Life at Beechams

I have compiled a selection of the stories the women shared about their time at Beechams (then later SmithKlineBeecham and GlaxoSmithKline). These stories are a small sample of the everyday accounts which make up the living history of Beechams.

Factory closures

As a member of HR and personnel Fufi was responsible for overseeing the smooth closure of the Brentford Lucozade factory in 1983 and the Manchester factory in 1993. In these extracts she describes the process of closing the factories and how the employees reacted.

1983 closure of the Lucozade factory
1993 closure of the Manchester factory

Working on the food service

Pauline worked as a waitress in the restaurant at Beechams house and later in the canteen. She talks about what it was like to work for the two and who used to use the restaurant.

Working in the research labs

Yvonne was given the opportunity to work in the labs soon after joining Beechams and describes what the role entailed. This included testing ingredients coming into the factory to ensure that they were safe to use in Beechams products.

Computerisation of the workplace

Georgie describes the adjustment which happened when computers were introduced in the office, starting with only one computer for her office to share.

A successful merger

Working on the chauffeur desk gave Val a useful insight into the merger and the experiences of the directors going through it.

Losing the Beechams name

With the 2001 merger SmithKlineBeecham became GlaxoSmithKline, losing the Beecham name from its title. Many of the women I interviewed expressed regret at this loss and felt that it did not show the former company the respect it deserved or took into account all its achievements.