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Chaim Schreiber’s Way Avital Schreiber Levy


For my dearest Bubi who has taught me so much about love, grace and modesty. This book is dedicated, with love, to you and to the memory of your Chaim and my Zeide.


Content

|1

Content

1

Introduction

3

Foreword

7

Work chapter 1

SWI — Schreiber Wood Industries

31

chapter 2

Man Management — Sharing & Trusting

43

chapter 3

Merger — An Inspired Marriage

73

Away chapter 4

Travel — of the Fifties

129

chapter 5

Journeys — of the Sixties

169

chapter 6

Trips — of the Seventies & Eighties

201

Home chapter 7

Edgware — A Palace

231

chapter 8

Hampstead — A Castle

245

chapter 9

Chester — A Ranch

275

Obituaries

283

Thanks

294

Bibliography

296


Introduction It is with great excitement and humility that I approached the task of telling the story of my paternal grandfather, Chaim Schreiber. Our paths never crossed, I was born shortly after he died. But still, he has had a significant impact on me. His ideological, decisive view of the world, at times dogmatic, has trickled through the generations and some of his insights have remained as family mantras today. He defined himself first and foremost as an industrialist. His business always came first and he approached it with a clear vision and a fiery drive. As my father told me, his business was his life. Part One of this book tells of his views on employee rights and man management, which were highly unorthodox at the time, and are still progressive even today — some 60 years later. His lifestyle, too, was controversial and nonconformist. He was an avid traveller and he had the means to express this passion fully, as you will see in Part Two. Chaim Schreiber had rather extreme and extremely refined taste. Although he never completed his degree in architecture, his homes — which are explored in Part Three — speak volumes about his persona and his commitment to quality. This book is an intricate compilation of many different sources: newspapers, TV programmes, addresses and correspondence. My grandfather was a public man, often featured in the Press. Although he was embarrassed and limited by his poor command of English and although he never lost his mid - European accent, that didn’t stop him from expressing his strong opinions. He was a technological junky, (although not a natural with machinery, he was more of a craftsman), and early adopter, always acquiring the latest camera or TV before the rest. It is thanks to all of this that his life was documented from so many different angles, each legacy delineating a slightly different side of him, and providing me with a plethora of material. It’s a popular aphorism that behind every great man stands a great woman, and no couple could have illustrated this more elegantly. Sara, my grandmother, (may she live and be well) was a devoted wife who stood loyally and lovingly by my grandfather throughout his life. It both saddens and inspires me to see my grandmother’s eyes well up with tears at the mention of Chaim’s name, even 26 years after his death. Sara collected every piece of Schreiber paraphernalia throughout Chaim’s life and after his death. It is thanks to her dextrous, thorough and far-sighted collection that I was able to know my grandfather and to create this book. Avital Schreiber Levy

2 |3


4 |5

Chaim Schreiber speaks:

"What is the purpose of this get together? "I want to try and share with you my philosophy. "I want you to join with me in meeting the challenge of making a success in British industry. “How to succeed as a company and as individuals within the Company for the benefit of all. "To achieve this we need to create an atmosphere and environment in which everyone can participate.� Profit Sharing Seminar address, July 6th 1975, Chaim Schreiber


Foreword Whose son are you? Chaim was born in 1918 in the shtetl (township) of Turka-on-Strey, then in Poland. There were about 5,000 people in Turka, half of whom were Jews. He was the youngest of three brothers; Shlomo and Yossef were lost in the war. His father, Avraham, died a natural death just before the war. Chaim’s earliest memory was running around in Turka, when his grandpa, Shianachman, asked him 'Veymenz Bisti?' (‘Whose son are you?’ in Yiddish). In the 1920’s Chaim’s family moved to Lemberg (Lwow of Poland, now Lviv in the Ukraine) where his father opened a shoe business. He remembered serving in the shop as a kid and enjoyed selling ‘buvels’ (unsalable goods) to unsuspecting customers or even two left shoes (samples), more by way of a practical joke. Although his family observed the sabbath, Chaim used to sneak off and sketch in the museum on Saturdays. Chaim won a rare scholarship to study architecture in Vienna in 1935. When the Nazis annexed Austria in 1938, he was forced to flee, at aged 20, his degree unfinished. He came to England as a penniless refugee.

previous Chaim on his bike left Chaim (holding flag) in the zionist youth movement opposite map showing the township of turka next page Chaim in his birth town, turka all from Sara's collections

“Chaim Schreiber … came to London from Lwow, Poland (formerly Lemburg) in May 1938. He had been studying architecture in Vienna, but with the Anschluss in March 1938, he decided it would be more comfortable to settle in England. His hobby was making marquetry pictures and, armed with some of these, he visited David Peskin of Austin Veneered Panel Company in Bethnal Green. The story may be apocryphal but my son-in-law’s father, Alan Newmann, recounted that he interpreted Schreiber’s Yiddish to the Peskins when he came to their offices to try to sell his very accomplished work. He kept going in this way until war broke out, supplying stores like Harrods.” Immigrant Furniture Workers in London 1881-1939, William I. Massil 1997


Estonia

Latvia

Russia

Lithuania

Belarus

Poland

Ukraine

• Turka

Czech Republic Slovakia

Austria

Hungary Romania

Croatia

Serbia Bulgaria


He showed his work of wood inlays at the British Consulate in Vienna, offering his services as a wood engineer if he could take refuge in England. He was told ‘we could do with people like you’, but only if he had someone to guarantee he would not be hungry on the streets. Leo Graham (formerly Grodzinski), a British Jew whose family had moved to England at the turn of the century, became his guarantor, effectively saving his life. Leo got to know Chaim in Vienna where Leo was courting, and later married, Guggi Weinstock. In the fullness of time, Chaim married Guggi’s cousin, Sara, who escaped to England

on the Kindertransport. After his studies were interrupted, Chaim never felt the same about academia again. Going on to become a self-made man, he trusted the working man and was suspicious of higher education and academia. He often encouraged people not to waste time studying.

“During the Second World War, he worked for De Havilland, helping to produce wooden aircraft wings for … Mosquitoes.” Immigrant Furniture Workers in London 1881-1939, William I. Massil


8 |9

“The plane was an ultra-light fighter-bomber made entirely out of wood and Chaim served as a wood engineer and technologist. He was also in the Home Guard where he practised his shooting with a broomstick. “When Hitler came into Austria I sought refuge in this country [England]. For the rest of my life I shall be grateful and play my part in repaying my debt to Britain. I arrived here penniless. This country gave me a home and

I arrived here penniless This country gave me a home and dignity as a human being

dignity as a human being.” Electrical & Trading, January 25th 1979, Jack Bennet

top the mosquitoe fighter bomber picture courtesy of Ruthie Morris frps (Chaim's daughter) left chaim & sara in cambridge, 1940 from sara's collection

Chaim & Sara Chaim & Sara decided to get married in 1942. At first, they lived in the room Chaim was renting in Potters Bar, eventually they moved into their own little flat. By night, to make a little extra income, they made picture frames which Harrods sold. Chaim carved the frames, Sara collected the glass sheets and hauled them upstairs in the pram. Together they built the frames, banging on the kitchen table. The neighbours were disturbed by the knocking and complained often. It was all reconciled though, when Chaim gave those same neighbours a job, years later, in one of his factories.


Binyomin Eliezer Schreiber (Chaim’s father’s half-brother)

Yehoshua Nachman Schreiber (Chaim’s grandfather)

Yente Schreiber (Chaim's mother)

Chaim was the youngest of three brothers; Shlomo & Yossef were lost in the war Shlomo Schreiber (Chaim's brother)

Yossef Schreiber (Chaim's brother)

Chaim

Chaim (Lwow, 1938)

Chaim


Chaim & Sara on their wedding day. she wore a light blue dress from harrods.

this page & opposite all from sara's collection


The Polish Artist Before Sara & Chaim got married, he rented a room in Potters Bar. There, after his day job, he would work on his commissioned artwork.

“In 1941 he had an exhibition of his work at Harrods. The colours in the pictures were made up from the approximately 50 different kinds of wood, with over a thousand pieces in each picture, which he inlaid so skillfully that the surface still felt amazingly smooth to the touch.” The Risk Business, BBC1, October 30th 1981

In 2010, in an interview, David Schreiber, Chaim’s son, explained:

“He had an exquisite collection of rare veneers, he could identify which kind of wood it was just by touch, he didn’t need to look. He would take classic pictures and translate them into woodcuts.”

left Chaim at his exhibition in harrods below unfinished

opposite letter from harrods next page finished product all from Sara's collection

The pictures were made up from the approximately 50 different kinds of wood


Chaim had an exquisite collections of rare veneers He could identify the kind of wood just by touch, he didn’t need to look


Schreiber Book of Furniture In 2010, in an interview, David Schreiber, Chaim’s son, explained:

“In 1975 we wanted to create a special front cover for a schreiber furniture catalogue. He hadn’t touched veneer inlays for some 20 years but I knew he could still do it and might even enjoy it. If I’d have asked him straight out, he’d never have agreed. Instead I arranged for someone from our advertising agency to bring up the idea. ‘If only we had someone who could do a wood inlay’, he said. Sure enough, Chaim took the bait, and reluctantly agreed to create this cover for our furniture catalogue, which everyone loved.”

Chaim reluctantly agreed to create this cover for our furniture catalogue, which everyone loved


cover for the Schreiber Book of Furniture, 1975


20 | 21

The Cabinet Maker “The cover of this centenary book has been reproduced from a piece of inlay done by the hands of the chairman of Britain’s largest furniture manufacturing concern. Inlay was one of the skills which Chaim Schreiber learnt as a cabinet maker, before he rose to head an empire that today provides furniture for millions. “Using a fine piece of satin walnut as a background veneer, he has produced a cover adapted from traditional Victorian marquetry designs. The work is done from the back, so that the taper of the knife blade does not widen the cut on the side which will finally show. He first cuts a small part of the design out of the background veneer. Then, through this opening, he cuts the veneer that will fit in to make the picture.” The Cabinet Maker, September 19th 1980

In a letter from The Cabinet Maker’s editor to Chaim, dated September 19th, 1980, he described the work as being done: ‘So willingly, so beautifully and so punctually’. To which Chaim replied:

"I was very delighted with the reproduction of the inlay and found the whole issue impressive. The inlay was not a chore for me. I thoroughly enjoyed it — so much so that the family want me to continue."


Modest Beginnings

Foreword | 1940s

After a few years in England, Chaim was feeling well-settled.

“He commenced his own business in 1944, Lordship Products in Tottenham, supplying picture frames to various stores. With the coming of peace, he quickly set up in the radio/TV industry, producing what became known as “wrap-round” plywood cabinets for firms such as Sobell, known as Radio and Allied Industries. In the 1950s he set up on a larger scale, first in Stevenage and then adding the former Nissen huts factory, producing furniture in mass production quantities. He then purchased the ailing Lebtkin group in 1957, and there was phenomenal growth in the 1960’s.” Immigrant Furniture Workers in London 1881-1939, William I. Massil

“After the war Schreiber used the experience he gained moulding wood to set up his first company in a North London garage where he made wooden cabinets for radiograms. It was a post war boom period and customers were buying radios and televisions. “That’s when he started a relationship with a company in Slough which manufactured radio and television cabinets, run by Sir Michael Sobell. Sobell was the father-in-law of Arnold Weinstock. Weinstock heard of a new way of moulding plywood. He told Schreiber about it and Schreiber went on to develop a process which he then patented.” The Risk Business, BBC1, October 30th 1981

This was his first patent, of two, for moulding plywood without a joint. Bins were made for Her Majesty’s Prison Service. They were sturdy, elegant and simple and they lasted longer than the prison. He continued making cabinets for TVs and radios. After the war, he could not find any surviving family whatsoever. He knew his father had died but he didn’t know what had happened to the rest of his family. For many years he tried to find his brothers (a graphic designer and a cartoonist), but to no avail. He even did a deal with the Ministry of Industry in Soviet Russia who undertook to place adverts across the country in exchange for use of his patent.

“The Schreiber system for moulding laminated wood has been used all over the world.” The Risk Business, BBC1, October 30th 1981

top a 1957 Sobell tv. the technique was used to produce smooth, curving corners for casings made from one piece of wood. above a radio cabinet made using the same process the risk business, bbc1 1981

“An early customer was Arnold Weinstock who was then running Radio & Allied Industries. Schreiber’s business grew rapidly. He founded his company in 1946 and quickly developed a technique, based on his wartime experience, for mass-producing radio and television cabinets. The process involved the use of wood laminates in such a way that the basic cabinet shell was made without joints — today [1972], Schreiber uses the same technique to manufacture its nail-less drawers.” The Financial Times, November 1972, Kelsey van Musschenbroek

"I was given an opportunity by Sobell to produce small runs of radiogram


cabinets, and gradually earned orders for larger quantities as Sobell prospered. It was at this time that Arnold Weinstock entered the Sobell organisation, and with help I became one of the largest manufacturers of cabinets in Europe." Electrical & Trading, January 25th 1979, Jack Bennet

On one trip when Schreiber visited Radio & Allied’s Slough HQ with his son David, Weinstock had been complaining that the cabinets were too expensive. Schreiber explained that R&A were buying from so many cabinet makers that each one only enjoyed a small volume and so the price was high. Weinstock retorted that cabinet-makers were notorious for going up in smoke so Schreiber suggested that Weinstock concentrate all his buying from Schreiber, enjoy a much better price and take out an insurance policy for loss of profits in the event of a fire. Two years later Schreiber’s factory in Dalston went up in flames. No-one lost out. Arnold’s claim was many times bigger than Schreiber’s.

“My personal connection with Chaim Schreiber goes back to the 1950’s when he pioneered the sale to Woolworth’s of coffee tables packaged in “knock-down” form. Massil’s of Marshmoor cooperated with Schreiber in the innovative production of “contemporary” tapered legs using threaded wooden blocks affixed to the underside of the plywood top, and Schreiber’s ordered these in relatively vast quantities culminating in a huge order for 250,000 legs and blocks.”

Sir Arnold Weinstock the risk business, bbc1 1981

Immigrant Furniture Workers in London 1881-1939, William I. Massil

“By the early sixties Schreiber was the largest TV cabinet producers in Europe, turning out 12,000 cabinets a week. The trade of making the cabinets for radios and TV’s had become, by the early 1960’s, too dependant on single buyers for Schreiber’s taste.” Jerusalem Post, May 9th 1973, Ya’acov Ardon

“Although he subsequently pulled out of radio and TV cabinets (‘I foresaw the dangers of continuing as a supplier of a single product to an industry which was itself becoming concentrated in fewer hands’. )” The Financial Times, November 1972, Kelsey van Musschenbroek

"I decided the time was right for me to produce my own goods and be master of my destiny. The obvious choice was furniture." Electrical & Trading, January 25th 1979, Jack Bennet

“He made the cool decision to move on, into making bedroom furniture. He had the experience of working with wood, and coping with laminates and veneers that turn the wood into what the catalogues call teak or oak.” Jerusalem Post, May 9th 1973, Ya’acov Ardon

By 1967, the business would be solely in furniture.

“So the business had moved away from being a contracting

22 | 23


business, where he was uncomfortable because he was totally dependent on other businesses. In the early sixties he bought the failed Lebetkin business in Tottenham and began to make furniture the way he wanted. The first week, he lined up their range of about 20 bedrooms, asked the salesmen which one they wanted to keep and made only that one (it was named Maryland) which he sold for £20. It was so cheap that retailers assumed it was the wholesale price.� Jerusalem Post, May 9th 1973, Ya’acov Ardon

The time was right for me to produce my own goods and be master of my destiny


Hanover Fair, 1954 This film was taken at the Hanover Furniture Fair in 1954. Chaim & Sara were among the first British Jews to visit Germany after the Second World War, as early as the early fifties, both for business and for pleasure.

family film 1954


family film 1954


A picture of our truck Lou Batani, the lorry driver, would take the delivery once a week to Herwein in Wales. One Friday Batani called and said, ‘Guvnor, there’s a new bloke here who told me to take the whole bloody lot back’. Schreiber, sitting on his bed asked coolly, ‘Why?’, ‘He said they’re all rubbish, he said it must all go back and he’s not gonna have anymore of this crap’. Schreiber checked with Batani who confirmed that the merchandise was normal standard and then spoke to the ‘new bloke’, one Arnold Weinstock who had just married Sobell’s daughter Netta and was brought into the business as a Buyer. Schreiber asked him, ‘Do you have one of the new cameras, the Polaroid? No? Pity, because you should take a picture of our truck, if you send it back it’s the last one you’ll see. ‘ Arnold decided to keep it.


SWI Schreiber Wood Industries “By 1961 Schreiber had grown large enough to acquire the Nissen Buildings company which gave the TV cabinet manufacturer a six acre site on which to expand at Hoddesdon. Ironically, from then on Schreiber moved steadfastly away from TV cabinets and into furniture.” The Financial Times, November 1972, Kelsey van Musschenbroek

“From specialist cabinet making to furniture manufacturer looks a fairly natural progression. However, Schreiber makes it sounds an exceedingly deliberate choice. The furniture industry, he points out, was highly fragmented, with very few significant entities. In design and construction, moreover, it had changed very little since the War; although the punch had replaced the hammer, it was still essentially a craft industry and showed little appreciation of ‘wood engineering’. Furniture manufacturers also tended to produce quite wide ranges in small batches. In the early 1960s Schreiber elected to concentrate exclusively on a single range, of bedroom furniture, and as a result, as he says, he prospered.” Management Today, January 1974, Geoffrey Foster

“Factory space was running short, and skilled manpower was hard to find.” The Sunday Times, November 26th 1972, Graham Searjent

“Having acquired a small and decrepit public company at the start of the furniture phase, Schreiber made a big leap foreword in 1967 when he bought a controlling stake in the loss-making, stumbling Greaves & Thomas operation, whose problems includes the sad decline of the market for their convertible Put-U-Up sofas that turn into beds. It took him into upholstered furniture at one go. “It also took him into loss. For £280,000 in cash. G&T at that time employed 800 people — or rather more than it’s new owner — in three factories; its principal works at Harlow, Essex, were only half-a-dozen miles from Schreiber’s own main factory, by then at Hoddesdon, across the county boundary in Hertfordshire. Again the change of ownership wrought a remarkable transformation, and the losses which had dogged G&T throughout the 60s miraculously disappeared; with the ironical result, incidentally, that Schreiber had to offer over £470,000 a year ago to secure the 18% of G&T which he failed to get first time around. “Coping with the problems of putting G&T on a proper business footing was to carve deep into profit until 1970. But underlying that, the profits of old Schreiber grew, and sales soared from £4 million in 1967 to £7 million in 1970 and had doubled to £14 million by 1972.” Management Today, January 1974, Geoffrey Foster

Work | 1960s


“Earlier this autumn [1972], he snapped up the last 18% of Greaves & Thomas, clearing the way for Schreiber’s own float. Now, the firm makes furniture for every room in the house, and has a sharp eye out to enter the bedding market, in time. The last introduction was kitchen furniture, started in May this year and already running at an annual rate of £5 million sales from scratch. The formula was simple — pare the range to its simplest form, keep the colour choice small, but get the shapes and colours right. Unsurprisingly, market research and advertising cost Schreiber £700,000 a year.” The Sunday Times, November 26th 1972, Graham Searjent

“The G&T factory at Harlow was effectively gutted and reequipped for flow-line furniture manufacture. Turning over £800,000 worth of furniture a year. After Schreiber moved in the labour force was increased by a fifth, and the production area by about 10%. By 1972, output was running in excess of £5 million a year. The polishing room alone at Harlow provides a vivid illustration of what automation can mean in furniture.” The Financial Times, November 1972, Kelsey van Musschenbroek

“A small, energetic man with a computer-like brain — or so his colleagues describe him. Schreiber soon came to realise the value of an attractive kitchen at the right price. This he achieved in 1971 by designing the Economic Miracle for self assembly, just before DIY had swept the country. Chaim Schreiber, aware of the kitchen having no great design tradition, made a positive virtue of his new style range and gave it the unabashed slogan ‘Take and Save’. So well was it designed for its purpose, it produced a steady stream of letters, claim the company, from the most unhandy of customers who put it together and then pulled it apart for the sheer joy of doing it again.” Kitchen Choice, November 1984

Another surprise in Schreiber’s kitchens was the alliance made with GEC kitchen appliances. Now you could get everything you needed for you kitchen in one pop!

“Schreiber has kept up with Weinstock at GEC so that it comes as no surprise that next May will see the launch of a new GEC-Schreiber kitchen range with appliances from GEC and storage units from Schreiber.” The Financial Times, November 1972, Kelsey van Musschenbroek

“Chaim Schreiber, in his sixties with white hair and clear blue eyes, his gentleness bellies the fact that business turnover is reaching £4 million a year. He now plans to ship entire kitchen fixtures collapsed and packaged to the continent. “The company’s marketing programme is to concentrate on a few models for the middle-of-the-road taste and demand. Their designs don’t change rapidly, but new machinery, materials and productions techniques are used as soon as they appear.” Jerusalem Post, May 9th 1973, Ya’acov Ardon

32 | 33


Work | 1960s

“The wood engineer takes furniture apart: Chaim Schreiber rather disarmingly stands virtually every traditional furniture tenet on its head. “For example he sees the relatively puny size of the UK furniture market as an important bull point — there is that much more to go for. (At around £4 a head, annual furniture purchases in the UK are less than a quarter those in Germany, for instance. ) Again, Schreiber does not talk about being in a craft industry; he sees himself in wood engineering. Automation does not mean machinery which bangs in nails at higher and higher speeds; it means dispensing with them. “Stockholding is another area where Schreiber has broken with tradition. Most of the furniture industry and the majority of furniture retailers regard stock as something that you do everything in your power not to be left holding when the boom ends. This particular game of industrial musical chairs means that manufacturers delivery dates lengthen suddenly and dramatically when demand picks up, while retailers perform little more than a sales agency function vis-à-vis the final customer. “By contrast, a cornerstone of Schreiber’s operation is a substantial stockholding capacity which is matched by a rigid requirement that accredited retail stockists must be exactly that. Says Chaim Schreiber:

p 33, 37-39 Schreiber adverts the g-plan revolution Basil Hyman & Steven Braggs

"For too long retailers have tried to service the customer on the back of the manufacturer. Now we insist that they do it on their own backs."

“This stock — both in Schreiber’s warehouses and in the retail stores — form the basis of the company’s 21 Day Delivery Pledge, which is itself a key element in Schreiber’s advertising. “Here, too, the company adopted an unusually aggressive approach as it tried to establish the Schreiber label alongside the better known names like G-Plan, Ercol and ParkerKnoll. Schreiber now spent over 2.5% of turnover on media advertising, against an industry average of 0.6%.” The Financial Times, November 1972, Kelsey van Musschenbroek

“In 1973 Schreiber introduced a new concept, the Schreiber Furniture Centre. Set up as a franchise, the centres marketed their furniture using G-Plan style room settings. As well as offering keenly priced furniture, Schreiber understood some of the frustrations of the buying public, promising a 28 - day delivery time on furniture. People were used to waiting longer for their furniture.” The G-Plan Revolution, 2007, Basil Hyman & Steven Braggs

“Schreiber Wood Industries marketing techniques are also novel for the highly conservative British furniture industry. They reduced the number of outlets but increased the floor space of Schreiber furniture centres to over 125,000 square metres throughout the UK.” Jerusalem Post, May 9th 1973, Ya’acov Ardon

Schreiber’s marketing techniques are novel for the highly conservative British furniture industry


“Once more the range was ‘concentrated’ in the interests of volume production. Output is entirely in the consumer field; there is no contract work, and the TV cabinets have long since

come to an end. But since bringing out his fitted kitchen (fitted with GEC gadgetry) 18 months ago, Schreiber can furnish almost any room in the house — if you like the style and mass — market quality. Many clearly do, for the company has enjoyed a huge success, even allowing for the consumer boom and the successive years of unprecedented growth in the UK furniture industry. Schreiber is already close to the 10% share of the market (currently worth some £380 million in total) which has been his stated aim. He employs nearly 3,000 people in four factories, with a fifth under construction. And since the losses of the post-G&T annexation period, his company’s profits have climbed dramatically; last year they were much the highest in the industry at £2.6 million, pre tax.” Management Today, January 1974, Geoffrey Foster

“In place of the usual seasonal cycle of furniture production, with short-time in July and January, Schreiber makes for stock the year round. From the reservoir — a third of the factory space is warehousing — he reckons to be able to cope with peaks and troughs of demand. He also concentrates continuous production on a small number of key, big-selling lines, picking up any slack with the minor items in the range. That is a good start for a revolution in the furniture trade. But Schreiber takes it a stage further. Slowly, he is trying to persuade the High Street retailers to operate as something more than agents, offering catalogues, taking orders and then making you and me wait for weeks while the goods come through from the factory. "They’ve been very good at buying, he says. The selling was not so hot."

“He wants retailers to hold stock — of his goods, naturally.

