Jack Birch’s last job at Sheffield firm Tyzack’s - closing the works

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One Sheffield man ended his family’s long association with a city firm in a unique way - he helped close the place down.

Jack Birch, who lives in Newfield Green Road, Gleadless, worked for 34 years as a fitter and engineer at Tyzack Turner’s Little London Works on Little London Road.

When the agricultural and light engineering manufacturer decided to move all its operations to its Green Lane site, Jack was among staff made redundant in November 1988. He was kept on until the following March to help clear out the factory.

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Jack told The Star at the time: “It does hurt taking things apart I helped put together during my 34 years here. It is sad.”

The Star newspaper cutting featuring Jack Birch's story about the end of his time at Tyzack'sThe Star newspaper cutting featuring Jack Birch's story about the end of his time at Tyzack's
The Star newspaper cutting featuring Jack Birch's story about the end of his time at Tyzack's

Ten members of Jack’s family worked for the firm including his wife Maureen, who sent in the newspaper cutting. They met when she worked at the office.

Jack said: “We all lived in the area and it was just a case of jobs being passed on from brother to sister.”

His big brother Billy, who worked for Tyzacks for 40 years, got Jack an apprenticeship at the firm when he left school aged 15.

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Shepherd Wheel, Sheffield, undergoing repair in 1975Shepherd Wheel, Sheffield, undergoing repair in 1975
Shepherd Wheel, Sheffield, undergoing repair in 1975

Other family members who worked there were his brother-in-law Alf, sisters Evelyn and Ida and sister-in-law Iris, uncle Bill, mother-in-law Nelly and cousin Marlene.

The firm was founded in 1812 as W Tyzack & Sons by William Tyzack and his sons Ebenezer, William and Joshua.

The operation moved from Rockingham Street to the once-familiar site running parallel to the Sheffield to London railway line on Little London Road in 1876 when it needed to expand.

Maureen said that Jack put his skills to good use in helping to preserve another part of the city’s industrial heritage.

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He helped to renovate and fit a new pen trough on the waterwheel at Shepherd Wheel in Whiteley Woods. The early knife-grinding workshop is part of Sheffield Industrial Museums Trust.

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