Ivor Jones

Ivor Jones
1927 – 2020

From Martin Green, WIAS Chairman:
Ivor Jones spent his working days in the machine tool industry of Coventry enjoying a career in which his enthusiasm, expertise and experience were greatly valued. Once those days were over, he turned enthusiastically to a number of other interests – steam railways, walking, and industrial heritage. He became a member of the Warwickshire Industrial Archaeology Society and supported the society by regular attendances over a number of years.

Two members of WIAS – Roger Cragg and John Willock –  share their personal memories of Ivor.

Left – Ivor Jones

From Roger Cragg:
These brief notes record some of my memories of Ivor Jones and illustrate the many and varied interests which we shared.

My links with Ivor span over many years and many different places. I cannot now exactly recall when and where we first met but on reflection it may have been on one of the walks of the Thursday Walking Group with which I first started walking in 2006 when Ivor was already an established member. Eventually Ivor took over the job of organising the walk leaders’ rota, a job which he carried out very efficiently until 2012. At home, I still have examples of Ivor’s beautiful neatly hand written rota sheets.

Secondly, I also met Ivor at the monthly meetings of the Warwickshire Industrial Archaeology Society. Ivor was a regular attender at the Society at Warwick School where we had many interesting conversations.

Thirdly, as an ex-Wickman’s man, Ivor was a loyal member of the Wickman Railway Club under the chairmanship of the late Reg Kimber. Having given several talks to the Club I was eventually invited to become an honorary member, so our paths crossed again on many occasions, firstly at the Jaguar Social Club and later at the Ibis Hotel in Coventry.

I was also privileged on some occasions to be invited to accompany Ivor and some of his other friends on the famous expeditions in Ivor’s car. These were usually to a railway or steam engine site. One which sticks in my mind was a visit to an outdoor miniature Railway Club open day in the grounds of Rugeley Power Station where we all had several rides behind the model locomotives. Those of you who knew Ivor well will know where we went afterwards for a meal – Wetherspoons in Rugeley. Another visit which I recall was to the preserved steam pumping engines at Millmeece Pumping Station in Staffordshire.

On another occasion the Wickman Railway Club paid a visit to the Great Central Railway at Quorn and Woodhouse Station, Ivor included. Having had one ride on the railway to Loughborough and Leicester North and back, I thought that would be enough but Ivor was determined to have another ride and make the most of his all-day rover ticket!

From these very brief reminiscences you will have gleaned a flavour of Ivor’s many and varied interests – walking in the countryside, engineering history and steam power in all its various forms. How to sum up my memories of Ivor? I would say that he was true gentle-man in the very best sense of the word. Quiet, and not one to seek the limelight, but a firm friend and always there to share his many and fascinating reminiscences. I have fond memories of Ivor’s friendship which I will long treasure.

From John Willock:
I really got to know Ivor Jones through the Kenilworth Rambling Group and we immediately became firm friends. We shared many common interests, particularly industrial archaeology, railways and workshop topics – we both had Myford Super 7 metalworking lathes. Apart from being an accomplished metal worker and model maker, Ivor was also keen on woodwork and I believe he made his own conservatory attached to the rear of his house.  An exceedingly good job he made of it too. His workshop was always immaculate with everything in its place – rather different to mine!

I do remember one day Ivor rang me to say he was having trouble removing a four jaw chuck from the spindle of his Myford; nothing he tried would budge it and could I help? I turned up at his door with a pair of 24 inch Stillsons and a block of steel. Ivor initially looked a little fearful that I was going to maul his pristine chuck with the Stillsons. The remedy was very simple indeed: the block of steel was gripped firmly in the four jaw chuck, the machine spindle was locked and the Stillsons applied to the block of steel in the chuck. The chuck came off without a whimper! A little work with a hand scraper to increase the depth of chamfer on the chuck mounting face did the trick. Ivor was delighted.

Ivor was a very modest, generous, gentle man, who gave freely of his time and knowledge and I shall miss him greatly.

During the recent Memorial Service for Ivor held on the 5th October 2021 at St. Nicholas’ Church Kenilworth, it was disclosed that whilst an apprentice at AC Wickman Limited, he had won a national craft prize for toolmaking. This award, promulgated by the Gauge and Tool Makers Association (GTMA), was made to Ivor, the first recipient, in 1949. At the time this award received both national and local press coverage. What Ivor had to do to claim his prize is not precisely known, but it must have entailed a high degree of skill and knowledge of his profession. The award was made in October of that year at a luncheon of the GTMA held at the Savoy Hotel, London, where the guest speaker was Lord Brabazon of Tara. Ivor received his award from the hands of Lord Brabazon on that occasion, exactly 72 years to the day prior to his Memorial Service at Kenilworth.

The following photograph and press report, courtesy of Ivor’s son, Gary, record the event: