with this bulding having worked there during my school holidays in the early 1960s for
a firm called Paton Engineering Products Ltd. My father was Works Manager there. I recall
that it was divided into two shop-floors, one either side of the yard. On the left (with back to
the road) was the main shop housing the heavier engineering machines (e.g. lathes, capstan
lathes, drilling machines) that processed small metal components for machinery, vehicles etc. On
the right of the yard was a floor that housed pressing machines which mostly cut copper sheet
into engine gasket shapes. I recall that the women who worked in this shop were paid piece rates
so dispensed with the safety guards so they could work faster. One woman lost the ends of her
fingers because she didn’t get her hand out of the way quickly enough.
The floor above the
pressing shop was an independent business where wood was cut into shapes and assembled into
modern lampshades. The house attached to the workshops was used as
Products was run by a couple called Mr and Mrs Paton who had a flat in Mayfair. They must have
been wealthy independently of the business because it appeared to be run on a shoestring and
always appeared to be lurching from crisis to crisis.
One anecdote you may find
interesting, although it may be apocryphal, is that Mr Paton had contacts in the film industry
and was asked if he could manufacture an industrial Laser machine to be used in the James Bond
movie Goldfinger. My father told me that he was responsible for its design and
construction in the workshops at 45 The Vineyard. As you may know the machine has a star part in
the film when Goldfinger straps Bond to the table, sets the laser in motion and utters the
immortal line: “No. Mr Bond. I expect you to die."
I’ve not seen Paton
Engineering Products’s role in the film documented anywhere. My father was annoyed afterwards
because he wasn’t given a credit at the end of the film and Mr and Mrs Paton were invited to the
film’s London premiere but he wasn’t.
One of my jobs was to make tea for the workers when they had their breaks. I also ran errands to
get their sandwiches and cakes at the shop on the corner
which is now 30 and or 32 The Vineyard. I believe it was a branch of Home & Colonial Stores
and this is supported by the colour and design of the external tilework that is clearly visible in
the pictures on your site. The tiling is evident on one side only and either, contrary to my
memory, this was a single-fronted shop or the tiles have been removed from number 32.
The store used to slice cold meats on the premises and made up sandwiches and rolls for me
according to the workers’ orders. Their iced Chelsea buns were particularly popular and I developed
a taste for them. Ever since, I’ve been looking for a true iced Chelsea bun but the nearest modern
equivalent is called a Belgian Bun and it’s not quite the same.