12th October 1948. ‘Beats as it Sweeps as it Cleans’.
Hoover built a new factory making washing machines in the 1930.s Art Deco Style near Merthyr Tydfil in 1948.
The opening took place Today in the optimistic post-war year of 1948 of the new factory, in the presence of George Isaacs MP, Minister of Labour and National Service.
For the occasion Pentrebach Station was en fete with a carpet 635 feet from the station to the factory much of it under cover if wet.
Hoover already had a factory, for vacuum cleaners, on the Golden Mile of the Great West Road, the Brentford by-pass, which heralded a bright new future for the new industries, housed as they were in the inter-war ‘art deco’ buildings.
The Company represented a new age of white, shiny domestic appliances which would take the drudgery from domestic chores.
Hoover was one of the many new light industries of the inter-war period, which in a time of depression in heavy industries, offered growth and prosperity, but tended to benefit mainly the South-East.(1)
The new buildings, many designed by Wallis, couldn’t have presented a greater contrast to the traditional ‘smoke-stack’ factories, as their architecture, in neo-classical style with Egyptianising influences, resulted from the 1925 Paris Exhibition.
Known as art-decoratif (art-deco), it was to dominate much building of the time, both domestic and industrial.
However the building wasn’t to all tastes as art-historian Pevsner described it, as ‘the most offensive of all modern atrocities’.
The building eventually succumbed to ‘steel cancer’ with corrosion of the steel reinforcing causing the surface to break up.
Then came Tesco to the rescue and after much repair and refurbishment are now in possession, demonstrating how much consumption has replaced production.
Hoover closed production at Pentrebach in March 2009, leaving a depressed area.
(1) As well as Hoover on the ‘Golden Mile’, many once household names were established: Smiths Crisps (1930), Trico Products (1928), Coty Cosmetics, Macleans, Gillette, Currys and Firestone, and the Old Vinyl Factory originally built for the Gramophone and Typewriter Company and designed by Wallis, Gilbert and Partners, which was employing 7,500 in 1929.
Ref: Gramophone Company Ltd, Hayes; Shannon Co Ltd (first ‘fancy factory’, 1927).
Ref: Wikipedia.org/hoover_company/Pic of main building Perivale.
imagesofengland.org.uk/Pic of canteen.
alangeorge.co.uk/hoover-washing-machines/Pics of vacuum cleaners.