Crewe factory stories wanted

Three Crewe authors have revealed details about a new book project that recalls funny events from the town’s famous factories – including Rolls-Royce, Bentley Motors, Crewe Works and Midland Rollmakers.

In recent years Mark Potts, Tony Marks and Jules Hornbrook have written extensively about Crewe and Nantwich war heroes, the Crewe Kings Speedway era and also Crewe Alexandra Football Club.

The latest collaboration, entitled Bletch, Brass & Banter, is a humorous collection of stories about life on the production line and in the workshops of the grand factories that have made Crewe famous across the world.

With nearly two hundred short stories in place, the local writing team hope to attract any final memories that might otherwise be lost forever. With renewed enthusiasm, the writers are determined to publish the book later this year.

“The title is quite unique to Crewe,” observed Mark, “especially the reference to ‘bletch’ that many will know means an oil or grease. We all grew up with some bletch on our trousers when we rode a bike, and certainly when we started work on the tools as an apprentice.”

“Meeting some great local people, listening to their stories and writing them down has been a fantastic experience. Now we’re hoping to capture any other yarns that will finish the book off perfectly.”

The contributions so far have included tricks played on apprentices, works’ days out, royal visits to the factories, silly workshop pranks and incidents involving some of the much-loved characters that people still talk about.

Jules believes that recording these tales is vital to preserve snapshots of social history.

He said: “Watching people laugh and joke at work is what keeps the factory spirit alive. Crewe has that in abundance. Converting those fabulous memories for others to enjoy has taken us on a wonderful journey. Those stories will be preserved forever.”

“We want anyone who has a funny memory, an odd recollection or an amusing anecdote about one of the factories to get in touch as soon as possible.”

To contribute a story, email or call him on 07503178132.

Bletch, Brass & Banter is due for publication in November 2019.



    1. Jules Hornbrook

      There are some amazing stories out there David. Plenty of great people worked hard and played hard at the factories that put Crewe on the worldwide engineering map. There are still a good number of jobs at Bentley (and at what is now Bombardier) for Crewe and Cheshire men and women, but it’s nothing compared to the numbers that once flooded through the factory gates at the UK industrial peak. So it’s important that we capture these stories.


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