Young, Barry

Production date
Talks of his early years in England, then life in New Zealand, working at Underwood Engineering and Fun Ho Toys.

Object detail

Production date
Item list

  Tape 1

Tape 1 Side 1:

b.1928, London England. Talks of his parents and grandparents - father in army, mother was a hairdresser. Describes her childhood in London, schooling, playing games. Neighbourhood mixture of Christians and Jews. Describes school discipline.

Tape 1 Side 2:

Continues story of taking hair from the coal merchants horse. Recalls George V Silver Jubilee. Describes war years - sirens, gas masks etc. Evacuated to the country - night bombers, bread basket bombs, 'doodle bugs'. Aged about 11 or 12 used to go up onto Chailey Common and watch the 'dog fights' - booed if a Spit fire was shot down and cheered if a Messerschmitt crashed. At 15 years joined the Home Guard.

  Tape 2

Side 1:

Continues talking about Home Guard in England. Took a job as an apprentice tool maker - lost two fingers. Decided to go into horticulture instead and studied at Plumton Agriculture College. Worked on various farms. Describes working for an ex Guardsman looking after his herd of jersey cows. Came to New Zealand as an assisted emigrant 1954. Gives first impression of houses.

Side 2:

Describes first days in New Plymouth. Took a farm job at Lepperton and later went herd testing. Talks of learning to drive a car. Working at Kawarau - working as a pipe lagger. Came back to Taranaki - relief milking for farmers. Started a relief milking service - would sometimes milk three herds a day. Started working for Underwood Engineering. Met future wife. She was a strong Christian and Barry also became Christian. Started working for Underwood full time in the sewing room.1960's. Describes what they made. Designed a purchasing system.

  Tape 3

Side 1:

Talks of Underwood Engineering. Describes history of the firm and the Fun Ho trade mark. Toys manufactured by sand casting aluminium alloy. The firm purchased the Triang Pedigree NZ Ltd plastics division and transported it to Inglewood - making nursery furniture etc. Talks of effects of tax changes and lifting of import restrictions. Underwood Engineering was wound up in 1988. Underwood family formed new company called Roundabout Distributors.

Side 2:

Retraces steps of employment at Underwood - this time telling the story of his employment rather than the history of the firm. Frank Messenger was designing safety cabs for tractors. They made paddling pools, deck chairs. Describes how a traveller arrived showing the wonders of the calculator.

  Tape 4

Side 1:

Continues story of salesman and the wonders of using a calculator. Took position of Purchasing Officer at Underwoods. Talks of the plastics Dept, packaging, etc. Describes how items were cast - the process from prototype to finished product.

Side 2:

Gradually Barry became known as Underwoods archivist and historian. Barry collecting examples - combined it with Underwood's collection. Talks of the lifting of tariffs resulting in plummeting sales of Fun Ho toys - layoffs and redundancies. The sadness as the firm closed (1987).

  Tape 5

Side 1:

Continues narration.

Side 2: Blank

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