#PlacesthatMatter: Yate, UK
When we started in 1917, the sky was still as untouched as it was when the world began. The first contrails to cross it were those of our planes. We were the Royal Flying Corps repair workshop. George Parnall, a man of great vitality, arrived in 1925, and that was when we began building planes piece by piece.
Then we specialised in machine gun turrets — an unusual production line in the heart of our beautiful, green, and quiet countryside. In fact it wasn’t until 1941 that the German air force discovered us. Every year we remember the fifty-three workers who lost their lives and the one hundred and fifty who were injured. But we went back to work right away and by 1944 the factory was active again.
Peace led us to convert our production to washing machines — dryers today — and to change our address, Station Road, a location that is a symbol for us, just as Abbey Road is for the Beatles. We became Merloni in 2001 and Whirlpool in 2014, and the energy and frankness from overseas perhaps dissolved some rigidities: years ago the personnel department would know us by contract number, today we give our name.
What has remained the same is our aspiration to aim high, to improve, to change together with technology. It is also a matter of location: George Parnall chose Yate because of its flat, vast terrain, ideal for taking off and landing.
A bit like our factory, where the offices and production lines are all on the same level, to ensure a perfect flight every day.