Factory Voices

Factory Voices Blog

iTunes, YouTube, Metal Box and you, too!

Factory Voices Audio Slideshow

The Museum’s project to preserve the town’s Metal Box heritage, generously funded by Renaissance East Midlands, reached a new stage, recently, with the digitisation of a wealth of material collected from current and ex-employees. The contributors’ anecdotes, reminiscences and insider information, much of it garnered during the highly successful Memory Day held at Leeming Street last September (See Issue 10) have been edited by media production company Sound Delivery and are now freely available for you to view and/or hear. To watch a slide-show of images of the old factory, supported by fascinating commentary from knowledgeable staff past and present, simply type ‘Metal Box Mansfield’ into search on YouTube (www.youtube.com) or visit www.ourmansfieldandarea.org.uk and follow the links. To hear the memories of the factory’s ex-workers, podcasts are now

In August freely available on iTunes and may be accessed by searching under Mansfield Museum. There are more to follow. Leaving the virtual world, meanwhile, we are now applying ourselves in earnest to the preparation of the hundreds of examples of tin-ware acquired at the autumn auction, in readiness for a major Metal Box exhibition towards the end of 2011. We also plan to convert this into a more modest permanent display, though the exact nature of this has still to be decided. In the meantime, why not log on to a feast of facts online about one of the town’s most important industries?


Metal Box Memory Day Attracts Staff Past and Present to Mansfield Museum

Metal Box workers stroll down memory lane

More than 150 people attended a Memory Day at Mansfield Museum on Friday 3 September. Staff, past and present, from Mansfield’s Metal Box factory were invited to record stories and memories on audio and video to create a digital time capsule of the factory. The recollections captured on the Memory Day will serve as a lasting reminder of the factory and the major part it played in the industrial development of Mansfield. The interviews will form part of an exhibition on the history of the factory, which is due to be held in September and October next year. The exhibition will include a large selection of items relating to Metal Box that have been donated to the museum, including tins, photographs and original artwork. Around 1,500 Metal Box tins, which the museum purchased recently at auction, will also feature in the display. Visitors could browse through artwork and tins on Friday. Some people also brought along press clippings, photographs and other artefacts with them. 

Mr Peter Annable, of Edwinstowe, who worked at Metal Box from 1968-1982 and was the last apprentice in the art department, donated tins and the matching artwork he designed to the museum.  

Mrs Betty Slack (nee Gunn) of Mansfield started working at Metal Box from 1938-1945 after leaving school at the age of 14. She worked in the press shop pressing tins for Player’s cigarettes and all kinds of tablets. During the war she made mess tins and filters for gas masks. Her weekly wage was 6 shillings and 8 pence.

She said the Memory Day was very nostalgic and she was looking forward to next year’s exhibition.

“Metal Box is an historic part of Mansfield and a lot of people were employed at Barringers as it was called then. It is important to preserve as many people’s memories and artefacts as possible,” she said.

Mrs Kathleen Barnes, of Warsop, worked at Metal Box for about 32 years from about 1940. She was a press operator and has fond memories of her time there. 

“I worked with some lovely women and I recognise some people here today. We worked hard but we had some fun – I really enjoyed it,” she said.

The Metal Box factory – which was based at Rock Valley, Mansfield, before moving to Crown Farm Industrial Estate, Forest Town – has been producing tins for over 150 years.

Mansfield Museum, which secured just under £10,000 from Renaissance East Midlands for the project, is working in partnership with Crown Speciality Packaging, which now owns the firm.


Mansfield Metal Box Memory Day

Mansfield Museum is running a Metal Box Memory Day on Friday 3 September at 10m – 4pm its a chance for staff past and present to record their memories of life at the Mansfield Metal Box. There will also be opportunity to see items donated to the Museum by Crown Speciality Packaging. The event is a drop in session, please tell your friends!

For more information contact Jodie Henshaw

01623 463088 /jhenshaw@mansfield.gov.uk


Emptying the Victorian Factory

Over the last few months Mansfield Museum has been working very closely with Crown Speciality Packaging UK Ltd (the present day name for the ‘Metal Box’) to retrieve objects of interest from the old factory site. This has included lots of paintings, tins, glass negatives and rolls of cine film.

The Museum has its first meeting next week with Sound Delivery to plan the next stage of the project.


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