Parlatex

The site, in Walrow had, originally been a milk factory and was then used as a pound, where cows were held awaiting transport. The cattle had been purchased at Highbridge market; then delivered to the pound and were held until a train arrived to take them to their final destination.

Parlatex was established in 1936 and after the war made mallets and rollers for the flax industry; they had previously been in premises in West Huntspill. Richard Wright had come to the company at the start but had been transferred to Bridgwater during the war to be employed in engineering. . Some of the directors were members of the Wills Tobacco Co and when Wills retired Robert Hobbs and another man ran Parlatex. A Mr. Jones joined the company in 1975, as maintenance fitter and foreman and, the firm soon expanded.

The production of flax rollers was gradually reduced so this prompted the firm to look for other work in order to maintain production; the development of additional mallets for firms such as SMC.FKI Crypton plus some work for Cellophane resulted. At one stage in production they developed mud flaps for Vauxhall cars, but not for the Company direct, mud flaps were also designed and manufactured for cars made by Opel. Around that time Upton and Scott were at Sealed Motors Co. where they produced mud flap moulds and Vauxhall wanted flaps for their new Cavalier. David Gwilliams required milking machine rubbers and arrived on the scene with a representative from Avon Rubber Co. who needed machine rubber items. At this time there was about 25 employees plus quite a number of out-workers.

Sealed Motors Co. found they required “O” rings for pumps that were made by Dowty, these were produced in Malta, (500 a week). SMC needed 3,500 a day and would send a car to Heathrow to collect the 500 a day needed. It was decided, by Palatex to buy the machine, from Italy, to cover the new contract with SMC; the machine to arrive in London in 6 weeks time for an exhibition. In the meantime they would use a sample to make the tools needed so that Parlatex could start production of the “O” rings, the suppliers kept their word, and they worked 7 days a week producing the required rings. Mr Jones was promoted to Works Manager. Orders for mud flaps increased for Vauxhall to a lorry load a week, so Parlatex built a new factory to cope with the increased production, that building is now “Hill Leigh”, the old building was demolished. Later another factory was built behind where the original one had stood; this is now “Flight Pumps”.

By now Mr Jones was Works Director, this was a man who had started out as a farm worker. He left the Company and set up on his own factory at St. Lukes. Walrow.

Parlatex continued for a further 2 years, a firm from Weston-super- Mare bought it out and quickly closed it down.

(Article supplied by John Jones)

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