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Old Adverts for flooring

Footwear from NBR of yesterday

The selling of Golf Ball History
Link to the History of Heathhall

To cheer us up

Heathhall Factory to close-read below

Agricultural Shows
Golf match played at Moffat Golf Course 1963 Heathhall V Castle Mills
Uniroyal Chairman George Villa and Director Herb Schmalz visit Heathhall
Heathhall Control Division Dance Circa 1967
Footwear Conference at Elche Spain
 Footwear Sales conference 1956
The story of Dumfries
Tredaire Progress
Heathhall Staff Dance February 1962
Bathing Cap Production 1962

Gas Industry --Conveyors
Noreen Paterson's day of fame as Cornet's Lass
Heel Moulding

Record Creating Conveyor belts

Towards moulded footwear
Underlay output increases
Heathhall Security
Our thanks to Jimmy Lowe
Green Wellies
Golf Balls

December 5 2014

Here are some old Flooring advertisements from the 40's--all thanks to 

Bruce Stewart

Sept 5 2013

Footwear from NBR of yesterday !!!

A lady from the Netherlands Marian de Man tells us she purchased this Pair of Tiny rubber shoes some 30 years ago

And they still look good

We are indebted to Marian for sending this information and the photo


April 6 2013
Link to History of Heathall
There is a web site which is very informative of the history of Heathhall

To get to the Site Record for Dumfries, Heathhall, Edinburgh Road, Car Factory 
Lochthorn; Arrol-Johnston Works; Arrol-Johnson
Factory;North British, Uniroyal 
and Gates Rubber Company please click below


pril 13 2013  

   The Selling of Golf Ball History 

  The Editor found this auction on the web and a 1920 NBR advert in it  The web site
  is interesting to golfers and those who enjoy history. the web site is

The advert was

  Lot 15 'SCOTTIE DOG' All original condition - 1920s Golf Ball Advertising Figure
 'North British Rubber Co Sylvac Scottie Dog' holding a golf ball in its mouth – 
  base stamped with Reg. No. 778504 the product No 1209 - overall 11” high


    Starting Price


  'Point of Sale' golf ball advertising figure. 
  Black Scottie dog. In all original condition. 
Minor rubbed areas else a very good example. 
No Chips or damage.

For full description and extra images click here


 April 4 2013    

It has been suggested that as we have had an abundance of Obituary news 
and plant closures that a positive picture would cheer us up
--Thank you Roy Gutteridge  

Herewith brief details.
Hannah-my youngest daughter married Mark Willmer on 16th March,2013 
at "The Ashes Country House" at Endon in the Staffordshire Moorlands.

In attendance was Lucy Merrell(nee Gutteridge) Hannah's older sister.

Groom's parents David and Barbara Willmer.
Bride's Parents Roy and Josephine Gutteridge.






            "The Ashes Country House" at Endon in the Staffordshire Moorlands.

March 30 2013

Thanks to Martin Hale who sent the contents of page 6 of the 
                     Dumfries "Standard" see below


   Sadly we have to report the closure of the Heathhall factory

    Fifty jobs set to go at Factory
                              by Jackie Grant

A Heathall Factory is facing closure with the loss 
                  of more than 50 jobs

Disgusted workers at Interfloor Ltd were told yesterday morning
 that the company was entering a 30 day consultation  period over the 
 future of the site.

      Staff claim they were told by bosses that once they had left the 
 building they were not to enter again without permission.
      Shop Steward David Cameron who raised concerns about the future of 
 the factory only last month, said " I warned this would happen but the way
 they have treated us today is disgusting. We were not allowed back min 
 unless we're asked. We have to phone to arrange a time to go and get
 our tools.
      Like many of the men, I have worked her for 37 years and this is the only
 way they repay us.
       We'll be meeting with union officials on Tuesday morning to discuss 
 redundancy packages.This is just awful"      
     In a statement released yesterday, the company’s marketing director  
Steve Woodhead said:  “Interfloor has today announced that we are entering
 into a consultation process regarding the proposed re-organisation of our 
 Dumfries operations including the closure of the Heathhall manufacturing site.
     “We are proposing to retain our accessory manufacturing and distribution 
 activities in Dumfries, and to consolidate all of our PU underlay manufacturing
 at our primary manufacturing centre at our head office in Haslingden, 
        Angry workers slammed the decision to tell them only a day before the 
 Easter holidays.
        One, Robert Patterson said:  “They’ve issued a 30-day consultation period 
 to shut the factory but most of us are on holiday for 12 days so that eats into the
 consultation time.   “I’ve worked there for 37 years since I left school so this is 
 a very sad day.  It wasn’t unexpected.  My son works there too. He has three 
 kids to raise so this is a massive blow to our whole family.
        I’ve never had to sign on before, it’s terrible.  There’ll be 50 of us meeting 
 each other in the job centre and all applying for jobs that aren’t there.  I’m gutted”
       MP Russell Brown said:  “I’ve tried to contact the company to say that I hope
 they’re seriously not contemplating even starting the consultation period until the
 workforce is back on site after the Easter holidays.”

