Association History

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 1. TITLE OF THE ASSOCIATION

The Association shall be called “The Austin Ex-Apprentices Association”

2. PURPOSES
The purpose of the Association is to bring together Ex-Apprentices in social and other activities in such a way that the Association shall be of mutual benefit to its members, and to promote the memory of The Austin Motor Company Ltd and its successor companies at Longbridge.

The Austin Ex-apprentices Association was set up in 1919.

Its members are those who completed their Apprenticeship at Longbridge.

Membership is Free and at the present time we are in contact with just under 1,000 members.

So please get in touch via the Contact form.

It is possible that through the Association we may be able to put you in touch with Ex-Apprentices that were around the time of your Apprenticeship.

I am sure you have many memories of Longbridge, So please send them direct to me, John Baker Webmaster at info@austinmemories.com

Austin Engineering College

Nazareth House Lickey Road

The Austin Apprentice Scheme was recognized as  the finest in the automobile industry. Its unique character created after the First World War when Herbert Austin, encouraged by Chris Buckley, Sales Manager, set up the Austin Engineering College (AEC).

Nazareth House on the Lickey Road was vacated by the nuns during World War I. By the end of 1918 Lord Austin had taken the building over and turned it into the AEC as a residential college for student apprentices.

 Lord Austin advertised in the Press for boys from public and Grammar schools throughout the country wishing to train as professional engineers, a typical example of his foresight. He appointed a Principal by name of Loveridge and the first boys began to arrive in January 1919 Two years later, when the nuns returned to Nazareth House, the apprentices were moved to a large house at Bromsgrove off the Finstaal Road. The company supplied a fleet of Austin 3-ton, twin-drive buses to transport the apprentices to and from the factory at Longbridge. 

 When later a railway service was introduced between Bromsgrove and Longbridge works station, the companies  bus’s were withdrawn. This put an extra financial strain on the apprentices as they then had to pay to use the train, so less pocket-money. With considerable ingenuity Dickie Farnell set up a ticket-forging plant in the drawing office with different colour tickets for each day of the week in line with the railway system, but inevitably he was caught and the local newspaper appeared with the headlines: ‘Boy had many coloured tickets in his wallet.’

In Nazareth House and Bromsgrove, there were prefects, which were tasked on looking after various areas of the building and a number of apprentices, this practice continued  at Longbridge. So the atmosphere was therefore not too different from the school life the boys had just left behind. Prefect A C J. Hartley-Sharpe was responsible for conduct in the dormitory where lights-out was at 10.30 pm.

After 1923 the apprentices went into digs, these were usually put with families of Austin workers, approved by the company. This arrangement  continued up to the mid 1950s, just as it had been between 1905 and 1918. The body of apprentices, were known as the ‘Old Nazarenes’, have remained strongly united ever since those early days, and it is largely due to them that The Austin Ex-Apprentices Association was formed.

The Association is still in contact with nearly 1,000 members who are scattered around the world.