The People of Ditchburn of Lytham St Anne’s
Ken Adams
Kens account of his time with Ditchburn
I joined Ditchburn Equipment Ltd in 1959 and was there until the Juke Box business was sold by BET to the Gainesmead Group in the 70's. I joined to take over the job of Mr Ditchburn,s daughter, Joy, who was leaving to get married. (To Paul Mills) who later joined the company as Sales Manager of the Vending Division. My job was to run the Statistics office, with 3 very able ladies as staff. At that time there were about 1200 machines sited throughout the country and 20 or so collector/engineers looking after them. We received their reports and recorded sites, takings and service etc. Phonographs (Mr Ditchburn never called them Juke Boxes!) the models were… (internally numbered within the company using the following system. The Mark 2 (16 45rpm records) The Mark 4 (a hideaway version with remote selection - and very unreliable) The Mark 5 (100 selection Tonomat and another problem machine) The Mark 6, (a 30 record conversion from the mark 2), The Mark 7 (200 selection Tonomat unit that became the basis of the operation. Later came the Mark 9 (Panoramic from Tonomat) These were before the Seeburgs and then The Wurlitzer’s were imported. Happy days indeed.! The machines mark numbers were always, in fact, in Roman numerals. There was no Mark I or III when I arrived in 1959 and I assume that they had been discarded at that time. The Mark IV was definitely the 16 selection hideaway model and the Mark V the 100 selection Tonomat. I only remember the Mark VI being known as that, the 30 selection conversion of the Mark II. By 1959 the were only 45 rpm records used. Although Phonograph was used generically, all the Ditchburn machines, before the Seeburgs and Wurlitzer’s, were known as Music Makers with the appropriate Mk number. The Tonomat 200 became the Music Maker Mk VII etc. Seeburgs and Wurlitzer’s were always known by the names given by the manufacturers. By that time, the factory was only being used for repair and reconditioning. Mr Ditchburn's first task when he arrived on a Monday morning, was to walk round the factory. He knew most people by name and was very highly respected by the staff. I was involved in the change from operating to sale and rental of machines and then the introduction and development of Back Ground Music Systems. At the time of Gainesmead, I was Sales Manager of the Background Music division. I am happy to answer any questions I can about my time with the company. I do have a couple of photographs with Mr Ditchburn on and will dig these out for you. Ken Adams
Left to Right: Professor RJ Laurence (guest speaker) Mr G N Ditchburn, Mr A Jeffery, and Mr Ken Adams