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Semtex Ltd

A Memory of Brynmawr

I worked in the factory for six months in 1962 as part of a management training programme with Dunlop. The work was mainly the production of vinyl asbestos tiles but there was a unit for making rubber underlay. This was a hell hole where ammonia fumes were rife. For a while there was an attempt at diversification in producing fibre glass rod blanks, suitable for fishing rods. It was a friendly place and I had lodgings with Alf and Doris Sillman, a lovely couple.
Geoff Brickell was the Export Manager, with a hobby of wood turning. I still have a bowl he made. The factory had a very good male voice choir. I don't think any of them could read music but they had the Welsh innate sense of harmony. There were two top tenors in particular with that special quality you find in the valleys. I was also able to join the Abergavenny Bach Choir, which was of a very high standard.
While the factory was noted architecturally, the architect had an innovative idea for a spiral staircase - to make it self-standing, without a central post. The result was that it turned into a giant spring. As you walked up or down it the whole thing bounced.

A memory shared by David Osborne , on Sep 14th, 2011.

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