Memories come around again
Stories from former workers wanted for EMI Vinyl factory reunion
EMI is inviting former employees at the Old Vinyl Factory in Hayes, to come back and share their memories of the iconic site.
The factory was a major employer for the town and produced records by some of the world’s best-known artists, including The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Cliff Richard.
The reunion will take place on Wednesday, February 3, from 10am to 1pm and is hosted by the EMI Archive Trust in conjunction with the BBC for their People’s History of Pop project.
Caryn Tomlinson, Chair of the EMI Archive Trust, said: “All around the world, people are familiar with reading on a record sleeve those famous words: ‘EMI Records, Hayes, Middlesex, England’ and we want to make sure that we never forget the work and the memories of the people who were behind that, the people who worked in EMI’s historic home.
“Anyone who has ever
The Uxbridge Gazette Series worked at EMI in Hayes is welcome to come along on February 3.
“We are partnering with the BBC who will be recording people’s memories on the day as part of their big People’s History of Pop programme which is running throughout 2016 and BBC London will be broadcasting live from the event so it promises to be a very special and memorable day.”
Ms Tomlinson is also keen for former employees to bring any artefacts they’d like to share from their time at EMI.
She said: “Whether these are records, photos, paperwork, or anything at all – we want to see and hear as much as possible.”
Roy Matthews, who worked for EMI when Hayes was still a village and the company was called The Gramophone Company, shared some of his memories.
He said: “Everyone in Hayes knew or was related to someone who worked at the ‘Gram’, as EMI was known locally.
“In the 1950s some 14,000 were employed – each morning and evening masses of bicycles filled the surrounding streets like a tidal wave resembling a Lowry painting. The whole town could hear the ‘Gram’ hooter sounding each morning announcing the 7.30am start of the working day.”
EMI was formed by the merger of The Gramophone Company and another company, Columbia Gramophone, in 1931. Roy joined EMI as a student apprentice in 1952 and went on to become an engineer, rising up the ranks to manage the EMI record factory in Hayes from 1967 to 1979.
He added: “The Record Factory at Hayes had its own special culture that I am sure derived from music, a product that lives and that touches everyone’s life.
“It was a busy pressurised industrial environment but always retained the atmosphere of a large family.
“On Hayes Station the name boards carried the words ‘Home of His Master’s Voice’ (the inspiration for the name of high street music shop HMV). That says it all.”
If you would like to come along, send your RSVP details to 7Wonder, the production company working with BBC on the People’s History of Pop project, at: phop@ 7wonder.co.uk or telephone 0203 701 7615.
n BACK THEN: The EMI Vinyl factory in Hayes in its heyday