March 31 2012

From the Feb 1963 issue of N B News

March 19 2012
Below we have the record of the first ever golf match between 
Castle Mills and Heathhall played on 8th September 1963

How many of the players in the group photo can you recognise ??

June 29 2011

Uniroyal Chairman George Villa and Director Herb Schmalze visit Heathhall

The person explaining the product is Goerge Keeton. then a half view of Steve Mouat, then we do not know the operative's name  and lastly Bill Farrell on the right
If anyone can help us to identify him please let the Editor know


June 29 2011

Heathhall Control Division Dance Circa 1967


the picture is in 3 rows

FRONT ROW. Gilbert Crerar. Sandy McLeod. Mrs McLeod. Mrs Hume John Hume. Norma Crerar. Mrs McMahon. Tom McMahon

2nd Row. Mrs Moffat. Bob Moffat. George Barclay. Alice Barclay. Don't Know. Janette McCreadie. Evelyn Farrell. Mrs Watson.Shiela Swan.

               Mrs Graham. Claude Graham. Don't Know. Anne Waters.

3rd Row. David Carruthers. Don't Know. Don't Know. Walter Mc Creadie. Bill Farrell. Ian Watson. Ian Swan. George Waters.


May 5 2011

Below we have a photograph and with the help of Albert Rose we can 
add the "what and where"

The occasion was a footwear conference held in Spain.

The Elche factory did not have facilities to formally host the gathering and after the usual factory

visit we all retired to the Carlton Hotel in Alicante where this photo was taken sometime around

the mid-sixties.

Thanks to George Greenfield, Bill Farrell, Roy Gutteridge, and Albert Rose  for helping to identify the names 

 We have now created the following which hopefully will encourage others 
to send us their suggestions to allow us to close the full circle

There are nine on each side with the Top table already identified as
Albert Rose, John Stuart, Ken Lewis, Alex Perper (the Elche Factory Manager) and Tony Duckett

 starting with 
First          Ron Clunie
Second    Joe Green
Third          Len Hake
Fourth      Jim Finlay
Fifth           Ian Ewing
Sixth                  xxxx
                                                   Seventh   Derek Gankerseer or David Brown
                                Ninth        Bill Sneddon or Mike Webster
       First           George Coston
   Second      Bob Schemer
Third                   XXXX
Fourth                XXXX
                                             Fifth             Robbie Robertson   --or David Miller  
   Sixth            Sam Colville
Seventh              XXXX
Eighth                 XXXX
Nineth      Jim Paterson


Can anyone else help ???



February 4 2011
Footwear Sales conference 1956 with a difference  to read please Click here 

January 23 2011

A very interesting history of Dumfries  from the 1800's


January 16 2011
Treadaire  5 - Years of steady progress



January 5 2010 

                                             HEATHHALL STAFF DANCE
held at the COUNTY HOTEL, DUMFRIES  Friday 23 February  1962

Below Left; The Kilted figure of Jimmy Grant and Miss Elder

Top Centre : Our photographer coaxed this group to pose between dances
 Back Row ; I. Simkin,J.B. Graham, J. Dunsmore, B. Graham, J. Grant
front Row:Mrs Dunsmore, Mrs Simkin, Mrs Graham, Miss Ringland, and Miss Elder

Bottom Centre; Mr and Mrs J. Paterson and Mr and Mrs J.B. Graham

Right Hand; John Clapp partnered by Mrs Jack Lambert







January 5 2011
Bathing Cap Production in 1962--the whole story


January 5 2011
Here we have a story of progress with great support from all departments involved with Footwear 
Sales, Technical, and Production, SPC, and Development