Work | 1960s


36 | 37

If the change succeeds, it will be almost as remarkable as the soundness of his relations with his workforce.” The Sunday Times, November 26th 1972, Graham Searjent

left Schreiber advert

the cabinet maker, september 19th 1980

opposite Schreiber advertising on the football fields,

log magazine 1971

“Staff departments are minimal, so unattributable costs are relatively few. The company has largely dispensed with salesmen, who are, in effect, franchise holders running their own businesses, responsible for their own personnel, care, superannuation and other overheads, but dealing exclusively in Schreiber products. Each of these sales directors’ generates at least £1 million worth of business, according to Martin. They are empowered to handle all complaints — by extending credit to dealers — for the company itself refuses to divert resources into rectifying faults after goods have left its warehouses. More important, as far as paperwork and production planning are concerned, the number of accounts has been reduced from some 9,500 half a dozen years ago to under 1,500 today. Surviving stockists are backed up by Schreiber’s guarantee to supply all products within 28 days, and supported with lavish advertising.” Management Today, January 1974, Geoffrey Foster


“Schreiber bargains are brought to the attention of young couples by intensive advertising. “We’re the only firm that spends four percent of its turnover on advertising, this year close to a million pounds sterling.” Jerusalem Post, May 9th 1973, Ya’acov Ardon

Some examples from an advert from the time read like this:

“Look around. Livingrooms. Bedrooms. Diningrooms. Kitchens. Schreiber furniture is imaginatively designed. Well made. Practical. And you won’t need a second mortgage to afford it. You can see Schreiber furniture at Schreiber furniture centres. The specially selected shops where almost everything Schreiber make is laid out in easy-to-look-at, realistic room settings. So you can take your time choosing exactly what you want. And no salesman will try to sell you only what he’s got most of. Schreiber won’t let any piece of furniture go out on the road unless it’s been thoroughly examined by the Quality Control men. It shouldn’t arrive damaged either. Schreiber are famous for the way they deliver the goods. But if anything does go wrong you’ll never have to ask twice for a replacement. Or our apologies.” “28 days have the month of Schreiber. How do you feel about delivery delays? Exactly. Some makers keep you waiting for months. But Schreiber Furniture Centres can usually let you have your furniture 28 days from taking your order, sometimes sooner. Exceptions are likely to be due to fabric-making delays (the covers for your group must be cut from the same length of fabric to ensure perfect matching). But the Centre will be able to tell you when they take your order. Other exceptions are, of course, the easy-assemble furniture by Schreiber. You can usually have it the very day you choose it.” Yet another one went like this, Chaim Schreiber, Chairman:

“I pledge the Schreiber Company to provide well-made furniture at fair prices; to honour delivery dates; and to refund or replace without any delays, if any piece of furniture is ever seen to be less that we claim.”

“Spending a claimed £1.6 million in the current year, Schreiber is the largest advertiser in the industry. Yet there is no advertising department. Promotional work, including brochure design, is mostly left to its advertising agents, J. Walter Thompson. “It’s expensive, but in the end it works out cheaper,” says Martin. Some product design is also farmed out, although design changes are comparatively infrequent. The efforts of those actually employed by Schreiber are thus concentrated on the production process. .” Management Today, January 1974, Geoffrey Foster

Work | 1960s


A Chaim Favorite Chaim would hold his hand with his palm up and fingers still and ask: "What’s this?" Then he'd turn it over and make it crawl away like a spider: "A dead one of these".


Chapter 2

man management sharing & trusting


Share Scheme

Work | 1970s

By 1971 things were going well and Chaim was keen to see the company to go public.

“Schreiber plans £10 million Share Sale Britain’s largest furniture combine, Schreiber Wood Industries, is planning to go public — possibly next autumn — in near £10 million style.” Newspaper unknown, November 1st 1971, writer unknown

Chaim decided all employees would be shareholders, and therefore partners in the company. But the government ruled that the share scheme he had developed would be considered a backhanded pay increase during a pay freeze. They said he could go ahead with the floatation but not with the sharescheme. As their banker explained, 'A very small matter, a small detail — the floatation will be going through but you won’t be able to apply the share scheme for your employees'.

The generals simply could not go into the castle leaving the army out in the cold

But to Chaim this was the ultimate deal breaker. If there were no shares for employees there was to be no floatation. He cancelled the whole scheme. The bankers were flabbergasted at how progressive he was, they couldn’t believe he wouldn’t go public because of employee benefits.

“It was a severe test of Schreiber’s principles last year when long-standing plans to go public were postponed because the profit-sharing scheme would have been frozen under the Government’s incomes policy. "You can imagine the consequences, but the family did not turn a hair. We decided the generals simply could not go into the castle, leaving the army out in the cold. We could have found excuses galore but you really can’t do things like that." Hampstead & High, June 1973, Liz Forgan

“Freeze delays Schreiber Wood Industries Share Plan Schreiber industries is not to go public until its workers can participate in its share scheme just frozen by the government. The decision points to the seriousness with which modern management is treating the issue of giving its total workforce an equitable capital share in the company of which they are part. “Under the scheme which Schreiber Industries proposed to introduce, employees were to acquire ordinary shares at the time of the offer to the public at offer price, which was to remain outstanding for five years. “Employees were to receive dividends on their shares, which were to be held on their behalf by the [company] trust until they had been paid for.” Newspaper unknown, November 1972, writer unknown

“Chaim Schreiber’s furniture business is not going public this month; the reasons why are part of the strong argument for buying into Schreiber when the float finally comes. The firm planned to share a stake for its employees, not just on the


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traditional pink form that gets employees priority if they have the cash in the bank, but a trust set up to lend the money to finance share-buying. The freeze killed that idea, and that has delayed the float. For once a company thought its work-force an important, even vital factor in going public. “The Schreiber line on labour relations, plus his views on marketing, make the company a rare bird in the furniture business.” The Sunday Times, November 26th 1972, Graham Searjent

In retrospect, financially speaking, perhaps the floatation would have been a good move. The company was virtually bankrupt by 1974. Chaim's principle of the share scheme was adopted by Chancellor Barber, in 1973, becoming the first government-backed share scheme.

“Mr Schreiber reported with satisfaction that in its last budget the British Government itself proposed a workers’ participation scheme almost identical with his own.” Jerusalem Post, May 9th 1973, Ya’acov Ardon

anonymous cartoon Sara’s collection


1960s-70s


Trust, the first Essential “The liberal industrialist relations Schreiber practices, which include frequent meetings with his workers, is the antithesis to the attitude of traditionally-minded company directors in the UK. According to research reported last week in the July issue of British Journal of Industrial Relations most directors had no significant contact with any manual or clerical staff other than their secretaries. Directors of large groups, snug in a Board suite atop a tower office block, would typically never even see a worker for most of their working hours.” The Financial Times, August 9th 1974, Roy Levine

“Schreiber employees work for a benevolent dictatorship; mechanisation (at foot) does the donkey-work. The odd thing about Schreiber Industries, whose introduction has been pending for some while, is that it is now probably best known to the investing public for, of all things, personnel policies. “Of course, Schreiber does have certain other claims to modest fame. It is Britain’s biggest furniture manufacturer, and among the most profitable, from sales of about £22.5 million in the last 12 months, the company’s manufacturing and marketing processes are by no means without interest. But it is Schreiber’s quality as an employer which has attracted the most attention. “Schreiber’s style is persuasive, and entirely non-combative. A small, quick, friendly man, he is personally well equipped with the skills of persuasion; speaking softly in a confidential tone, he can flatter a listener with the extent of his utterly undivided attention. Obviously, since he has built up the business from scratch in little more than 25 years, and with little more than the occasional bank loan by way of financial assistance, this ability has also served the company well. “Mr. Schreiber believes that without a real partnership between management and workforce in the creation of real wealth, British industry will continue to be plagued by confrontation, and by low productivity.

Work | 1970s

Directors of large groups, snug in a Board suite atop a tower office block, typically never even see a worker for most of their working hours

"We are very quick to blame the workers for any amount of shortcomings. And in doing this we are doing ourselves a lot of harm — putting all the blame on one class is driving a wedge between them and us, when we need to bring about industrial unity. I believe industries are badly lacking in leadership in the right directions."

“Mr. Schreiber is uniquely qualified to criticise on this level. From what he calls “small beginnings” — three men in a garage — he has created a giant company; and one which can claim a totally strike-free record for the furniture industry. His opinions are backed by examples of his own experience. "From the word go we entered into a partnership between men, management and ownership. Fourteen years ago we abolished the ‘enemy’, the biggest single constraint to technological advance in industry — piece work. We replaced it with real profit-sharing, togetherness, consultation,


involvement and trust. There has to be a partnership. We have been letting people down for many years but putting our own failures down to deficiencies of labour. "There are germs all around us always, but if we keep healthy there is less chance of being harmed by them. I believe the working class on the whole hates the idea of striking — but in the environment we have been creating, there has been an ideal breeding ground for destructive forces to take hold. We spend too much time and investment on the predictable things, but are very poor in managing the unpredictable things — men."

“In Schreiber’s partnership there is no room for gimmicks or short cuts. He is full of scorn for bogus profit-sharing deals, or half-hearted attempts at participation by ‘merely inviting a few workers on the board’. "We have now got to the stage where some industrialists are spearheading their export drives with the claim that we have cheap labour in our country. What a claim! Not even countries like India would be proud of a claim like that! The brains and willingness exist, all we need is the inspiration and willingness to work together towards growth of the national cake — instead of fighting with each other about how it should be cut up. "People blame the ‘whipping boys’ — taxation and the burden of the welfare state. But if we had a larger national income, these would not be problems".

“How can this be done? "By stopping this gamesmanship and distrust. I know Company Directors who have never been seen by their workforces. We must stop this Monopoly idea of making money and creating nothing. "When came the war [sic] in the Middle East, the oil crises and the three-day week, Management received a deputation of lorry drivers’ representatives who voluntarily offered to have their pay increase postponed until the company was on a straight course again. Now when you get that sort of offer, how can you believe that working people are bad in this country? "I am convinced that most strikes are not caused by the people who go out on strike. A strike is only an expression of dissatisfaction and bad communications. People are entitled to know about things that affect them, and management doesn’t bother to keep people informed and involved. Strikes are always the result of this kind of problem."

“Mr. Schreiber claims he is not ‘politically minded’ at all. Understanding people and trusting them has nothing to do with political parties. "I believe in a free society where there are incentives and rewards — but not only financial incentives and rewards. "The solutions to our industrial problems are not matters of government. Industry doesn’t need government. The government is in fact one of the

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Chaim's Day “His office is one of his showrooms and the table in the kitchen display area doubles as his desk. The receptionist there is also his personal secretary and if he wants to keep in touch with some aspect of his £80 million business he borrows her phone.” The Risk Business, BBC1, October 30th 1981

the risk business, bbc1, 1981


scapegoats we blame when things go wrong. All I want is for government not to interfere — but to provide us with an environment in which we can develop.

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"Industry too often tries to twist the Government’s arm — like calling for protection from outside competition. This is essentially very bad; it cushions our inefficiencies, for whatever competitiveness results from protection is not earned, and we just go further into the red. The only thing we should push Government for is real incentives, and we are now getting them to some degree."

“He denied that his views were unique among businessmen. "There are many people who share my feelings about industry — but we are the ones who don’t make the headlines."

“With this orientation, it is easy to understand Schreiber’s other preoccupation with good industrial relations; why he spent so much time on human problems. In view of his run of success, perhaps chairmen should follow Schreiber’s example. He naturally thinks so, though he possibly tends to minimise the importance of his company’s distinguishing characteristics; like the fact that it is a relatively small business composed of quite small units; that it has succeeded against the background of a generally uninspired industry; and that it is entirely the creation of a willful and very singular man.”

Schreiber is a millionaire, he also calls himself a socialist

Management Today, January 1974, Geoffrey Foster

“Schreiber is a millionaire, he also calls himself a socialist. Most mornings Schreiber walks the 4 miles to his office in central London. Although there’s always a Rolls available to take him home.” The Risk Business, BBC1, October 30th 1981

“When I arrive in my Rolls Royce, I do not feel guilty.” The Financial Times, November 7th 1974, Roy Levine

“Once a union man, now a company director, he says the answer to industrial relations problems are simple. A letter appeared in The Times a week ago politely suggesting that the Government’s scheme for worker-directors on the boards of large companies was not only old hat but also unlikely to achieve anything. “It’s author, industrialist Mr Chaim Schreiber, is perhaps better fitted than most to proffer an opinion on the subject, since he heads a group of furniture companies whose approach to industrial relations has shattered some cherished management assumptions and survived to make a fortune. “He is a small, quiet man of 54, with close-cropped grey hair, a liking for open-necked shirts, and a memory long enough to recall the days when he went to work armed with a membership card from the same union he now faces from the other side of the negotiating table. “He is well known inside the furniture business and elsewhere

When I arrive in my Rolls Royce, I don't feel guilty


as a pioneer of imaginative new ideas about both production and marketing techniques, but behind these lies a system of management — workers relations which has earned him a strike free record and contributed in no small way to the success of his company.” Hampstead & High, June 1973, Liz Forgan0

“Strikes? Labour turnover? Why is Schreiber immune to these troubles that plague British industry?” Jerusalem Post, May 9th 1973, Ya’acov Ardon

“Aloof, rarely seen by those who work for him, scarcely exchanging more than a curt greeting: that is the typical British industrialist. Most workers do not know what makes their bosses tick, and fewer bosses bother to discover what motivates their workers. Communications, if any, are stiff and formal. “Fifty-four year old Chaim Schreiber goes right against the grain. He has rejected the boss’s uniform and dresses casually in an open neck shirt. He goes out of his way to ensure that he knows what his men are thinking, and to let them know what the management are planning. He does this because he believes it is the only way to run a business and get the best results.” Business Administration, May 1973, David Harvey

“It has been called revolutionary but is, as he himself agrees, basically a simple matter of common sense. If you trust a man, listen to what he says, tell him what is going on and respect his rights as a human being, he will respond by being trustworthy, secure, hard-working and happy. "Everyone envies us and our industrial relations record, but really the answers are so simple. You might just see that the lines of communication really work and you must listen to everyone from the boardroom to the canteen. There’s a wealth of information and ideas to be gained from the shop floor. If you only show people you are interested in their views they will respond — some of the most successful schemes we have introduced came from the men themselves.” Hampstead & High, June 1973, Liz Forgan

“Recently he hit the headlines for his refusal to go public until his workforce could participate in his proposed share scheme. But that, although significant in its own right, is only part of the story. It is the logical extension of worker involvement that has developed over the years that helped to put the company where it is today. “The methods by which Schreiber Industries achieved results transcend parochial interest. They are an object lesson for industry at large. Basically the company operates on mass production principles similar to those in other product fields. The difference is that it has thrown out many of the conventional management controls and achieved better individual performance and greater co-operation from the whole workforce.”

Work | 1970s


Business Administration, May 1973, David Harvey

“People are very understanding. What alienates them are decisions made in remote boardrooms — and then sprung on them."

“So according with the company line, no decision of consequence which might affect employees is taken without the stewards being informed. Again, this is often supposed to be standard practice, although it more honoured in the breach than the acceptance. Schreiber apparently does accept it, to the extent that he is almost fulsomely credited by a union organiser with having ‘brought a new concept into industrial relations, by trusting the workers’. “ ‘Schreiber takes care that he negotiates with the union continuously,’ adds the same man. The company has been all but 100% unionised for a decade, incidentally, and all recruits are asked to join the appropriate union. Sometimes, the opening shots are fired at quite a long range. For example, the obsolete Tottenham factory was closed down last May, but the workers (and unions) knew about the decision more than two years before. In the event, nearly two-thirds of their number moved either to Hoddesdon or Harlow; the company helped to find housing for some, while free transport is provided for those who still commute from London. Those who left the company collected their lump sum payments, of course, but Schreiber had introduced its redundancy scheme before the Labour government. The closure went through with remarkable ease. "Tottenham was profitable to the last day. It was the most orderly thing I have ever experienced.” Management Today, January 1974, Geoffrey Foster

“Behind this is a highly individual style of management. Schreiber claims that the reason for his success is simply that: "We listened to what people say about what they want. All our progress came from that. In the same way that we ask the man in the street about the furniture he wants, we asked all our workers for their ideas and what they want."

“Constantly in discussion, Schreiber harps on the importance of talking with workers to discover their needs: not on a oncefor-all basis, but continually. He sets man management at the top of his list of priorities. "You can rely on professionals for advice on market research, finance, production and so on: these are the predictable elements of business. But men are unpredictable."

“The [staff] meetings fulfil several functions: they are testing grounds for new ideas, either from management or shop floor. They are also safety valves. Any grumbles and grievances can be aired. What is more, a rule has been established that any

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grievance that is raised over pay, and found to be justified, will be remedied with back payments to its date of origin. “In that way there is nothing that cannot wait until the end of the month. It prevents ill-feeling simmering. Aside from this, these occasions provide an opportunity for the communication of information about the company events and performance. "The shop floor is starved of information. But they don’t want cold instructions from the board-room. We try to involve representatives in things that are going on by bringing the boardroom to them."

“He favours this method of involvement over worker directors. "It doesn’t take long for them to become separated from the shop floor. They become identified with management, not workers."

“Shop floor ideas are welcomed too by management. In operating its suggestions scheme, modelled on the Sears Roebuck prototype, Schreiber has been careful not to cause apprehension. "It’s a very delicate thing You have to ensure that there’s no fear of sackings because of new methods or resentment through changes in jobs."

“The scheme’s main strength, he believes, is that it is, initially anyway, anonymous. This avoids too-clever-by-half criticisms. Suggestion slips have numbered counterfoils that enable the author to identify himself later. Suggestions are examined by development staff monthly. They are evaluated to assess what savings they will achieve over a six month period and the sum is split down the middle. “It has generated a steady trickle of ideas. Recently one worker earned himself £1,200 through automating the jobs of three men out of a group of nine. ‘…but, ‘ adds Fred Noyes, head of production, ‘he was encouraged to share out £150 with the three men affected. They were transferred to another part of the factory’. “It would seem that Schreiber’s policy of treating workers well has paid off: his profit record is healthy on the one hand, and turnover is low on the other hand. And he is well aware that his workforce contains management potential, but, because of family or social circumstances, some intelligent and capable individuals have missed out on their education. "We have been looking for able men that are frustrated in their jobs. We have sent over 20 for training to the Industrial Society. In the future we hope to provide places at Ruskin College, Oxford. ‘ Up to now, he has appointed all his managers from within the company.” Business Administration, May 1973, David Harvey

“Notwithstanding all the consultation and conciliatoriness, Schreiber’s fundamentally proprietary view of the business is illustrated in a remarkable special resolution which amended

Work | 1970s


the company’s constitution some years ago. Though it has since been deleted, this read: ‘So long as the said Chaim Samuel Schreiber is a Director of the company no other director shall be entitled to attend meetings of directors or to receive notice of such meetings and the articles of association of the company shall be construed accordingly and he alone shall constitute a quorum…’. The attitude is hardly best calculated to produce a strong management team. “Top management is certainly a compact body. Other than its chairman, the holding company board consists of his sonon-law, Graham Morris, finance director Dennis Thomas, and — until lately — a former trustee of the Schreiber family trusts which are the only significant shareholders besides the eponymous founder. There is also a handful of subsidiary board members concerned with day to day matters; such as Fred Noyes, in charge of production, and Leo Martin of sales. But at its current stage, Schreiber is an exceedingly simple organism dedicated to one very definite purpose: the continued, uninterrupted and efficient running of the factories. Given this nice old-fashioned objective, lack of depth in management could be seen as a virtue.” Management Today, January 1974, Geoffrey Foster

“If men go on strike because their tea is too black, it is not because they are willfully destructive but because something deeper is wrong and often it is wrong with management. If a man hears rumours and no-one tells him what changes are being planned he becomes insecure and worried. If he feels the management are indifferent to his needs or to his problems, he will have no sense of involvement in the well-being of his company.” Hampstead & High, June 1973, Liz Forgan

“Needless to say, the canteen facilities are excellent — but there are no private dining rooms for management. The company makes a highly conscious effort to minimise the gulf between management and workers. In many cases the gulf is not too wide to begin with, since almost all middle managers have been promoted from the shop floor — indeed, they are often ex-shop stewards. Schreiber himself goes to work in a sports shirt with no tie, which helps further to blur the customary class divisions. (This is not just an affection, however; he can be found similarly dressed at home — although his home happens to be a sumptuous millionaire’s house overlooking Hampstead Heath.) “In the last resort, it is a management decision that a particular change should go ahead. But the company is reluctant to push matters too far; it is quite prepared to wait, and wear the opposition down. Thus it took several months longer at Harlow than at Hoddesdon to bring about the abolition of the time clock.” Management Today, January 1974, Geoffrey Foster

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log magazine, a quarterly inhouse schreiber publication aimed to provide the employees with the latest going on in every aspect of the business


Time Keeping

Work | 1970s

“In 1970 clocking-in was abolished. It was the kind of policing system that was highly unsatisfactory in Schreiber’s eyes. Apart from anything else it is, to him, a control that implies mistrust. ‘Now time keeping is better than ever before,’ says production director Fred Noyes. ‘If anyone is late for a genuine reason, they can make the time up’.” Business Administration, May 1973, David Harvey

“This was one of Schreiber’s odder little revolutions; it can be interpreted equally as a demonstration of ‘trusting the workers’ and — paradoxically — as a scheme to guarantee a fair day’s work. Schreiber recalls, revealing a surprising messianic streak:

They made a bonfire of the time cards. It was like chains being cast off

"At Hoddesdon they made a bonfire of the time cards. It was like chains being cast off."

“The measure was not universally acclaimed on the shop floor, however, because of a stipulation that a man three or more minutes late for work would be considered to have lost quarter of an hour — which he could be asked to make up later. There was suspicion that management would keep a register, and possibly exact more than its due. Indeed, a record is kept, but only by the man’s foreman. "Nobody needs to know who is late, only the supervisor."

“A repetitive latecomer is ‘spoken to’ by his supervisor and in front of the shop steward; only if the fault remains persistent is the matter taken to the works manager.” Management Today, January 1974, Geoffrey Foster

“Everyone agree the system was both inefficient and insulting to the men.” Hampstead & High, June 1973, Liz Forgan

“Schreiber has abolished clocking-in and reduced lateness. Another radical change in working conditions is the workers’ ability to take time off. "We recognise that he is basically on a 40 hour week contract. Everyone needs to take time off now and again for private reasons. We don’t want to deduct his pay for that."

“If a man gives a day’s notice, and his supervisor agrees to his request, he may take time off. It can be made up either in the evening or on Saturday. And if he works on Saturday, he can work off his debt at time and a half. “There are, of course, controls to ensure that neither clocking-in or days off are abused. But the difference is that management do not keep tabs on the workforce: this is left up to supervisors and workers themselves.


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“What Schreiber has done is to allow them to set up their own self-policing system. Standards, though, are laid down by joint agreement between management and workers. “It is up to the supervisor to check on lateness. If someone is late for a genuine reason, he simply makes the time up. If he is repeatedly late, the matter is referred to the shop steward. From there it goes to the shop floor committee which decides whether or not he has overstepped the mark.” Business Administration, May 1973, David Harvey

“Good time-keeping can be rewarded, however. A man who wants time off is generally quite free to take it by arrangement with his supervisor. He will also be asked to make it up another time. But in the words of a middle manager: ‘If his time record is good and he wants 5 hours off we may only exact 4’. In any case, if a worker is asked to make up lost time on a Saturday morning, 5 hours worked then is counted at the equivalent of a full 8 hour day.” Management Today, January 1974, Geoffrey Foster

“Result — no one has tried to pretend they are ill if they really want a day off for something else, production schedules do not have to be disrupted at the last minute and absenteeism is down to 2.5%.” Hampstead & High, June 1973, Liz Forgan

“Each day the supervisor fills in a standard form which lists absentees, hours lost and reasons why. At the end of the week they total the number of hours lost and, for each absent employee, complete a separate sheet showing hours lost and why. “These are examined by the works committee each week. The committee comprises, typically, the works manager for the factory and a foreman and the committee chairman and secretary, both shop stewards. They decide whether men should be paid in cases of genuine sickness, or whether they are malingering and should not be paid. For those with a clean absentee record, there is a bonus the next year of five days off, or five days extra pay.

Schreiber has abolished clocking-in and reduced lateness

"We recognise that people need days off. If you don’t allow them to take time off as we do, you force them to be dishonest and go sick."

“The effectiveness of the system can be seen in the record: group sickness absenteeism amounted to 2.5% last year, even allowing for the November ‘flu epidemic. “In all its operations the company has had the support of the unions. "I would much rather negotiate with an organised body, he claims. Besides their interests are the same as ours. It would be short-sighted to do otherwise.” Business Administration, May 1973, David Harvey

“Any man who loses no days away from work during a complete year qualifies for five extra days holiday the following year. The privilege is not affected by unavoidable absence


because of jury service, for example. It is affected by sickness; on the other hand, since staff conditions extended to the shop floor, Schreiber workers continue to be paid for a while, while sick. They also get free life cover.” Management Today, January 1974, Geoffrey Foster

“On a couple of notable occasions, workers have given up free time spontaneously to speed up the introduction of new production systems. All this achieved with union blessings. Overtime has been dropped, but productivity continues to be boosted through improved methods and more advanced machinery.” Business Administration, May 1973, David Harvey

“Among other things you can’t do in the Schreiber set-up is to expect workers to do short-time working when the furniture business has one of its regular calms. "If you rent a building you would never dream of suggesting to the landlord that you only needed it for four days a week, so you would only give him four days’ rent. Why should you do it in the case of a man? We have never had short time in our history. Instead we have turned over large areas of space to warehousing so we can keep production stable. Laying off men is wasteful of man power and bad for people’s health, morale and efficiency."

