RHP Ball Plant: The Last Look
Level: Category
Video Archive
Level: Fonds
Scope and Content:
Amateur video of the RHP ball bearings plant in Chelmsford shortly before it closed in 1989. The sounds of the factory are audible throughout.

[00:00:] Title caption; outside of factory; close-up of ball bearings; widescale views of inside of factory.
[02:10:] Views of different machinery at work in the factory; employees at work.
[09:45:] Sorting and transporting the completed bearings; female employees.
[12:15:] Employees in laboratory.
[14:15:] Employees in offices doing clerical work.
[16:00:] Address by manager to employees, reviewing their accomplishments through difficult periods and commending them on their work.
[17:50:] Silent shots of machinery at rest within darkened factory; close-ups of ball bearings.
[20:50:] Filming of mock obituary notice for factory, outlining a brief history of the factory and its staged closure [out of focus and difficult to read].
Dates of Creation:
22 minutes 10 seconds
Admin History:
The RHP plant in Chelmsford originally opened on New Street as Hoffmans Bearings in 1898. The company gained a reputation for manufacturing world-class ball bearings, supplying parts to the automotive and aircraft industries, as well as for military equipment during the First and Second World Wars. The company quickly expanded and became a major employer in the town.

In 1969, the Hoffmann Manufacturing Company Ltd was merged into Ransome Hoffmann Pollard (RHP). From 1987, this group was called United Precision Industries (UPI).

The Chelmsford factory closed in 1989, when manufacturing moved to Newark, Nottinghamshire. The company is still operating there as NSK RHP, after a takeover by the Japanese firm, NSK Ltd.
Archivist Note:
SJM, 6 June 2016
Custodial History:
This was filmed by a foreman at the ball plant shortly before it closed. It is unclear whether it was filmed on behalf of the company or as a personal project.
Contact prior to providing copies for research by profit-making companies; for public performance by institutions or members of the public; for publishing; or for broadcasting.
Physical Characteristics:
DVD created from VHS copy of the film.
Related Unit of Description:
See VA 1/7/1 for the film 'Bearings Round the World', produced by the RHP Group, about the history and uses of the modern ball bearing.

Key terms

TypeKey termsDescription
Subjects Industry RHP Ball Plant: The Last Look
Place Names Chelmsford RHP Ball Plant: The Last Look
Document Types Video RHP Ball Plant: The Last Look
Institutions Hoffmann Manufacturing Company Ltd RHP Ball Plant: The Last Look
Institutions Ransome Hoffmann Pollard (RHP) RHP Ball Plant: The Last Look