Bibendum & Sherry: October

Bibendum & Sherry is a new monthly feature where we share an Ernie Sherry drawing (or two) with you. The nature and style of his work has given great pleasure to thousands of Michelin employees over the years and we hope you’ll enjoy the series here too. You can also find out more about Ernie Sherry in our introduction to his work.

Car parking can often be a contentious issue, whether at work, at home or in and around town. Michelin factory car parks were no exception. At Stoke, Michelin’s parking facilities grew substantially after the Second World War in line with the growth of the factory and the reduction in the use of public transport. Before the war, cars (cycles and motorcycles too) could be parked within the factory perimeter but after the war they were provided with specific parks: originally at Chester Gate, then considerably more on areas on the south side of Campbell Road on what were Michelin Athletic Club (MAC) sportsgrounds. These became known as Bolton Gate car parks.

Burnley, Michelin’s second UK factory, on the Heasandford Industrial Estate, had ‘proper’ car parks, surfaced with tarmac. And so it was with all the other new factory developments (Belfast in 1965, Ballymena in 1969, Dundee in 1972 and Aberdeen in 1973). Stoke’s however were originally of an interesting undrained rocky material, often submerged in water during seriously wet weather. Then there were the tyre lane-markers looking as though someone had been attempting to plant tyres to see if they grew ….. ! When tarmac was eventually laid, it was a revolution (modern-day Riverside folks please note).

Ernie’s cartoon for October, taken from Bibendum of September/October 1960, highlights some characteristics of the time: all the men are wearing jackets and ties; ignition keys are simple and flat; windscreen wipers always work from the top of the screen; wing mirrors are an optional extra; sun-roofs are rare; bench seats in the front were common (with associated column gear-change levers). And bubble cars were a relatively common sight, such as the Messerschmitt, Heinkel and, in Ernie’s drawing, the Isetta.