Fifty years ago Bernard Smith joined the Rover Car Company as a seven shilling a week tea boy. He retires next week as £20,000 a year chairman of the company. Alfred Bernard Smith – “A.B.” to those that know him – spoke yesterday of the past – a past which has made the Rover car renowned throughout the world.
He joined Rover in 1925 in the stores at Tyseley, Birmingham, with the job of making tea for the storekeeper. He vividly remembers the 1930’s, when Rover which had been spawned from a little firm making the first safety bicycle, was turning out the Rover 10 car at £185.
But during the war years Rover turned to the manufacture of aircraft engines under the ministerial control of Lord Beaverbrook. Mr Smith, relaxing at his home at Dorridge, Warwickshire, said: “Beaverbrook was a fantastic force.
There was no red tape with him. He was single minded and he set his targets – and achieved them.”