“As the company began to grow from 50 men to 500, and now to the fair-sized 2,800, people told Chaim Schreiber that expansion would put an end to his industrial relations policy. "When we moved into Liverpool they also told us the workers there were very militant, but neither warning had come true. People are the same, if you approach them with a them-and-us attitude their fists go up at once. If you have confidence and listen they are reasonable. The secretary of Harlow Communist Party works for us — very happily I think.” Hampstead & High, June 1973, Liz Forgan

“Schreiber’s liberality in personnel matters is not a by-product of the years of runaway success. A dozen years ago, while the company was still very small and while Wilfred Brown was completing Piece work Abandoned, Schreiber abandoned it himself. Previously, he says now: "We had out time-study men, and we had our quarrels like everybody else. Piece work only encouraged friction and the holding back of effort."

“Whether it has been general experience that payment-byresults discourages effort is at least debatable; but the friction generated by any change of methods or conditions under the system is well documented — so are the travails of industries, like motor manufacturing, which have tried to end it in a rush. For Schreiber’s small company the problem was obviously less formidable than for, say, British Leyland factory; it was nevertheless ‘the biggest thing I have had to sell’. “If Schreiber was quicker than most industrialists to

Work | 1970s


appreciate the disadvantages of piece work, his reasons were possibly more subtle — a mixture of principle and practical shrewdness. He himself is apt to lay stress on the former: "We have built our whole philosophy on mutual trust and understanding."

“But the reasons shade into each other: "Progress won’t be served by measuring men all the time as the only way to pay them’. To the extent that progress is synonymous with the wood engineering approach, it implies a heavy investment in plant — which in turn means continual changes of method, and a rate of output increasingly independent of the degree of human effort.” Management Today, January 1974, Geoffrey Foster

“The hardest thing is watching the clock pass by, it’s the hardest work. Now if you believe that you’ve got a lazy bunch of people who want to avoid work, who don’t really want to give you their best you will not succeed and the people under you will certainly not succeed. Now you’ve got to get very strong, trusting relations and no gimmicks will overcome that. You can’t superficially just show you’re a good man and very tolerant and so on, they’ll feel your pulse right away. "Never ask outside officials to settle your problems. They’re your problems with your men. You’ve got your own shop stewards — those are the people who represent the people who work for you or with you. Do you honestly believe that a man, be it a woman at the desk or telephone or sweeping up, is happier at the end of the day that he’s done a good day’s work that is either hard or meaningful? Some people will just sweep harder! Or, are they happier if they could dodge it? Now I believe people are happier if you take away the constraints and you allow them to do a good day's work."

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Piece Work "Working life is dull enough although we could not live without it, funny enough, we’re trained to work, on one thing or another, everything is a job isn’t it? So if we like work and we can do a meaningful job then at the end of the day you’re definitely happier people. A study ought to be made, but I’ve got my own study, that when we collapsed the piece work that the husbands were better husbands, more relaxed, they were sexually fitter, they were better fathers, yes, they were more relaxed people. Life is bad enough if you’ve got to go to work. [Actually, ] I don’t think so, I think it’s marvellous, I honestly do. I think it’s fantastic to have a job in life, no matter what it is. But you’ve got to believe in that.” Man Management” address 1980, Chaim Schreiber

“Schreiber abolished piece work some years ago with the agreement of shop floor and unions. To him the system spelt trouble: there are too many flaws in its operation. "It always leads to inequalities between production lines and resistance to taking on different jobs at different rates."

“Now they are paid on a day-work basis. This has led to a number of advantages. From management’s point of view, it means the men can be switched from job to job as the situation demands. "We’ve done away with all demarcation."

“For the workers, interchangeability means a more varied and less monotonous regime. With the exception of one or two emergency cases, overtime has been abolished. "When we changed the system, we asked the men what they wanted: should the fastest be paid the same as the slowest? It was their decision to have an equal system of pay. "The company can’t progress at the rate of the greyhounds, it’s got to make the best of the average working man.” Business Administration, May 1973, David Harvey

“The ending of piece work at Harlow was another situation which could have escalated into conflict; for while the average wage rose as a result, the change inevitably chopped the earnings of a number of men. The usual forum for dealing with this type of problem is, of course, the monthly meeting with shop stewards. But in certain circumstances — like the piece work issue — Schreiber is not above standing on a canteen table to argue his case directly with the men. Naturally, the encounter is punctiliously handled; management appears with the shop stewards permission, and leaves if a vote is taken — which is itself an essential part of the company’s consultative process.” Management Today, January 1974, Geoffrey Foster

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“Herzberg and the behavioural scientists never tire of telling management that pay is only part of the package: it is certainly important, but not the only element. Schreiber does not just want to keep his workforce content: he looks for positive cooperation. Similarly he believes that workers look for more. So he is prepared to place trust in his workers. "You must operate on the belief that those that work for you are honest. You have got to give them self-respect.” Business Administration, May 1973, David Harvey

“We had a meeting with shop stewards and management and we had a nurse in the meeting, a very shy woman. And she said, 'You know Mr Schreiber, one of the biggest things you’ve done and nobody knows about it but I do, the amount of people that come in the morning and afternoon complaining of headaches and all different pains has suddenly disappeared'. The pressure of piece work is so great that at the end of the day unless you connive and work like a greyhound you don’t know what you’ll be earning at the end of the week do you? Yet it’s not up to you, it’s up to management and luck." Man Management address 1980, Chaim Schreiber

“It would naturally be absurd to pretend that Schreiber has discovered the way to eliminate conflict in industry. "We have our militants too."

“And not every management proposal is welcome everywhere on the shop floor. But he will take considerable pains to remove friction. It is a company rule, for example, that no man can be sacked on the spot — which is not to say that there are no dismissals. Schreiber argues that ‘you can’t be policeman, prosecutor and judge’. Besides, the action is often taken in a fit of rage. Just calling together representatives of management and managed may allow time for tempers to cool. "No strike ends up anywhere but round a table."

“So that is obviously where to start whenever conflict looms. The company has had very few brief stoppages, but: "We have never had a strike because of a sacking.” Management Today, January 1974, Geoffrey Foster

You can’t be policeman, prosecutor and judge


Profit Sharing “What is profit sharing all about? A "To free the individual and the company from the traditional restraints that can inhibit the progress of the Company and the individual. B "To provide the conditions in which each individual is free to make his personal contribution according to his own individual ability and thereby to contribute to the common good of all. C "To ensure that the common interest is best served by the total of all our forces pulling in the same direction. D "By working together for the prosperity of the Company to ensure that the prosperity of the individual is safe-guarded. E "To create an atmosphere in which all levels have their duties and their responsibilities both to those above and those below them and thereby to achieve the common purpose. I have visited many factories all over the world and I know that the British worker is the equal of anyone, anywhere, if he is given the opportunity to play his individual part. My strong belief is that, if this philosophy is right and worth pursuing, we will achieve satisfaction for ourselves and, incidentally but not unimportantly, demonstrate this success for others to envy and perhaps follow.” Profit Sharing Seminar, July 6th 1975

“The workforce is motivated to boost the company’s success, by a profit-sharing scheme. They get paid, twice a year, the equivalent of three weeks pay, at Christmas and in midsummer. If a worker is letting the side down, the others soon put him back in line. It’s in everyone’s interest, so that profits and leisure can be enjoyed, that the ‘system’ is not abused. “But there are many other facets to the practical approach shown by the company’s management. All workers have free group life assurance, worth one years’ salary. On retirement (at 65) everyone gets a week’s pay for every two year’s service as a ‘golden handshake’. Even the rewards for the company’s suggestion scheme are proportionately sensible — 50% of what the idea saves in 6 months, topped by a £50 bonus.” Business Administration, May 1973, David Harvey

“All Schreiber’s efforts have been aimed at one goal: to get the company moving foreword to a common end. Greater achievement is rewarded by participation in profits. "Everyone from the man who sweeps up to skilled workers participates in our profit-sharing scheme.” Flexible Working Hours In Practice 1973, Michael Wade

Work | 1970s


“It will be intriguing to see how the workforce responds to Schreiber’s current initiative: his plan to sell to them, when the company goes public, 25% of the shares on offer. Early reaction thought that holding shares could ‘inhibit their outlook’. The current feeling among some union men is certainly more positive. And, indeed, the terms are highly favourable: 70% of the offer price to be paid for over 5 years. It remains to be seen, of course, what part of the equity will be up for sale but it would be immensely surprising if Schreiber were to relinquish control. The coming issue, it is said, ‘will basically be a financing operation’ — with some recompense to existing shareholders. Conceivably, idealism and self-interest might continue to work in harness. For, in theory at least, the principal shareholder could afford to whittle down his stake in the company without, in practice, loosening his grip on management.” Management Today, January 1974, Geoffrey Foster

“Such sweet reason, and the image of the boss in a sport shirt ever attentive to the needs of the humblest employee, inevitably leads to suggestions of paternalism in a family firm. But the notion is not popular with Schreiber: "We are not paternalistic. People have got to have certain rights. They do not want charity, they want their entitlement and that is right. Strong unions are as essential as strong management and when they conduct wage negotiations it is their job to drive the hardest bargain they can. We never take advantage of our closeness to the shop floor. You negotiate as equals but you do not fight for fighting’s sake over things which need never cause dissent.” Hampstead & High, June 1973, Liz Forgan

“You’ve got be really totally involved and if you are the rewards are there, financially but — above all — it’s the sort of inner satisfaction which is unbeatable. "If somebody really cares, and I think one of the biggest assets or requirements of you must be — will you really care for the company where you’re a manager. I mean really care and not look over you shoulder [seeing that job as] only part of your progression, a stepping stone for your next job and your next job and relying on the head hunter to get you on to the next. People feel that. They don’t deserve that. They deserve managers who are really committed. I think from all the classes [the working class] is the most honest class of citizen, the most conservative by the way, the most unselfish class of citizen, and a man’s got to believe that because if you don’t believe it they’ll see through it. "I found in the early days that I would have a man come in terribly upset, his work would be wrong and when I took him in to the office (and I can’t take them in the office anymore but my managers do take them in the office and talk to them) I remember that particular fellow, from East London. During the night his son was a bit on the rampage, a lad of 16, the police pounced on him and locked him up. The man had to go to work to earn his living, his son was in prison and he was helpless, he didn’t know what to

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do. I got a solicitor right away, we got his son out, we dealt with him as any other person would have done if he had the time and the money to deal with his own son, as privileged people do. "You see for this man, I have taken care of the side of things that he’s not in a position to – he would be capable if he would have the means - but he was not in a position to take care. This is only one example, oh there are many. You know we have a doctor in every site, once a week every week – not there to cure, but he looks after the people over 45 on a regular basis but anyone who’s worried, might he have cancer, might his girlfriend be expecting, all sorts of things, they come to that doctor in a very confidential way and talk to him. Also they can go to the company solicitors who are completely devoted. I think that is not paternal, I think that is caring for the people who really give their whole day up, the 48 hours, the most prime hours of their week. Otherwise you have to go to the doctor and cue up on your Saturday morning, life is very harassed if you give it up to your employer. "If that is paternalistic then there’s nothing wrong with it. The danger is saying, Look, I don’t want to get involved in their private life, therefore I won’t care and won’t do anything about it. And that’s bad. I do respect their private lives and I’ll give you an example, as a matter not of principal but of fact, I’m not in and out of my colleagues homes. Socially, I really am not involved almost with anyone. People do not invite me to their weddings, they do invite their foreman or manager, I don’t go to their weddings. I think they’re as private as I like to be. I’m very private at home but I think that it is the industrialist’s job to go a bit more in depth than just taking care of the 48 hours.” Man Management address 1980, Chaim Schreiber

“With such incentives, reinforced by company medical services, family functions, sports and welfare services, the Schreiber employees feel they are getting a square deal and appreciate it. Labour turnover is less than two percent a year, well below the average in British industry.” Jerusalem Post, May 9th 1973, Ya’acov Ardon

“There are no freak circumstances to explain away its success with those unorthodox measures. The company is a typical middle-size outfit with 2,800 people drawn from spectrum of the working population, with factories as far afield as Essex and Glasgow. Schreiber has done nothing that could not be emulated by others. “Sales more than doubled in four years. In 1969, they were £8 million; in 1971, £14 million, and for 1972, £22 million. And they have achieved their profit target of over 10% of turnover. The company’s success is based on the efficient production of furniture, using the most up-to-date techniques, and an aggressive, and for the furniture industry, highly unorthodox marketing strategy. “One of the corniest clichés in business is ‘management is people’. It is certainly one to which many piously pay lip service. Few, though, seem to have grasped so soundly what it means as

Work | 1970s


Chaim Schreiber, or had the courage to put it into practice.” Business Administration, May 1973, David Harvey

"In character, people don’t really change. I strongly believe that spots on the leopards don’t change. As a youngster boy scout, later as a student or later on in life — I’ve always had the same sort of motivation. If I’m going to do something it’s got to be worthwhile, it’s got to be very interesting and very pleasurable — I always like to be stretched and that’s when I find myself at my best. And when there’s no challenge I cannot relax. "My hobby is my business is my hobby. I think I’m very fortunate. I don’t look for any other hobbies other than certain sports and my family. I’m terribly involved in my business, in every aspect. Whether it’s [my job as] the main boss, which is really [for] the public, the consumer or for the people who work with me, I work for them as much as they work for me so really we are working together for a company. "I’ll tell you one little thing, you learn why it pays – it really pays to believe and to have equal status and not to be different. There’s a little anecdote that tells you a lot, it has a moral. During the war a Navy battleship was idling and just going from port to port with no excitement. In the officers mess there was a Chinese chinky serving them their tea and whatever they needed. And life was very dull and the servant had pigtails and the officers, just for the sake of fun, would pull his pigtails and annoy him. "One week he couldn’t take it anymore, so he went to the Captain and said: Me leave the ship, next port Hong Kong. So the Captain said: Oh we couldn’t do without you. Oh darling what’s wrong? So the Chinaman tells him: Me don’t like the officers pulling my pigtails. The Captain promised to put that right. The Captain called the officers together. He says Look, if you don’t want to loose your chinky, you better behave yourselves and leave him alone. So they promised they’d treat him better. "The next day, the Chinese chinky was already relieved he’d got it off his chest. He came into the officers mess and nobody took any notice of him. He asked the officers: So what’s the matter, you officers? You no more pull my pigtails? So they told him what happened: The Captain told us if we don’t want to loose you, we mustn’t pull your pigtails. The chinky says, Oh goody goody! You no more pull my pigtails, me no more pee in your tea. You never know how they get their own back, do you?” Man Management address 1980, Chaim Schreiber

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Letter to the Editor

Work | 1970s

But not everyone was such a fan. In a letter to The Sunday Times, June 1st, 1973, J.R Shanley, wrote:

Sir, I express an individual viewpoint but, recently retired from the position of Assistant General Secretary of the Furniture, Timber and Allied Trades union officer after 40 years as a trade union officer in the furniture trade, I have a special interest in the letter from Chaim Schreiber of May 25 on management links with the shop floor. Last April a regional furniture manufacturer’s association organised a weekend school for employers and managers. I was invited to express my views on worker participation! My talk broadly duplicated the terms of Chaim Schreiber’s letter, that there is a division in industry; that management’s job is to manage efficiently; that the union’s job is to negotiate with vigour; that worker’s participation on the board is an evasion of reality. So far, all square. Then I posed the question. If there were four Chaim Schreiber’s in the furniture trade, would it be stable? The temperature dropped at the thought. Chaim Schreiber is reputed to be the biggest furniture manufacturer in Europe. He would still hold that position if he had taken workers on his board instead of taking his board to the shop floor. The cause of Chaim Schreiber’s rapid rise to prominence is that he is an outstanding technologist; also, to use an in term, an entrepreneur of talent, with a genius for finance. In brief, a capitalist of whom Adam Smith would have been proud. If his prime had been in the 1830s he would have built a railway. His activity creates a problem for traditional furniture manufacturers. His impact on the market forces other into his own likeness. The unasked question in his letter is: What will be the result of the drive for technological change of which he is the forerunner if the market for furniture does not expand? An extrapolation of the statistical trends over the last two decades gives substance to my prediction that there will not be such an expansion. Many firms will fall by the wayside even if their management — worker relationships are of the highest order and their products of good quality. The weakest, some of long established reputation, will succumb to the pressure of market forces. But is that not what Capitalism is all about? Your sincerely, J. R. Shanley

A capitalist of whom Adam Smith would have been proud, if his prime had been in the 1830s he would have built a railway


Consumer Slump! “The men felt secure. At least they did until 1973 when Schreiber got caught up in a national consumer slump. His furniture stocks piled up and so did his overdraft. When it reached £7.5 million the banks started to pressure him. In 1974 Schreiber faced the disagreeable consequences of the collapse in demand, which has affected furniture almost more than any other consumer line. Double shift working at Schreiber factories dropped, and the unions were warned by the employee-conscious company to expect heavy redundancies. When the overdraft reached £8 million, Schreiber made a 1,000 workers of the 3,500 redundant, nearly one third of the workforce. “It was a tragedy.” The Risk Business, BBC1, October 30th 1981

“Schreiber’s well-known concern for his workers is not done for philanthropic reasons, as he readily admits. ‘If there are no profits, any efforts to improve industrial relations are worthless. ‘ Thus, his concern did not stop him making almost a third of the workers redundant when demand for his products collapsed last October and interest charges soared. But at least he addressed the workers to explain why he thought the step was unavoidable.

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Schreiber’s flair has carried it far, but it cannot disguise the finance problems which have accumulated

“We had to be realistic, but it was done in the most humane way. I personally addressed most of the factories. We had work-sharing for months, and I think that everyone involved has got another job.” The Financial Times, August 9th 1974, Roy Levine

“If I do have to part company with people, I always promise we give them the first consideration if the job opens up again. The unions asked for last in, first out. That’s very unfair, for whoever was last in - keeps on being last in. No, what we ask, honestly, is who is good or bad for the company? In time-keeping, in general, good work or bad work. We’re being very selfish but very honest about it. But it’s always not who’s good for me, or for the foreman or for the blue-eyed boys.” Man Management address 1980, Chaim Schreiber

“Those made redundant were helped by job advice centres set up in each plant. Schreiber’s flair has carried it far, but it cannot disguise the finance problems which have accumulated." Flexible Working Hours In Practice 1973, Michael Wade

“We’ve shared the anxiety of the past few months and I believe the team spirit that has always existed in Schreiber will pull us through. Many people in the company are wondering what the future holds for us — I wish I could give them some clear and easy answers, but I cannot. Log Magazine, 1973, Chaim Schreiber

“For Schreiber as for his workers the experience was painful and the memory embarrassing.” The Risk Business, BBC1, October 30th 1981w


Smart Ladies Chaim introduced ladies hairdressing facilities at Hotpoint. "When Mr Schreiber took over he told us that he would like to see women in the factory looking as smart as those who worked at Marks & Spencers,” said Mrs Tina Webb, the factory’s shop steward convenor.


C

3

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Merger


Merger An Inspired Marriage “In 1974 the company was still in the doldrums. Schreiber was desperately short of money. And at that point his old friend Arnold Weinstock suggested a deal. Sir Arnold, within his vast GEC (General Electric) empire, had a problem child, his white goods business. British Domestic Appliances, Morphy Richards and Hotpoint, were in a real state: low productivity, poor quality, atrocious after-sales service. In fact it had such a bad name that some electricity boards refused to stock their products. The deal which Weinstock put up was that GEC would help Schreiber out with cash for his furniture business, if in turn Schreiber would sort out Hotpoint.” The Risk Business, BBC1, October 30th 1981

“After making noises about going public for a long time, Schreiber Wood Industries — Britain’s biggest furniture group — has instead thrown in its lot with the General Electric giant. The British domestic appliances arm of GEC is to be merged with the Schreiber business to produce a joint concern with the name GEC Schreiber and a total annual turnover of £81 million. “It looks as if the finance problems worrying so much of industry have finally pushed Schreiber into GEC’s arms. A joint statement today talks about the ‘shortage of cash’ which has ‘inhibited Schreiber’s growth all this year.’ Well, there shouldn’t be many cash problems from now on: GEC has a useful £211 million of ‘quick money’ lying in its balance sheet. “British Domestic Appliances and Schreiber are no strangers to one another. For some years the two have co-operated over the design of their ranges with BDA kitchen equipment matching the kitchen furniture coming from the Schreiber plant. Schreiber’s household furniture and kitchen units sold to the tune of £29 million last year and earned profits of just under £3,000,000 for the company. “Several efforts by chairman Mr Chaim Schreiber to float his company came to nothing. All was set to go in the autumn of 1972, but hopes were dashed by anti-inflation measures. Then last autumn, the October war upset a revised floatation schedule. “Today, a confident Mr Schreiber — he is named chairman of GEC Schreiber, told me: "We still hope to float, though now we may have to wait 4 to 5 years before GEC Schreiber comes to the market.” Evening Standard, August 6th 1974

“The deal was that GEC put Hotpoint into a new company to be named GEC Schreiber, and I put Schreiber Furniture into the company — £10 million, everything I owned. GEC has 62.5% of the equity and I hold 27.5%. I became Chairman and Managing Director."

Work | 1970s


“Schreiber, nominated by Sir Arnold Weinstock as GEC’s domestic appliance supremo, recalls humbler days when he made radiograms cabinets for Weinstock’s Sobell radio concern. In those days, says Schreiber, he “did not dare to think so ambitiously” as to imagine himself running a joint company with Sir Arnold.” August 7th 1974

On August 9th 1974 Michael Sobell wrote to Chaim Schreiber:

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Chaim of hotpoint picture courtesy of Ruthie Morris frps


The Ideas of an Outsider

76 | 77

“Now he had a chance to try out his management strategy on a notoriously difficult workforce with GEC’s comforting millions right there behind him. “When I came in to the White Goods industry some five years ago I found that we’ve lost the economy and scale in this country and the Italians seems to have had it all their way because they have built large factories for the European market in mind. And we gave up. And I couldn’t accept that."

“At the moment the big battle in the White Goods industry is over automatic washing machines. Last year 40% of all automatics came from abroad, mostly Italy and that horrific figure is actually an improvement on the situation two years ago when we imported over half of all the machines sold in Britain. Automatics is still a growing market. This year about 1.2 million machines are expected to be sold; that’s 15% more than last year. “Hotpoint is part of GEC where the White Goods products amount to less than 5% of their total turnover. Hotpoint works from a factory built forty years ago as part of the war effort. It was designed to turnout small parts for aircraft and the result is rather cramped for making washing machines. Here, using virtually every inch of space, just under 2,000 people make around 10,000 washing machines every week. No one would call it an industrial show piece. And the workforce have had to cope with a mass of new ideas, the ideas of an outsider, a furniture maker who knew little of the traditions of the engineering industry.

His philosophy was radical to say the least

“I believe if you start off with the attitude of trusting the people, pay them respect which is so important, and understanding, then you have a workforce who are in co-operation with the management, the achievements are unlimited."

“Assistant Union Convener, Jeffrey Rogers: ‘He came in and said he was going to revolutionise the industry and I think that immediately put people on their guard anyway. You know because someone coming from a totally alien industry and wants to revolutionise our industry so you couldn’t really look at it in that sense. We were immediately suspicious of his intentions’. “Works Director, Jim Mochan: ‘I must admit he made me very nervous; his philosophy was radical to say the least. And naturally [that] made people suspicious, there was a lot of conditioning of people to do. And some people having listened, analysed our thoughts and our views on the philosophy decided that the guy’s either a genius or a madman. And they weren’t staying to find out’. “Assistant Union Convener, Jeffrey Rogers: ‘We always thought we had to fight for things and here was a man who came along suggesting that he was going to give us certain things. So we could only think that he was a madman but then he carried out what he said he would do…’


“We’ve abolished clocking-in. We can’t see any point why workmen should clock in on the shop floor; very often their daughters in the offices do not. Why should they be more trusted than their fathers on the shop floor?"

“The unions’ reaction, though, was cagy. Trades Union activist Gordon Robert, Union Convener 1972-78: ‘We were a bit concerned, ourselves, as a union with the clocking-off’.” The Risk Business, BBC1, October 30th 1981

This phenomenon is best explained as follows:

“John: Supposing someone who’s from a family that isn’t really very healthy find themselves in the middle of an organisation that’s running on very healthy principles. How are they going to feel? “Robin: Not great! For example when Charles Schreiber took over an unhealthy firm and announced he was abolishing ‘clocking’, they threatened to go on strike — they assumed he must be trying to fiddle their pay! Well, in a healthy organisation more allowances will be made for people’s limitations and weaknesses, and there’ll be more support. So over time, people who are less healthy will tend to get more healthy. But it’s obviously a matter of degree: if the discrepancy between the levels of health which the organisation, and the employee, are operating at is too great the employee will find it just too uncomfortable.” Life & how to survive it, published 1993, Robin Skynner & John Cleese

“Trades Union activist Gordon Robert, Union Convener 197278: ‘We were frightened really that our own side would let us down. But apparently that was not the case. Everybody came in on time as they did as if they were clocking-in. That’s his philosophy, you see, it’s a philosophy of trust. He trusts you and he expects you to trust him’. “From the first day at half past seven, the start of the day shift, as far as time-keeping is concerned, abolishing clocking-in made no difference at all. Almost all of the 1500 people that work that shift were already in “Better productivity was achieved by taking the constraints, the constraints are often created by management and not by the unions or by the men. Basically a man is happier to give a good day’s work if you take all the quarrels and the constraints away. I find piece work very constrained because you’re measuring people, it brings a lot of suspicion where there’s new technology. You start arguing about times, instead of working together towards the same aim; the forces are opposite.

