My name is Marion Wyers and I’m 85 years old. I was married for 50 years to George who passed away 14 years ago and I still miss him. I want to talk about George and his work as an engineer and inventor.
I left Commercial College at 14 having studied shorthand and typing and went straight to work. I was very lucky because my grandma lived on what they call the ‘Anchor Yard’ and she knew a man called Harry Hughes who was a boss at the Cannon. He got me a job in the office. But it didn’t last long, there were three of us girls and one of us got to leave, and I was the one.
But, Harry Hughes was very good to me and he said I want you to go over to the new side of the Cannon and speak to the Personnel Officer there (because he’s already had a word with her). I went and the boss from the Drawing Office came down and said ‘I don’t want her’. But the Personnel Officer said you have to and I stayed. The boss looked after me there and later didn’t want me to leave.
I did the typing for the Drawing Office and I’d go and fetch the tea. I’ve always worked with men and I get on very well with them. And who would be sitting on the first drawing board? The man I married, George Wyers. He was very slow asking me out, took a week. And I said ‘oh no, thank you’. And then I thought, oh dear, I’ve made a mistake there. And he came to me again and I said ‘ Oh yes please. I’ll go out with you’.
George was a very quiet type of person and very nice to be with. I was 15 and he was 21. The difference bothered him really. But I fell in love with him and it happened very quickly. My mum and dad liked him. We were courting for six years because George wanted to save a certain amount of money before we got married. We married in a church in Coseley in 1955.
The pageboy, Brian, was 3 at the time. I said to his mum ‘oh, we must dress him up’ and she said ‘I don’t think he’ll behave’. And lo and behold, when we were at the altar, suddenly I heard a little voice behind me say ‘that’s my daddy there’. Brian is 65 now.
The above photo is of me and George setting off on honeymoon. A friend took us to the station and we were going to Torquay. Of course, because I was with George I thought it was wonderful. It’s a nice photograph, isn’t it? We’ve been told we looked like film stars.
George was an engineer and a draughtsman. He loved drawing and designing things. And he got better at it as he went along and worked hard at it. We both carried on studying with day-release to college and evening classes. We were similar, we jelled together, George and I really wanted to learn.
One of our hobbies was entering competitions together. You went to a supermarket and picked up a leaflet and then you’d do a slogan to go with what they wanted. We were good at them and won lots of prizes. We’d do a list of slogans and I’d say ‘I think that’s the one. And it usually was!’
One was a supermarket dash, going through a supermarket and putting whatever you could in the trolley. George was running round and I was there laughing. There were holidays as well, some in this country, some abroad like Switzerland and Tunisia.
George was a designer at work and at home – and an inventor. He was a very talented man and never stopped working at things. He used to run the Black Country Inventors club as well. I’ve made a room upstairs for George and put all the things that he had done that I could find. He won an award down in London for the red litter bin. And he designed the market stalls for the Bull Ring Market, but they are different now. George was ahead of his time and invented things like a steering wheel locking bar. He also designed a mobile chair for a disabled friend of Lord Snowdon. George had some great ideas and was good at designing and inventing. But he was a very modest man. I encouraged him and was always the back of him.
George and I liked going into the country, walking on the commons. Our first date was out in the country. We went on his motorbike. I’d never been on one before, but I was doing things that were marvellous to me. We didn’t do fancy stuff, George and I, but what we did, we enjoyed very much.
These photos and drawings are important to me because it’s memories of a man, of how clever he was. Whenever he had to do anything at work, if it was in an exhibition, he always seemed to win. I don’t want his work to be lost, some of the things I’ve taken up to the Black Country Museum and they’re going to digitalise them. It will be a good way of keeping his memory and his work. I feel very proud of him.