   November 26 2010

November 7 2010
Noreen Paterson's day of Fame  as Dumfries Cornet's lass
November 3 2010
This shows the work of Heel Moulding at Heathhall in 1949 


November 2 2010

A record creating Conveyor belts made at heathhall in 1959


November 2 2010
Comments from the NB News about the trend to Moulded Footwear and it was 1959--50 years ago


November 2 2010
This is an item from a 1949 NB news telling of the increase in Production to meet sales needs


September 26 2010
This item was taken from the June 1959 NB News

   February 18 2007

Our Thanks to Jimmy Lowe

    Jimmy Lowe has very kindly given a very interesting write up about four of
the North British/Uniroyal Products  manufactured at Heathall Dumfries,  some
started their life at Castle Mills and some started at Heathall   We are deeply 
indebted to Jimmy for his efforts as he had no old notes or other evidence 
and did it all from memory--well done,  and Thanks 
The Editor would also like to thank Jimmy's family including his wife Dorothy, Hannah, and eldest son Michael, for converting Jimmy's draft notes  and  whose joint efforts produced  the documents. --Thank you  

February  19  2007

Conveyor belting was manufactured in Castle Mills in the 1930s to 1950s. With the consolidation of the private coal pits into the NCB (National Coal Board) in the 50s and the subsequent mechanisation of the pits, there was a rapid increase in the use of rubber conveyor belts.

The increased volume and standardisation of conveyor belts could not be handled at Castle Mills. Rotocures had been installed in Dumfries to make rubber flooring (Parafloor) and sheeting. Capacity existed to manufacture belting on the Rotocures, which were ideal for the production of NCB belting.  A team of two men on three shifts could cure 1200 foot of belting in a day. With the additional technical advantage of no double cure at the end of each cycle, this occurred during press manufacture.

The business lasted for ten years until a fire at Cresswell, with a large loss of life.  The fire at the Cresswell pit forced the NCB to specify flame proof belting which could only be met economically by replacing rubber with PVC.

A two year attempt to manufacture PVC belting on the Rotocure by installing a pre-heater in front of the cold Rotocure, to consolidate the pre-heated plies failed.

To replace the lost business a new fabric to the UK using a cotton nylon doubled yarn was developed with the help of J Brights. The cotton nylon gave us the opportunity to use a standard method of belt construction at Heathhall. The new belting fabric had the ability to operate under higher tension and was more durable and capable of operating under greater tension and work loads.

To exploit capability of carrying extra load the new belts required the setting up of a marketing team using engineers capable of conducting site visits and presenting a complete conveyor plan to customers.

With cotton nylon belts, the opportunity arose to meet the CEGB (Central Electricity Generating Board) and British Steel demand for stronger belts.

With the developing overseas market, the Dumfries team sought and surveyed business world wide. Concentrating on large open cast mining, such as copper in Chilie, bauxite in Trinidad, nickel in Canada and ores from numerous other locations.

An example of the type of cooperation and ingenuity required to get a USSR contract for belts to operate at temperatures of -45 c to + 45 c with high tension and heavy load and extremely long lengths. The customer did not want to splice short lengths of belting in the field.

The design required the use of 100% polyester fabric spun woven by J Bright with adhesive suitable for attaching rubber to polyester produced by J Mandleberg; both firms were located in Manchester.

The process of adhesion was time sensitive and relied on delivery within strict time limits. Delivery required the crossing of Shap summit that was notoriously difficult to pass due to ice and snow and before the completion of the motorway.

We used the local AA man’s telephone to call ahead when the lorry cleared the summit. On this communication the Bambury started mixing the compound, as making and curing had to be completed in 48 hours.

With this tight schedule and delays in transport we did not know exactly when the work could commence. The crews had to remain flexible and dedicated to the achieve production within the 48 hour dead line.

A problem arose in getting completed twelve feet (in diameter) belts out of the plant and onto the low loader. This was quickly solved by knocking a large hole in the plant wall.

It is of interest that the Russian contract brought the belting in 1985 and 1986 into profit.    
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February  18  2007

                                Golf Balls
                                                          Design and Manufacture
Moved to Dumfries from Castle Mills in the 1950’s . the product and equipment was not upgraded
and  with time failed to meet the customer requirement. The Rhode Island plant of Uniroyal had
developed a  new 1.68 inch ball to incorporate all proven advances in materials including a new
mould design which had been developed with the help of NASA. A dedicated production facility
was built at Heathhall using US designed equipment , which made a 1.68  and 1.62 inch ball to
meet the UK and overseas markets.

