Photo Ref: DB031 Courtesy of britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk
Photo Ref: DB060 Courtesy of Freddy Bailey
Norman Ditchburn’s full name is Geoffrey Norman Ditchburn, he was born in 1908, his inception into business began in 1925, at the young age of 17 he started his training as a salesman with Rowe Brothers and Co Ltd in Liverpool, one of the largest builders and plumbers merchants in the UK, in a comparatively short space of time Norman rose to sales manager and further rapid promotions followed, subsequently he became one of four managing directors at Rowe Bros. During the second world war Rowe Bros. were engaged in manufacturing munitions for the war effort, it was during this time that Norman Ditchburn became director of 10 subsidiary companies belonging to Rowe Bros. and also chairman of three of them.After the war in 1947 he decided to leave Rowe Bros. He left with a handsome pay-off of approximately £10,000 (equivalent to £380,000 in today’s money) with this money burning a hole in Normans pocket he decided to set up his own business, unfortunately due to a covenant with his pay off, he was not allowed ( for at least 3 years ) to manufacture similar products that were currently being manufactured by Rowe Bros. So Norman had to look into other business ventures, and that is when he met Frank and Percy Hawtin and the …..
BRITISH JUKE BOX
JackHyltonwasaserialentrepreneur,andwasconstantlylookingatothermoneymakingventures,myresearchhasdiscoveredthattheJukeboxbusinesshadnotbeenasrewardingasHyltonhadexpected,Theoriginal1946pressreleasestatedthatHyltonhad producedover300jukeboxes.thisnowseemsunlikely,andwasjustpublicityspin,inrealityitwasaround25to30Jukeboxes,andit seemsveryfewofthesewereactuallysold.In1946HyltonandHawtin’spartedcompany,Hylton’snamewasremovedfromthe Jukeboxandsalesbrochures.andHawtin’swereleftwithJukeboxesthattheycouldnotsell,atthetimeFrankHawtinwasalsolooking atothergranderinvestmentsawayfromhisamusementmachinebusinesssohedecidedtosellofftheAmusementmachineand Jukeboxsideofthebusiness.FrankHawtinauctionedoffthecontentsof“Hawtin’sNoveltyCompany”onDecember16th1947.and sold the rights to manufacture the music maker Jukebox to Geoffrey Ditchburn.GeoffreyNormanDitchburn,beingashrewdbusinessmansawplentyofopportunityintheJukeboxbusiness,soin1947Geoffrey DitchburnboughttherightstomanufacturetheMusicMakerJukeboxfromHawtin’s,DitchburnsetupbusinessintheHawtin’s FactoryonPrestonNewRoad.Belowshowsbothcompaniesentriesinthe1948Prestonareatelephonedirectory.itprovesthat Hawtin’s and Ditchburn shared the same address and telephone number.DitchburnlatermovedproductiontoDockRoadinLythamStAnne’s,Lancashire.Normanhadnoticedagreatmoneymaking opportunity,ratherthanselltheJukeboxestoair-forcebases,asJackHyltonhadtriedtodoandfailed,Normansawanewmarketby puttingtheJukeBoxesinClubs,Pubs,andcafésaroundtheUK,Hewouldretainownershipoftheboxes,buttakeacutofthetakings, eachweekhewouldsendinacollectortocountthetakingsoneachbox,Ditchburnwouldkeepthefirst£3to£5tocovermachine rentalandthenanymoneyafterthatwouldbesplit50/50withDitchburnandthebar/caféowner,itwasawin-winsituationforboth parties,thebar/caféownerdidnothavetolayout£237.00tobuyabrandnewJukebox,andDitchburnwouldtakemorethanenough money in one year to cover the cost of building a new machine and supplying records, and also provide a healthy profit as well.Duringthistimeafterthewar,importsintotheUKofjukeboxesandothernonessentialequipmentwerestillrestrictedbytheBritish governmentduetotherebuildingoftheBritisheconomy,NormanDitchburnsawtheopportunityandmanufacturedallthe components required to make the Mk2 Music Maker Jukebox here in the UK Below is a great article from the 1959 Daily Herald featuring Mr Juke-Box Geoffrey Norman Ditchburn.