Lesney's Matchbox Factory (1)

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Part 1 of article

Mave Sipple

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When I moved to a house off Ashingdon Road in 1969, there was a huge Ekco factory on the Swaines Estate. When the factory closed down it was taken over by Lesney’s. They made model cars they were called "Matchbox" because they were small enough to fit into a matchbox. The company employed about 2000 people working shifts throughout the day and night. Special Lesney's buses used to bring in the workers from Rayleigh, Shoebury and Southend.

The company had problems and, sadly, it was forced to close down; hundreds of local people lost their jobs. A huge housing estate now stands on the site.

View part 2 of Mave's article

View David Murphy's article

This page was added by Mave Sipple on 21/07/2012.
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I worked at Lesneys for most of the 1970's. I started in summer '71, on nights in the plastics department when I was 18. I went on days in spring '73 and became friends with a guy a year or so younger than me named Phil Peakman. He was a porter, around 5' 10'' and had long fair hair and lived near the factory. We bonded over our mutual love of contemporary (rock) music. He was a bit stuck in the late 60's - loved The Beatles, Lennon etc - had to drag him into the 70's. He played bass guitar and was trying to start a band with some school friends, they wanted me to be the drummer - no chance, I was useless! Phil left Lesneys around late '73-'74. Are you still out there man? Or anyone know what became of him? 

Also around mid 70's and beyond - became good friends with Steve Sloman from Basildon, he had a (twin) brother Bill. Steve married a lovely girl named Annette in summer '75. She also worked at Lesneys along with her sister Sue and a friend from Canvey Island, also named Sue - we dated briefly. Steve's stag night was a riot - wedding was good too. His brother Bill married a tall lass named Marion - we used to flirt a bit! Steve's marriage only lasted 2/3 years unfortunately. He later married Elaine and they had a son - Wayne, I think. I lost touch with Steve around mid 1980's.

Does anyone remember any of these people and what became of them? All and any info would be greatly appreciated.

Tony Hart

By Anthony Hart
On 13/08/2017
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