Consett’s Christmas Countdown Day 24

It is Christmas Eve and Santa is definitely on his way – I am guessing somewhere over south east Asia at the time of writing – bringing with him a sleigh full of presents, hopefully for all.

Looking at the Consett Iron Company Magazines, present giving was clearly a bit of an industry at the Works, with barely an edition that doesn’t feature the distribution of gifts and prizes. The thought that went into some of these is incredible: everything from a ‘smoking outfit’ to a fridge, with assorted timepieces, pens and barometers along the way.

Kitchen equipment was especially popular. In 1961 Mr J Newton of the Stores received a pressure cooker on the event of his marriage, and Mr Tommy Nichol of the Test House received an electric kettle after 50 years of service to CIC. Very often, partners too received a gift on the retirement of employees, with flowers and chocolates proving popular. In January 1959, security officer Mr Joe Morris from the Jarrow Mill and Mrs Morris received a pipe and a casket of chocolates to mark their golden wedding anniversary; it is not clear who received which gift.

Furniture too was popular, with assorted G-plan items being presented over the years. In 1967 Mr Alan Raine, a metallurgist in the Technical Department, received a very stylish coffee table whilst his colleague Mr George Charlton received a shaving kit. As Mr Raine was bearded, the Magazine reports that several wags at the presentation suggested the wrong gift had been bestowed to each man. We return to the Test House in December 1966 when Mr John Harrop received a television table – let’s hope that he had the television to put on it.

At Christmastime the Company remembered the workers who were in hospital over the festive season, and the magazines from the mid 60s show Mr GM Nave, the then General Manager (Services), visiting local hospitals to distribute gifts. This gesture was greatly appreciated by all, and non more so than Matron in 1966 who looks especially pleased with her gift. In 1965, Mr Nave received his own present: a watch, in recognition of his long service to the Company.