Boneham & Turners 1949/50

Some of the workforce of Messrs Boneham & Turner, Precision Engineers, Nottingham Road, Mansfield displaying drilled and milled steel to form high speed precision machine heads destined for Australia.

This photograph was understood to be in the Mansfield Reporter in 1949 and the caption read;

‘Travellers between Mansfield and Nottingham during the past few months could scarcely have realised that within 100 yards of their route, at the engineering works of Messrs Boneham & Turners, 30 cwts of Britain’s finest steel was being drilled and milled to form high speed precision machine heads destined for Australia.

Boneham & Turners are the only designers and producers of this machinery in England and are working in close competition with an American Engineering firm.

30 cwts may seem a small export but as Mr Boneham said, “We are selling craftsmanship rather than sheer bulk. “Craftsmanship it is, for each part is machined to 10,000th part of an inch equivalent to splitting thickness of this page 30 times. Such precision makes a big increase in the value of the finished article and, in a few cubic feet of shipping space, an export equivalent in value to Mansfield’s butter ration for a month sails to Australia.’




Comments about this page

  • Recognised Ernest Firkin, worked for him, an amazing man and engineer, changed my life and made me into an engineer. Taught that with patience and thought you can find a way to solve anything. Thanks Ernest, never forgotten

    By John Rigley (16/04/2023)
  • In 1957 I began my 5-year apprenticeship in the toolroom at the Nottingham Road site. For the 1st year working on a small bench lathe making jig bushes and punches, bored stiff and the wages were terrible. I stuck it until one of the toolmakers, Brian Raddage, asked me to work with him on the bench to learn the trade.
    The toolroom foreman was Bill Verrinder. Bill moved me around most of the machining sections and I have a lot to thank all the toolroom staff for because the training was excellent. After 5 years you were expected to leave, and go into the big wide world of engineering. I am retired now after a very successful career in engineering, thanks to the initial training, management and staff at B&T.

    By Alan Higgins (02/09/2022)
  • I was an apprentice from 1965 and worked on jig boring afterwards at Notts Road and Field Mill, also worked on the big Devlieg machine. A great place to work for friends but they were poor payers, I eventually left to be a ship’s engineer.
    I am still a friend of Ian Cross who also worked in the tool room.

    By John Maltby (31/12/2021)
  • I started my five year apprenticeship at the Field Mill works in 1965, the foreman was Horas Dring, really nice chap. I progressed from there up to Nottingham Road, went through all the different departments finishing up in the spindle cabin, the foreman was George Edison.
    Happy times

    By Colin Cutts (20/05/2021)
  • My father worked I think as a buyer for B&T leaving the Company around 1964 to join Universal Grinding Wheel based in Stafford. His name was Len Bullock.

    By PHILIP BULLOCK (08/11/2020)
  • My late uncle worked at Boneham and Turner doing his apprenticeship before going to work at Metal Box. His name was Maurice Campion, he sadly died of heart attack in 1981 age 51yrs.

    By Patricia Davies (Campion) (04/11/2020)
  • I worked there from 1971-2000. Had some great times with some great characters. Worked on some interesting projects and established some good methodology as we progressed from manual to a more CNC based company.
    Just to clarify the question of limits which were applied. In some areas dimensions would be tied up to .0001 of an inch, which is about 4 microns, but usually a plus and or minus limit would be applied depending on the component.

    By Martin Bancroft (24/05/2020)
  • I started work in 1955, it was my first job at Bonehams. I was told by Peter Zugar (my dad’s friend) they were recruiting.

    The characters I met were unbelievable; such as Luke Dent, Bill Kirk, Jack Bartles, Tony Burkins and the foreman Arthur Cambriar, (sorry if spelt wrong). I well remember the cry “LOOK OUT BILL OR TED ARE COMING!” and we were always on the watch by the works manager George Brookes from his office way above us. Some of the characters will never be forgotten such as Wilf Clay (Peggy), as he had one leg.
    (Reg Shaw on the website photo lived next door to us)

    I’ll never forget the noise/atmosphere when entering the factory, I bet it was really something on young John Boneham’s first day.

    Such a character-building time of my life I could write a book.

    By Pete Foster (17/04/2020)
  • I started work as an apprentice toolmaker at B&T in 1960, and I remember most of the people in the picture.

    By david watson (29/03/2020)
  • My Dad, Horace Dring, worked at Boneham & Turner from around 1945 until 1973, when he started up his own precision engineering business until he retired in the early 90’s.
    He started as an apprentice tool maker at their Field Mill works, moving around various departments until he ended up in the offices in production engineering. I remember him showing me around both sites on many occasions, normally on a Saturday lunchtime when he would do a tour of the site making sure that everything was shut down and secure.
    I can honestly say that the machines I saw and how he described their functions kindled my interest and kick-started my career in engineering. I still have his tools and toolmakers cabinets which bring back many happy memories, especially their unique smell of coolant or ‘suds’!

    By Nick Dring (31/01/2020)
  • My friend was Edward or as I knew him, Uncle Ted Boneham, whose father founded the firm, it was initially Whiteley Boneham, however Alf Whiteley and Boneham parted, Ted went to Coventry for the war effort. I recall his many stories each Saturday pm, sadly his father died and a difficulty arose, any how Ted left the firm and worked elsewhere, the family lived at Elm House, Nottm Road, then Broadlands in High Oakham, I knew the younger member William. Ted died in Scotland although I was in weekly contact, a pleasant interesting man, much missed.

    By Mark Wilson (30/06/2019)
  • My father,  Reginald Shaw.   He loved working for this firm.   In spite of repeated approaches from employers in Australia and England, he remained with Boneham and Turner until his retirement in 1984.    He was the Training Officer.

    By Sandra Bird (11/04/2018)
  • Looking at this picture of the engineering  personnel at Boneham & Turners there are 16 workers with ties , you wouldn’t  see it now days . Times have changed.

    By Gary Noble (01/07/2015)
  • Dennis, The reporter was not far wrong. The limits worked to were often 0.0001″ or in fairness 0.0002″ ie. two ten thousandths of an inch. I used to work there and those sort of limits are required for these high precision products.  Working to those tight limits is not at all uncommon in this trade.

    By Jeff (30/06/2015)
  • I think the reporter might have got the size limits wrong its more likely to be 1 thousandth of an inch not 10, or even less than that.

    By Dennis Norman (23/09/2013)

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