Wembley Sportsmater was the rotational moulding side of Mettoy. We had 7 moulding machines, 4 x 8 arm, 1 x 5 arm and 2 x 3 arm machines making footballs, playballs, spacehoppers and other vinyl toys such as Dolly Drops, as well as powder bases for punchballs, toy boxes in the form of castles and dolls houses - and much more.
Harlestone Road was a myriad of departments. Tom Chapman ran Kites - my dad and I flew pre-production stunt kites in Cornwall. No-one had seen such kites and they were a sensation. There was a carpenter's shop where they made stands for Toy Fairs etc. Production lines were set up for whatever was the latest craze (make money while you can seemed to be the ethos). My dad says that in 1966 they made 25 million footballs. They ran three shifts through 24 hours with 4 x 8 arm machines on balls. When I was Planning Manager we were making 8 down to 6 million balls per year, 2 x 8 arm machines mostly on one shift, sometimes two shifts when demand was up.
Was it this picture? Mettoy Factory Northampton by Sue Mick Foster, on Flickr
From right to left we have the Co-op (convenience store), IIRC the next building was a dry cleaners, then we have Mettoy reception and Personnel Dept. The next opening used to be Goods Inwards but was not used as such when I was there. Going towards the square building, there was the Corgi Tool Room (later our Maintenance Dept & Stores), the mould store (rotational moulds) and honer, then the Paint Farm, warehouse space, lift & stairs to the ball floors and the square bit was Goods Inwards. There was access from Harlestone Road but this was not used as it cause traffic problems; lorries entered the yard from behind the building. There were two ball floors and a mezzanine floor where balls were elevated from the Inflating Room and sorted into their pens. Adjacent to these was warehousing space. On the upper floors at the Co-op end were offices and sample rooms.
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