At the 7th Annual General Meeting on 8th January 1940 it was reported that the agreement with Messrs. Wailes Dove Bitumastic Ltd. had been reached.
Dove Chemical Products Ltd., Agreed to change its name to Evode Chemical Works Ltd., and to refrain from using the word Dove other than for polishes, shoe whitener and cleaners. Wailes Dove Bitumastic paid the company £100 to assist with the expense that the change would incur.
The name 'Evode' was derived by reversing the name ' Dove' and adding an 'E' on the end. The new Company name was registered with the Board of Trade and the certificate of change of name was approved on the 13th February 1940.
Within a few months of the outbreak of World War Two the Company was having to contend with an increasing number of difficulties. The availability of certain raw materials was now under the control of the Ministry of Supply, and only available to companies on essential war work. Tinplate, drums, solvents, waxes to name only a few, were on strict allocation and many could only be obtained with Ministry of Defence Authorisation. Although the Company only employed a few workmen, some of these were quickly 'called up' into the Armed Forces and so both, Dr. Simon and Mr. Forman now had to spend more and more time in the factory helping with the manufacture of products.
Not only was Industry facing shortages of raw materials it had also become necessary for the Government to introduce food rationing in January 1940. Shown below is a copy of a notice which warned the public that they had to register with a butcher for meat. Many other foods such as butter, sugar, tea etc. were now only available with ration cards.
The civilian population was also becoming accustomed to practice air raid warnings and householders were being encouraged to erect air raid shelters in their gardens.
Given below is a copy of a Borough of Stafford notice concerning ARP shelters:
With the country at war ‘foreigners’ underwent close scrutiny to establish how dangerous they were likely to be to the internal security of the country. Mr Forman was asked by the Stafford Police if he would act as a translator to the Investigating Committee. One of these foreigners was Dr Simon, of whom Mr. Forman could tell the presiding investigator that he both knew the gentleman concerned, and could vouch for him. As a result, Dr. Simon was issued with a category ‘C’ identification card which meant that he was regarded as ‘Least Dangerous’ and was allowed to travel reasonably freely in the UK.
The company was however to suffer a major blow to its survival when under Defence Regulation 18B Dr H Simon was interned on the 26th June 1940. Initially this was at Huyton, and then to Peel, on the Isle of Man. Defence Regulation 18B concerned the persons status as a foreigner and his hostile origin and association. In those early wartime days there was concern to be able to distinguish between those who were refugees from the Nazis, and those who were sympathisers.
The Company was scheduled to be closed, because the Company was run by a 'foreigner'.
One side of the Evode factory was bordered by local utilities (Midlands Electricity Board, and the Gasworks), and on the other side was the hospital. Since Evode was using inflammable solvents the authorities became worried.Letter from Mrs DI Wood dated 5th August 1940
This extract from the book ‘Stafford goes to war’ records the following:
In October 1940 the English Electric Company was bombed. A witness recalls that a lone German Bomber dropped four bombs, two of which fell in a field, one went through the tank production workshop without exploding and the fourth also hit the factory but was a delayed action bomb which was safely detonated later in the day. The only casualty was a girl who fainted.
The bomber climbed away and disappeared into clouds and moments later two British fighters appeared over Stafford in pursuit.
It is understood that the bomber was shot down in the Oxford area.
The Company was placed under the control of the Board of Trade which appointed three 'Managers' to control the Company’s affairs. Their first action was to have all flammable solvents and certain chemicals removed from the factory and sent to I.C.I Paints in Slough, with the exception of a small quantity of solvents, turpentine, white spirit etc., which were stored at Lotus Ltd. The Company received a cheque for £2,000 for the materials that were sent to Slough.
One of the appointed managers, Mr. Cartwright, informed Mr. Forman that no polish was to be manufactured unless he, Mr. Cartwright, was in the factory. Since he was only in Stafford for a few days, production of polish and paints virtually ceased, and, because the Company had no Ministry of Defence contracts, the manufacture of “Mellitol” (Concrete Densifier) and 'Portite' (Concrete Waterproofer) stopped because no cement could be obtained. As a result the 'Managers' indicated that the business at Glover Street was to be wound up since very little production was taking place.
