Kitchen and Wade were, latterly, members of the Asquith Machine Tool Corporation and based in Arundel Street (off Gibbet Street) & Turney Street (off Ovenden Road) in Halifax West Yorkshire - once an important area of British Machine Tool production.******************************************
Two versions were built, a smaller type for general workshop use and a much more massive machine intended for railway workshops - the latter bought by the London, Midland & Scottish Railway (L.M.S.) for their repair depot reorganisation that went under the title of "The Motive Power Area Locomotive Supply, Repair, Concentration and Repair Garage Scheme". Just one example of the larger type scurvies in its original location at Carnforth and another (in active use circa 2014) at the wonderful Tyseley Locomotive Works. Although the smaller model was built as a single model, the larger, like many of its kind, was built only to order and the customer was invited to amend the specification to suit his particular purpose - for example, for use on a ship or to support a railway-repair depot in a remote region. The unit included a lathe, horizontal milling machine, shaper with hacksaw attachment and a drill. The smaller version was ingeniously designed: a Tee-slotted table at the end of the machine was used by both the miller and shaper - whilst the three-speed table-feed gearbox was also employed by the shaper to vary the stroke rate of the ram. The 7.25" x 48" gap-bed lathe was screwcutting (with changewheels) and had both power sliding and surfacing driven by a separate feed shaft. The six-speed, 3-Morse taper headstock spindle ran on ball bearings and was bored through to accept a 1.25" diameter bar; the saddle was T slotted on all four arms so that it could be employed as a simple boring table used to mount cutters for very large jobs.
Geared-head, the 3-speed drill was able to reach to the centre of a 25" diameter circle and fitted with a useful 3-Morse taper while its table, fastened to T slots on the front of the machine, could be moved sideways as well as elevated and lowered. The head was fitted with both a conventional quick-action lever as well as fine feed by worm-and-wheel gearing for boring and facing work. Later machines had their drilling table arranged somewhat differently from that illustrated below - a lower setting position was offered and a 14" by 14" Tee-slotted baseplate was fitted to hold larger work. Like most engineering companies Kitchen and Wade ran an effective apprentice training scheme, though by the 1980s, as machine-tool manufacture declined, these were beginning to dry up. One of the last decades in which training remained in full flow was the 1960s and the following account gives an interesting flavour of those times.
I left school aged 15, at Easter 1961, having secured a job as an apprentice Machine Tool Fitter at Kitchen & Wade Ltd., Turney Street, Halifax, one of two manufacturing bases K & W had in Halifax at the time. The youngest apprentice fitters spent their first year in the "Tool Room", working with about five men including the foreman, then a Mr. Tom Smithies. However, apart from engineering, a key role for that first year was to be the "errand lad" for the whole factory of about 100 men! After three days being shown the ropes by my predecessor I was on my own, a task that took up about two hours of each working day. After initially thinking I had been given a "mug's job" I soon realized how very wise the "old engineers" were, and what very valuable knowledge and skills I was learning during that year. From being in a peer group at senior school I was suddenly communicating, for a brief period each day, with people at all levels and from all departments in the company, their ages ranging from teenagers through to highly-experienced men in their 60s. The very fact that I spoke to these men every day, at their work-station (machine or bench), meant that by the end of the year I had gained an excellent overview of the processes involved in making a machine tool - from a raw casting coming in from the yard to a finished product leaving on a wagon. Time Management and organisational skills were also developed with all the "orders" having to be delivered on time to each man: these included lunch (sandwiches, pies and, of course, fish & chips) - neglect to deliver a man's mid-day meal and you certainly knew about it. Negotiation skills with the local shopkeepers was key: one penny (1d) in the shilling (1/-) was achieved as commission at the fish-and-chip shop, plus various other incentives from other local traders for taking my "regular trade" to them. The biggest additional income was via the "Co-op Divi" which, at 1/ 6d in the (old) pound, soon added up in my account. After successfully completing the first year I moved up to the "Fitting Shop" where my wages increased, but my income dropped! Today I understand that an experience like that is called "Key Skills", or "Life Skills", and is taught by "professionals" in schools and colleges! Of course, the main part of the first year was spent in the toolroom with Tom and his team where I acquired the ability to operate a full range of machine tools including lathes, milling and grinding machines, shapers and slotters, etc. Another key skill for an apprentice fitter was competence in the use of hand tools used for filing, drilling, reaming, honing and of course "scraping" for bedding in machined surfaces that were to come together as sliding parts. Tom taught me so much in that first year - though at first I thought that he was going to be almost impossible to please. However, as time went on, I realized how lucky I was to have him as my first "boss". He made sure that I had not only engineering skills, but learnt something about life in general as well.
Developing and improving the skills of Machine Tool Fitting occupied the next five years, together with attendance at college on the route then standard for the 1960s: one day on "Release" and two evenings during semester time. I learnt things at work that I was never taught at college, and taught things at college I never needed at work (at that time). I worked, at some time or another, with each of the dozen or so skilled fitters at K & W during my apprenticeship; they were all fantastic men and shared their knowledge & skills with me throughout those years. My apprenticeship was a great experience: I developed both as a (young) adult and a budding engineer and later came to realise (as I developed my career), that not all apprenticeships were as happy as mine had been at Kitchen & Wade. Eventually I became involved in apprentice training (and training trainers) in other engineering companies acting as an EITB Module Controller as national standards emerged during the late 1960s and early 1970s - but that's another story.
Other machine-tool companies I worked at in Halifax included Boxford (2 years), Asquith Machine (3 years), Butler (10 years) whilst other firms I had links with were John Stirk, Wilson Lathes, Churchill Redman, Denford, Binns & Berry, Denhams, Dean, Smith & Grace and Ormerod, the latter well known for their specialisation in shapers and who first merged with Kitchen and Wade, then with Asquiths - and closed in 1967.