Works Director, Jim Mochan: ‘Piece work in my experience has been a bad word in the industry for many years because no matter how slick you are or professional you are in terms of assessing rates, some people will do more than others’. Gordon Roberts, Union Convener 1972-78: ‘We had more arguments with money through the payment by results system than we do now. So the atmosphere changed you see, it’s more

Work | 1970s


relaxed in as much that: a) you felt you were more secure, you felt at the end of the week you’re money’s safe, where prior you could work like hell for four days, you had a good rate, but on the fifth day because your machine had broken down, or you were short on stuff, your money came down. And that was the tragedy of the payment by results’. If they wanted to automate this line, say, well they could do it without weeks of wasteful wrangling and bad feelings. “Works Director, Jim Mochan: ‘I can’t exaggerate the improvement this has brought in terms of allowing us, as management, to plan, to honour our commitments to our customers and to budget accurately. The spin offs are unquantifiable’. But for the worker the result is quantifiable. He knows exactly how much he’ll earn. The main grade, that’s 80% of the workforce, is guaranteed £79.30 a week. A skilled man gets £95.63. Every six months there’s profit share, at the moment that’s 4 days extra pay. On top of that there’s a pay boost during the four week annual holiday. This year (1973) they go time and a quarter, next year time and a half and so on. Until 1982 when it’ll be fixed at double time for holidays. The pay conditions introduced at Schreiber meant that Hotpoint with 100% union membership, managed to get special dispensation from the recent 2 day engineering union strikes. “We believe that the union have got a very important role and that is to try and get the feeling from the members right across industry, not just from a single factory, because certain factories may be better conditions but that’s not always reflected by everybody. And I prefer to work with the unions and the stronger they are, the better, really, the more respect they have from their members. But one must never expect the unions to provide you with better labour relations; that’s up to the management really, they can’t really make people do things which the people don’t want to. “Another thing we’ve introduced was the pay. If people are unfortunate and in a way ill, or from even happy circumstances and need time off, it’s done in a discretionary way that both men and management manage this scheme. And this is why I think it works well."

“It’s called the Sick Committee and it’s certainly Schreiber’s oddest innovation. It meets every Wednesday morning and it alone decides who will get sick pay and who won’t. Every person who lost any time during the previous week is considered by the Sick Committee. Three shop floor workers and three managers decide who really was sick and who was skiving. And if there’s a split vote, the shop steward of the particular department can vote too so the system is very much weighted towards the workers, again reflecting trust. The chairman alternates between management and shop floor. “If you have a bad record you don’t get paid. A bad record usually happens when you take Mondays or Fridays off, making it a long weekend either way. They pay 4 out of 5 people. Before Schreiber came absenteeism was over 11%,

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the risk business, bbc1, 1981


It’s called the Sick Committee, certainly Schreiber’s oddest innovation


now it hovers at about 6%. But the sick committee still has it’s critics. “At Hotpoint morale, if it is related to absenteeism, has measurably improved. Job security has played no small part. Una Roberts, Operator, Wiring Section: ‘Security obviously has improved since Mr Schreiber took over, because we used to have redundancies twice a year. It was very heartbreaking for people to come back after the summer holidays and the foreman coming around with a handful of little brown envelopes, everybody worrying who was going to be next. The same thing happened again at Christmas time, this went on regularly for a number of years’. “The redundancy is a failure from the top. And we’ve got to admit that. Because we’ve failed at the top to sell the goods that the people can produce. How can you ask people for higher productivity and to accept all the new technology that is being offered to us without the fear of higher unemployment; the two things are contradictory.

“Union Convener, Bryan Keates: ‘We don’t use the word redundancy either, we go along for work-sharing rather than make people redundant. And here we have a man that goes along with our cause, he hasn’t made anybody redundant. And I don’t think he intends that. That’s not his line of thought at all’. “We must be seeing an expansion, rather than putting people out of jobs. And this is where it really very often misfires because on the one hand we industrialists are complaining about low productivity by comparison with the Japanese or the Germans, and yet we don’t offer security that the higher productivity will not in any way infringe on the security of people and that is so essential.

“The demolition men are laying the last posts for an already crumbling army camp, and in it’s place a new Hotpoint factory, which in less than two years time will be turning out over 7,000 washing machines a week. It’s a commitment that underlines Schreiber’s faith not only in his own strategy, but in the men that serve him. “Jeffrey Rogers, Assistant Union Convener: ‘Certainly, yeah, it’s worked. And it’s working. It’s not 100% and it’s going to take a long time but basically the problem is educating the people into his philosophy. I mean, that’s from my own point of view now, even within the structure of our own union. Our union was created to fight management and in fact now it’s becoming a liaison role really, alongside management, I think quite rightly. It’s difficult to see how far or how long it will take to educate the rest of the industry but I think it is the right philosophy’. “Schreiber’s success at Hotpoint raises the question: could his ideas work in the rest of British industry? Or could they work even at Hotpoint without the man himself to see it through? Is he a one-off who struck lucky with a dispute weary workforce? Or is he genuinely a gifted and far-sighted

Work | 1970s


manager. Certainly he’s paternalistic and that paternalism too, has tended to reduce the union role in that most important of activities, pay bargaining. Schreiber argues that he makes the best possible offer the company can afford, nothing less. And he reasons that he’s entitled to be trusted in making that offer in the same way as he trusts his workers. Therefore, with minor alterations, there’s no negotiations. You take it or leave it. Yet the fact remains that the overwhelming majority of the Hotpoint workforce believes itself considerably better off since he arrived. Which is all very well as long as the company keeps growing. But what happens if sales drop? Can Schreiber practically pledge no redundancies in a changing world? This is a risk. But the understanding that Schreiber has built up in his factories must be a better basis for running a company than the confrontation we normally hear about in British industry. “I’m working with people now who were recognised to be very militant. So much so that I understand there wasn’t two or three weeks went by without a strike. Now it’s the same people, they’re no different people, are now working so much happier (sic) and doing so much better a job and the company is doing so much better. And I feel myself very happy in that environment, I know no other environment. And I think that is the way.” The Risk Business, BBC1, October 30th 1981

“Industrial relations at the factory, which at one time employed 2,000 people were so bad that the workers were out on strike nearly every week. But now Hotpoint say that workermanagement relations at the factory have improved so much that the mistrust which built up over the years of strikes and redundancy is disappearing. “To show just how much happier the factory has become, they and the unions held a special Joint Press day. Mr John Hudson, the factory’s director, said that the company had already poured £3 million into the plant since Chaim Schreiber, the furniture magnate, took over the company. “ ‘He has brought a direct sort of management which has really worked. We are not laying off people as we had to in the past, which led to the mistrust’ he added. ‘We want to make this factory the best of its type in Europe, and in some respects it already is. The workers have responded well to more enlightened management and we are now getting better output and standard of product’. “Management have introduced a whole package of fringe benefits — without employees having to negotiate for them, including a death grant benefit scheme, a new sickness scheme, and management are considering introducing ladies’ hairdressing facilities. “These changes have meant things like the wedding present scheme, a profit-sharing scheme, an end to piece work and the clocking-in system. A labour-saving suggestion can earn an employee as much as £3,000 and a death benefit and sick pay scheme were introduced. “Under the wedding present scheme, the sons or daughters of employees receive gifts of the firm’s products — like a washing

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the risk business, bbc1, 1981


Why should the daughters in the offices on the telephone be more trusted than their fathers on the shop floor?


machine or furniture — to the value of two weeks’ wages. “There was a lot of suspicion in the engineering industry at first,” said Hotpoint’s personnel manager Edward Frodsham. ‘Mr Schreiber came here in 1974 and brought his philosophy of industrial relations, and since then it has grown up with the company’. Mrs Tina Webb said the factory’s industrial relations record had improved 99% since Mr Schreiber came on. She added: ‘This fellow has worked wonders with the industrial relations record here. Before we used to have strikes every other month. We still have trouble but not serious. Everything runs so smoothly’.” Newspaper unknown, May 1977, John Clark

“We are an industrial country, and our main source of wealth lies in our productivity, yet we have neglected that very side from the beginning of the century."

“That sounds like the rallying cry of disgruntled big businessmen, massing their arguments against trade union intransigence and low worker output, but from the mouth of Chaim Schreiber, chairman and chief executive of Schreiber GEC it is an indictment of top management. “Especially in the last 8-10 years we have been busy creating wealth on paper — but creating very little of the real wealth our neighbours have been creating through efficient investment in both men and materials. Yes, we have made some large investments — but not enough has been directed into manpower in order to make the best use of the plant and equipment we buy. Express & News, January 9th 1976, Mathew Lewin

“Schreiber of Hotpoint, is he the great white hope? For many months now, I (Jack Bennet) said to Chaim Schreiber in my preliminary telephone call, I have felt that Hotpoint is really trying to give the independent parity of terms with the discounters and multiples. Somehow it seemed too good to be true. I feared it wouldn’t last, and frankly I have been slow to acknowledge what seemed apparent because I was sceptical and didn’t want to find myself in the position of having to eat my words. “I continued: ‘Your circular letter to the trade in November appears to commit you firmly. I would like to hear your reasons and the philosophy behind them. Would you be prepared to meet me and answer questions, some of which you may not find to palatable?’ He agreed promptly. “I would like you to come and you may ask me whatever you like."

“So it was at the Baker Street showroom that I met for the first time this informal, relaxed and gentle man whose appearance no doubt masks a man of no mean determination and drive. Although I was late because of traffic problems en route, he

Work | 1970s


showed no concern for the disruption of his timetable. “We chatted over a sandwich and coffee before starting on my list of questions, and I wish I could remember all we talked about. Completely absorbed in the conversation, I eventually remembered to get out my list of questions — and I wondered how many he would answer frankly and without guile. I needn’t have worried; not once did he hesitate. “I began: ‘It would be fair to say that you are almost a legendary figure because your name was a household word in an entirely different industry before you became ‘Mr. Hotpoint’. I want to know a lot more. May we start at the beginning? “In 1974 the marriage took place between Hotpoint and Schreiber. The deal was that GEC put Hotpoint into a new company to be named GEC-Schreiber, and I put Schreiber Furniture into the company — £10 million, everything I owned. GEC has 62.5% of the equity and I hold 27.5%. I became Chairman and managing director. “I found the company had many problems. I inherited diverse operations under fragmented management and couldn’t change things overnight. But my philosophy was unaltered. I brought it with me to Hotpoint, and we have achieved in four years a workforce of 8,500 with a completely strikefree record, of which I am proud. “We have no clocking-in or out and no piece work. I am totally opposed to piece work production incentive because these work against quality. The mortar that holds our bricks together is profit-sharing. Together we have turned a £3 million loss into a profit of more than £4 million. The first essential was recognition by all our people that after-sales service is paramount. In those days we had 2000 service engineers and they couldn’t cope. This was partly due to product defects, but the most important element was a fundamental misunderstanding of human nature. “Our engineers were compelled to make 13 calls a day or they lost their piece work incentives. They were also paid a commission on all spares supplied — a bad principle. The result was that engineers rushed from call to call, never able to spend the time necessary to complete a repair and frequently replacing expensive motors when perhaps a less costly repair would have been in the customer’s interest. “Our philosophy is ‘what is best for the customer is best for us too’. We removed the incentives which were detrimental to the public. Our watchword was and still is, reliability. There was to be no cost-cutting at the expense of product quality.”

“He stopped talking, looked at my notes and said: “You’re a fast note-taker.”

“I agreed. Rigor mortis had set in and the pen seemed locked in my fingers. ‘I have to write so quickly because you speak so quickly, ‘ I said. He said he would slow down. “ ‘How did you discover the service short-comings and the solutions?’ I asked, ‘Bearing in mind your lack of knowledge of this specialist area’. The reply was illuminating:

86 | 87


“We called meetings up and down the country, and I went out to meet our field servicemen. I asked what was wrong and they told me, not mincing words. I explained to them the direction I wanted the company to go. I gained their confidence, but it wasn’t easy at first. Today, with rapidly expanding production and hundreds of thousands of appliances installed annually, our service division stands at 1,600 qualified people. They cope magnificently and honour our commitment to the public with a service second to none. “You know, when I looked around the organisation in 1974, the fridge plant was too clapped out to service. Morphy Richards came first, and now it is equal to any in Europe in efficiency and facilities. On home laundry and refrigeration — the investment was enormous and there had to be a delay before production came on stream. Hotpoint did a deal with Zanussi on a four-year plan to borrow time — time to invest, equip and take over production. This deal was declared to the government and the unions, and our intentions were made crystal clear. “With regard to home laundry, we are now self-sufficient. The last of the Italian machines has been sold. Every Hotpoint washer is now made here. On refrigeration, Zanussi was given notice last year that we will no longer market their models by the end of 1979. We were right to import in the interim. We maintained and greatly improved awareness of our brand. In 1974 we had less than 5% of the fridge market; today it is 20%. “At present we have completed the first phase of re-equipping our Peterborough refrigeration factory, and when the work is finished we shall have invested a further £8 million. We are very proud of the results. Our plant is by no means the biggest but it ranks among the most advanced in the world and is producing equally advanced products. By the end of 1979 we shall be self-sufficient on the full refrigerator-freezer range. “On the home laundry front we are topping 10,000 machines a week, the most we have ever produced. We hope our new investment in North Wales will happen, ad it will double our home laundry capacity. From that I submit our decision to buy in from Zanussi in the interim was justified, and proves the correctness of our planned strategy. “I am like a man in blinkers. I am an industrialist. I have no diversifications, no property empire, no investments; my money is where my mouth is. I want to produce. I could have made much more money by marketing under our own name, imported products, on a permanent basis. That’s not my way. Making money is not everything. I want the total involvement of satisfying the public, the dealer and our workforce. I wouldn’t forego any one of these objectives."

“What sort of management control does the GEC board exercise? “All management decisions are entirely ours. There are certain criteria such as return on capital, business ethics and concern for our relationship with our staff that are discussed if necessary."

“Why do British manufacturers rarely achieve high profits?

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“Because in this country we have our priorities wrong. In order to compete with the Italians in particular we were skimping on specifications and starving our factories of investment. This must be reversed. Britain must produce quality goods again and not be ashamed of demanding a fair price."

“How do you price your products? Schreiber laughed: “It’s very difficult, there are many factors when you produce. We must estimate the market and our share, plan steady production and buy materials, and in the final analysis I suppose we divide our total overheads by the number of machines we budget to make and sell. It’s a great challenge. “Here I must emphasise an important factor. As a brand leader we need exposure and backing by retailers around the country. Without that we have nothing."

“How do you view a net price policy? I continued. “We virtually have it now, he replied. We have one price for everybody in the sense that there are no secret lists, and we give recognition to those dealers who promote us and stock our range in depth. “We have abolished recommending prices and our advertising will quote ‘going’ prices in the shops. Further, from April 1 we will not supply any organisation that does not undertake to properly deliver a major appliance to the customer’s home. No Hotpoint washer, fridge, freezer or dryer will be allowed to be sold on a cash and carry basis … amateurs cause damage.

“Hiding my pleasure at this gratuitous scoop I asked why? “Because amateurs, however well intentioned, can cause damage, sometimes serious damage, and it is the manufacturer who is called upon to put it right. More importantly, we want to stop unfair trading where low prices are advertised — and only when making the purchase or by careful study of the small print does one find hidden extras such as delivery. “I cannot claim a British birthright but I proudly call myself a Britisher. I feel the great responsibility of 8,500 families. We have investments of more than £35 million in this country and its future.”

“He was casually dressed, relaxed and friendly. There was no palatial office, boardroom or directors’ dining room. We ate a sandwich sitting at a dining table that was part of a display setting, surrounded by lounge suites, occasional furniture and, rather incongruously, appliances. “One felt there was absolutely no side or pretension to this man. It was now easier for me to understand how Hotpoint could react to market conditions as quickly as it does. “Another thing I learned there was that there are no agendas, memoranda or letters if they could be avoided. Phone calls were often the only evidence of major discussions and decisions. It is more like the way most independents run their business.

88 | 89


“He was shrewd and thorough though, not surprisingly. He had done his homework. He knew the extent of my account and the comparative business increase over last year. It wouldn’t have surprised me if he had a status report and my last year’s balance sheet.” Electrical & Trading, January 25th 1979, Jack Bennet

“The Worker as Scapegoat: Man who launched a million fridges. Chaim Schreiber, the one-time penniless Polish Jew who launched a million bedroom suites, fridges and washing machines, does not relish personal publicity. He fears he might believe what he reads about himself. “But in the first newspaper interview he has granted for several years, Schreiber spoke to Business Post. Peter Phelps profiles the unconventional industrialist responsible for bringing 1,000 new jobs to a furniture factory in Runcorn and another 900 to a washing machine plant in Rhyl. Schreiber is a man prepared to put his money where his mouth is.

Work | 1970s

If this profile sounds one-sided its because both sides told the same story

“I’m a committed industrialist, he says. And I’m here to expand British Industry."

“ ‘I’ll be sick when he goes. They tell me his grandfather lived to 110 so there’s hope for us yet’. Those words, from a hardbitten union negotiator at Schreiber’s Llandudno Junction Hotpoint factory, do not constitute the usual tribute from an employee to his boss. But then 61-year-old diminutive, heavilyaccented, silver crew-cutted, non-smoking, teetotal, Labourvoting fully paid up union member is not the usual type of employer. “Added another union leader: ‘There is a feeling on the shop floor that because they work for him, nothing adverse will happen to them. They have total faith in the man’. “In return, Schreiber (‘everyone calls me Chaim’) claims to have absolute trust in his 8,500 workers. If this profile sounds one-sided its because both sides told the same story. “Chaim Schreiber does not fit into the British management mould. He has no time for the mouthings of fellow industrialists, damning the domestic workforce and blaming it for the country’s decline. “Instead, he indicts the people at the top, those with money and power to invest. “They do not believe in the future. It’s as simple as that.”

“But what if they lack confidence? “You’re not doing anyone a favour by investing. It’s done to make money. But you must invest in men as well as machines. We are just not industrious enough at the top. We are greatly underselling our workforce. I have never met better workers anywhere and I’ve been everywhere. There are more days lost through strikes in France and Italy than in the UK. We have taken the workforce as a scapegoat for our failures. There is more room for improvement at the top than among the workers."


90 | 91

“He accuses investors of taking the easy way out, of becoming merchants instead of producers. “The intelligence and know-how of our labour force is more valuable than we know. We always think we must know how to tap it or refine it. It doesn’t give the kids much encouragement."

“Schreiber is prepared to put his money where his mouth is. He has no diversions, no personal outside investments, no property empire. “He claims he could have made millions by continuing to import cheap Italian washing machines and selling them under the Hotpoint label. “But the controversial imports, designed to give the company a breathing space in which to gear itself up for increased production, have stopped, as indeed he promised his workers they would. “He says he loves Britain, the country which gave him refuge after he fled from Hitler before the war. He is probably more British than most of the British. Our interview, conducted over a Schreiber table next to a Hotpoint washing machine in the London showroom, started with tea and toasted teacakes. “Investment in the workforce is a Schreiber obsession. New technology should not be allowed to reduce the workforce.

I cannot claim a British birthright but I proudly call myself a Britisher

“It’s no good if a new machine pushes you out of a job. Modernisation must work for all of us. It’s very important to maintain employment. New technology should mean gradual expansion, greater efficiency, lower prices, more pay and fewer hours.” Daily Post, June 13th 1979

“There is no such thing as making people feel different — you’re on the shop floor, you’re a manager, different status. Or — I’m the boss so I’ve got a special parking place for my car. There’s no such thing and that was right from the beginning. The interesting thing is, you know, you grow up and you think that’s the right, natural way, but when you suddenly join a giant - Hotpoint, in a very different industry to what I’ve grown up in (I’ve grown up as a wood chopper although I’m an architect by profession or by training, before I came to this country) and suddenly you’re confronted with different trade unions, different habits, different ways of living. Schreiber organisation has some 2,000 people, and we’ve joined with 6,000, makes quite a difference. “We found that Hotpoint received us with both arms and although I thought it would take me some 2 years before I could persuade them of our way of life, it was less than a year. Within 9 months they were very happy to throw off all their constraint, their shackles they called it, like piece work, clocking in, different canteens (4 different canteens, one for the managing directors with wines, cigars, a chef and a waitress). The excuse was: Well that’s where we entertain important customers who visit us. Down to top management, middle management, supervisors and then the others. Now we’ve reached a place only with only one restaurant, we don’t call it a canteen. “From all that was said to me - the management was the worst. The management were the most difficult guys to persuade, because once


from the risk business, bbc1, 1981


Once you’ve been in industry long enough, you like your little cosy ways


you’ve been in industry a long time you like your little cosy ways. To break that down I became very unpopular and the reasons that they’ve told me are unbelievable, but they just weren’t true. How can we sit together with other people who come in with dirty overalls, with grease on them, the maintenance men, specially the ladies sitting down where the men sat in the same seat. And: The people should have to put a deposit down for the cutlery. How can you trust them? If you issue ash trays and cutlery, they will be pinched.

Work | 1970s

“Well all I can tell you is that none of that is true whatsoever. We have a single status and it’s really one company. We’ve been received with both arms, tremendous trust and now after just over 6 years I find life more appreciated although one doesn’t look for appreciation, really, but it’s been better received than Schreiber, in Schreiber we had it [equality] for a long time already taken for granted.” Man Management address 1980, Chaim Schreiber

“Schreiber dislikes pecking orders. He has cut a lot of the bureaucracy from his company and is abolishing segregated management-shop floor factory canteens. “The same discount on company goods applies to all workers — be they Sir Arnold Weinstock or the sweeper-up.”

“He visits his factories regularly with increased involvement in the Northwest, is having a home built in Chester (see page 271). “It is desirable for me and my people that I should not just be someone stepping off the 10.30 am London train.”

“Although regular meetings take place between directors and shop floor representatives, Schreiber eschew the concept of worker/directors. He thinks they would feel ‘estranged’. “His approach smacks of paternalism. He denies it, but union representatives at Llandudno Junction agreed with my analysis. They did not, however, object. ‘His company is his family. The right to manage the company lies with Schreiber,’ said one. ‘But we are not lap-dogs. He came along with a different approach — sick pay schemes, no clocking-in, profit-sharing. He offered us things we hadn’t asked for’. ” “The latest Schreiber scheme is one in which workers get extra pay when they have holidays. ‘He said we needed more money to spend then,’ said a union official. “It all sounds too good to be true. But Schreiber is not without his critics. A strong-willed and shrewd operator, he knows what he wants and will hold on until he gets as much as he can. The result can be a frustrating saga of on/off expansion plans. “The Runcorn factory plan was conceived in 1972. Only now do conditions look right to the company. The Rhyl development was held up because Schreiber would not proceed until the Office of Fair Trading dropped a case against him. “The issue was a resale price maintenance and involved a discount chain. The matter has been settled with a compromise

opposite electrical & radio trading, April 16th, 1981


but Hotpoint has not been prosecuted. “In October 1978, the TV Eye programme alleged that Chaim Schreiber was the architect of a strategy’ to prevent the British public from buying goods cheaply. Schreiber abolished recommended prices and undertook not to breach the Resale Prices Act but vigourously defends his attitude to pricecutting. “He refers to the ‘so called’ discounters, who, he claims, are really discounting service to the public. He considers that a genuine retailer can advise, demonstrate to the public, install the product and thus satisfy the customer. He considers the ‘so called’ discounters business to be parasitical, relying on the advice and display facilities of genuine retailers. And he particularly objects to his products being used as loss leaders, attracting customers into the shop where they are persuaded to buy cheaper, state-subsidised foreign machines. “I admire the John Lewis Partnership, he said. They have a consistent markup for profitability, to stay in the business and to grow.”

“Only company employees get discounts on company goods. “If my sister-in-law wanted a Hotpoint washing machine I’d send her to the John Lewis Partnership, he said. “What motivated the man to get to the top in such a cut-throat business? The greatest thing was that as a young man, I started with nothing, without a padded background. But it was not a question of making a million. I have just found the third dimension of business, along with investment and return. It’s satisfaction. I’m serving the public."

“He voted Labour, but how does that square with personal wealth? “I believe in freedom, but freedom with a social conscience."

“Is he a wealthy man? “I think so but I’m overdrawn at the bank."

“Schreiber sums up his appreciation of the workforce with an anecdote. In 1973, 150 of his lorry drivers offered to forego a £6.50 a week increase until the company was more profitable. “I found tears in my eyes. Where do you read about things like that? I didn’t accept it of course, but what a gesture. I’d like to see many shareholders offering to forego their dividend to help out.” Daily Post, June 13th 1979, Writer unkown

“I (Jack Bennet) remember my first dealings with the ‘new’ Hotpoint organisation. It was an eye-opener. A customer had a long standing problem with a GEC mobile dishwasher. It was more often out of use than in operation. He wrote in, bitterly disappointed. I telephoned Hotpoint and explained

Work | 1970s


my problem, ‘just a moment’, said the operator, ‘I’ll put you through to Mr Schreiber’. Chairmen and managing directors didn’t, as far as I knew, personally sort out service problems and were insulated from day to day traumas by a barrier that was impenetrable. ‘What’s the problem?’ he asked, and I quickly went through the unhappy history of this defective appliance. ‘Give him his money back in full, scrap the machine and I will send you a cheque today. ‘ He did! “Thinking back, my first impression that he was quite mad [sic] was my own ignorance of the need for him to cut away the cancer of a bad legacy. “My experience in the years since has confirmed my conviction that his honest and genuine desire to produce the best products possible at a reasonable price, is part of his way of life. He is an industrialist, committed to his family of employees, his Hotpoint Centres, and the public who buy his products. To him, each are equally important, and the dramatic improvement in the reputation of Hotpoint is directly attributable to this dynamic, autocratic and yet paternal and gentle man.”

