Honoured Guests at ACME Whistles
ACME Whistles have been suppliers to the Royal Households since our early beginnings. A letter from Queen Victoria’s Windsor Castle dated May 1st 1886, still sits in our archives. It compliments the company on the effectiveness of the Metropolitan Whistle and requests 161 more.
In 1936 our Infantry whistles were substituted for the bugles used to sound Reveille at Wellington Barracks as a quieter note of respect on the death of King George V.
Like many companies we have produced commemorative items. Red, white and blue whistles were made bearing the head of Edward VIII and both heads of George V and Queen Elizabeth.
In 1953 we organised a street party to celebrate the Coronation of Elizabeth II whilst bunting and flags proclaimed the factory’s part in the National celebrations.
On November 22nd last year, we welcomed Their Royal Highnesses and The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and Kate to our premises.
They insisted on seeing every aspect of the manufacturing process, Prince William took great delight in sounding one of our Siren Whistles.
Speaking to everyone, staff were impressed not only that Prince William used an ACME Dog Whistle to call Lupa his English Cocker Spaniel, but that he knew the model number, 212.
Every manufacturing process is undertaken in house so they were able to see the whole operation from start to finish, press work, moulding, soldering, plating and polishing.
Our last remaining evidence of the bomb damage, when a high explosive went down one of the lift shafts in 1940, exploding in the cellar with the shrapnel tearing holes in one of the biggest steel girders in the placedas though it were tissue paper.
This was followed by a demonstration of an Artillery whistle blown out of the building at the time and returned to us in 1988 by Norman Spinks. Norman had picked it up from the debris whilst playing around in the street as a 6 year old boy, and brought it back to us, 48 years later. As you would expect, its only 78 years old, and the shell shock had no effect – it still sounded perfectly.
Then a quick trip up to our gallery to meet a classic ACME combination, the old and the new. Some of our longest serving employees and our new Apprentices.
The Royal Highnesses unveiled a plaque to commemorate their visit. The plaque was cut here, engraved, polished and gold plated in our own tanks.
Kamla Maman, one of our longest serving members of staff at 40 years, presented Her Royal Highness with a Rose Gold perfect, miniature replica AMCE Thunderer on a Rose Gold necklet. She also gave her a selection of musical whistles for their children Prince George and Princess Charlotte. These included the “Clangers” whistle – our Slide Whistle, that gave the cartoon characters the clangers their voice, a Samba Whistle, a Siren and the legendary ACME Duck Call.
For Prince William, Debbie Topman presented an Air Ministry whistle, engraved with his name, prompting him to comment “Don’t show that to George, we will never get any peace."
Everyone enjoyed their day, the Royal Household wrote to say what a great day Their Royal Highnesses had.
Here at ACME another treasured moment for us to keep, another addition to our archives.
Very few companies receive a Royal visit, it is a privilege and a wonderful recognition of the work we do, the success we have had and our current strength.
A smiling workforce came in the next day still talking about it, feeling appreciated by their country and inspired as we all look forward to Prince William becoming King at some distant point in the future, and ACME Whistles still blowing strong.