Burnley Civic Trust Heritage Image Collection

Breathing Fumes Their Elixir

6 Nov 1970
Baldwin's Brush Works, Curzon Street, Burnley

Media Ref: BE70ng46203
Breathing Fumes Their Elixir

Jude, William, Clifford, Sydney and Edward, with the famous pitch-pot that they think keeps them so young.

From a longer article by Ann Stevenson:
Two brushmakers with the firm of W. and J. Baldwin Ltd, who may be Burnley's oldest workers still in their jobs, say they probably owe their good health to the pitch-pot on their bench! The Trinidad pitch, which simmers on the workbench all day, is used to fasten bristles into brushes, and the men and their boss Clifford Baldwin, consider its foul smell is the reason for their good health.

Sydney Terry (78) and William Saunby (79) have worked for the firm for 65 years and Edward Heyworth (77) for 63 years. The three men served their apprenticeship together, Mr. Terry's wage was the biggest - 10s. 3d with others earning 8s a week. Jude Hayhurst (68) is comparatively new with only 52 years' service!
Present owner of the firm Clifford Baldwin has been with the firm 50 years. His grandfather, John and his great-uncle, William, started the business in St. James's Street in 1854. In 1890 the firm moved to its present premises in Curzon Street where brushes are still made by hand on lathes 150 years old. Although most of the work is now done by machines, there is still a demand for hand-made brushes among farmers of Cumberland and Westmorland.

A film made about the brush-making craft by ex-Burnley teacher Sam Hanna is currently provoking great interest in the USA and at home.

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