96 | 97

Schreiber dislikes pecking orders: I should not just be someone stepping off the 10.30 am London train

Electrical & Trading, the April 16th 1979, Jack Bennet

left from Hotpoint's spring exhibition, 1982

“In the North of London I went to a Bar Mitzvah. A man comes up to me, he says Mr Schreiber, I was going to write to you but now that you’re here I must tell you, I’ve been trying to get a Hotpoint engineer to come over for months; finally I called and he came. I asked him: What happened to your company? Suddenly I could get through to you on the telephone! It was always a terrible thing to get through, usually I would have to wait a week or longer for an engineer. But now, they ask me when do you want an engineer, I said today, and here you are, 4 Ó clock over here. What’s more, you’ve got all the parts and you’re leaving me with a working machine. What happened? Have you got a new managing director? The engineer told me: Yes, his name is Chaim Schreiber, he’s Jewish, mind you, but he’s one of us. “That’s true you know! It’s a little embarrassing. And that’s the sort of spirit you get. They hardly know me, but they know we’re meaning well, the managers who don’t work my way must’ve worked themselves out, they must have left by me now. You know what I’m saying must be the right thing, mustn’t it? You can’t legislate for a good working relationship. You can’t do it any other way. And that’s why we’re tearing ourselves apart in this country, there’s all these confrontations, aren’t they? Shouldn’t we, all


the risk business, bbc1, 1981


I’d have a bad democracy preferred to the best dictatorship, having lived through one


together as a country, work as one company. It can be done you know, because the enemy is really outside us, isn’t it? “I have to do things because circumstances force me, against my grain. Yes, if what we want to achieve is less strikes and harder working and longer hours and less pay — short term we might, even by accident, achieve it. But long term we’re going to pay for it very dearly. We’re paying now for the bad days two generations back, I’m sure of that. I haven’t been in this country that long but I’m sure most constraints are from the bad old days where people could just send people home, do what they like, really rough them up and when we’re succeeding to make a change only for the very short term, to my mind we’re achieving nothing. “I hate what’s happening really, but mind you I still wouldn’t leave to any country in the world. I’d still have a bad democracy preferred to the best dictatorship, having lived through one. All I can tell you as the one who’s organised it is, that I’ve got to put down the right railway lines to run the right direction and have a good vehicle running on it." “I know people have been approached for substantially more money and they just wouldn’t leave me. If you really want to be a successful manager than stop looking after your career. It’s a terrible thing to ask you, but you will, in the end, succeed more. You will or you will not believe me that when I started in the industry the furthest thing from my mind was to be a millionaire. Right as a youngster I never was working for money. When I started in industry I enjoyed every minute of it. I really left everything in the business, no messing about with shares, profits property nothing like that. I’ve overtaken all of my friends who have been putting something away for later, I’ve overtaken them. But I didn’t go out to get it. I believe strongly in creating wealth because if you create wealth you create for everybody." Man Management address 1980, Chaim Schreiber

Work | 1970s


Wait for your Wages

100 | 101

But things didn’t always go so smoothly, there were hiccups along the way.

“Wait for your Wages: Furniture makers Schreiber told 800 workers yesterday that there was not enough cash to pay their wages. According to union officials, the workers, in eight factories, were asked to wait another two weeks. Schreiber, which specialises in bedroom, lounge and kitchen furniture, told the monthly-paid workers that the company had a cash flow problem. “ ‘What that means is they haven’t enough money to pay us’ said the firm’s Manchester convenor, Mr Phil Davies. ‘But we have been given guarantees that the men will eventually get their wages. We aren’t happy about it, but at the moment there is not a lot we can do’. “He added that weekly-paid workers had received their wages as usual. A month ago the firm put some workers on a oneday week. The rest were told to work on a ‘week on, week off’ basis. “Then 95 redundancies were announced to the 270 workforce at the Bolton factory, 350 jobs were axed at the Manchester factory employing 700 men, and 150 jobs have been lost at the firm’s headquarters in Hounslow, Middlesex, where about 500 are employed. “Schreiber blames the crisis on a massive slump in the furniture trade. “Convenor Mr Davies said: ‘The goods are not selling. We blame it on high interest rates, the strength of the pound and cheap imports. About £255 million worth of goods came in from abroad last year mainly from Third World countries, Eastern Europe and EEC dumping’. “He said that so far 40 redundancies had been saved in Manchester, and industrial action is being considered. The firm refused to comment last night.” Daily mail, July 5th 1980

His name is Chaim Schreiber, he’s Jewish mind you but he’s one of us


Sara's collection


The Italians have it all their way The foreign imports were persisting as a very real threat to British White Goods and Hotpoint was having trouble keeping up. On November 15th, 1978, in a letter to the Prime Minister, James Callaghan, Chaim Schreiber wrote:

Dear Prime Minister, As Chairman and Managing Director I am responsible for the progress and prosperity of this Company, which occupies a significant position in the domestic electrical appliance industry. I am currently concerned with the future development of the Home Laundry Division, which is based in Llandudno employing 1,800 people, which represents the major industrial employer in that area. I, personally, am a member of the NEDO Sector Working Party for this industry and in my approach to matters industrial I am a dedicated industrialist with a firm belief and trust in the British working man and a commitment to improving working conditions and employment prospects for all those who come within my sphere of responsibility. My company stands at the crossroads in the development of Home Laundry manufacture. We have drawn up plans for an extension of facilities in North Wales involving a capital outlay of some £18 million and the employment of an additional 900 persons. This plan has been give financial approval by our ultimate parent, the GEC, but the commercial viability remains something for which we must take responsibility. As a member of the Sector Working Party I fight with others for the industry to be given a chance to prove itself. Not by financial support for potential ‘lame ducks’, but by providing an atmosphere in which the efficient can show their true colours. Yet the tide of foreign imports is allowed to continue unchecked and can stifle our initiative at birth. We really are too naïve in this Country. We examine the products of our Italian competitors in an effort to determine whether there is evidence of ‘dumping’. Dumping in itself is no longer a cause for complaint within the Common Market itself, quite apart from being practically impossible to define or demonstrate. As a British manufacturer, however, I can distinguish for you between the efficient ‘Indesit’ and the unscrupulous ‘Candy’ and ‘Bendix’. Uncommercial practices can be demonstrated. Quite simply, the competition is unfair coming from nonviable companies. The fault is of our own making to a considerable extent. In no other European country does there exist an organisation like the British Electricity Council, which acts as an independent retailer whilst representing to the consumer the face of an official government body and nationalised industry. Should we really expect to find anything but British-made products on display in such premises? There is a classic case history now on record whereby the ‘Candy’ washing machine was established in this country through the support and respectability given it by being on show in the Electricity showrooms. It was bought at prices which ‘could not be refused’ by the Boards, justified, we are informed, by their need to remain competitive in the High Street.

Work | 1970s


’Bendix’ is still considered by the housewife to be a British product, and this has been confirmed by market research. Yet the original British factory has been closed for some years and the product sold under that label is imported from an Italian factory, which is making losses underwritten by Bosch, although they no longer own it. It all sounds very complicated, but these are the facts of life.

104 | 105

I have said that I stand at the crossroads of development in North Wales. To progress it is necessary to invest, but I do not feel I have the right to risk investment money, government grants and the well-being of those already employed by undertaking expansion unless there is a very clear indication that the government will act positively against the import pressure, which cannot be rolled back by industry alone. We do not seek subsidy, but a three year period of grace for our own efficiency to make up lost ground and establish itself and not be stifled at birth. We need a little more patriotism from the Electricity Boards. We need, in short, some reassurance and we will do the rest. I understand that you will be meeting the Italian Prime Minister in the near future and I urge that an effort be made to grant the British domestic appliance industry some positive relief in order to demonstrate its own ability. Yours sincerely, C S Schreiber

left portrait of Chaim from Sara's collectoin


Runcorn Factory

Work | 1980s

By 1978, with the help of GEC, the company was back on it’s feet and prosperous. It was time for Schreiber to build a new factory.

“Schreiber are to go ahead with their £18 million factory development at Runcorn, helped by a £5.5 million grant from the Government. It should begin production of kitchen and bedroom products by mid 1979. The scheme is probably the largest single development in the British furniture industry and will give Schreiber an extra 50% production capacity, Chaim Schreiber told CM last Friday. “The ‘on/off’ factory was originally purpose-built for Schreiber on the Runcorn development site some 6 years ago. It won expansion, at a time when the total furniture market is showing only minimal growth, Mr Schreiber told CM: “The standard of living in this country will rise; if you are the leader in a market you must help expand the entire market and lead the way by giving consumers good products, delivery, display and guarantees."

“Schreiber have had no short time working since the threeday week and current order intake is still rising, obviously a factor which has added to the company’s confident plans for expansion into Runcorn.” Cabinet Maker & Retail Furnisher 1978

“Schreiber’s new factory: Schreiber’s have recently opened a new factory at Runcorn at a cost of £18 million. The factory is on a 24 acre site with space for further development. The factory has won two international awards for structure and design.” Ellsmore Port News, Cheschire, November 8th 1979

“This week’s announcement by Schreiber Furniture of an 18 million pound investment in a new factory at Runcorn must carry with it some cheer for the industry at large, which has in the past benefited from the bullish attitude of this market leading company. In an industry with a production total around £800 million, an £18 million factory is a very major investment and one which Schreiber claim will give them an extra 50% capacity, at a time when home demand for furniture is showing only slight growth. The company’s plan is to partly use this extra production to meet their growing export orders, but their home market is buoyant too. What is it that makes this massive organisation aloof from the major trends which seem to hit the remainder of the industry? Perhaps it is just its size which enables it to roll over unfavourable markets and perhaps even create a better market of its own volition. “But perhaps more significant is that as a company, it is quite a phenomenon in itself, the brainchild of one of the three men who originally set it up, now commanding international respect; and it is an important part of that major group GEC. But still that one man — Chaim Schreiber — is very much

The factory has won two international awards for structure and design


110 | 111

in the driving seat. His philosophy towards both men and products is unique — other have tried to copy, but perhaps without realising that it is a natural and personal style of one man. His market philosophy helps too — not only Schreiber itself but the industry at large. Their policy is to promote to the ultimate customer, create a vacuum of demand and then fill it with products. This formula has worked and Schreiber manages to show very real growth against the market trend and without doing ‘special deals’ with many of the country’s multiples which other manufacturers would give their eye teeth to supply.

p 107 - 111 from Sara's collection

Perhaps the asnwer to the small businessman is to stop being small “Size, brand awareness and the personal dynamism of the man does perhaps override many of the obstacles which face other companies. Perhaps courage must be high on that list for the new factory is really not new. Some six years ago it was built for Schreiber Furniture, they pulled out and now come back in when the company growth plans look right. Membership of GEC must help too — they are putting up about one third of the capital, Schreiber Furniture another third and the Government, wishing to help alleviate Merseyside’s 11% unemployment, the remainder. “Perhaps the answer to the small businessman and all the problems that have beset him in recent years is to stop being small. It would appear that the same difficulties just cease to exist with size, although undoubtedly others crop up in their place.” Cabinet Maker, June 16th 1978


Mrs Thatcher & Mr Schreiber On March 6th, 1980, Chaim and his wife Sara were invited to have dinner with the Prime Minister, Mrs Margaret Thatcher, along with some fellow industrialists.

On the day after the dinner, Chaim wrote the following letter to the Prime Minister:

Work | 1980s


Hotpoint protest

112 | 113

But foreign imports still persisted as a looming threat, leading the Hotpoint workers to protest.

Workers pledge support for Chaim Schreiber in every direction “When the topical formula is for industrial action and confrontation, an occasional reversal strikes a positive note of encouragement in the cause of good industrial relations. “Instead of lobbying parliament in pursuit of ‘justice’ for a pay claim, to protest against redundancies or to indict incompetent management, Hotpoint trade unionists demonstrate in favour of their employer’s policies which they argue are proving successful in the market place. “The Hotpoint workers were calling on their MP to secure government help for the Welsh washer factory’s expansion programme. Chaim Schreiber has warned that the investment plan, with sums of between £11 million and £18 million being quoted, might not be implemented because of the inability of Hotpoint to compete with the low cost machines brought in from Italy. “The unions seek recognition of this problem and action to solve it. But the chief of Candy in Milan, the manufacturer named previously by Mr Schreiber as sending in subsidised machines, denies this and points to Candy’s high productivity as the prescription for success. He also deplores the ‘emotive pressures’ on his company to limit exports to Britain. “Emotive or not, the issue is obviously very real to the Hotpoint factory workers who have pledged support for Chaim Schreiber in every direction.” Electrical & Radio Trading, March 22nd 1979


Free Plugs! One of Chaim’s real innovations in terms of designing products, an innovation that is very much still with us, was to sell domestic appliances complete with the … plug. Once upon a time, appliances were sold plugless and the customer would have to have it fitted by an electrician. Hotpoint and Morphy Richards, with Schreiber in the driving seat, changed all that.

“Morphy Richards plans ‘Firm Distribution Policy’: Free Plugs! Mr Schreiber says he is very happy with MK plugs which are attached to all Hotpoint and Morphy Richards appliances. Despite a first mistake, which he says cost about £1 million, he has received tremendous encouragement from both retailers and customers ‘who write congratulating us on the sensible thing we have done, making it all worthwhile’.” Electrical Wholesaler, March 1980

Work | 1980s

The innovative idea to sell domestic appliances complete with  a plug


Personality of the Year

114 | 115

“Revolutionary Businessman: Few can claim to have shared the platform with the Duke of Edinburgh and the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Very Rev. Robert Runcie. One who has is Mr Chaim Schreiber, chairman and managing director of Schreiber Ltd, now within the GEC fold. “He was one of the speakers at the seminar of the Industrial Society in London. He showed how the ‘we’ and ‘they’ outlook has been reduced in his companies by improved conditions and incentives for the workforce. “Mr Schreiber is a colourful figure well-known throughout the furniture and electrical trade. Last year he was nominated the electrical trade’s ‘Personality of the Year’. “His success came from innovations both in manufacturing and design, and in his revolutionary labour relations methods. He is frequently to be seen on the shop floor in old trousers and a sweater. He is also a dab hand at magic. Not at all the classic notion of ‘boss’.” Jewish Chronicle, April 17th 1981

Few can claim to have shared the platform with the Duke of Edinburgh and the Archbishop of Canterbury


The Powerful Medium of the BBC In a letter on November 9th 1978, Michael Blakstad of the BBC wrote:

Dear Mr Schreiber, I don’t know if you are familiar with a series of programmes made as an offshoot of ‘Tomorrow’s World’ — entitled ‘The Risk Business’. Our basic aim is to cover industrial subjects in a way as far removed from confrontation and instant crises as we can achieve. Your name has been mentioned to me as someone with considerable entrepreneurial experience and working in a sector of industry which we have never covered, (and about which I know very little). Would you consider taking a little time off in order to brief me on the subject with a view to a possible edition of ‘The Risk Business’ some time in the future? Can I stress this is strictly a tentative approach, and we are far from having any fixed plans for covering this subject at the moment. I look forward to hearing from you. Yours sincerely, Michael Blakstad The show went ahead, much of it is quoted here in this book. After it had aired, Chaim received the following letter dated November 1st 1979:

Dear Mr Schreiber, Thank you so much for all your help and co-operation. I hope that you enjoyed the programme as it finally went out and that it was not too crammed with disastrous inaccuracies. I was very impressed by your new factory, and as I left the driver told me very enthusiastically that he’d worked for all sorts of people and nobody had ever come out and said hello and sent out packed lunches like that before. So you see you are making converts every day. It has been a great delight to know you; I hope Hotpoint/ Schreiber continues to thrive and spread its good influence. To which Chaim replied:

I watched the TV film together with my family and have had reactions from individuals from different walks of life, from Stanhope Gate to the wives and families of our workforce. To all, the programme came through as a serious and honest study which held their interest throughout. Particularly interesting were comments from the Trade Union leaders who thanked me for showing through the powerful medium of the BBC that the Unions are not all destructive and that they do react responsibly to trust and involvement. I pass on these thanks to you who were responsible for achieving this image. As for the bosses to whom I have spoken, some Chairmen of large public companies thought it fantastic but felt that their management (by which of course they meant themselves) did not have the confidence to try the experiment.

116 | 117


The Jewish community were particularly delighted that the image of one of their brethren, a declared Polish Jew, reflected credit on all their people and a contribution to the society in which we live. All these different aspects of success are due to the hard work and belief in the subject that you and your film crew brought to the programme and I congratulate you for the success that it was and for the artistry with which you extracted a meaningful contribution from my own nervous performance. For me the most pleasing part was to listen to the unprompted remarks by the Llandudno workforce. This makes all our efforts worthwhile. Would you please pass on my thanks to the crew and to all those connected with the programme and I hope that now that it has screened, you have got ‘Schreiber-itis’ out of your system. Kind regards, Chaim The responses to the show were enthusiastic. Sir Michael Sobell wrote the following letter:

My dearest Chaim, [My wife] and I were thrilled to watch your TV programme the other evening. It was very well presented and we were most impressed by all we saw and heard. Several people I have since met were of the same opinion. My dear Chaim, you have made your mark on the industrial scene and I am very proud of you! May you be spared many more years with good health and happiness together with your dear wife to continue the good work you are doing in many spheres. We send you our warmest regards and all good wishes, Very sincerely, Michael Another letter, from a friend, went like this:

My Dear Chaim, I am sure you will be inundated with congratulations from well-wishers after the Risk Business programme, but I just had to add mine. Within five minutes of the end of the programme, I had a call from a friend who said he was just about to buy a washing machine and now it must be a Hotpoint. I am proud to have known you and to have believed in you before the miracle began to work at Hotpoint. Affectionately, Ruth Edwards “Schreiber’s ‘risk’ is a hit: In the frank ‘Risk Business’ documentary programme on BBC1 last Wednesday, writes Jack Bennett, Chaim Schreiber emerged just as he is: a sincere man who does his own thing. The earlier part of the programme was virtually a rerun of my interview with him this year

Work | 1980s


I hope now you have got Schreiber-itis out of your system


published in ERT. “Unfortunately the wider audience this time was not given the benefit of his philosophy on discounting and marketing which I think could have been fairly included as a vital element in a programme devoted to ‘risk’. “However we were shown that he treats his workforce as equals, entwined with the claim that industrial problems invariably originate from the top. It was a pity that Hoover had to be used as a direct comparison with Hotpoint. Hoover came out of it badly. Heaven knows they can do with some good publicity. Let’s hope that Leyland and most other big manufacturers were glued to the TV screens that evening. There were many lessons to be learned. “At this moment it appears unquestionable that Schreiber is indeed the personality of the decade where the white goods industry is concerned. But such is his modesty that he would be the first to deny it. “Praise for Chaim Schreiber’s performance on ‘The Risk Business, ‘ came quickly from one major industrial rival. Paul Murphy, managing director of Candy said: ‘It was in my view a masterly exposition of turning industrial relations into what they really are — good human relations’. “It made compulsive viewing enhanced by some fascinating titbits — such as Chaim Schreiber’s apparent belief in socialism and his paternal attitude to shop floor organisation and rewards. Above all though, the programme, Schreiber’s TV debut as it were, stands as a remarkable tribute to the man. Its worth in terms of goodwill for Hotpoint is indeed incalculable.” Newspaper Unknown, November 8th 1979, Writer Unknown

“Last Night’s View: Trust is a word one hears rarely in industrial relations today but it is the key to successful management. This philosophy of Mr Chaim Schreiber, a Polish Jew of furniture fame, was examined in The Risk Business on BBC1. Does Hotpoint’s success owe a lot to the charismatic qualities of Schreiber himself? While he does not deny that he plays a paternalistic role, he argues that his philosophies could be applied elsewhere’.” Glasgow Herald, November 1st 1979

“Hotpoint formula to be studied: Trade Union leaders from the Hoover washing machine factory at Merthyr Tydfil — cradle of Kier Hardie’s pioneering socialism — are travelling to Llandudno Junction tomorrow for a lesson in industrial relations from their rival comrades who make the Hotpoint washing machines. “Hotpoint’s unconventional but smooth running relationship between management and the 1,800 workforce was highlighted last week in a BBC TV documentary which compared the two washing machine empires, and the way in which they were coping against foreign competition. “Chaim Schreiber, whose office is a table in one of his public

Work | 1980s

His baffling formula for success is now spilling over


showrooms, gave a rare interview. His baffling formula for success is now spilling over. Shop stewards from Hoover’s Merthyr factory, where the workforce of 4,000 is 1,000 less than this time last year, are meeting the Llandudno Junction workers committee tomorrow to hear more about their success pattern.” The Daily Post, November 7th 1979, Ivor Wynne Jones

“If you’ve seen the film Risk Business it contrasts Hotpoint vis-à-vi Hoover. Within 2 days the chairman of Hoover said that they had a request from their shop stewards at Myrther to visit our Hotpoint factory, would I allow that? I said we would welcome them. Without me being there the shop stewards got together, they exchanged notes, I understand there’s a marked difference has happened [sic] in Hoover but it has to happen from the top. Because in a company where staff men are allowed to have one major appliance free per year, and the shop floor men are not allowed any, that can’t be right. “If we would really not succeed then we wouldn’t have been heard of. I did not go to the BBC and ask, usually I’m known to be a shy man of the media, but they came to discuss imports. And they found much more depth than just imports. And then talking to me gave them the thought to create this Risk Business film.” Man Management address 1980, Chaim Schreiber

120 | 121


Smoke and you're Fired!

Work | 1980s

At a time when there was an ashtray on every coffee table, Chaim was the first to ban it in his factories and his home. He despised the habit. He had creative, incentive-based programs to help his friends and employees to stop smoking — offering to donate generous amounts of money to the smoker’s choice of charity, should they quit.

“Overnight, yesterday’s hero had become today’s villain. In place of genial employer Dr Jekyll, there stood the ferocious boss Mr. Hyde. Tea breaks cut; no smoking on the job, canteen subsidy scrapped. Could these fierce edicts affecting Hotpoint factory workers really be coming from the same boss, Chaim Schreiber, who abolished clocking-in, created a profit-sharing bonus scheme, introduced extra pay for holidays, scrapped terms such as ‘shop floor’ and ‘workers’ insisted on the single word ‘staff’. “There was no mistaking the 62 year-old Schreiber. The only change was in the telltale trace of father-like patience in the heavy accent he brought out of Hitler’s Austria in 1938.

I am a leopard, I have not changed my spots

“Mr Levy, do you agree a leopard doesn’t change it’s spots? You do. Good. Then let me tell you that I am that leopard. I have not changed either. I feel about my staff exactly as I have always felt about them: that they are not people who go to work but fathers and brothers and sisters and mothers. They are entitled to respect."

“That has always been his view, since he founded the Schreiber kitchen furniture empire — now linked with Hotpoint — half a lifetime ago. Why then has he taken the apparently penny-pinching steps that are causing so much comment? He answered in a word: “Efficiency. In the last few weeks as I have walked through the factories I realised more than ever how ridiculous it is for staff who use their hands to smoke at the same time — chain smoke even. Two years ago I had begun talking about stopping smoking on the production line. And now I knew it was the time to act. But smoking has not been banned. If someone feels the need for a fag they can leave the line and have one. We are creating special seated areas where they will be able to have a smoke and a cup of tea- we’ve had them at Schreiber for years although there, of course, there was an added security factor because of the wood. “And what is all this fuss about cutting tea breaks? There is fuss outside the factories, but no fuss inside them. Production is affected by stopping the production lines so that everyone can have tea. The new way will not stop people from having tea or whatever they like from the vending machines whenever they like — although we don’t want people to abuse that. So what have I done that’s so terrible? Tell me."

“But what about cutting canteen subsidies and ending hairdressing facilities in working hours?


“I didn’t make these decisions alone, you know, but in consultation with the staff. They know just as I know that we have to make savings and improve efficiency. Companies like ours can’t rely on the government for help, or restricting imports. We must help ourselves. So that is all I am aiming at. And don’t you think the staff want this as much as I do?"

“Schreiber was talking from the factory at Peterborough where last week he addressed a mass meeting of 1,200 workers for half an hour. “They did not boo me, they cheered. No, I don’t feel like a villain. Not at all. I am not a sad man today, far from it. I do not view the new ideas I introduced into industry — and which others have copied — as a failure. I built my business on trust. That trust has been a great success, and our set-backs of the moment are purely temporary. I am not a hard man. But efficiency is what is needed more than ever. We are in control of the situation and we will win. “The greatest strength any business can have, is trust and understanding. I trust and understand my staff. I think they feel the same way about me."

