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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

Thought I’d share this photo of the staff at HMC Wheels which was located a short walk after the bridge at the top of Turnpike Lane, on Hornsey High Street.  HMC Wheels were an engineering company which eventually relocated to Bletchley in around 1972. 

My dad, centre back row, was the Stores Person and enjoyed his time working there. 

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Thank you, Lydia. You've unwittingly given me the answer to the question of the occupier of the building the the background of this photo. Below is a potted history of the company.

HMC Wheels Ltd started life in 1926, in Penn Street N1, producing plain rubber wheels; much of the product in those days being exported to India for the jute and tea industries. Over the years HMC developed a range of industrial heavy duty wheels and industrial heavy duty castors from its premises in Hornsey, North London.

In 1940, they relcoated to Hornsey.

The business was bought by Harper Aircraft Co in 1955. Harper's business included electronics, nucleonics, automation devices, photometrics, small engines, petrol and electric vehicles. 

In 1971 HMC was sold to Cope Allman Group and it was relocated to Bletchley. The business survives today as Brauer.

Thank you Hugh, I was hoping you had further background. In fact I’d seen the photo you’d previously shared in 2018 and can’t remember why I didn’t respond at that time as I recognised HMC. It laid back from the road and was lower down than the high road. 

When HMC relocated they offered all members of staff and their families/extended families a relocation package which included social housing. My dad regarded it as a wonderful opportunity. After the war he had to leave London and go to Yorkshire to get work. My mum was a Londoner, through and through, I was 16 and certainly didn’t want to leave London; we stayed in Hornsey.  My dad was very disappointed. For a while, HMC used a mini bus to transport workers to and from Bletchley and my dad took advantage of this opportunity. Eventually the transition was completed and my dad made redundant from a job he loved. 

I believe that my grandfather started HMC Wheels.  But then I believed when young that the HMC was my father's initials and was disappointed to learn it stood for Holborn Manufacturing Company!  I suspect now that my father was named so he had the initials of the firm as he was always destined to take over the running of it.   

Soon as I saw the "HMC" it struck a bell after all these years. No anecdotes, though; just an instance of a subliminal memory of a familiar name through having walked, driven or bussed past it for all those years without it registering - until now!

Thank you for posting this photo Lydia, don't think I've ever seen it before and my father was MD of HMC Wheels - front row, standing, glasses.
My cousin has just found a photo of the firm's 25th anniversary party in 1951 but presumably that was before your dad's time there?
My grandmother and great grandmother lived in the flat above the factory for some years.  I was at Hornsey High School and used to visit after school, and I worked in the office for a few weeks one summer holiday.
I suspect your father made the right decision not to relocate.  Mine did all the hard work of the relocation to Bletchley at the behest of Cope Allman, only to be sacked by them not long after the move.

Hello Diana

Interesting to know who your father was in this photo - I’d always thought he looked ‘managerial’.
What a shame he managed the move to Bletchley and was subsequently sacked. Not sure if I’ve got this right, but I seem to remember HMC trading Duracell batteries and magnetic tapes for a tape recorder.
1951 was indeed before my dad’s time. I don’t remember the full extent of his employment at HMC but definitely between 1964 - 1971.
I had no idea there were flats above the factory.
I also went to Hornsey High School, but just after it transitioned into a Comprehensive-although Miss Curtis continued to think it was and run it as a High School!

I didn't know that actors Harry H Corbett and Sam Kydd worked there, must have been earning some money on the side.



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