15. Herbert Meynell: 1857 - 1944

Herbert was the type of man who builds up a society or a company or a country because he epitomises all that is good in the qualities of his life and his life style. Therefore, he was shrewd, tough, fair and uncompromising.  He was a very good family man and an ardent churchgoer.  He was ruthless in his opinion of evil and he stood by his principles, whatever the cost.  He was a devout Catholic and a regular churchgoer and a pillar of his parish church of SS Mary & John at Snow Hill, Wolverhampton.  He had his own reserved family pew with its brass plate to signify the fact.  Yet one Sunday he risked being excommunicated (or a least having to make an apology to the Bishop) on the occasion of an Irish priest giving the sermon and talking to the congregation about the wrongs of the political situation.  Whereupon Herbert stood up in his pew and said “I don’t agree with politics being preached from the pulpit”.  He remained standing and was joined by Frank Gibbons and a few others and the priest left the pulpit saying he would report them to the Bishop.

His high principles cost our Company dearly in the Second World War when he quietly announced that the Meynell company and the Meynell family would not make profit out of the war.  He was as good as his word and when the war ended he had run our machinery into the ground and faced our post-war competitors, who seem to have been war profiteers at home and Marsall aided with massive injections of American dollars in Europe and elsewhere.  I can testify to this myself because when I joined the company in 1948 I can remember very well all the layout of the factory.  We had hundreds of hand lathes with skilled mean beavering away and a few machines for cutting spindle squares and a few simple Ward Ws or similar and not much else.

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