Former factory site to house new care home

A Kenilworth mother of three and former factory worker has come full circle after visiting the site of her first job, where a new care home is being built by her current employer.

Ann Rodgers’ first job at the age of 15 was in a busy engineering factory in Common Lane, and now almost three decades later she works for WCS Care, the charity redeveloping the site into Castle Brook, a state-of-the-art dementia care home.

Hurst Engineering who occupied the site throughout the 1970s and 80s and made components for air conditioning and hydraulics systems.

Ann, who now does housekeeping and laundry in WCS’s Newlands home in Kenilworth, took their Chief Executive down to the site to show her what it was like in 1978.

Ann said: “When I worked at Common Lane it was a noisy, smelly factory.

“I used to work with two meter long lathes to drill and cut bits of metal that were made into engineering components.

“I remember the factory smelt of damp and it was freezing cold in the winter and boiling hot in the summer because it wasn’t insulated, which made the physical work really difficult.”

She added: “As well as the grating sounds of drilling and cutting metal and the physical nature of the work, the workforce also had to contend with the fluid that would squirt out of the machinery to cool down drill bits to stop them over-heating.

“Despite it being challenging work, I’ve got fond memories from my time working in Common Lane it wasn’t a bad place to work at all.

“I made some great friends, and I’m still in touch with some of them today.”

Ann started working in Newlands in May 2014, and speculates that maybe she will one day return to work in Common Lane, which is set to open in November 2016.

She added: “I love it here at Newlands and I wish I had arrived sooner.

“I love working with the people who live here and my colleagues.”