From: Derek Fisher
When the Collaro factory left Peckham in the early 1940s to go to Langley Mill in Derbyshire, I don’t suppose anyone knew what floodgates were being opened. There were about 2,000 people employed there making munitions. My late wife and I were amongst them together with many others who came from London and hosts of local girls and a few men. Men were very much in short supply at the time. I was only 16 and with them until a fortnight after my 18th birthday, on 13 August 1944, when I was called up into the army.
The reason I am writing this now is that a book was published called Boiler Suits, Bofors and Bullets. It was about Collaro’s and it got my curiosity going so I started making enquiries and eventually managed to track down 22 ex-employees. I arranged a reunion which we had at the Bell Inn at Smalley (not far from Langley Mill) on 26 October 2005. We all had a brilliant time with plenty to “natter” about as we hadn’t seen each other for some sixty years. I think I was the youngest there at 79 and the oldest was 85. I have to give thanks to the South London Press and the Southwark News which both published letters, to John Beasley for his help and all the local press in Derbyshire.
The Collaro Works were based in Culmore Road, Peckham. The company was founded in 1920 and manufactured gramophone motors and accessories. They went out of business in the 1960s.