Some of my readers will remember my earlier blog where I recounted Stanley Mullard's passion for horticulture. I have been both pleased and honoured to have been contacted by a couple of people who knew him and told their story, firstly there was Harry from Australia and now Ray from Manchester.
Here, Ray goes on to tell his story of meeting Stanley Mullard. from when during the early 50s Ray was a Sales Correspondence Clerk in the Plastics Division of Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI Ltd).
"Our office was based in Gloucester House on the corner of Old Park Lane and Piccadilly. Amongst other plastics we manufactured Polyethylene, PVC, Perspex, PTFE etc. etc.
One day, the receptionist on the ground floor rang through to say that there was a visitor wanting to speak about Polyethylene tubing. As I was the only chap available I went down to meet this visitor who introduced himself as Capt. Mullard. I was a bit taken aback because I recognised the name when I was involved in radar in the RAF.
He assured me that he was the man involved in radio valves, but that he had sold the business to Phillips and he was now getting involved in hydroponics, growing plants without soil. He was now starting (or had already started) a firm called Mullard Horticultural Engineering Company, and this involved the use of narrow gauge tubing.
He wanted to use polyethylene tubing as it was an inert substance which would not affect the growing of plants. This was all new to me, but although ICI itself didn’t manufacture the end products I did have some samples of lay-flat tubing for packaging, and I also had a couple of samples of rigid tubing about the diameter of a thumb.
He was very excited to receive these which matched his requirements, so he thanked me and said I was now a friend of his in ICI and would keep in touch. I never saw him again.
Being rather sceptical as to his real identity, I phoned a contact in E K Cole Ltd (EKCO radios) and another in Cossor Radios having described him as much as possible, and they confirmed who he was. He was regarded as a bit eccentric but I couldn’t see that. He was just a person involving himself in a new venture. There were many like him experimenting with these fairly new plastic materials after the war.
So that is my story meeting with Stanley Mullard, and at 90 I can remember how to make a crystal set without valves!"