Great staff dos and a wonderful working atmosphere - but which Sunderland site was this?

Brian Mills Factory in December 1956.
Brian Mills Factory in December 1956.

What a massive place it was and what great times you had there.

Brian Mills is the factory we are referring to and we wanted to know if any Echo readers worked there.

Ledger clerks speed the mail order business of Brian Mills.

Ledger clerks speed the mail order business of Brian Mills.

What a lovely surprise it was when 38,000 of you took an interest in the post on social media. The common denominator was you all loved it there.

And it seems that the Christmas parties and staff dance were a particular highlight.

Thelma Burnikell worked at Brian Mills for 22 years until she was made redundant. She told us: “I started there on order picking, then transferred to the returns department – booking in items that had been returned.”

Thelma then moved into the RTM section and worked there until her redundancy. She said: “It was a great firm to work for. It was like one big family. Happy days.

It was a great firm to work for it was like one big family. Happy days. The staff dances were fantastic, when the night was over you were wishing it was the following year because it was so good

Thelma Burnikell

“The staff dances were fantastic. When the night was over you were wishing it was the following year because it was so good.”

Sharon Butler left school on a Friday and started at Brian Mills the following Monday. “It was 1978,” she said.

“I worked in the cash office, stayed for 2 years till I started my nurse training. Great bunch of ladies.”

Fab people and great nights out said Jan Foley who added: “I worked there from 1975 as an order picker on R department. Then, as the warehouse was closing, moved up into the office. Can’t remember name of the department but Barbara Fowler was the supervisor. Got great memories from my time working there.”

Brian Mills telephonist girl in 1989.

Brian Mills telephonist girl in 1989.

They were good employers, said Jackie Ann Scott. “I worked in the Janet Frazer building starting in 1979 on the typing pool/outward reading department, before moving to productivity services which then moved over to the Brian Mills building. I left in October 1991 with great memories of working there for a good employer.”

Krysia Groves told us: “I always remember the Brian Mills/Janet Frazer girls marking the start of Christmas the afternoon they shut shop - easily recognised by the tinsel round the head and lots of dancing/laughing/singing from pub to pub . . .mother was one of them!!”

And Kath Agar said: “Started Brian Mills in 1976 in cash office as a junior before passing my test for Vdu in 1978. Was there till being made redundant in 2010. Also worked on Telephone Ordering when it opened then onto Authorisations & finally E Commerce. Fantastic people who worked there, more like family. Memories that will be with me forever xx.”

June Finley left school in 1959 and “had an interview with Miss Sinclair. Told me to have shipyard fortnight with my family and come back in 2 weeks. I was in sales prom and ended up as supervisor in Janet Fraziers before leaving in 71 to have my family. Happy days.”

For Maureen Richardson, it was her first job and she remembered her pay at the time. “4 pounds nineteen and 11 pence for 40 hours, lasted 2half years.”

And Marie OBrien told us: “Loved working at Brian Mills in the claims department from 1961 until 1970 x.”

Valerie Adams remembered working with Marie and said: “Loved every minute.”

So did Denise Carpenter while Joan Johnson Getting’s memories included getting the works special bus home.”

Elizabeth Fidler worked there on the staff discount and said: “Loved the job.” She said she left in the mid-1970s.

Gail Mann said her auntie Sheila Godfrey worked in the building services section “for donkeys years.”

Thanks also to Diane Henderson who said: “My dad Billy Nelson worked there for years And I joined him when I left school. Great time x”

Maureen Hurst told us she was the comptometer operator in the accounts department from 1957 to 1964.

Anne Flynn started there in 1966 and said: “Made some good friends and left in 1969 when I got married and moved away. Remember some really good times.”

And Patricia Beattie said: “Worked there from leaving school 69 until made redundant 2010, Loved it seen many changes in those years. Made good friends, still friends to this day.”