Hawtin’s sells Music Maker to Norman Ditchburn
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 …..
Jack   Hylton    was   a   serial   entrepreneur,   and   was   constantly   looking   at   other   money   making   ventures,   my   research   has   discovered   that     the   Jukebox   business   had   not   been   as   rewarding   as   Hylton   had   expected,   The   original   1946   press   release   stated   that   Hylton   had produced   over   300   jukeboxes.   this   now   seems   unlikely,and   was   just   publicity   spin,   in   reality   it   was   around   25   to   30   Jukeboxes,      and   it seems   very   few   of   these   were   actually   sold.   In   1946   Hylton   and   Hawtin’s   parted   company,   Hylton’s   name   was   removed   from   the Jukebox   and   sales   brochures.   and   Hawtin’s   were   left   with   Jukeboxes   that   they   could   not   sell,      at   the   time   Frank   Hawtin   was   also   looking at   other   grander   investments   away   from   his   amusement   machine   business      so   he   decided   to   sell   off   the   Amusement   machine   and Jukebox   side   of   the   business.   Frank   Hawtin   auctioned   off   the   contents   of   “Hawtin’s   Novelty   Company”   on   December   16th   1947.   and sold the rights to manufacture the music maker Jukebox to Geoffrey Ditchburn. Geoffrey   Norman   Ditchburn ,   being   a   shrewd   businessman   saw   plenty   of   opportunity   in   the   Jukebox   business   ,   so   in   1947   Geoffrey Ditchburn   bought   the   rights   to   manufacture   the   Music   Maker    Jukebox   from   Hawtin’s,   Ditchburn   set   up   business   in   the   Hawtin’s Factory   on   Preston   New   Road.   Below   shows      both   companies   entries   in   the   1948   Preston   area   telephone   directory.   it   proves   that Hawtin’s and Ditchburn shared the same address and telephone number. Ditchburn      later   moved   production   to   Dock   Road   in   Lytham   St   Anne’s,   Lancashire.   Norman   had   noticed   a   great   money   making opportunity,   rather   than   sell   the   Jukeboxes   to   air-force   bases,   as   Jack   Hylton   had   tried   to   do   and   failed,   Norman   saw   a   new   market   by putting   the   Juke   Boxes   in   Clubs,   Pubs,   and   cafés   around   the   UK,   He   would   retain   ownership   of   the   boxes,   but   take   a   cut   of   the   takings, each   week   he   would   send   in   a   collector   to   count   the   takings   on   each   box,   Ditchburn   would   keep   the   first      £3   to   £5   to   cover   machine rental   and   then   any   money   after   that   would   be   split   50/50   with   Ditchburn   and   the   bar/café   owner,   it   was   a   win   -   win   situation   for   both parties,   the   bar/café      owner   did   not   have   to   layout      £237.00   to   buy   a   brand   new   Jukebox,   and   Ditchburn   would      take   more   than   enough money in one year to cover the cost of building a new machine and supplying records, and also provide a healthy profit as well. During   this   time   after   the   war,   imports   into   the   UK   of   jukeboxes   and   other   non   essential   equipment   were   still   restricted   by   the   British government    due    to    the    rebuilding    of    the    British    economy,    Norman    Ditchburn    saw    the    opportunity    and    manufactured    all    the 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.