At this point the time has come to look at the essential ingredient to Dorman success — the Dorman worker. Many of the faces appearing out of early photographs, such as those on page 16 belong to employees who forty to fifty years later, have only recently retired; since 1920 working conditions have changed at a pace matched only by that between 1870 and 1920. An apprentices indenture of 1875 tersely stipulated that "he shall neither buy nor sell, he shall not haunt taverns, he shall not play at cards or dice tables, not absent himself from his masters business night or day"; at least nobody apprenticed to William Henry Dorman could complain of not having fair warning! However, whether or not as a direct effect of this clause men with Dorman apprenticeship
behind them could be assured of sharing a deserved reputation as able and competent craftsmen. Once his training was completed the apprentice of the 1870's could expect to find openings for his abilities not only on the staff of Dorman but with any other employer who appreciated the value of a skilled engineer. His great grandson of a hundred years later, the apprentice of the 1970's, can also look forward to similar prospects under the attractive and comprehensive apprenticeship scheme run by the company today.
William Henry Dorman's paternalism, strict though it may have been, was in the least the custom of the time, and indeed although the company has never
Booklet home page Page index Pages 12 & 13 Pages 16 & 17
magazine a few years later in 1921 reported that "a spacious canteen is in existence where liberal meals are served at a moderate charge. Various sports clubs have been organised, together with a works choral society and orchestra, and it may be added in this connection that a sum of £200 has been raised and handed to the local infirmary." This policy apparently had its rewards for the same source reports that from 1913 to 1921 including pre and post war periods of marked industrial unrest throughout the nation Dorman internal labour relations were of the highest order and the works, unlike those of less fortunate concerns, remained open throughout this period without a moments closure.
lagged behind the continuous process of change in labour relations over the past century, much of this tradition of close personal contact between worker and employer which Mr. Dorman founded and encouraged, has endured through a whole succession of managements until the present day. The practice of moral exhortation which frequently accompanied it now belongs to the past, but can still be in evidence in pictures taken inside the works over fifty years ago, showing notices which severely reminded the employees that the running of the factory cost £2 per minute and enjoining them not to waste a single one.
More efficiency was far from the sole aim of the management under Mr. Haddon for a contemporary
£2 Per Minute
Fire engine fitted with Dorman engine, type 4JUL. This particular engine was in service with the Stafford Fire Brigade for many years.
Typical apprentice’s indentures of the early 1900s.
Notice reminding employees of the cost of running the factory.