Although all of Dr. Simon's formulation books and notes were confiscated by the police fortunately, Mr. Lawton's, (Dr Simon’s Laboratory Assistant), and Mr. Forman's note books were not taken and some products could still be manufactured where raw materials existed or could be obtained.
On 26th July 1940, a further blow to the Company occurred when Mr. Forman was also interned under Defence Regulation 18B. He was taken to Stafford Police station, then spent two uncomfortable days in Walton Gaol before he was transferred with about 1,000 others with German connections comprising Jews, fascists, aliens, and Englishmen to Ascot where he lived in buildings usually occupied by Bertram Mills circus animals. He was then transferred to Huyton (where Dr. Simon had recently left). Then finally to Peel on the Isle of Man.
Mr. Axelrath, (who was still the largest shareholder, and now residing in New York), instructed Allen & Overy, London Solicitors to act on his behalf, and nominated Mr. Harry Bainbridge of London to be a Director. Mrs. D.I. Wood was also appointed Director.
This action was initiated in order to further the release of Dr. Simon and Mr. Forman from internment, and withdrawal of the Board of Trade control over the Company.
Mrs. DI Wood visited Mr. Forman at the internment centre near Ascot. They discussed the manufacture of polishes, and the running of the business. Mr. Forman was able to give Mrs. Wood all the necessary information for making polish, and she was able to arrange production as and when raw materials became available.
On the 15th August 1940 Lord Farrington raised Dr Simon’s case in the House of Lords. He stated that Dr Simon should be released from internment so that his technical knowledge could be used to aid the national war effort.
On the 16th August a very significant meeting took place at Glover Street between the appointed Board of Trade managers and Mr. H.I. Clipstone, a director of Evode Chemical Products, and Mr. H.J. Bostock, a director of Lotus Ltd. It was learned, that the Board of Trade would relinquish control of the Company if the police approved the proposals from the meeting.
The Stafford War-time Authorities were very concerned about the storage of chemicals in the factory which constituted a grave risk in the likelihood of air raids. Since there were public utilities (Gas and electric Works) on one side of the company and the hospital on the other, the logical answer would be to move the factory from Glover Street.
The ‘managers' appointed by the Board of Trade agreed, that if other premises were obtained such proposed action could result in a favourable decision by the Board of Trade and the Police Authorities.
Urgent action was therefore initiated to find other premises in or near Stafford. This was no easy task as a large number of firms, concerned with the manufacture of products for the war effort, had moved into the area. The final choice was an 80-year-old three storey shoe factory at 22, Stone Road Stafford, owned by Thomas Lloyd, the rent was to be £170 p.a.
The Board of Trade 'Managers' approved the move which took place on the 8th October 1940, enabled the Board of Trade to give full approval to restarting manufacture of all Evode products on 30th October 1940. (Dr Simon's 40th birthday!)
22 Stone Road, Stafford in the 1970's
Dr Simon's office was behind the bay window, 1st floor, 1st on left.
The Laboratory occupied the rest of the floor to the right.
The factory was far from ideal. Being situated adjacent to the main road created a considerable traffic problem when goods arrived or were despatched.
A daily occurrence was to find traffic at a standstill whilst a London Midland & Scottish Railway horse and dray backed through the arched entrance of the building in order to unload or load goods.
In later years this situation was to get much worse, when building contractor's lorries would park in front of the factory awaiting their turn to drive in and collect drums of Evode Frost Protective (for constructing airfield runways).
Above is a photograph of the factory (taken in more recent times) and clearly shows the narrow goods entrance on the far right of the building which was a nightmare to reverse into.
The factory consisted of a ground floor which first required concreting (at a cost of £21/18s/10d), before installation of the two 30ft lengths of polish tables and electric vats for heating the waxes. As there was no means of heating the building a coke fired boiler was installed with radiators at a cost of £112/10/-. The first floor was converted into offices. with a water and gas supply. A large wooden bench was obtained. On this was placed the few pieces of laboratory equipment which now included a small electric stirrer (ex Lotus Laboratory).
