Out of the blue came an invitation to join Silva Keondjian at the family home in North London, because one the former staff members of her husband, Hagop’s company – HK Productions was in England from his Arizona home. Stan, was one of the many members of staff at the company I used to visit over several years. I was never a client sadly, but I was always interested in seeing what was being made there, and used to drop by in the main to meet up with Silva’s husband Hagop. I cannot remember when we first met, but Hagop was a man whom once met left an indelible memory, and from that time which was over thirty years ago when I was working for a London Colour Laboratory, I always felt welcome. I would even make time to pop in whenever there was half a chance of meeting this quiet genius. Over the years I met up with many of those who worked there, so there was no possibility that I would not accept the invitation! I just hoped that the streaming cold I had developed, would not be an issue.
I made good time and arrived very early so I apologised, but was told by Silva that it was not a problem as she greeted me at the front door. I had no idea that as everyone arrived instead of seeing the majority of strange faces, I found that close on all of them were known to me and remembered me by name! One of them even reminded me when I enquired as to what part of Wales he and his wife were living, pointed out I had even visited him at their home; he was correct, what I am now trying to remember was how come I was passing nearby, in mid-Wales!
My voice was not up to a lot of talking, but I did a lot of listening, and I was reminded why this group of people had so much of a pull on me, and now as I write this short piece I have remembered I was not a complete taker, I made the introduction of a talented Bedfordshire photographer, Kevin Calvert to Hagop, and HK Productions did sell him a FilmWriter for outputting his retouched cars to 14x11 colour transparencies. I certainly put the name around whenever the opportunity arose.
I hope that the gallery of images from the evening convey some of the atmosphere of the evening to those who attended, and hopefully those who were not there, who were also part of that family. HK Productions epitomised the very best of British engineering excellence; Hagop once said that the roller shutters would rise and lorry-borne raw materials would be brought into the factory and a comparative short time later the same shutters would roll up and a finished piece of kit would be go out and be sent off to worldwide and UK destinations. This is what is now missing from this country – it is vital we do not continue to de-skill our own workforce, yet import finished goods, whilst we pay our former workforce Dole money, and those manufacturing countries acquire the skills we used t0 possess and become manufacturing powerhouses.