The 1.62 inch ball was re-designed at Heathhall and tested out on a Driving Machine installed in
the field  to the North East of the plant. The 1.62 inch ball was also tested on the durability machine
installed in the plant, which proved that the new 1.62 inch ball met all design parameters.
The changes made such an impact on the position of  the product in the market that all other
manufacturers eventually adopted the changes.
The products incorporated  ;

  1. A titanium white urethane paint to replace oil based paints which yellowed and chipped
  2. Decal transfer lettering to give improved appearance, and allowed the customers to use
     company logos or marketing slogans.
  3. Plastic (Surlyn) covers replacing Balata covers to stop cutting and improve durability
  4. Isoprene synthetic rubber to improve thread performance and make possible standardized
  5. Butadiene to give more bounce to the centre replaced the barytes filled rubber bag.
    (The barytes filled rubber bag could distort during winding , giving unstable flight)
  6. The mould was so designed it could only be made by a specialist firm, using   a computer
    controlled lathe and drilling machines. This firm was located in New Jersey. This allowed
    for new patter of shallower dimples.

The  randomized pattern of  shallower dimples gave a smooth airflow over all surface areas, giving
increased lift (exploiting the Venturi effect) and improved direction, no matter how the ball was
placed on the tee. -----Wilson remained prime customer.

To fill out the additional  volume, other UK customers were supplied with the improved ball but
 not using the Plus Six Diamond design moulds.

           The marketing group saw the opportunity to get a share of the market. They used Jack
Nicklaus (then the world’s number one golfer) and brand name Plus Six (emphasizing the
improved distance  using the shallow diamond dimple design).   The promotion of the product
and sales were primarily  directed at pro-shops sited on golf courses, using Jack  Nicklaus’
market appeal combined with  promotional golf tournaments.
          A solid ball was also launched, aimed at golf ranges and, with the introduction of better
polymers  and two stage molding, the ball was accepted by club golfers and used in local
The marketing group encountered difficulty in reaching their target market share,
because of the  opposition from entrenched brand name loyalties of golfers.

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February  18  2007


Carpet underlay had been developed in the US at Naugatuck and Mishawaka in the late
1940’s and took the marketing route of making different grades to meet the US market
 boom in suburban carpeted housing.
          The production unit installed to meet this demand required  a 9 foot width oven using
 metal patterns and/or chain pattern to give different styles, colour, and thickness. The plant
cost $1,000,000 at 1950 prices..

          At Heathhall the production unit  was of a low cost construction using on the platens
sourced from the redundant 30 foot
belting press located at Castle Mills. The platens were
separated by one square inch bars to keep them apart. The conveyor belt was made using
60 inches wide garden chain link fencing. The calendered gum drooped to form a diagonal
pattern and was cured at 1500 C using the heat from steam-heated platens. When the jute
backing become too expensive, a coated paper backing reinforced by synthetic fibre was
introduced which could be printed to identify and promote the product. This development
made the carpet underlay which was cleaner in appearance and made it easier to lay.
The carpet underlay in the US was based on a specialist Uniroyal polymer which was too
expensive for UK use. Originally natural rubber was used but required too much Bambury
capacity and was uneconomical. Phillips cooperated by modifying a product produced in

Rotterdam to meet our production requirements. And we successfully negotiated a contract
to have the polymer stored near the factory and then delivered and billed daily. This storage
 and billing was accepted by the backing supplier, which cut our raw material storage costs
by 80%
       Because of the layout at Heathhall, the simple oven design could be duplicated at low
cost and fitted into the original building. Thus we were able to meet the ever-increasing
volume of sales without recourse to new buildings.
      Marketing and selling concentrated on the mutually beneficial  relationship  with retail
salesmen with great success. This gave a remarkable sales growth of approximately 10 fold
in the first two years and we then came to dominate the market supported by an excellent
distribution system. It was estimated that we were selling Tredaire sufficient to pave the
 road from Dumfries to London every year.
With the simplified production of the product and with strict control over inventory,
Tredaire achieved turnover ratios of up to 200 turns a year. The cash flow generated helped
 to maintain the profitability of the product and the factory during the inevitable difficult

       Inevitably other competitors entered the market and copied our product which, coupled
 with the switch to wood floors, made the market more difficult.

