his time with family and friends and enjoying benefits of the Reform Club of which he is a member.
While he never worked at London Plant he had responsibilty for it the seven years he had had been P.S.O. Manager U.K. and General Manager P.S.O.Europe. He was most impressed during his visit by the quality of the personnel and the overall efficiency and cleanliness of the operation. He thinks the Plant is in good hands and should have a bright future.
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