The Carron Company bi-centenary was celebrated in style!
In 1959, Carron Company celebrated its bi-centenary year. This momentous occasion was recognised in style and national news outlets featured articles on the celebrations (Watters 242). The company magazine, the “Cupola,” changed its covers for the year to “Bi-centenary green” and the entire transport fleet was re-painted in the same green shade.
The employees at all levels within the company were invited to join in the celebrations with their families. On the 26th, 28th, and 30th May 1959 a banquet was held for all employees and their spouses. Elizabeth Sutherland (nee Cox), who was an assistant to the publicity manager at the time, remembers the logistical nightmare of arranging this event for over 3000 people over the three nights. Local function suites were not a viable option for an event of this scale and so a new building at Carron Works which was to be used for the manufacture of cooking and heating units was cleared and decorated for the festivities. Each employee received an individual invitation and guests attended dressed in their finery. It must be presumed that the dinner was excellent, as afterwards the chef received an impromptu rendition of “For He’s A Jolly Good Fellow” from the guests.
She entertained the audience by tearing whole telephone directories, bending steel bars and nails, and finally lifting Carron manager Mr. Leaver off his feet.
The evening continued with speeches, including one from Senator Roebuck QC, a great-great-grandson of Dr. Roebuck, one of the founders of the company 200 years previously, followed by cabaret music, song, and dance. One entertainer, who 60 years later is still fondly remembered by those who attended the event, was Joan Rhodes. Hodes was a beautiful “strong woman.” She entertained the audience by tearing whole telephone directories, bending steel bars and nails, and finally lifting Carron manager Mr. Leaver off his feet.
The only part of the “Carron Family” so far not included in the bi-centenary celebrations were the employees’ children, and this was rectified with a family-friendly fireworks display at Carron Grange, the Manager’s house, in November that year. Marquees were set up to provide party food for the children and a hot buffet for their parents. Further bi-centenary functions were held for the employees of Carron Company who worked in Liverpool, London and Newcastle, although on a significantly smaller scale to that seen at Carron.
By Iona Christison.