Long-serving staff at Harborough firm keep it in family

From left, Tim Windle, Neil Tulloch, Christine Lansdell, chairman James Briggs, Keith Lansdell, Steve Brown and Mike Stock
From left, Tim Windle, Neil Tulloch, Christine Lansdell, chairman James Briggs, Keith Lansdell, Steve Brown and Mike Stock

It was a family affair for long-serving staff at a Harborough manufacturing firm.

Gold watches were handed out earlier to both Christine Lansdell and her son Keith Lansdell on the same day.

Mother and son have both completed 25 years’ service at the town’s long-established Harboro Rubber Company, based on the Riverside Industrial Estate in Harborough.

“And my husband Robert Lansdell has already got his own gold watch from the firm,” added Christine.

In fact, the Lansdell family has a very long association with the Harborough firm.

Christine said: “My husband was the fourth generation of his family to work at Harboro Rubber, so my son’s the fifth generation.”

The 60-year-old, who lives in Market Harborough, said: “It’s a family firm, and basically our family has worked there for generations too.

“Harboro Rubber has always had a good family atmosphere.

“It’s a factory, but you still feel you’re an individual.

“It’s not like those big, faceless companies where they don’t know your name.”

Christine works on file inspection, checking components before they leave the factory to make sure that everything is up to the customer’s specifications.

Son Keith (42), who also lives in Market Harborough, has worked for the firm since he left school.

He works as a press man, manufacturing rubber components.

“That’s what my husband Robert used to do too,” added Christine.

So why have the Lansdell family worked for Harboro Rubber for so long?

Christine said: “I think this sort of thing was probably much more common when there were more factories about.

“But if your family works at a factory, and the conditions are good, then they try to get the next generation to work there too.”

Harboro Rubber, which makes moulded rubber components, is still one of the town’s biggest employers and has 108 staff on its books.

The business has been engineering in rubber for more than a century and supplies its products to large global companies as well as many smaller firms.

It has a first-class UK manufacturing plant with some of the lowest costs in Europe.

The firm’s company secretary Mike Stock told the Mail: “Latterly, we have concentrated on opportunities in the automotive sector.

“We also supply general engineering requirements.

“But historically the business manufactured rubber soles and heels for the shoe industry, and we still have that work too.

“The local shoe industry is enjoying very good times at the moment.”

The Briggs family founded the company in Market Harborough in 1894.

The current chairman is James Briggs.

Its turnover is now in excess of £7million and growing, said Mr Stock.

The company used to have a landmark site in St Mary’s Road, Market Harborough, for more than a century before moving to its current site in the town in 2006.

The old site at the A4304 entrance to Market Harborough was the subject of a flagship £50m housing development, which includes flats on both sides of the River Welland.