Made In Walthamstow
The Story Of North East London’s Record Factory
The story of the factory is an important part of history of both the record industry and of the local community.
If you purchased recorded music between the 1950s and the late 1980s it is likely that some of it was manufactured at the Factory in Walthamstow Avenue, E17. Initially an independent business called Record Works Ltd it was purchased and expanded by Philips in the early 1950s growing as the rock n roll era took off. It pressed vinyl for it’s own labels – Phonogram, Polydor, Philips, Mercury, Fontana, Pablo & Verve amongst others in pop, rock and jazz; for licensed labels such as Stax, Atlantic and for contracts with Arista and Chrysalis, Readers Digest and many more. It made classical albums on Philips, Decca and the prestigious Deutsche Gramophon labels. In the mid-sixties it was the first to produce the (then new) cassette.
As part of the community Philips was a progressive employer. In the 1970s recognising that it had a high proportion of Muslim workers it changed shift patterns and bussed staff to the local mosques for Ramadam prayers; it acknowledged the needs of families organising shift patterns for female workers around childcare/school times.
This website has been in existence since 2012. Originally set up as the research base for a proposed book. This has yet to materialise (the idea has not been abandoned) but we have been contacted by a number of ex-employees and families of ex-workers sharing their memories; we have had enquiries from specialist vinyl collectors asking technical questions and we have gathered pictures of the products made, the people and the site itself. This new redesigned site will include many of those together with posts on progress.
The Place & The Process
We hope to source information about the place itself and the process used by Philips and its competitors to make the fastest moving consumer goods available at the time.
There are plenty of sites where you can see comprehensive list of releases by artist , year and label so we will not seek to duplicate that preferring to show a number of the more interesting ones and items that are referred to in the information posts.
The Factory was at the same location for nearly 40 years - there are plenty of people out there who worked for Philips and its successors or its suppliers during that time - we would love to hear from them and will only credit them with their express permission.