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old Whiteleys hardening shop 31 Garden Street Sheffield

Sally’s Blog: Rambo and Radio.

Rambo and Radio.

Back in the days of Old Whiteley’s on Garden Street, there was a shop-floor that shared a common wall with the hardening shop, which was located on a lower level. Hardening is the process of making steel hard enough to hold an edge. To achieve this, each blade was submerged in a furnace and then quickly cooled in oil, a technique known as quenching.

Scissor forgings during the hardening process
Scissor forgings during the hardening process 

In the old days at Old Whiteley’s on Garden Street, radios were placed on the shop floor, close to where people were working. This allowed them to enjoy music, football, cricket, or tennis commentaries throughout the day. The radios had to be loud to overcome the noise of the factory.

During that time, a young man named Craig joined the team as a trainee. He was eager to learn as many skills as possible and was known for his tall, fit, and well-built appearance. He quickly earned the nickname “Rambo” due to his enthusiasm for heavy hammering, working with big tools, and anything that involved moving or lifting objects. Interestingly, no matter how cold the weather was, Craig never seemed to be bothered by it!

Rambo and the radio
A picture of Rambo from an old newspaper article about Whiteley’s.
rambo at desk
Working beside the radio.

While Craig was learning and assisting with the hardening process, he was disappointed by the absence of a radio and music in the hardening shop. To fix this, he took matters into his own hands. Armed with a sledgehammer, he knocked a hole in the wall, removing a few bricks between the shop floor and the hardening area. Through this hole, he positioned a speaker, bringing music into the hardening shop, and it made him incredibly happy.

When hardening wasn’t taking place, Craig would turn the speaker back to face the main workshop. This clever solution brought huge merriment to the entire staff, even the directors. While they probably should have been serious about the situation, they couldn’t help but laugh at Craig’s audacity and at the sheer nerve of it!

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