The few factory machines from Glover Street were installed on the second floor, and at one end of the floor a wooden ramp was built on which stood four, open topped 45 gallon drums connected to the hot and cold water supply.
The third floor was used for the storage of raw materials but excluding solvents which were kept in a newly constructed petroleum store at the back of the factory.
The only way to lift raw materials from the ground floor to the top floor was by a slow and laborious hand winch. Many were the near escapes from serious injury when raw materials broke away from the slings and fell through the open trap doors down to the entrance two floors below.
Production of some chemical products including the shoe and floor polishes (when waxes were obtainable) now recommenced.
Whilst all this was happening it must be remembered that both Dr Simon and Mr Forman were still in interment. Contact with Dr. Simon and Mr. Forman was maintained through correspondence and visits which enabled at least the most urgent matters relating to the running of the Company to be attended to.
The balance sheet for 1940 shows the Directors as Harold Isaac Clipstone Chairman, Harry Bainbridge, John James Ernest Forman, Hermann Simon and Doris Irene Wood. The subscribed and paid up capital was then £7,064 and that the profit for the year to 30th September 1940, which was subject to excess profits tax was £1,055. The two Directors who signed the document were Hr H I Clipstone and Mrs. D I Wood, in the absence of the two other Directors who at that time were behind barbed wire and could not therefore append their respective signatures to this document.
The balance sheet for the year ending 30th September 1940 showed that the profit has more than doubled. Considering the many problems which the Company faced during 1940, it was a remarkable achievement.
A copy of the balance sheet appears in the archives ******** this shows that although the company made a profit of £1,054/19/1 this had to be deducted from the debit balance of £5,217/17/6.
From the date of the Order, cheques were only to be signed by Mr. Gordon or Mr. Cartwright.
Mr. Cartwright instructed Mr. Forman to collect together all inflammable materials, and these were dispatched to I.C.I. Paints Ltd. Slough with the exception of a small quantity of solvents, turpentine, white spirit etc., which Messrs. Lotus Limited kindly agreed to store for us.
We received a cheque for £200 in payment of the materials sent to Slough.
Mr. Forman was informed by Mr. Cartwright that no polish was to be manufactured unless he, ( Mr. Cartwright) was in the factory. Since the latter was only in Stafford for a few days, this meant that no polish could be made after the end of June.
Every indication was given by the managers that the business was to be wound up: for instance, Mr. Gordon suggested that the work people be informed that they should look for other employment, but that the managers did not wish to be hard on them, and would allow them, say, two weeks in which to look around. He said that the staff would have sufficient work to do for at least several weeks, and he proposed that nothing should be mentioned regarding other employment for them for the time being.
The only available premises were situated at 22 Stone Road Stafford, a 3 storey factory owned Mr. Thomas Lloyd, and it was agreed to rent this factory at £175 per annum, payable quarterly in advance.
The removal was commenced on 31st October, and Messrs. Lotus Limited consented to release from our lease in respect of the premises of 1 Glover Street, as from that date. Mr. Clipstone had in the meantime written to Col. Hunter asking for his approval to the removal of our business to 22 Stone Road. Col. Hunter replied to Mr. Clipstone on October 8th giving his formal approval to this and also to our resuming the manufacture of any and all Evode Products.
The move from Glover Street to 22 Stone Road had now been accomplished and manufacture of polishes had recommenced.
The production of building chemical products was not so satisfactory. Many of the raw materials required for the manufacture of paints were in short supply but two products, ‘Mellitol’ and ‘Portite’ which were concrete waterproofers had shown a dramatic increase in sales. Increasing interest was being shown in the use of bituminous emulsion systems which Dr. Simon had introduced in 1938 for waterproofing existing concrete structures and from 1941 large quantities were sold for static water tank waterproofing.
The year 1940 proved to be one of the most dramatic in the history of the company. It must be acknowledged that it was only the loyalty and devotion to the company of Mrs. D.I. Wood that enabled it to survive through 1940.