“Schreiber does have the support of his staff in his general strategy but many are irritated by the tea break and smoking changes.” Daily Express, September 5th 1980, Geoffrey Levy

“Gasps as the boss stubs out smokers. Workers were fuming yesterday after their company imposed a ban on smoking. Union leaders claimed they were issued with the ultimatum: ‘Where there is smoke you could be fired’. The ban was slapped on 1,000 employees by the company’s non-smoking teetotal chief, Mr Chaim Schreiber. “Yesterday he was out of the country on a business trip, but a spokesman said: ‘The rule applies to everybody working at the factory. Appropriate action will be taken against those who ignore it. Workers are allowed to smoke during their own time only and that’s at lunch and tea breaks’. “Smoker Mr Frank Peacock, area organiser of the General and Municipal Workers’ Union, said: ‘This will drive some people up the wall. They can’t be expected to stop smoking just like that’.” Daily Express, September 2nd 1980, Philip Belsham

“Shop Stewards at the Hotpoint electrical appliances factory at Peterborough are to meet Mr Chaim Schreiber, the company’s managing director, today to hear his reasons for introducing a no-smoking rule and cutting fringe benefits. “In common with other white good manufacturers, Hotpoint faces severe foreign competition. The Peterborough and Llandudno plants are on a three-day week and the Swinton plant is working two days. “Hotpoint has cut its workforce to about 5,000. Recently 150 workers were made redundant at the Peterborough factory which now employs about 1,200. Fringe benefits scrapped as part of the cost-cutting exercise include the withdrawal

122 | 123


of hairdressing facilities, the scrapping of credit at company shops, the freezing of holiday premium pay at 50% instead of the planned 75% and reduction in special payments. An absenteeism target of 3% of the workers away at one time has also been set. “The no-smoking ban appears to have aroused the strongest opposition from the unions. Mr Schreiber said last night that the ban was introduced because smoking interfered with new production techniques introduced at the factories.” Financial Times, August 4th 1980, Gareth Griffiths

“The factory boss who banned smoking to boost productivity has now stopped afternoon tea breaks. He said the cuts, which affect more than 3,000 workers, were aimed at boosting productivity by 30% to ensure the company’s survival. At the moment the factories are on a three-day week. “Workers have been told they will be sent home without pay if they smoke at any time apart from lunch or the one remaining morning tea break. “Men are at their most efficient when using both hands, a teetotaller. The sacrifice was necessary to save jobs."

“The smoking ban, in particular, annoys them. They claim that far from improving productivity it will worsen it. ‘Work will be lost because smokers will start chewing their nails’, said General and Municipal Workers’ Union official Harry Peacock’.” Newspaper unknown, September 1980, Derek Horn

Work | 1980s


Shoe Swap When staying in hotels, Chaim liked to swap the shoes that were left outside hotel rooms at night to be polished, so that in the morning people found someone els's shoes outside their door!


pter 5- ch a

Travel of the Fifties


Travel of the Fifties Let’s roast in the sun Chaim's business making radio and TV cabinets was very successful and by the early fifties he and Sara had transformed themselves from penniless refugees orphans to wealthy parents of 3 (Ruthie, Judy and David). Chaim's one pleasure outside of his business was travel, and he usually took Sara with him. The children joined too during the school holidays. Chaim loved to travel, he was a sun-worshipper. He suffered from psoriasis, a skin condition which is alleviated by the sun. When times were good, Chaim and Sara travelled very often, even every other week. They journeyed in style and luxury and did their shopping along the way, clothes from Paris, stockings from Switzerland. In those days hotels gave out labels as souvenirs. Sara documented each trip with a dated label in an album which is presented here in full, showing each of their many trips, with some photos and pictures from family films in between.

Away | 1950s


130 | 131


Away | 1950s


132 | 133


Away | 1950s


134 | 135


france august 1952


italy august 1954


italy august 1954


51

138 | 139

Dec 51

Hotel Windsor — Paris

France

Dec 51

L’Hermitage Megeue

France

Dec 52

Hotel Le Bristol — Paris

France

May 52

Hotel Metropole — Brussels

Belgium

Aug 52

Hotel Dulac

France

52 Jul 52 Alassio

France

53 Jan 53

Hotel Belvedere St Moritz

Switzerland

Aug 53

Estoril Palacio Hotal

Portugal

Dec 53 — Jan 54

Hotel Belvedere St Mortiz

Switzerland

Dec 53

Baur Au Lac — Zurich

Switzerland

Jan 54

Hotel Lancaster. — Paris

France

May 54

Hotel d’ Anv gleterre — Copenhagen

Denmark

Jun 54

Hotel Le Bristol — Paris

France

54

May 54 Regina-Hotel — Hanover

Germany

Aug 54 Viareggio

Italy

Aug 54

Regina Carlton Hotel — Rome

Italy

Oct 54

Plaza - Athénéé — Paris

France

Oct 54

Hôtel Quirinal — Rome

Italy

Oct 54

Hotel Ristorante Villa dei Pini

Italy

Oct 54

Excelsior Hotel

Naples

Oct 54

La Pineta

Capri

Oct 54

San Somenico Palazzo — Taormina

Italy

Oct 54

Centrale Corona — Catania — Sicily

Italy

May 55

Hotel Flora — Rome

Italy

May 55

Hotel Phoenicia

Malta

May 55

Albergo Casino Uaddan — Tripoli

Libya

May 55

Carlton Hotel — Athens

Greece

May 55

Hotel du Cap — Antibes

France

May 55

Park Hotel — Istanbul

Turkey

Aug 55

Excelsior Palace Hotel — Venice-Lido

Italy

Aug 55

Grand Hotel de l’Europe

Austria

Aug 55

Hotel Erzherzog Rainer — Vienna

Austria

Oct 55

Reid’s Hotel — Funchal

Madeira

Oct 55

Estoril Palacio Hotel

Portugal

Oct 55

Hotel Fenix — Madrid

Spain

Oct 55

Hostal Bon Sol

Spain

Jul 55

Hotel Excelsior — Vienna

Austria

Jul

Hotel Excelsior — Cattolica

Italy

Dec 55

Hotel Barbados

Barbados

Jan 56

Hotel Biltmore — New York

USA

Jan 56

Fontainebleau — Miami

USA

May 56

Hotel Le Bristol — Paris

France

55

55

56

a list of the dates, hotels and locations of Chaim & Sara's travel, according to Sara's album of labels


Away | 1950s


140 | 141


family film 1950s


Away | 1950s


144 | 145


chaim & david Barbados 1956


They were amongst the first to take holidays in the most southerly point of Israel, in the first hotel ever set up there, the Eilat Hotel

chaim & david eilat israel 1958


family film 1950s


They travelled in style and in luxury and did their shopping along the way, clothes hand made in Paris, stockings from Switzerland


Away | 1950s


150 | 151


family film


Florence On a trip to an alltime favorite, Florence, Italy. Up until 1954, when she got married, Sara’s younger sister, Esti, lived and travelled with the family. This film was taken in the mid-fifties with their friend, Harry Popper.


chaim & judy Arosa Switzerland 1958


Aug 56

Strand Hotel

Norway

Aug 56

Stora Hotellet

Sweden

Aug 56

Stadshotelle Sweden

Aug 56

Grand Hotel

Sweden

Aug 56

Grand Hotel Hagland — Göteborg

Sweden

Aug 56

Excelsior Hotle — Rome

Italy

Oct 56

Hotel Deutscher hof — Nurnberg

Bavaria

154 | 155

57 Jan 57

Hotel Le Bristol — Paris

France

Mar 57

Modern Hotel — Joigny (Yonne)

France

Mar 57

Roy Rene — Aix-en-provence

France

Mar 57

Grand Hotle Mediterranee — Alassio

Italy

Mar 57

Grand Hotel Duomo — Milan

Italy

Mar 57

Excelsior — Lugano

Switzerland

Mar 57

Hotel Métropole — Pas de Calais

France

Mar 57

Grand Hotel Nord

France

Mar 57

Hotel Le Bristol — Paris

France

Apr 57

Grand Hotel Duomo — Milan

Italy

Apr 57

Hotel Lancaster — Paris

France

Apr 57

Hotel du Cap — Antibes

France

May 57

Europaischer — Hanover

Germany

Jun 57

Eden Roc — Cap D’antibes

France

Jun 57

Grand Hotel — Alassio

Italy

Jun 57

Hotel Garni — Bali

Indonesia

Jul 57

Hotel 3 Könige + Post

Jul 57

Grand Hotel Du Lion D’or — Rems

Germany

Jul 57

Hotel Garni — Bali

Indonesia

Aug 57

Hotel Astoria — Stresa

Italy

Aug 57

Motel Agip — Voghera

Italy

Aug 57

Hotel Couronne — brigue

Switzerland

Aug 57

Hotel Windsor — Paris

France

Nov 57

Hotel Le Bristol — Paris

France

Dec 57

Carlton Hotel — Johannesburg

South Africa

Dec — 57

Grand hotel — Cape Town

South Africa

Dec 57

Claridges — Durban

South Africa

Jan 58

Sharon Hotel — Herzlia

Israel

Jan 58

King David otal — Jerusalem

Israel

Jan 58

Luthje’s Langham Hotel — Joburg

South Africa

Jan 58

Hotel Acropole Palace — Athens

Greece

Jan 58

Hotel Du Rhone — Genèva

Switzerland

Feb 58

George V — Paris

France

Apr 58

Villa D’este — Lac De Como — Cernobbio

Italy

May 58

Juan les Pins — Le Grand Hotel

Maupassant

May 58

Hotel Le Bristol — Paris

France

July 58

Excelsior — Lugano

Switzerland

July 58

Excelsior Palace — Lido Venezia — Venice Italy

58

July 58

Hotel Francia Europa — Milano

Italy

Aug 58

Hotel Ben Yehuda — Haifa

Israel

Aug 58

Sharon Hotel Herzlia

Israel

Aug 58

Hotel "Roll" — Beer Sheva

Israel

Chaim & Sara often wintered in St. Moritz, neither of them skiied but the children did


Chaim & Sara spent much of their holidays at the beach or by the pool

family film 1950s


ruthie, chaim, david, judy, sara excelsior palace hotel venice 1958


Aug 58

Hias House in the Negev

Israel

Aug 58

Eden Hotel — Jerusalem

Israel

Aug 58

Dan Hotel — Tel Aviv

Israel

Aug 58

Le Grand Hotel Maupassant

France

Aug 58

Eilat Hotel

Israel

Aug 58

Hotel du Cap — Antibes

France

Aug 58

Hôtel d’Angleterre — Lyon-perrache

France

Aug 58

Pavillion Heri IV

France

Oct 58

Nice Hotel Adriatic

Oct 58

Auberge de la Calanque — Cannes

France

Oct 58

Hotelr de France — Antibes

France

Oct 58

La Brise Marine

France

Oct 58

Majestic Cannes

France

Oct 58

Hotel Francia Europa — Milan

Italy

Oct 58

Grand Hotel Duomo — Milan

Italy

Oct 58

Hotel Garni — Lausanne

Switzerland

Nov 58

Reichsbahn-Hotel & Bahnhof — Stuttgart

Germany

Nov 58

Hotel Le Bristol — Paris

France

Dec 58

Soissons — l’hotel dela croie d’or

Dec 58

Hotel Rigi-Kilm

Switzerland

Dec 58

Hotel La Terrasse — Pontarlier Doubs

France

Dec 58

Bellevue Palace Berne

Switzerland

Dec 58 — Jan 59

Baur Au Lac — Zurich

Switzerland

Jan 59

Tschuggen — Arosa

Switzerland

Mar 59

Hotel Imperial — Vienna

Austria

Mar 59

Reichsbahn-Hotel & Bahnhof — Stuttgart

Germany

Jan 59

Hotel Le Bristol — Paris

France

Apr 59

Hotel Bruggli — Arosa

Switzerland

Mar 59

Tschuggen — Arosa

Switzerland

Apr 59

Hotel Suisse — Genève

Switzerland

Jul 59

Hotel Le Bristol — Paris

France

Jul

Trianon Palace — Versailles

France

Aug 59

Hotel Francia Europa — Milan

Italy

Jul 59

Hotel de Savoíe — Grenoble

France

Aug 59

Villa Cortine Palace Hotel

Italy

Aug 59

Excelsior Palace — Lido Venezia — Venice

Italy

Aug 59

Grand Hotel Terme

Italy

Aug 59

Memlinc Hotel

Belgium

Oct 59

Majestic Cannes

France

59

59

158 | 159


family film 1950s


Beach Trick Ayala Finn, Chaim’s grandaughter recalled: Zeide (Grandpa in Yiddish) would let us run out into the sea and then he would move back along the beach a few meters, every time we weren’t looking. Everytime we looked back at him he was further and further away, so we thought we had swam very far!


Gun Point “Chaim used to buy his wood veneers in France. On one of the visits I came with him and he introduced me to the others. They didn’t believe I was his wife, they thought I was an escort girl. We all had drinks. Chaim got the bill, it was mad — a daylight robbery. There was a big argument, someone spoke Polish and Chaim spoke back in Polish. As a fight started to break out, Chaim put his hand in his trouser pocket, pointed two fingers at them as though he had a gun, and turned to me: ‘Come on, let’s go’. They thought he was pointing a gun at them, and we got out safely.” interview 2010, Sara Schreiber

family film 1950s


this page & opposite Juan Les Pins France 1959


Away | 1950s


166 | 167


In the Driver's Seat Chaim was a notoriously nervous passenger. On his travels in Italy, he had a private chauffeur who drove him. Chaim was forever scolding him for driving too fast or too recklessly. On one such occasion, after Chaim commented on his negligent driving, the chauffeur got really annoyed and shouted angrily, "You know what? You drive!" He then pulled the entire steering wheel out of place and handed it to Chaim. He had had the car pre-fitted with a foot steering system, just so he could enjoy the look of horror crossing Chaim’s face.


x i s r e t -chap

S Y RNE

JOUo f the S E I T X I S


Away | 1960s


170 | 171


Away | 1960s


172 | 173


Journeys of the 1960s

Away | 1960s

60 Dec 59 — Jan 60

King David Hotel — Jerusalem

Israel

Jan 60

Sharon Hotel — Herzlia

Israel

Jan 60

Hotel Le Bristol — Paris

France

Mar 60

Badrutts Palace Hotel — St Moritz

Switzerland

Mar 60

Hotel Francia Europa — Milan

Italy

May 60

Eden Roc — Cap D’Antibes

France

Jun 60

Hotel Le Bristol — Paris

France

Jun 60

Excelsior Palace Hotel — Venise-Lido — Venice Italy

Jun 60

Hotel Imperial — Vienna

Austria

Jun 60

Hotel Le Bristol — Paris — Vienna

Austria

Jun 60

Hotel Le Bristol — Paris — Marseille

France

Jul 60

Hotel Zion

Israel

Jul 60

Sharon Hotel — Herzlia

Israel

Aug 60

Kings Hotel Jerusalem

Israel

Aug 60

Hôtel-relais des Compagnons de Jéhu

France

Sep 60

Hotel Le Bristol — Paris

France

Oct 60

Hotel De Castiglione — Paris

France

Oct 60

Majestic Cannes

France

Nov 60

Hotel Le Bristol — Paris

France

Dec 60

Baur Au Lac — Zurich

Switzerland

Dec 60

Carlton Hotel — Cannes

France

Dec 60

Excelsior Hotel — Rome

Italy

61 Dec 60 — Jan 61

Dan Hotel — Tel Aviv

Israel

Jan 61

Hotel Eilat

Israel

Jan 61

Kings Hotel — Jerusalem

Israel

Feb 61

L’Hermitage Mégèue

Feb 61

Hotel Du Rhone — Genève

Switzerland

Feb 61

Schloss Hotel — Pontresina

Switzerland

Feb 61

HotelHess — Engelberg

Switzerland

Feb 61

Bau Au Lac — Zurich

Switzerland

Feb 61

Palace Gstaad

Switzerland

Feb 61

Fluela SportHotel — Davos-Dorf

Switzerland

Feb 61

Hotel City — Basel

Switzerland

Apr 61

Hotel Terminus — Lausanne

Switzerland

Apr — May 61

Hotel Le Bristol — Paris

France

Apr — May 61

Eden Roc — Cap D-Antibes

France

Apr — May 61

Hotel du Cap — Antibes

France

Jun 61

Accadia Hotel

Israel

Jun 61

King David Hotel — Jerusalem

Israel

Jun 61

Gelai Kinnereth Hotel — Tiberias

Israel

Jul 61

Hotel Legris et du Parc — Fontainebleau

France

Aug 61

Hotel du Cap — Antibes

France

Aug 61

Eden Roc — Cap d’Antibes

France

Aug — Sep 61

Villars Palace

Sep 61

Royal Monceau Hotel — Paris

France

Sep 61

Grand Hotel — Amiens

France

Sep 61

Park Hotel — Grenoble

France

Dec 61

Carlton Hotel — Cannes

France

Sep 61

Hotel du Cap — Antibes

France

Chaim decided to ship his Bentley over to Israel for his son David's Bar Mitzvah trip It was probably the only fancy convertable in the country


top Chaim, his son David, Dayan Swift, Leo Graham & Rabbi Kehaneman, the Ponevizer Rav outside the Poneviz Yeshiva in Bnei Brak (in Chaim's Bentley) bottom Chaim, Dayan Moshe Swift, Rabbi Kehaneman founder of Poneviz


Away | 1960s


176 | 177


this page & opposite California 1965


California 1965


Oct 61

The Summit of New York

USA

Oct 61

The Royal Orleans — New Orleans

USA

Jan 63

Hotel de Paris — Monte-Carlo

Monaco

Feb 63

Hotel du Cap — Antibes

France

Feb 63

Dan Hotel — Tel Aviv

Israel

May 63

Eden Roc — Cap D’Antibes

France

Jun 63

Excelsior Palace — Lido Venezia — Venice

Italy

Jun 63

Grand Hotel Duomo — Milan

Italy

Jun 63

Savoy Hotel — Zurich

Switzerland

Jun 63

Danieli Royal — Excelsio — Venice

Italy

Jun 63

Eden Roc — Cap d’Antibes

France

Jul 63

Hotel do Buincho

Portugal

Jul 63

Hotel Atlantico

Portugal

Aug 63

Hotel Le Bristol — Paris

France

Aug 63

Hotel du Palais — Biarritz

France

Aug 63

Hostal de los Reyes Catolicos — Santiago de Compostela

Aug 63

Hotel Ritz

Portugal

Aug 63

Grande Hotel da Fugueira

Portugal

Aug 63

Relais de Campagne — Route du Bonheur

Aug 63

Hotel Westminster — Paris

Israel

Oct 63

Ritz — Barcelona

Spain

Nov 63

Amsterdam Hiltion

Holland

Nov 63

Hotel Son Vida

Spain

Dec — Jan 63

Carlton — St Moritz

Switzerland

Jan 63

Hotel Son Vida

Spain

Jan 63

Bau Au Lac — Zurich

Switzerland

Jan 63

Splendide-Royal — Aix-Les-Bains

France

Feb 63

The Sands — Las Vegas — Navada

USA

Feb 63

Arizona

USA

Feb 63

Grand Canyon — Arizona

USA

Feb 63

The Beverly Hilton — California

USA

Feb 63

Hawaiian Vilage Hiltion — Honolulu

Hawai

Feb 63

Fairmont Hotel & Tower — San Francisco

USA

Feb 63

Hotel Pierre — New York

USA

Feb 63

Arizone Biltmore — Phoenix — Arizona

USA

Apr 63

Excelsior Hotel Gallia — Milan

Italy

Mar 63

Hotel Lancaster — Paris

France

Mar 63

Hotel Mark Hopkins — San Francisco

USA

Mar 63

The Waldorf Astoria — New York

USA

May 63

Hotel Le Bristol — Paris

France

Jun 63

Hotel Le Bristol — Paris

France

Jul 63

Hotel Le Bristol — Paris

France

Aug 63

Grand Hoteld Bahia

Spain

Aug 63

Danieli ROyal — Excelsior — Venice

Italy

Nov 63

Hotel Le Bristol — Paris

France

Nov 63

Hotel le Paris — Monte-Carlo

Monaco

Dec 63

Hotel Le Bristol — Paris

France

Dec 63

Splendide — Lugano

Switzerland

Dec 63

Hotel du Rhone — Genève

Switzerland

Dec 63

La Résidence — Megève

France

Dec 63

Baur Au Lac — Zurich

Switzerland

62

63

180 | 181


Away | 1960s


182 | 183


family film 1960s


Antibes France 1960s


Dec 63

Suvretta House — St Moritz

Switzerland

Dec 63

Grand Hotel Duomo — Milan

Italy

Dec 63

The Statler Hilton — Dallas

USA

Jan 64

The Fabulous Flamingo — Las Vegas — Nevada USA

Feb 64

King David Hotel — Jerusalem

Israel

Feb 64

GaLei Kinnereth Hotel — Tiberias

Israel

Feb 64

Sheraton Hotel — Tel Aviv

Israel

64

Feb 64

Dan Carmel — Haifa

Israel

Feb 63

King David Hotel — Jerusalem

Israel

Apr — May 64

Hotel du Cap — Antibes

France

Apr — May 64

Eden Roc — Cap D’Antibes

France

Aug 64

Badrutts Palace Hotel — St Morritz

Switzerland

Aug 64

Hotel Principle & Savoia — Milan

Italy

Aug 64

Excelsior Palace — Lido Venezia

Italy

Aug 64

Hotel Intercontinental — Genève

Switzerland

Dec 64

Shaw Park Beach Club — Ochorios — Jamaica West Indies

Jan 65

The Royal Orleans — New Orleans — Louisiana USA

Jan 65

Hotel Pierre — Marques — Acapulco

Mexico

Jan 65

Continental Hilton

Mexico

Jan 65

The Beverly Hilton — Beverly Hills — California USA

Jan 65

Fairmont Hotel & Tower — San Francisco

USA

Jan 65

Americana Hotel — Miami Beach

USA

Mar 65

King David Hotel — Jerusalem

Israel

Mar 65

Dan Hotel — Tel Aviv

Israel

Aug 65

Excelsior — Lido — Venice

Italy

Aug 65

Cristallo Palace Hotel — Cortina

Italy

Aug 65

Grand Hotel Regina — Grindelwald

Switzerland

Aug 65

Hotel Europa — Cortina — D'anpezzo

Italy

Aug 65

Wald Hotel Vaaduz

Lichtenstein

Sep 65

Plaza-Athénée — Paris

France

Sep 65

Eden Roc — Cap D'antibes

France

Dec 65

Hotel Copacabana — Rio De Janeiro

Brazil

Dec 65

Plaza Hotel — Buenos Aires

Argentina

Dec 65

Hotel Casino — San Rafael

Uruguay

Dec 65

Victoria Plaza Hotel — Montevideo

Uruguay

Dec 65

Country Club Lima

Peru

65

66 Jul 66

The Four Seasons Motor Hotel

Toronto

Jul 66

The Queen Elizebeth — Montreal

Canada

Jul 66

The bayshore Inn — Vancouver

Canada

Aug 66

Calgary Summit — Calgary

Canada

Aug 66

The Century Plaza Hotel — Los Angele

USA

67 Mar 67

The Sharon Hotel — Herzlia

Israel

Mar 67

The Paris Hilton

France

Jul 67

Eden Roc — Cap D'antibes

France

Aug 67

Hôtel d'Angleterre — Grenoble

France

Aug 67

Excelsior Hotel — Florence

Italy

Aug 67

Cavalieri Hilton — Rome

Italy

186 | 187


family film 1960s


1960s, Antibes, South of France


Sep 67

Hotel de Paris — Monte Carlo

Monaco

Sep 67

Eden Roc — Cap D'antibes

France

Oct 67

La Réserve de beaulieu — Monte-Carlo

Monaco

Nov 67

Accadia Grand Hotel — Herzlia

Israel

Dec 67

Barbados Hilton

Barbados

Dec 67

El Panamá Hilton — Panama

USA

Jan 68

Hotel Le Bristol — Paris

France

Jan 68

Hotel de Paris — Monte Carlo

Monaco

Jan 68

Hotel Don Pepe — Marbella

Spain

Jan 68

Nassau Beach Hotel — Nassau

Bahamas

Jan 68

Trinidad Hilton

West Indies

Feb 68

Grand Hotel — Cannes

France

Feb 68

Hotel Du Paris — Monte Carlo

Monaco

Feb 68

Century Hotel — Antwerp

Belgium

Mar 68

Hotel Klosterbräu — Seefeld — Tyrol

Austria

Mar 68

Sharon Hotel — Herzlia

Israel

Sep 68

Hotel Bauergrumwald — Venice

Italy

Sep 68

Hotel Elisabethpark — Badgastein

Austria

Sep 68

Hotel Excelsio — St. Gilgen

Austria

Oct 68

Hotel Elmansour — Casablanca

Morroco

Oct 68

Hotel Du La Mamounai — Marrakesh

Morroco

Oct 68

Hotel Miramar — Mohammedia

Morroco

Oct 68

Hotel Alay — Costa del Sol

Spain

Nov 68

Accadia Grand Hotel — Herzlia

Israel

Nov 68

King David Hotel — Jerusalem

Israel

Nov 68

Tel Aviv Hilton — Tel Aviv

Israel

Dec 68

Hotel Francia Europa — Milan

Italy

Jan 69

Barbados Hilton

Barbados

Jan 69

Jolly Beach Hotel — Antigua

West Indies

Feb 69

Mount D'Arbois — Megève

France

May 69

Shereton Hotel

Malta

May 69

Hotel Cala Di Volpe Costa Smeralda

Sardinia

May 69

Grand Hotel Duomo — Milan

Italy

May 69

Quisisana e Grand Hotel — Capri

Italy

May 69

Eden Roc — Cap D'antibes

France

Jul 69

Miramare Beach Hotel — Corfu

Greece

Jul 69

Corfu Palace Hotel — Corfu

Greece

Jul 69

Grand Hotel Duomo — Milan

Italy

Jul 69

Grand Hotel and La Pace — Monte Catini Terme Italy

Jul 69

Royal Hotel — San Remo

Italy

Jul 69

Hermitage — Fortedeimarmi

Italy

Jul 69

Hotel Intercontinental — Geneva

Switzerland

Jul 69

Gstaad Palace Hotel — Gstaad

Switzerland

Jul 69

Grand Hotel Mediteranian — Riviera Dei Fiori Italy

Oct 69

Grand Hotel Duomo — Milan

Italy

Oct 69

Villa Cortine Palace Hotel — Lagodigadra

Italy

Oct 69

Four Seasons Hotel — Netanya

Israel

Oct 69

Tel Aviv Hilton — Tel Aviv

Israel

Dec 69

Barbados Hilton

Barbados

Dec 69

El Conquistador Hotel and Club

West Indies

Dec 69

Fontainebleau Hotel — Miami Beach — Florida USA

68

69

190 | 191


As if we were gods “On one visit to Tripoli, Chaim and I did our famous telepathy trick. He left the room, and we all decided on an object he had to find. Our host wore a long white coat, as they all did, and underneath it he had a big bunch of keys. We chose one of those keys as our object. When Chaim came back in, we were all sitting in total silence. I ‘communicated’ with him via ‘telepathy’ and he found the key. They thought it was miraculous and started bowing to us, with both hands forward. It was scary the way they did that, as if we were gods.” interview 2010, Sara Schreiber

family film 1960s

Away | 1960s


They thought it was miraculous and started bowing to us


Away | 1960s


194 | 195


Away | 1960s

family film 1960s


196 | 197


Away | 1960s


198 | 199


Concord Dr Benji Schreiber, Chaim’s grandson reminisced: To explain the term ‘average’ to me Zeide (Chaim) once said: "I've been on Concord twice, your other grandfather's been on Concord never. So on average, your grandfathers have been on Concord once".

