What's Floating Around

What’s Floating Around Cloud 9? Week Commencing 24 July 2017

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Welcome to another week,  and yes,  we are still dynamically busy here at Cloud 9 Towers, with no sign of a summer holiday for most us at present (violins out please!).  However, with it being the last week of July, we mentioned that it’s the start of factory fortnight and some of the younger members of the team here were not familiar with the expression.

So this week we thought we would take a little look at the history of factory fortnight and what it once stood for,  and it’s actually been quite surprising, especially locally.

Newark, which is just 15 minutes down the road from our office,  saw a mass exodus in July 1954 when 5,000 residents left the town in just four hours – and this was around a tenth of the population – and headed off for their annual summer break.

Leaving just a few staff behind to ensure the maintenance of the some of the main factories machinery, production was bought to a complete standstill as the workers and their families headed off to the Lincolnshire Coast.

This meant that the busy streets of Newark, which is a market town, appeared almost deserted for two weeks and although this tradition heralds back to Europe’s golden age of manufacturing, with modern technology in place it’s one of the traditions that is all but dying out.

In many industries it’s necessary to run a 24/7 operation these days, and most employees prefer some flexibility when it comes to when they take their main holidays – so businesses need to keep going to satisfy customer demand and of course the world and travel is far more accessible for most us now.

Additionally, not everybody wants to go away at the same time every year. Whereas Cleethorpes and Skegness have more likely been replaced by the Canary Islands and Spain, the last thing you want on your annual Summer Holiday is to find your boss on the sun lounger next to, sat round the pool!

Most major manufacturing plants do still need to close down occasionally for maintenance and this is far easier – and much safer – when they have an allotted time frame, but the traditional national annual coordinated shut down seems to be disappearing.

Smaller business that are perhaps reliant on the products that the major manufacturers produce have been one of the key drivers in making this change. It must have been terribly frustrating for some customers whose stock was locked up for two weeks whilst the employees were off on their hols.

Today, the annual Summer shut down still occurs in Newark, although the numbers involved are significantly lower and the impact on local trade barely noticeable.

So whether you are benefiting from Factory Fortnight or not, from all of us here at Cloud 9 Towers, have a great week (or fortnight)!