British Glues & Chemicals - Team Spirit - 1952.

Team SpiritThe key word of the British Glues & Chemicals group is 'team spirit'; the companies in the group number fifteen. No rugby player could resist the analogy.

The stalwart full back of this first fifteen is, of course, British Glues & Chemicals itself. The three quarters are ... but here the comparison must falter, for there are no rigid divisions of positional play; each member must be able to play in every position. As the occasion demands he must have speed of the three quarter, the alertness of the scrum half, the dogged resolution of the forward. And behind these there must be the spirit of cooperation, improvement and development.

How highly these qualities are valued can be judged by quotations from the words of two men behind BGC.

The Managing Director Mr Harold J Cotes, stated in a recent interview; 'I am not interested in size. I am interested in growth'.

The Chairman, Sir Roger Duncalfe, told the Directors in a recent speech: Group psychology must grow. Full appreciation of Group policy and broad Group requirements and problems is essential. The Group entity must grow - we must talk and think as a group'.

This double emphasis on growth is understandable in the light of the Group's history. Seven companies were taken over when BGC was incorporated in 1920. they brought with them their own virtues and their own problems. Territorially, they were dispersed, covering the North of England, the Midlands and the South West. A 'central government was essential, and it was from London that the affairs of the company were conducted, by men who had spent their lives from boyhood in the industry. It was they who planned and successfully brought cohesion to personalities and premises.

To adapt and consolidate these companies might be thought in itself a sufficiently formidable under taking, particularly during the slump years of the 1920s. Yet despite falling markets and the dumping of foreign glues, the consolidation was accomplished; what is more, the growth was begun. New companies were added - Croid, O Murray, Youngs, Aspey, Standard Soap, G C Russell, Calfos, Personality and others.  The start of the second World War found BGC controlling the manufacture not only of hundreds of different grades of glues and gelatines but also pharmaceutical preparations, fertilisers, feeding stuffs, soap and cosmetics; while merchanting interests covered essential oils, plastics, many kinds of chemicals and a wide variety of household goods.

Death and destruction came to some of the factories during the war years. In London the Bermondsey factory of Young's was hit twelve times, and many workers still retain the vivid memory of the blazing benzene house when ten men died. But even on that dreadful night parts of the factory went on working.

The Croid works was almost overnight transferred to the Midlands, sharing premises with another BGC factory - an admirable example of cooperation in practice by such means, essential supplies were maintained for a score of war needs such as aircraft building, parachutes and fuel jettison tanks.

The war years taught the need for ingenuity and the lesson was not forgotten. New processes were invented, new raw material introduced, new plant devised so that production could keep step with modern needs. All the time the process of growth continued.

Nor was growth at home alone. Many of the companies products had been exported before 1939; and even before the war ended, plans were complete for the renewal and expansion of trade. Today the company and its associates are represented in every important commercial centre outside the Iron Curtain. One company has been formed in New York and four Canadian companies have been acquired.

 But the continued expansion of the Group does not depend only on constant improvement of process and technique. A great deal is due to understanding of the customer's problems, to the ability to advise customers, and even to making additions to the already extensive list of uses for the principle products.

Some idea of how extensive is this list may be gathered from a catalogue of the industries which use glue and gelatine. Many of the companies whose names appear in these pages are consciously users of BGC products; and it is safe to say that all of the companies named in this publication use BGC products, though they may not be aware of it. For glues and gelatines play a vital, though often not apparent part in the abrasive industry, textile and rayon sizing, match manufacture, paints, photographic films and paper, high grade 'tub-sized' paper, cork products, toys, printing inks, printers' roller composition, glazed fireclay, advertising tapes, hats, shoes, book manufacture - and, of course, cabinet making and furniture. Edible gelatine is used in confectionery, pastilles, ice cream, salad creams, baby foods, packed ham and bacon, fish and meat paste, pies, medicinal capsules, table jellies and crystals, cider and wine clarification.

In the nutritional field bone calcium phosphate adds the essential mineral content to many nationally known food specialities, In agriculture BGC has been of service not only in providing protein foods, mineral supplements and fertilisers, but also in sponsoring research into problems of animal feeding. In the pottery industry BGC supply calcined bone for the making of bone china,

These lists do not cover every aspect of BGC activity; in describing a thing that is growing it is impossible to draw a line and write 'Finis'. The Group grows and will continue to grow.

 

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