Avital Schreiber Levy, Chaim’s grandaughter: Whenever we passed the model Concord, which for many years stood by the approach to Heathrow airport (outside London), I couldn’t understand how he (Chaim) fit in that tiny plane. The only way would have been for him to lie down inside it, which was how I imagined him travelling from then on.


-Chapter

7

-

Trips of Sevent the Eightiiees & s


Away | 1970s


202 | 203


Trips of the 1970-80s 70 Jan 70 Jan 70

Plaza- — Paris Tel Aviv Hilton — Tel Aviv

France Israel

Mar 70

Hotel de Paris — Monte Carlo

Monaco

May 70

Los Monteros — Marbella

Spain

Jul 70

Mount D'Arbois — Megève

France

Jul 70

Eden Roc — Cap D'antibes

France

Jul 70

Royal Hotel — San Remo

Italy

Jul 70

Hotel Intercontinental — Geneva

Switzerland

Aug 70

Tel Aviv Hilton — Tel Aviv

Israel

Aug 70

Eden Roc — Cap D'antibes

France

Aug 70

Paris Hilton — Paris

France

Aug 70

Royal Hotel — San Remo

Italy

Nov 70

Hotel Don Pepe — Marbella

Spain

Jan 71

Sun-n-Sand — Bombay

India

Jan 71

Hotel Oberoi Intercontinental — New Delhi

India

Jan 71

Mount Lavinia Cabana

Ceylon

Jan 71

The Mandarine Hotel — Hong Kong

China

Jan 71

Manilla Hilton — Manilla

The Phillipines

Jan 71

Royal Tehran — Tehvran

Iran

Jan 71

Hotel Siam Intercontinental — Bangkok

Thailand

Jan 71

Hotel Intercontinental — Geneva

Switzerland

Jan 71

La Résidence — Megève

France

Mar 71

Grand Hotel Duomo — Millan

Italy

Mar 71

Palace Hotel — St.Moritz

Switzerland

Mar 71

Hotel de Mar

Mar 71

Hotel Formentor — Mallorca

Spain

Apr 71

Tel Aviv Hilton — Tel Aviv

Israel

May 71

Hotel Tannenhof — Baden-Baden

Germany

May 71

Grand Hotel Summer Palace — Rhodes

Greece

May 71

Cyprus Hilton

Cyprus

Jul 71

Estorial Palace Hotel — Estorial

Portugal

Jul 71

Hotel du Cap — Antibes

France

Jul 71

The Four Seasons Hotel — Netanya

Israel

Jul 71

Tel Aviv Hilton — Tel Aviv

Israel

Aug 71

Mount D'arbois — Megève

France

Nov 71

Grand Hotel — Cannes

France

71

Nov 71

Eurotel

Nov 71

Apartotel — Melia Castilla

Spain

Nov 71

Hotel Los Gigantes — Tenerife

Canary Islands

Nov 71

Hotel Laspalomas Oasis

Canary Islands

Nov 71

Hotel Barajas — Madrid

Spain

Dec 71

Barbados Hilton

Barbados

Dec 71

Holiday Inn San Lucia

West Indies

Dec 71

Martinique Hilton — Martinique

West Indies

Jan 72

Holiday Inn — Antigua

West Indies

Jan 72

Hotel Fontainbleu — Miami Beach — Florida

USA

72

Away | 1970s


Taj Mahal Agra India 1971


Away | 1970s


206 | 207


Away | 1970s


208 | 209


Away | 1970s

British Airways sticker with Shimon Peres's signature May 1977


210 | 211


Feb 72

Hotel Le Bristol — Paris

France

Feb 72

Intercontinental — Geneva

Switzerland

Feb 72

Résidence de Luxe — Crans

Switzerland

Mar 72

Grand Hotel Dolder — Zurich

Switzerland

Mar 72

Hotel Park — Arosa

Switzerland

Mar 72

Hotel Le Bristol — Paris

France

Apr 72

Four Seasons — Netanya

Israel

Apr 72

Tel Aviv Hilton — Tel Aviv

Israel

Apr 72

Plaza Athénée — Paris

France Israel

May 72

Tel Aviv Hilton — Tel Aviv

May 72

Plaza Athénée — Paris

France

Jun 72

Dan Caesarea Golf Hotel — Caesarea

Israel

Jul 72

Eden Roc — Cap D'Antibes

France

Aug 72

Plaza Athénée — Paris

France

Jan 73

Brown hotel — Denver

USA

Jan 73

Holiday Inn — Aspen — Colorado

USA

Feb 73

Dolder — Grand Hotel — Zurich

Switzerland

Feb 73

Baur Au Lac — Zurich

Switzerland

Feb 73

Hotel Park — Arosa

Switzerland

Mar 73

HÔtel du Mont D'arbois — Megève

France

Apr 73

The Four Seasons Hotel — Netanya

Israel

Apr 73

Istanbul Hilton

Turkey

Apr 73

Tel Aviv Hilton — Tel Aviv

Israel

Apr 73

Cavalieri Hilton — Rome

Italy

Apr 73

Istanbul Hilton

Turkey

May 73

Tel Aviv Hilton — Tel Aviv

Israel

May 73

Cavalieri Hilton — Rome

Italy

Jun 73

Cavalieri Hilton — Rome

Italy

Jul 73

Eden Roc — Cap D'Antibes

France

Jul 73

Hotel Diplomatic — Barcelona

Spain

73

Jul — Aug 73

Hotel Don Pepe — Costa Del Sol — Marbella

Spain

Aug 73

Athens Hilton — Athens

Greece

Aug 73

La Réserve Geneva

Switzerland

Sep 73

Plaza Athénée — Paris

France

Sep 73

Hotel de Paris — Monte Carlo

Monaco

Dec 74

HÔtel Plaza Athénée — Paris

France

Dec 74

The Breakers — Palm Beach — Florida

USA

Dec 74

Palm Springs — Spa Hotel — California

USA

Jan 75

Century Plaza Hotel — Los Angeles — California USA

Jan 75

Rancho La Costa — California

Jan 75

Miami Beach — Americana of Bal Harbour

USA

Jul 75

Hótel Intercontinental — Geneva

Switzerland

Jul 75

Hotel du Cap — Antibes

France

Jul 75

Grand Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat

France

Jul 75

Hotel Diététique Quiberon

Jul 75

Le Mas D'Artugny

France

Aug 75

Brenners Park Hotel — Baden-Baden

Germany

Sep 75

Tel Aviv Hilton — Tel Aviv

Israel

74

75 USA

Away | 1970s


Sep 75

Moriah Hotel — Dead Sea

Israel

Oct 75

Hotel Bauer Grunwald — Venice

Italy

Oct 75

Palace Hotel — Milan

Italy

Jan 76

Century Plaza

Jan 76

Kahala Hilton — honolulu

Hawaii

Jan 76

Hotel Intercontinental — Auckland

New Zealand

Jan 76

Wentworth — Sydney

Australia

Feb 76

The Hotel Parmelia — Perth

Australia

Feb 76

Shngri-La Singapore

Singapore

Feb 76

Plaza Hotel — Antwerp

Belgium

May 76

Hotel Gellért

Budapest

May 76

Interhotel Alcron — Praha

Czechoslovakia

May 76

Hotel Apolo — Valasske Mezirici

Czechoslovakia

May 76

Hotel Alexandria — Luhacovice

Czechoslovakia

Jun 76

Grand Hotel — Moskva Pupp

Czechoslovakia

Jun 76

Hotel Schloss Velden — Wörthersee

Austria

Jun 76

Hotel Steirerhof — Graz

Austria

Jun 76

Imperial Hotel — Vienna

Austria

Jun 76

Hotel Bayerischer Hof — Lindau

Germany

Jun 76

Hotel Royal — Deauville

France

Oct 76

Four Seasons Hotel — Netanya

Israel

Oct 76

Rimon Inn — Safed

Israel

Oct 76

Tel Aviv Hilton — Telv Aviv

Israel

Dec 76

Hotel Princesa Sofia — Barcelona

Spain

Jan 77

Hostal De La Gavina — Du Costa Brava

Spain

Jan 77

Hôtel Plaza Athénée — Paris

France

Jan 77

Hotel Europa — Cortina D'anpezzo

Italy

Feb 77

Palace Hotel — Milan

Italy

Mar 77

Hotel Klosterbräu — Seefeld — Tyrol

Austria

Mar 77

Anif — Salzburg

Germany

Apr 77

Jerusalem

Israel

Jun 77

Hotel Cipriani — Venice

Italy

76

77

Jul 77

Hostal De La Gavina — Du Costa Brava

Spain

Jul 77

Eugenie-Les-Bains Landes

France

Jul 77

Shâteaude Riell — Molitg-les-Bains

France

Aug 77

Hotel Cipriani — Venice

Italy

Aug 77

Valparaiso Palace Hotel — Mallorca

Spain

Aug 77

Hotel du Paris — Monte Carlo

Monaco

Dec 77

Hostal De La Gavina — Du Costa Brava

Spain

Dec 77

Shereton Hotel — Tel Aviv

Israel

Dec 77

Moriah Hotel — Dead Sea

Israel

Dec 77

Plaza Hotel — Jerusalem

Israel

Dec 77

Tel Aviv Hilton — Tel Aviv

Israel

78 Apr 78

Four Seasons Hotel — Netanya

Israel

May 78

Jerusalem Plaza — Jerusalem

Israel

Aug 78

Hotel Le Bristol — Paris

France

Aug 78

Hotel du Cap — Antibes

France

Sep 78

Ritz Hotel — Paris

France

212 | 213


Away | 1970s


214 | 215


Away | 1970s


216 | 217


bologna 1981


Sep 78

Paris Hilton

France

Sep 78

Hotel Klosterbräu — Seefeld — Tyrol

Austria

Sep 78

Sheraton Hotel — Munich

Germany

Nov 78

Hotel Meridien — Lyon Satolas

France

Nov 78

Hotel Majestic — Cannes

France

Dec 78

Palace Hotel — Milan

Italy

Dec 78

Tel Aviv Hilton — Tel Aviv

Israel

Dec 78

King David Hotel — Jerusalem

Israel

Dec 78

Tibireas Plaza

Israel

Dec 78

Galeikinnereth Hotel — Tiberias

Israel

Jan 79

Hotel Le Bristol — Paris

France

Jan 79

Tel Aviv Hilton — Tel Aviv

Israel

Jan 79

Mösern — Tirol

Austria

Jun 79

Hotel D'angleterre — Copenhagen

Denmark

Jul 79

Grand Hotel Del Mare — Bordighera

Italy

Jul 79

Grand Hotel Miramare — Portofino

Italy

Jul 79

Grand Hotel Dianna — Alassio

Italy

Jul 79

Hotel Villa Magna — Madrid

Spain

Aug 79

Brown Palace Hotel

USA

Aug 79

Winnipeg Holiday Inn — Winnipeg

Canada

Aug 79

Ritz Carlton — Chicago

USA

Aug 79

The Vail Athletic Club Hotel and Spa — Vail

USA

Sep 79

Summit Hotel — New York

USA

Nov 79

Hotel Villa Magna — Madrid

Spain

Jan 80

Houser Hotel — St.Moritz

Switzerland

Jan 80

Le Bristol Hotel — Paris

France

Mar 80

Park Hotel Crombach — Rosenheim

Germany

Mar 80

Hotel Podhoram Bistrice

Czecheslovakia

Mar 80

Hotel Österreichischer Hof Salzburg

Austria

Mar 80

Park Hotel Gutenbrunn — Kurstadt

Austria

May 80

Maria Isabel Sheraton Hotel — Mexico City

Mexico

May 80

Al Presidente — Chapultepec

Mexico

May 80

Continental Hilton

Mexico

May 80

Hyatt

Mexico

May 80

Las Hadas Manzanillo

Mexico

May 80

Hyatt Regency — Houston — Texas

USA

May 80

Hotel Fontainbleu — Miami Beach — Florida

USA

Jun 80

Grand Hotel Dolder — Zurich

Switzerland

Jun 80

Baur Au Lac — Zurich

Switzerland

Jul 80

Hotel Miguel Angel — Madrid

Spain

Jul 80

Puerto Sotogrande

Spain

Aug 80

MÖsern — Tirol

Austria

Aug 80

Park Hotel Crombach — Rosenheim

Germany

Aug 80

Hotel An der Oper — Munich

Germany

Aug 80

Brenners Park Hotel — Baden-Baden

Germany

Nov 80

Amstel Hotel — Amsterdam

Holland

Nov 80

De Keyser Hotel — Antwerp

Belgium

Nov 80

Tannenhof — Baden-Baden

Germany

79

80

Work | 1930s


QE2 Cruise 1982


Away | 1970s


222 | 223


Away | 1970s


224 | 225


Away | 1970s


81

226 | 227

Apr 81

Hotel Imperial — Vienna

Austria

Apr 81

La Réserve — Geneva

Switzerland

Apr 81

Grand Hotel — Cannes

France

Apr 81

Roy Rene Aix-En-Provence

France

Apr 81

Hôtel Plaza Athénée — Paris

France

Jun 81

Tel Aviv Hilton — Tel Aviv

Israel

Jun 81

Jerusalem Plaza — Jerusalem

Israel

Jul 81

Cadena Hotel — Cadena

Spain

Jul 81

Hotel Sotogrande

Spain

Aug 81

Conde de Orgaz — Toledo

Spain

Aug 81

Hotelles Enturas Alfonso XII — Serville

Spain

Oct 81

Sidi Saler Sol — Valencia

Spain

82 Apr 82

Noga Hilton International — Geneva

Switzerland

Apr 82

Hotel Des Bergues — Geneva

Switzerland

May 82

Hotel Sofitel — Lyon

France

May 82

Hotel Ritz — Forte Dei Marmi

Italy

Jun 82

Hotel Ibis — Thalamer — Le Touquet

France

Jun 82

Hilton International — Basel

Switzerland

Jun 82

Jerusalem Plaza — Jerualem

Israel

Jun 82

Cavalieri Hilton — Rome

Italy

Jun 82

Hotel Sofitel — Lyon

France

Jul 82

Beach Apartments — Puerto Sotogrande

Andalusia

Jul 82

Hotel Sidi Saler Sol — Valencia

Spain

Aug 82

Royal San Remo

Italy

Aug 82

Hôtel Plaza Athénée — Paris

France

Aug 82

Hotel Villa Medici — Florence

Italy

Aug 82

Palace Hotel — Milan

Italy

Aug 82

Hotel Astor — Viareggio

Italy

Dec 82 — Jan 83

New York Palace — New York

USA

May 83

Palace Hotel — Milan

Italy

May 83

Excelsior Palace — Lido Venice

Italy

May 83

Hotel Villa Medici — Florence

Italy

Jun 83

Hotel Cala Di Volpe — Sardinia

Italy

Jun 83

Grand Hotel & La Pace Montecatini Terme

Italy

Sep 83

Hotel Sofitel — Lyon

France

Sep 83

Grand Hotel — Cannes

France

Sep 83

Royal Hotel Carlton — Bologna

Italy

Sep 83

Grand Hotel & La Pace Montecatini Terme

Italy

Sep 83

Hotel Astor — Viareggio

Italy

Sep 83

Palacae Hotel — Milan

Italy

Sep 83

Villa D'Este — Cernobbio

Italy

Sep 83

Hôtel Plaza Athénée — Paris

France

Oct 83

Hotel Gutsgasthof Reitschule

Oct 83

Hotel Sidi Saler Sol — Valencia

83

Spain


Work | 1930s


228 | 229


Meet The Schreibers One evening in 1956 Chaim and Sara went out to a dinner party at a friend’s house. When they arrived, their host introduced them to another guest, a Mrs Berger neÊ Schreiber. Their excitement at finding this only surviving relative was huge. They woke their 3 young children and sent for them to come round in a taxi to meet Chaim’s uncle and cousins.


Chapter 8 a

pal ace


Edgware A house with a garden In 1950 the Schreiber’s bought their home in Edgware. This was a palace compared to the small rented flat they had lived in up until then. In 1953 Chaim was naturalised. The spent the next 15 years there, bringing up their three children, Ruthie, Judy and David in elegance and comfort.

family film 1950s

Home | 1950s


the children with Sara in the garden family film 1950s


Chaim with Sara’s siblings Esti & Tuli at the races family film 1950s


Ascot On Saturdays, the Schreibers sometimes enjoyed going to the races. At Ascot, with Princess Margaret (right). Sara’s outfit, a "new look� Dior, made a prominent appearance in a prestigious fashion column the next day, especially her hat.


Edgware was a luxurious palace compared to the small rented flat they had lived in previously

children's tea party & adult dinner party family film 1950s


family film 1950s


Above day at the lake below chaim & David in the garden family film 1950s


Blooms Whenever Chaim went to the local diner, Bloom’s (of Golders Green) to buy a sandwich, he would take the opportunity to fill his breast pocket with toothpicks. One time, Mr Bloom stopped by. "Hello Mr Schreiber, is everything OK?", Chaim quickly reversed the action, putting the toothpicks back in the holder and replied "Yes, except that whenever I come here I need to refill your toothpick holder".


Chapter 9

hampstead a

castle


Hampstead

246 | 247

9 West Heath Road In 1965 Chaim and Sara moved from Edgware into a brand new house in West Heath Road, Hampstead, London that they had commissioned from architect James Gowan.

“Today he lives in tasteful magnificence in one of the most photographed houses in Hampstead, a dark blue brick fortress in West Heath Road which provoked a violent storm of controversy when it was built in 1965.” Hampstead & High, June 1973, Liz Forgan

The following article was written before the writer knew whose house it was.

“The adventurous client is neglected too often. He or she is as vital to architecture as the avant-garde connoisseur is to Art. The architect’s client has to be wealthier and more philanthropic probably, for modern architecture is less likely to increase in value artistically, and experiments in architectural design can have costly repercussions leading even to depreciation very often. “Hats off, then, to the anonymous owner of that brooding building in West Heath Road, Hampstead, designed by James Gowan. This architect, together with his erstwhile partner James Stirling, was responsible for the extraordinary Engineering Block at Leicester University, described by Reyner Banham as the only post-war architecture in Britain of international stature. “You cannot expound positively on architecture in Britain if you have not seen this exciting, provocative and disturbing building; and Leicester itself, a few miles up the M1. “So go and see it and West Heath Road as well. You won’t like either, but then few like anything new or unfamiliar. “I confess I have only seen the front and side of the West Heath Road house, as, short of trespassing, the garden front is invisible. Nor have I seen the interior nor even a plan, so I have no more knowledge of it than you. “Yes, it looks like a factory, a laboratory or what have you. But does this matter? What should a house look like? Its inscrutability is intriguing, added to which its deft, crisp, detailing and impressive choice of materials invest it with an unusual air of dignity for a mere house. “This is easily the most exciting private house in Hampstead for some years, exhibiting a deliberate, almost classical symmetry with precision and simplicity, the whole refreshingly uncompromising. “The planning may be vile for all I know, but presumably the client has got what he asked for, unless he allowed his architect to dictate to him in Lutyens fashion, which I doubt. It would be interesting to know what discussions took place over

Above the schreiber's post box, picture courtesy of ruthie morris frps Opposite House from the North, from Architectural Monographs 3 James Gowan


View from east of pool and house photo Dennis Crompton Architectural Monographs 3 James Gowan


Yes, it looks like a factory, a laboratory or what have you But does this matter? What should a house look like?


Home | 1960s

the choice of the blue bricks and what comments there were in the planning committees, especially the Hampstead one. “Hampstead was once the cradle of modern architecture in Britain and it is vastly reassuring to know that the tradition of good modern houses is still alive if only kicking. But I am unfair. Visit Spaniards Close, North End, Oakhill Way, South Hill Park, Heathside and The Logs. Many are hidden and you have to search for them. “But West Heath Road is a gem. I wonder what it cost?” Hampstead & High, May 1965, Christopher Gotch

Left House from the North Opposite kitchen, dkr wire chair by charles & Ray Eames Architectural Monographs 3 James Gowan

“His [Mr Schreiber’s] first choice was Le Corbusier, but he got Mr. Gowan. How or why, I don’t know, but he did well. For having now seen the interior of this house I am even more impressed by the building, which is a work of art from top to toe. I have been asked not to divulge the cost, although this has now been revealed in the architectural press. But I can say that in spite of it being a very expensive house as houses go, it is only about three times the average cost of a house of similar area, while its quality is a dozen times greater than average. “And yet I must confess to a disturbing feeling that the planning module of 3ft x 1ft 6" has created a straight jacket from which the house emerges slightly bemused and rather withdrawn, suffering from a mild case of personality loss perhaps. Imagine a beautiful model, dressed to perfection down to the last detail but with a face like a mask obscuring the warmth underneath. This is intentional, how much is due to the client or architect, I don’t know. “Architecturally the interior is superb, for Gowan designed very nearly everything, including the light fittings and furniture; even the curtains are based on the module. The spatial effects are original and flexible, the planning wholly logical and yet a little forced under the discipline of the module, this being stressed further in relation to the exterior. “No wonder, therefore, I had been puzzled. This house has

It might look like a block of flats to you, but to him it’s all one house


252 | 253

marble floors, coffered reconstructed stone-faced ceiling units, air-conditioning, double glazing, a central vacuum cleaning plant, a sauna bath and kitchen the like of which I have never seen before. “It adds up to a combination of elegance, efficiency, hygiene and superb attention paid to every conceivable detail, which has to be seen to be believed. As he showed me the boiler room, Gowan murmured: ‘I call this the Goldfinger room, ‘

left view from above at piano and Barcelona Chair by Mies van der Rohe opposite sitting room

next page view of stairwell, view of house from north

Architectural Monographs 3 James Gowan

indicating the air filter, the water softener … and other plant, which fills an area almost the size of a normal living room. “After two fascinating hours, during which I learnt a great deal, I left the brooding gem rather chastened as an architect, wondering what it must be like to own and live in a remarkable work of art.” Hampstead & High, May 1965, Christopher Gotch

“It might look like a block of flats to you, but to him it’s all one house.


"There’s a domed swimming pool with heated paving stones outside and inside the kitchen glitters with two microwave ovens and every sort of gadget.”

Home | 1960s

The Risk Business, BBC1, October 30th 1981

Schreiber’s first choice was Le Corbusier, but he got Mr Gowan He did well

“There are only two building types, all being variants or hybrids of one or the other; the pavilion (open, extrovert, fashionable etc.) and the castle (closed, secretive, timeless etc.). The house on West Heath Road is in the latter genre, as are several others in this ‘rural’ locality. It forfeits external and public display for reason of both weather and taste; and within, it is preoccupied with the concerns of exacting family use and their fulfilment.” the architectural monographs 3, 1978, James Gowan

“Not everyone liked it, but few could ignore the towering fortress of blue engineering brick, with its curious recessed windows sitting oddly beside sedately prosperous Victorian neighbours in West Heath Road.” The Sunday Times, February 1968, Elizabeth Good

“A characteristic that most people would expect is that the building should be instantly recognisable as having a particular function. Here it is difficult to tell whether the building is one house or a group of flats (partly resulting from its scale) and, if it were not set among other houses, it might be mistaken for offices or even a church. However, it is an arresting building which looks as important as its Victorian neighbours. James Gowan was conscious of these problems and chose the unorthodox solution of deliberately concealing the organisation of the house and thereby the normal clues about its scale.” AJ, July 14th 1965

“Chaim Schreiber was a remarkable and vital person; immensely energetic, searchingly critical, generously enthusiastic. He greatly enjoyed architectural projects and


the attendant discussions, moving the various parts of the plans around and speculating on the merits of this and that arrangement. It appeared to me, on these occasions, that architecture has become for him something akin to a hobby, a relaxation, for he refused to be restricted by conventions and practicalities and seemed always to be looking to making the enterprise singular and consequential; very much as the best of patrons, that rare breed of men.” Buildings & Projects 1984, James Gowan

“ ‘Chaim and I [Sara] visited the site almost every night when he came home and we watched the house grow brick by brick … The house contained many individually crafted features and we furnished it with a combination of the best of modern furniture, Mies ven De Rohe, Marcel Breuer, Le Corbusier and Eames chairs, and antique and Persian carpets. They softened the stark interior and gave the house warmth … Guests were stunned by its originality and total difference from the homes they were used to.’ ” Eight Decades, Sara, Displacement & Continuity, Ruthie Morris FRPS

Nikolaus Pevzner, the foremost architectural historian at the time, wrote in one of his City Guides that the house was possibly “The finest private house built since the Second World War”. Pevzner gazetted the Schreiber house as one of the two outstanding examples of 1960's houses in Hampstead.