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February  18  2007

         Footwear started in Dumfries Heathhall in the 1950’s with the transfer of white tennis
shoes to be made on the three new installed conveyor lines. The conveyor lines were made
to a design sourced from by US rubber.  They were capable of making 6000 to 9000 pairs a
day dependant on style. This utilized manufacturing techniques which involved clean conditions,
which were then in use by US rubber in North America.
       Casual tennis /basketball styles had been marketed successfully in the US and Canada.
 To emulate this success, North British Rubber required new marketing techniques and the
creation of a design team at Heathhall.
       The market demanded yearly style changes , presentations by models to the major customers
 with high levels of stock in advance of promotion and ,hopefully, sales. This involved yearly
style changes.
       The products were initially well received but the volume was not maintained . The concept
was good but the type of footwear demanded a higher standard of manufacture than be achieved
on conveyor line based  manufacturing techniques. Specialized molding equipment was needed
 to implement the frequent style changes which the market demanded.  At that time we lacked
the necessary promotional and marketing capabilities to compete successfully in this market.
       It would have needed a marketing approach, comparable with that of Adidas or Nike, in
order to achieve European acceptance. This was beyond our resources.

         Starting in the mid 1950’s Castle Mills Footwear was progressively closed. In response, 
a programme of transferring manufacture of waterproof footwear to Heathhall  was started.
This programme  commenced with simple child’s wellies and went on to transfer  manufacture
of all styles ranging from Argylls (which was then  the best selling UK farmers boot) to the
Hunter leisure boot.
        Manufacture of new types of waterproof footwear was introduced at Heathhall , albeit in
lower volumes. The increased sales necessitated the installation of 6 more conveyor lines, to
 make the additional styles.
        A complex system of scheduling was required to ensure the availability of the approximately
250,000 different components, necessary to manufacture the multiplicity of styles and types.
The components had to be made available to the manufacturing process at exactly the right time.
 Of course this was before the era of computers

       The correct functioning of this complex scheduling process was essential to enable the work
force  cope with the demands of the daily mix of styles , size ranges , colour changes etc. and thus 
to earn bonus.
   At its peak over 600  women and men worked in footwear.
       Management had to concentrate its effort on meeting the constantly changing demands
imposed by the varied market..
       Footwear manufacture at Heathhall  could not compete with the lower cost footwear coming
from Asia. It was inevitable the product line would have to be  trimmed to concentrate on specialist
 styles.  The bulk of the UK market was eventually supplied by the imported low cost and colourful
styles of footwear.
  Other methods were attempted but we were unable to compete in the highly 
competitive market which then existed.

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March 4 2007
Green Wellies

This is a cutting from the Daily Telegraph of Thursday April 13 2006
Kindly sent to the Editor by Jim Finlay from his "Archives"

It was written by Adam Edwards who is the author of 
        "A Short History of the Wellington Boot" 
          published by  Hodder and Stoughton


The first year , 1955, the 
Company sold just 36 pairs. Only
after the arrival of new lasts 
designed and made from aluminium
in Sweden did the boots begin to
move from the shelves
   At first , as anticipated it was the keepers that wore them (it was, incidentally , keepers pioneered waterproof boots fashioned from bullocks bladders in the late 19th century)Then the grandees who shot and fished  began to ape their skilled employees. 
And soon through word of mouth the feet of those who ran the estates of England were clad in the boot , including those of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh. Special boots were then made for the keepers at Sandringham, and the Duke gave the company the Royal Assent.
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"London Sloanes sprout green wellies in wet weather like a plaque of frogs".
By the end of the century the Hunter 
"Green Welly" had come to define
the English rural idyll
And by 2004  when the Countryside alliance  organised half a million 
demonstrators to march along Whitehall in support of hunting--the largest demonstration Britain has ever witnessed--they were known across Britain and the rest of the World as "The Green Welly brigade"
   And now those boots that have shod Britain's grandees for generations and whose footwear forefathers have crossed every river, marsh, and wetland of every country on earth to help build and maintain the British Empire may soon be no more than a fond memory.
The news is that it is rumoured that approaches have been made to the administrator to buy the company. The bad news that after two centuries of history the direct genealogical link from the green welly to the great Duke of Wellington will finally be broken