Reunion for former cider factory staff

PUBLISHED: 11:02 02 May 2019

Former cooper Ron Hardwidge and Tony Redgers - lorry driver and son of the factory's boiler man.

Former cooper Ron Hardwidge and Tony Redgers - lorry driver and son of the factory's boiler man.

Archant

Former colleagues who worked at a well-known factory in Nailsea enjoyed an unexpected reunion, thanks to a heritage project.

Former cooper Ron Hardwidge holding a heading knife used for making barrels, along with a photo of himself from 1974 using the same tool, taken shortly before the factory shut.Former cooper Ron Hardwidge holding a heading knife used for making barrels, along with a photo of himself from 1974 using the same tool, taken shortly before the factory shut.

Drivers, bottlers and a former cooper met up at Number 65 High Street to see artefacts from their time working at Coates Cider Factory and to share stories.

The event was set up by Heidi Hollis who is researching the town's industrial heritage.

More: Hidden Histories project launched in Nailsea.

Former cooper Ron Hardwidge and Tony Redgers - lorry driver and son of the factory's boiler man.Former cooper Ron Hardwidge and Tony Redgers - lorry driver and son of the factory's boiler man.

Ron Hardwidge, one of three coopers who constructed vats and barrels for the cider, said: “It was one of the happiest places I've ever known.

“There were 250 people working there and everybody knew everybody. It was a good place to work.”

Anyone with objects or stories relating to cidermaking, glassmaking or the coal industry is encouraged to get in touch.

Upcoming Hidden Histories sessions will take place on May 22, June 26 and July 24 from 10.30am-12.30pm at Number 65 High Street.

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