Then and Now: Albert Lowe
“You Only Retire Twice!!”
March 9, 2022
Life is full of adventures to be had, knowledge to be gained, dances to be danced, and embracing the unknown. I was born in Jamaica 1942 and lived there till my early twenties. My mum worked as a cook for Hollywood actor, Errol Flynn and thanks to references from the British high-society that spent time in 50s Jamaica, my dad took a job in London for a welding company. He often worked on projects for Lloyd and Hillman Ltd at Kings Cross, who had merged in 1962 with Pall Corporation. Dad got to know the workers at Lloyd and Hillman and asked if they had a job for me. So, the next thing I know, I am on a plane jetting off to London to start a new adventure. My first day was 24th April 1962. I started off making tea and taking food around to workers. I also helped with collecting tools and delivering letters around London via the underground. But I was curious and wanted to learn more. I saw a gentleman working on a machine, I didn’t know what it was, but I wanted to know more. So, I asked to be taught about what exactly Lloyd and Hillman do.
This opened many doors for me. I learnt about metal cutting, metal polishing, how to make thermocouples and thermowells, and the curiosity in me just kept growing. I was able to absorb so many processes and when the technology changed over the years, I adapted to the changes with the thirst to learn all I could.
In the early days of my job, I had an accident. I lost my thumb! At the time tragic, but it did open up new opportunities. I started work in the office as a Progress Chaser, sometimes working in the shop making sure people received the materials for projects. I then focussed on a Coordinator role in the Quality team. I was a man of many hats. I have a very good memory, which suited multiple roles.
I remember so clearly the first ever exhibition I was involved with. It was in Earls Court in 1964. Lloyd and Hillman Ltd were exhibiting a selection of their instrument accessories from thermocouples to flanges, orifice plates and carrier rings. I loved viewing all the stalls and latest technologies. I also loved the beer tent!
We have always had a great social life with work. The last Saturday of the month, we would get a coach to a different destination where we would have a dinner and dance, and I sure love to dance. Sometimes it would be down to Margate (jolly boys outing comes to mind!), sometimes off to Southend, but wherever it was, we had so much fun.
When a part of Lloyd and Hillman Ltd moved down to Portsmouth and became Pall Corporation, I decided to move as well and join the manufacturing facility. I travelled down with a group of people from Clapham on Monday and stayed in a guest house in Southsea for the week. The social life continued here. We often ventured to Hayling Island or the Guildhall in Portsmouth center. We loved to get dressed up and party. I eventually moved to Leigh Park near Portsmouth, where I settled down, got married and had a beautiful daughter.
I have experienced so many events of celebration with Pall. At the end of each year, there would be a big celebration to give out long service awards. At 50 years of service, I was given a tie pin embedded with 10 diamonds that had been specially made for me. In March 1993, Pall won the Queen’s award for Export and Technology. I had the great honour of representing Pall at Buckingham Palace, where I got to meet the Queen!
I planned to retire at 65, and for 1 whole day I did. But the next day, I was back at Pall working part time! I love what I do, so this was the right move for me.
As you can imagine there have been changes in my 60 years with Pall. The technologies have changed as much as the procedures. In those early days you would have to set machinery manually but now almost everything is programmable. If a tool was blunt, it was your duty to sharpen it. Now this isn’t so. But change has given me more opportunities to learn, which is where I thrive!
Working for Pall has been a happy time. It allowed me to stretch my wings and learn so many fields. I worked in so many different roles in the manufacturing facility, most in fact except welding. I currently work as a Material Handler, and I am still learning as much now as I did when I first started 60 years ago. I haven’t had a bad day. We have so many laughs, social events, chances to dance and the friendships I have made in my career have been lifelong.
My 80th birthday is on the 4th April 2022 and this time I will retire for good!
To find out more about Albert Lowe or any of our Biotech People please read our biographies page.
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