Crosland filters Ltd

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Crosland filters Ltd' page
Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Crosland filters Ltd' page

Christmas Card tradition

By John Pownall

The “Christmas Card tradition” of the Drawing Office,

By John Pownall.

          Crosland Filters was a well known Nottingham manufacturing company which grew from a small one man business in the 1950’s to be a multi-million pound enterprise employing several hundred people within about 40 years. It became a much respected supplier in the vehicle component industry; especially for the quality and range of its automobile and goods vehicle products of Air, Oil, and Fuel filters. I am not writing about the company products, but about an activity which people did to personalise their work area and thus make it a better environment during their working days. I believe that many companies’ personnel would produce or do something of a similar nature. Maybe this type of practice is now ceased and may now be confined to a little piece of Nottingham social history.

 The production of the “Christmas card” by the drawing office staff became a bit of a department tradition. This took place over many years. It certainly started prior to my employment in 1973 and continued until the mid nineties when our manager, Keith Rodda retired. Indeed, in the weeks prior to Christmas, there would be enquires by people from other departments, whether the Drawing Office would produce one that year. I believe the reason that this was started was for fun. But another was that as the company grew, it inevitably would involve more and more friendships, from larger departments and thus the cost to individuals would rise! (Draughtsmen can be a tight lot).

 As with all companies’, people would have little traits in their individual character or some misfortune would happen to a department in the months prior to Christmas. This could lead to a little innuendo in the characterisations of individuals or department; thus being included in the cards cartoon sketch. Many times some of the people from the shop floor would enquire about who is in the cartoon and what subtleties of the “in joke about another department” were. In my time there it was taken in the spirit intended and I don’t think that it caused any offence.

          Indeed many people now days would recognise the situation of seeing Christmas cards stuck all over the office computers or factory machines. I am retired now; maybe the practise is not encouraged so much in these times of the Health and safety in the work place! (We would have fun with that one!).

          What surprised me is that despite the pressure of work load placed upon our department (Drawing Office) our small work force (about 7 people) would create the card. The hard part was to think up the subject and people to cover in the cartoon. The simple rule was to be funny and not cause offence. I think we would produce about 30 copies to be sent internally, plus copies to our sister company at Pensnet, Birmingham. Also, to our overseas associate companies and a few contacts at suppliers. We even had copies for the senior management who would appreciate most of the IN jokes.

          Most years we would form a little production line. We all had a child’s crayon and would colour in one part each. Green for Ivy, etc, and then pass it on to the next person to complete a different object, etc. A lot of time has now passed; it’s been nearly 20 years since I was employed there. Many people would leave and be replaced by newcomers, so I cannot remember who the artist was or indeed if there was a main artist.

 I think most companies would have somebody who could do characterisations in the cartoon style. If their talent was put to the production of their own company Christmas card I do not know? What is certain, over the years many people in the C F drawing office would have contributed to its success or have been a subject in it!

I have written this article, just to record a little piece of social history about one activity in a Drawing Office in Nottingham.



Source of information: -

Scans of the original Crosland Filters Christmas cards.

Conversations with ex-employees and friends.







This page was added by John Pownall on 31/07/2015.
Comments about this page

 I am trying to contact a John Pownall regarding an article he did relating to Crosland FIlters  which appeared in your publication in 2015.

Are you able to assist me in anyway.

By Helen Blacker
On 31/03/2016

If you wish to contact me, I have no objection to the web site administrator passing my email address on to you. Just  please do not pas it on to third parties.

Thanks John Pownall.

By John Pownall
On 07/04/2016

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