Elms Works and Social Club

The Elms works on the opposite side of the Penn Road was finished in 1928. It was called the Elms because there was originally a big Elms lodge on the ground where it was built. I don't know what it was, there were a lot of trees, like a mansion.

The works became our repair shop under Joe Dudley, which I worked for, for about 12 months. I repaired engines. Albert Collins worked there, George Dance worked there doing their developments, down the bottom of it. They had a special place at the bottom, the repair place was at the top, under Joe Dudley. I had about 12 months there. As a matter of fact that's where I saw the first overhead camshaft engines. They made about 20 but they never took off, and the remains of them were still there. Nobody ever mentioned them, but I came across them, asked the lads and they said that they made about 20 of them. It never developed into anything any good, so they were just discarded. I never realised that they did make an overhead camshaft engine. Another thing we made was a 'Model 16'. It was all tuffnall gears, a train of tuffnall gears up the front case, but it never took off. It lasted about 12 or 18 months and soon petered out. It was very silent but the gears wouldn't wear long enough.

Elms Works in the mid 1950's.

We never had a sports club until the Elms was opened in 1928. I can remember that because I had always been interested, and always been associated with the men, Horace Lewis, Billy Shadpolt, and Billy Plant, and all the people that used to develop what they could on sport.

We had a football team, a bowls team, we were never without a bowls team, and they used to play on the front of the Molineux Hotel. 

The hotel had a big bowling green at the front with railings around. It used to be ideal to go up there on a Saturday afternoon, have a glass of lemonade and watch our lads bowling. The Molineux bowling club used to bowl at the back, on their own special green which overlooked the wolves. They could bowl and they could watch the wolves playing football for nothing. They could look down on the pitch, so we had to play in the front where you couldn't see.

I remember us having this building where we had our first sports committee and I was under the age. You couldn't go on the committee until you were 18, and I wasn't. We hadn't got any money, they decided that the workers would have to pay two pence a week for the contributions to the sports club. We had cards and dominoes, the usual, and we decided to use the canteen on the top floor as the sports club. We used to move the benches and hold dances. Our mothers used to make cakes and we would take them down, sell them and get a bit of revenue, and we got enough money to buy a bagatelle table and a snooker table. 

At St. Marks Church, down Chapel Ash they closed up, and so we decided that we buy them off them. We hired a handcart, which you could hire for sixpence an hour from Edwards, and we took this handcart, I went with them as a lad down to St. Marks on this night.

We couldn't remove the billiards table but we could remove the bagatelle table, so they dismantled it all and put it on this cart, and I remember carrying the paraffin cycle lamp in front of them.

They pulled this cart with ropes, with two or three at the front and others at the back, and we brought the bagatelle table up. They put this up at the weekend and we got revenue from that. 

A plan of the works.

We used to charge a penny a game. The people who used to run the snooker and billiard table, dismantled it, and brought it up and fitted it. That was fourpence a game and we started to build up, that's how it started. I eventually went on to the sports and social committee and eventually became chairman, and I was chairman for 30 years. We used to give the kids a party towards Christmas and we used to take them all to the theatre, to the pantomime, every year, we had some jolly times.

Return to Testing and Racing Return to the Beginning Proceed to The Later Years