Long working life at one firm for dad

A Cocker Brothers advertisement
A Cocker Brothers advertisement

A Retro reader has been in touch with memories about Cocker Brothers in Attercliffe, featured recently by columnist Vin Malone, as his father worked at the firm.

Alan Carter wrote: “I was very interested to read Vin Malone's article in the Retro section of today's Sheffield Star (October 13) about Cocker Brothers as my father, Harold Carter, was employed by the company at its Fitzalan Works in Effingham Road, Attercliffe for his entire working life.

A famous plaque on the wall of Cocker Brothers, Effingham Road, recording the deaths in a World War One Zeppelin air raid

A famous plaque on the wall of Cocker Brothers, Effingham Road, recording the deaths in a World War One Zeppelin air raid

“He began as an office junior on leaving Crookes Endowed School in around 1928, was conscripted to the RAF at the start of the Second World War and then returned to Cocker Brothers around 1945, staying there until his enforced retirement (brought about by an unfortunate car accident) in 1975. By that time he had long been the manager of the spring repair department.

“I occasionally visited and recall that the rather ramshackle and invariably noisy and dirty premises backed on to the Tinsley Canal.

“Towards the end of my father's service there, the company was taken over by Firth Rixson but ceased trading shortly after, with the Attercliffe premises then standing derelict. The takeover did, however, see the introduction for the first time of an employees' pension scheme.

“For many years my father's department had undertaken the repair of mild steel, laminated leaf springs, mainly used by commercial vehicles. There was a weekly collection and delivery service, mainly stretching out into Lincolnshire, as far as Grimsby and Cleethorpes, and when their own lorry driver took his annual two weeks' summer holiday, my father would take over the driving duties in addition to his office work.

“As it would be school holiday time, I would occasionally go with him as he delivered repaired springs and collected others to take back to Attercliffe for repair.”

Alan also remembered this: “The managing director of Cocker Brothers at the time was a man called Joe Castle (from Dykes Hall Road at Hillsborough). My father's duties often doubled as acting as (unpaid) chauffeur for Joe and his wife, including demands on him to take ‘Momma Castle’ out to Chatsworth in the springtime to see the newborn lambs!”