“West Heath Road winds its way from Finchley Road to Whitestone Pond at the top of the hill … a rare example of a lavish private house from the brief period when the austerity of the brutalist aesthetic was in ascendant. Built in 1962-4 by James Gowan for the furniture manufacturer C.S. Schreiber. A precisely geometric exterior with no domestic allusions, planned on a 3ft module, and immaculately faced with dark blue-grey engineering brick. The house is of four storeys, although it is hard to guess from the anonymous ladder windows, which give no indication of scale. Inside, the restraint is tempered by the use of high-quality materials, with Schreiber's own builtin furniture used as room dividers to achieve an uncluttered plan. Rooms extend North-South through the whole house to minimize the North-facing aspect.” Penguin 1974

“The downside of the 60’s design with a flat roof and James Gowan’s obsessive need to hide the drainpipes within the walls, was that the Schreiber house was never really water-proof. Water gathered on the roof and inevitably seeped through to the top floor bedrooms. The heating system was also always problematic and those same rooms were both damp and cold. “The local council, Camden, advised us — out of the blue — that they had decided to list the house, Grade II (particularly important buildings of more than special interest) as an outstanding example of 60’s architecture. This enacted that nothing whatsoever could be removed or changed, down to curtain rails, taps etc.” Interview 2010, David Schreiber


Ground floor looking towards staircase photo Dennis Crompton Architectural Monographs 3 James Gowan


this page library, sitting lobby chair (1960) by Charles & Ray Eames sitting room, barcelona chair by Mies van der Rohe, auteuil a Dossier Basculant by Le Corbusier (1928) opposite bathroom, view to lounge from kitchen architectural monographs 3 James Gowan


this page: view of the stairs opposite chaim & sara ready for an evening out, standing in the same spot, 1982 from sara's collection


Form 2000

Home | 1960s

Together with his architect, James Gowan, Chaim Schreiber conceived and created Form 2000, a series of modular storage units which lined the Hampstead house and later went on to be marketed commercially.

“When we were considering how to equip a house which we had designed in Hampstead recently, it occurred to us that it would be reasonable, and certain advantages would result, if the storage furniture, the cupboards, chests, bookcases etc. was regarded in a total sense and not, as is normally done, room by room. Furthermore, it became apparent that when the storage was used in the differing contexts of a bedroom, kitchen or living room, the basic functions which it had to perform remained unchanged and a series of common elements recurred. These, briefly we considered to be: a long and short hanging space; enclosed and open adjustable shelf space; narrow and wide, deep and shallow drawers; storage compartments for smaller articles. “The curved corners are sympathetic to use, particularly where there are small children. The carcasses have a great structural rigidity because of their tubular form and have few of the jointing complications that arise in traditional cabinetmaking. “Dimensions are based on a ten centimetre module, so that the units can be linked horizontally or stacked on top of one another, to form storage islands or walls. In any sequence the units can be reversed, as the backs are finished to the same standard as all the other sides.” Newspaper unknown, 1968, James Gowan

“In the summer of 1965, the house that Glasgow-born architect James Gowan had just completed for Mr. and Mrs. Schreiber in Hampstead proved one of the most exciting, if controversial,

opposite range of units this page Assembled units Architectural Monographs 3 James Gowan


examples of recent domestic architecture. Last week, at the Earls Court Furniture Show, another Gowan Schreiber venture, this time a range of storage furniture, stood out as one of the most arresting, and again possibly controversial, ideas in a show remarkable mainly for its unremarkability. The house in Hampstead was a rare exercise in which the client spared no expense, the architect no attention to detail. It was this attention to detail which produced the storage units. James Gowan says of Chaim Schreiber, an industrialist specialising in

262 | 263

A rare exercise in which the client spared no expense, the architect no attention to detail

wood engineering, ‘I was dealing with an extremely fastidious client who knew far more about woodwork than I did. I knew the sort of primitive cupboards and closets that normally go into new houses would not do’. “Eventually the idea of modular units in laminated ply with rounded corners to equip the house throughout was conceived. Produced by Mr Schreiber, they had the advantage of factorybuilt precision plus custom-built design. The units worked well in situ, and it was decided to explore the commercial potential of marketing them. The resulting prototypes, called Form 2000, were shown two weeks ago at Cologne’s furniture show and then last week at Earls Court. Trade reaction to the design with its undeniable thirties’ look was interest tempered with caution. “The furniture industry (like the fashion world) has had its share of thirties’ influence: from every tatty display of chrome and white labelled Ginger Rogers’ look, to the many (and many of them architects and designers) who have made household gods of the names of the thirties and whose chief ambition it is to own a chair designed by one of them (even if it is a modern reproduction). James Gowan is pleased with


Their range of storage furniture stood out as one of the most arresting, and again possibly controversial, ideas on show


his thirties’ look. He says, ‘If people don’t mention it, I point it out. The thirties were a very experimental period in furniture, then came the war, utility furniture, then nothing. Today we import Mies chairs at £200’. “At least he claims to have gone back in order to go forwards. He wants to apply to the use of laminated ply popular at that time — which he believes designers did not have to fully explore — advanced techniques of mass production. The use of the material is a natural for Schreiber (among other things they produce the shell frames for suitcases). Two very practical advantages of the moulded shape are the lack of dangerous sharp corners for children and the natural storage space created inside the doors of units. The price of these units is likely to keep them in the luxury class, but this, at least is one design incursion into the thirties which is not pure nostalgia.” The Sunday Times, February 1968, Elizabeth Good

In an interview with David Schreiber he recalled:

“When Form 2000 took to the shops, it became clear it was a too mod for the British. People were curious, but, it being the most expensive by far of all Schreiber furniture, they weren’t quite ready to put money into something so ‘plain’. The first place we showed it was a furniture fair. Someone came over and said ‘That looks lovely. I’ll be interested to see that when it’s finished’. Naturally, we didn’t sell a stick.”

Home | 1960s


The Architectural Review 1969 Photo James Gowan


270 | 271

this page Fish-eye view of swimming pool

opposite interior of pool

Architectural Monographs 3 James Gowan photo Dennis Crompton

Ground floor looking towards staircase, photo by Dennis Crompton, from Architectural Monographs 3, James Gowan, London, 1978

The Pool “This domed swimming pool, together with a stepped, turfed pyramid, completes the landscaping of a house adjoining Hampstead Heath. The pool is approached from the service entrance of the house and is used by the family and nearby friends, principally children. The actual pool is 20ft. in diameter with a 5ft wide surround of white Sicilian marble. The pool wall is lined with 6 in. square white glazed tiles with a wide band of blue tiles. “Basically the enclosure of the pool is half sunk into the ground and enveloped by a grass bank tying it into the landscape. The main enclosure of the pool is lined with white glazed wall-tiles with two wide bands of blue and a narrow band of red tiles in the centre, which lines through with the outside ground level. “The water for the pool is heated by a heat exchanger from the boiler room in the house and cleaned by surface skimmers and vacuum tools operated by the filtration gear in the plantroom. Space heating is by warm air ducted below the surround to high level grilles. The marble floor is electrically heated throughout. The dome is lit at night.” The Architectural Review 1969

A sunken domed swimming pool with heated paving stones outside


“The pool is buried, allowing the entrance to slip beneath the perimeter ring of the dome…the detail is another example of transposition…the entrance is between two asymmetrical circular forms…both generated by the size of their respective mass-produced skylights. Within the entrance…a symmetry is established before the dome is entered…” The Architectural Monographs 3, 1978, Fred Scott

this page the pool

opposite plans

the architectural review 1969 photo James Gowan


Fly Bye At dinner parties, Chaim would like to bet gentlemen £5 he could cut off all their fly buttons, and sew them back on within 3 minutes. He’d then proceed to spend an excruciating 3 minutes failing to thread a needle. When the time was up, he’d hand the man a fiver and say ‘You win some, you lose some’. The gentleman was forced to continue the party with his fly wide open all evening. Variations to this trick included betting he could place a cup of beer in someone’s pocket without it spilling.


Chapter 10

chester a

ranch


Chester

Home | 1980s

Texan Generosity In 1982 Chaim built a second home, again using James Gowan, in Chester, near his Runcorn factory.

“It would be no surprise if, prior to what will now have to be called the First Schreiber House (1964), there had been a conversation ranging lightly over subjects such as the castle as Englishman’s home, and perhaps something about security. And so to that darkly powerful bastion, with its verticals, slit windows, coffered beams, refectory-thick dining table, etc.

this page & opposite views of the chester house international architect, number 9, volume 2, issue 1, 1982

It is postmodernism here whose leg is being gently pulled

“Certainly the new Schreiber House looks likely to be commodiously mellower than the first. It may be that in this case the client murmured ‘Ranch House’. Everything is big, and horizontal (compared to vertical in the earlier house). The generosity is almost Texan. There are massive oak-


Everything is big, and horizontal, compared to vertical in the earlier house, the generosity is almost Texan


front door guarded by brick pilasters is under vaulted ceiling of porte-cochÉre the Architectural Review, February 1983, page 39


Home | 1980s

framed windows and horizontal sliders to the terrace; there is a spectacular overhang to the loggia; the garden elevation, all glazed, is 70ft long, extended by the low terrace wall and planters (detailed as giant manholes) to the fullest width of the site. All the main interior spaces contrive a 30 or 40ft dimension somewhere. And everything is carried out in good old Imperial dimensions. “There is a lot of wood inside, and it is all, symbolically enough, oak. Floors, staircases, doors, frames, discreetly wrought assemblies of shelves and fitting, and the splendid range of cabinets designed in 1968 with Mr Schreiber, reiterated here in the kitchen cabinets and embedded in the upper gallery balustrade, all are either veneered with, or of solid oak. “All this is very satisfactory, and it is after all a mild form of confrontation between ideas that the weighty 45 degree pitched roofs (an Elizabethan angle, one is informed) are in fact supported on a rolled steel structure lovingly organised and then completely hidden (one of the numerous immaculate working models at all scales is a set of hide steel junctions and looks like a Maquette for a monumental abstract steel sculpture); or that this structure is supported on tubular steel columns, in turn encased in cement render; that the roof is cantilevered way out over the terrace, its vast white triangular gable end suspended without visible means of support; that by some ferociously crafted ingenuity the usual cover tiles at the roof hips can somehow be omitted and a pristine solid geometry prevails.

this page garden facade opposite side entrance

Style & Configuration page 61, James Gowan

“It is when one enquires upon some curious profiles in a plan showing brickwork at the main entrance and is shown the ‘Assyrian columns’ that frame it, that a sense of the old sly wit, in this case applied to conventions current in the profession rather than the client, begins to make itself felt. It is postmodernism here whose leg is being gently pulled to see how far it can be stretched, and one begins to notice the extent of references.


280 | 281

“There is a barrel vault over a porte-cochére, and another in the upper bedroom suite producing a certain shape to the end wall which has a large bulls-eye window set in it. Suddenly one realises that portions of James’ (Gowan) wild Palladian House drawing (1972) — the one with the cast iron pipe catalogue man in the foreground — have been transported wholesale into the scheme of things. Curiosity is aroused by a smaller bulls-eye window ceremoniously placed in another gable end, and one finds it lights a room composed of boilers and pipes. A ‘minstrel gallery the client doesn’t want’ is placed over the garage. There is a precise abstract design of coloured surfaces and materials on the garage floor, which mark out the car wheel tracks and the patches where oil is likely to leak from engines. “ … The national origins of … the products and materials are noted in the conversation — the oak has a ‘Danish finish’, the metal ventilators are German (both ‘reluctantly’), the quarry tiles of local manufacture and a match in quality and design for the better known German ones. The architect of course is a Scot.” International Architect 1982, Michael Gold

In 1984, shortly before Chaim’s death, Sara and Chaim began to plan a new London house, a smaller home to grow old in.

“I last saw him in November when he put his remarkable house on the market for £1,800,000. He was standing unobtrusively behind the milling estate agents at the reception, and he greeted me with characteristic warmth. “He spoke animatedly about the new house he was planning to build for himself and for his wife, Sara, across the road on the corner of Templewood Avenue, since his children had grown up.” Electrical Trading 1984, Mathew Lewin

Only a few weeks later he became seriously ill with a brain tumour, and, despite an operation he never fully recovered.


Obituaries 1984


Obituaries Salute to Schreiber In 1984 Chaim Schreiber died.

“Chaim Schreiber died peacefully last Friday at the age of 66. He was buried on Sunday. He never recovered from the brain tumour that struck him down last December.” Newsfront 1984

“Mr Schreiber was a generous supporter of many good causes, including communal ventures.” Jewish Chronicle 1984

“ ‘Where the furniture industry is concerned, Schreiber’s death marks the end of an era,’ writes Alfred Sorkin. ‘He revolutionised that industry in terms of both manufacturing and marketing’. “But for us it was his massive contribution to the major appliance industry which will remain his monument. He never wavered in his commitment to the independent retailing sector, where his imprint was bold and unambiguous. He fought long and hard to give smaller dealers, especially, a fair crack of the whip so that they could effectively compete with the big battalions. In a message in the 1980s Schreiber declared:

He was immensely generous and philanthropic, always sharing his success

“The British manufacturer should back the traditional shopkeeper, large or small, who gives an honest service to the public with no gimmicks and who cares for his customer. We must resist with all courage serving the so-called discounter who lives on the fat margins he obtains on often shoddy imports brought in under his own label, or as an exclusive line, where he has no competition and frequently uses a British brand to appear competitive in the eyes of the public."

“Schreiber was equally forthright in his consistent advocacy of British goods when it was unfashionable to be so overtly patriotic. The other big planks of his platform rested on the imperative need to give the public value for money, and to secure a contented workforce in his factories. “When he took over Hotpoint some 10 years ago it was in disarray and decline. He restored the brand to dominance in white goods and to healthy profits too. Among his many notable achievements was the transformation of Hotpoint’s after sales service into an operation that many now regard as the best of its kind."

“He was a dynamic personality and difficult to work with, according to a succession of lieutenants and other management people who found him too autocratic. On the other hand his operatives in the factories saw him as an exemplar of an enlightened boss. “Perhaps the tribute he would have best liked to read is that his workforce adored him. He never experienced strikes or any of the other industrial troubles which are so plentiful. He was a legend in his lifetime and will be mourned for a long time.” Electrical & Radio Trading 1984


from Sara's collection


“Mr Schreiber brought to Hotpoint a number of management practices he had developed in the family-run furniture business. They were seen as paternalistic, but proved to be broadly effective. He abolished clocking-in and piece rates, and advocated profit-sharing and consultation. “His views were often greeted with equal horror by management and unions. But labour relations at Hotpoint improved. Hotpoint and Schreiber Industries split last June. By then, Hotpoint was substantially larger than Schreiber Industries, which was particularly hard hit by the recession. “Schreiber Industries no longer makes general furniture. It specialises in bedroom and kitchen furniture. It has a turnover of about £30 million a year and employs 400 people. The company will be taken over by Mr Schreiber’s son, David.” Financial Times 1984

“Mr Schreiber’s career was a spectacular refugee-to-riches story. Yet Mr Schreiber remained, and prided himself on his ability to remain, in touch with his workforce, to whom he had a sincere and total commitment. “Although at one time his company employed more than 3,500 people, he would make weekly visits to his factories to speak — and listen — to workers, hundreds of whom he knew by their first names. “It was perhaps, he admitted, a slightly paternalistic approach — and it wasn’t always welcomed by the trade unions, let alone his own senior management. But the proof, he pointed out, was in the pudding. His company had never experienced any industrial action. “He took great delight in recounting the looks of horror that crossed the faces of GEC executives immediately after the merger when his first executive order was that clocking-in machines should be removed from all the company’s premises forthwith. “Then he would pull out pieces of paper bearing the figures which showed how absenteeism plummeted to record lows.

Britain has lost a great patriot His wife and family can be proud of his achievements

“We offered trust and involvement — and people reacted with responsibility and involvement. There has to be a partnership. I am convinced that people are basically raring to go — workers and management — but they have been stopped by our failures."

“Dennis Thomas, deputy chairman of the company, told Ham & High: ‘Chaim Schreiber’s great feat was that he never did anything else but seek to improve the general lot of the people in the company. This was recognised by everyone, and the result was that people were prepared to go further along the road with him than with anyone else. His was a very human approach’.” Hampstead & High 1984

“Journalists meet with many rich and powerful people, but few could match the sincerity, graciousness and charm of Chaim


from Sara's collection


Schreiber. His enthusiasm and vigour were tempered by a truly unconscious modesty. I knew him only slightly but his impact on me was enormous.” 1984, Mathew Lewin

“In an industry largely anonymous so far as personalities and brand names are concerned, Chaim Schreiber was unusual. For he was well known not only in the trade but also personally, and as a result of the furniture and shops that bore his name, to the consumer public. His association with the widely-known Hotpoint domestic appliance organisation had something to do with this, no doubt, but it was the furniture association which was most important. “Mr Schreiber’s management skills — although regarded by some as unorthodox for the time — were responsible for turning the Hotpoint giant, which was beset with problems, into one of the most efficient and one of the leading companies in the UK appliance business.”

Perhaps the tribute he would have best liked to read is that his workforce adored him

Cabinet Maker & Retail Furnisher 1984

“Our industry is poorer with the passing of Chaim Schreiber. He was a unique man in the right place at the right time. Without him, I do not believe we would have a productive white goods industry today. Certainly we would not have Hotpoint as we know it in 1984. There wold be thousands more on the dole, and many independents could have gone to the wall without his unswerving commitment to their cause. “Chaim has gone, yet the future of the appliance industry will owe much to his foresight. He will always be remembered with special regard by me and many others who knew him well. “Britain has lost a great patriot. His wife and family can be proud of his achievements.” Electrical & Trading, January 25th 1979, Jack Bennet

from Hotpoint's spring exhibition, 1982

“Remember the kitchen called the Economical Miracle? Though it may sound quaint and old-fashioned by today’s standards,


Sara's 60th birthday from Sara's collection


it wasn’t so long ago that it was something of a sensation. It’s creator, Chaim Schreiber, died some months ago and as one of the ‘grand old men’ of the UK kitchen industry, he deserves this testimonial for his contribution to it.” Kitchen Choice, November 1984

“A man of charm, forthright views and great energy, his impact on his customers, workforce and colleagues was considerable.” The GEC Newspaper 1984

“May I be permitted to add my obituary tribute to those made on the death of Chaim Schreiber. I mourn his passing. I worked for Hotpoint for 15 years as a service engineer, and can go back to the time before Schreiber lifted the face of British Domestic Appliances, the name give to Hotpoint’s parent by GEC, out of the appalling mess it was in. “For example: appliances were not properly assembled because of lack of quality control; customers were waiting many weeks for service calls; and disgruntled engineers were complaining about everything. “Then in 1974, along came Schreiber, who was a bright light in the darkness and a man not too proud to talk to EETPU shop stewards, of which I was one. He openly encouraged trade union membership, transformed Hotpoint’s corps of service engineers into the best-paid and equipped in the country, and took the company to the top. “Today it is prosperous, with happy employees. I now run a one-man repair business and try to model my outlook on the Schreiber one of fairness and reliability. British industry in general could do itself a favour by learning something from Chaim Schreiber. He was a truly great man, I hope he is never forgotten.” Electrical & Trading 1984, Bryan Morgans

British industry in general could do itself a favour by learning something from Chaim Schreiber He was a truly great man, I hope he is never forgotten


on their way to a family event from Sara's collection


“What ever dearest Avital is writing about Chaim, it’s not possible for her to really know what a special and gifted human being he was. He was kind and loving, always with an open heart to help others, wanting every one to do well along with his success. I lost my love and truest friend, the best husband, whom I was lucky to have for 42 years and this love we shared is lasting me for the rest of my years.” interview 2010, Sara Schreiber

He had an open heart, wanting everyone to do well along with his success

from Sara's collection


Thanks! Sara Schreiber Firstly to Bubi — thank you for your help and support, your moving and acute memories, your extensive and beautiful collections without which I couldn't have made this book.

David & Ruth Schreiber Mum & Dad, thank you so much, for your endless brainstorming sessions, proof-reading and comments. No requests were too big or too small for you to help with. Your critique and support is forever vital to my work and its success.

Ruthie & Graham Morris Thank you both for your gracious help. Uncle Crayon — with your proofreading and comments. Auntie — generously sharing the fruits of your labour and inspiring me in my project with your meticulous and beautiful book on Bubi.

And … Everyone Else! I would like to express my deep gratitude to everyone involved in this project — there are too many of you to name — without whom the book would not have been possible. To my brothers and sister, Aunts and Uncles, cousins — close and far — and friends, who deliberated with me, shared their memories and opinions and gave me support. And to Yair, my husband, who is my rock.


Bibliography As I stated in my introduction, this book has been compiled using the extensive newspaper clippings, magazine articles and various books that Sara Schreiber has collected over the last 60 years. Some of the clippings were framed with certain bits of information missing, sometimes it was the author, or the name of the newspaper, or the precise date. In addition, some of the films are fragments that have survived and been kept within the family, their origin and date uncertain. This bibliography is therefore incomplete.


Magazines & Newspapers

296 | 297

Ardon Ya’acov

Jerusalem Post

May 9th 1973

Belsham Philip

Daily Express

Sep 2nd 1980

Bennet Jack

Electrical & Trading

Jan25th 1979

Forgan Liz

Hampstead & High

Jun 1973

Foster Geoffrey

Management Today

Jan 1974

Gold Michael

International Architect

1982

Good Elizabeth

The Sunday Times

Feb 1968

Gotch Christopher

Hampstead & High

May 1965

Gowan James

Style and Configuration

Britain 1994

Gowan James

Architectural Monographs 3

London 1978

Gowan James

Buildings & Projects

1984

Griffiths Gareth

Financial Times

Aug 4th 1980

Harvey David

Business Administration

May 1973

Hornby Derek

Business Administration

Sep 1980

Jones Ivor Wynne

The Daily Post

Nov 7th 1979

Levine Roy

The Financial Times

Aug 9th 1974

Levy Geoffrey

Daily Express

Sep 5th 1980

Lewin Mathew

Electrical Trading

1984

Lewin Mathew

Express & News

Jan 9th 1976

Searjent Graham

The Sunday Times

Nov 26th 1972

Van Musschenbroek Kelsey

The Financial Times

Nov 1972

Author Unknown

Cabinet Maker & Retail Furnisher

Jun 16th 1978

Author Unknown

Cabinet Maker & Retail Furnisher

1984

Author Unknown

Daily mail

Jul 5th 1980

Author Unknown

Daily Post

Jun 13th 1979

Author Unknown

Electrical & Radio Trading

1984

Author Unknown

Electrical & Radio Trading

Mar 22nd 1979

Author Unknown

Electrical Wholesaler

Mar 1980

Author Unknown

Ellsmore Port News Cheschire

Nov 8th 1979

Author Unknown

Financial Times

1984

Author Unknown

Glasgow Herald

Nov 1st 1979

Author Unknown

International architect Number 9 Volume 2 Issue 1 1982

Author Unknown

Jewish Chronicle

Apr 17th 1981

Author Unknown

Jewish Chronicle

1984

Author Unknown

Kitchen Choice

Nov 1984

Author Unknown

Newsfront

1984

Author Unknown

The Architectural Review

1969

Author Unknown

The GEC Newspaper

1984

Books Hyman Basil & Braggs Steven

The G - Plan Revolution

UK Booth-Clibborn Editions 2007

Cleese John & Skynner Robin

Life & How to survive it

UK Methuen London 1993

Massil William I.

Immigrant Furniture Workers in London 1881-1939

UK The Jewish Museum 1997

Morris Ruth

8 Decades Sara Displacement & Continuity

UK 2003

Wade Michael

Flexible Working Hours In Practice

UK Gower Press 1973

Films Chaim Schreiber

Man Management address

1980

BBC1

The Risk Business

Oct 30th 1981


design by Avital Schreiber Levy

typset in Avenir by Adrian Frutiger in 1988 with the main text set in Bodoni Old Face by Gerhard Lange, H.Berthold foundry, 1983.

This book has been designed using a strict 3 pt module, inspired by the 3 ft module of the Gowan-Schreiber Hampstead house.

printed in Tel Aviv, Israel, by www. Zaidman.co.il

bound in Jerusalem by Yehuda Miklaf


Chaim Schreiber's Way