It was Mr. E.V. Schou, the first Managing Director, who made possible the Works Club. Known as The Institute, costing £14,000 to build and equip, A. & B. Hanson – Contractors, it was registered in the name of “Otto Monsteds Ltd. Employees Club and Institute” and the running of it was left in the hands of delegates appointed by the employees. Besides a large concert hall with fully equipped stage, on the right-hand side a reading room and library, fully licensed bar and billiards room. On the left-hand side – kitchen and large dining room where employees could purchase a meal or have what they had brought with them, warmed up. Over the large entrance hall was a projection room and caretaker’s flat. Bowling Green and Tennis Courts were adjacent.
All kinds of activities found a place – stage shows of all sorts, dancing, whist drives and all kinds of sport. All this came at a cost of sixpence per month to employees over 18.
Here are some of the people who contributed to the Leisure aspect – Mr. Cowten took charge of stage entertainment: Mr. Ives, dancing: Harry Eglestone, Gymnastic Instructor, trainer to the football teams. There were first and second elevens, which used to play in the Dauntless Leagues. The football and cricket field were at the rear of the factory.
Of course, no factory would be complete without its Bookmakers Runners. Mr. Reynolds filled this spot, collecting the bets for Bookmaker Couch. Of course, this was illegal, but it kept the men happy so the management turned a blind eye.
I have detailed the annual parties given by the firm in my previous book. Dinner, concert and dance, something for everyone lasting from 6.30 p.m. to 3.00 a.m., really a first-class do. Everything free.
When closure was announced in 1925, every effort was made to minimise the blow. There was no such thing as redundancy pay. They gave good references and contacted local firms, helping several to get other jobs: and a small pension, graded according to the age and service, to all over 57.
It was stated at the time, the reason the factory was being closed down was that it would cost too much to alter production to the pre-packaged and carton era. More goods were being sent by road, and the whole area owned by the Company too big. The production was being split between Van-den-Berges of Fulham and Jurgens of Purfleet.