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P&M Services (R) Ltd

Printed circuit board Manufacturer, Photoplotting Established 1964  All types of Pcb, surface mount sm, PTH, SS single     UK Printed Circuit Board manufacturers. UK PCB Manufacture since 1964. single sided SS PCB, PTH PCB, IMS PCB, PCB JPG, DFX PCB

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A brief history of the firm from 1964 to 1987

 by Robert F.B.Unwin


Why P. and M.? The P. stands for Peter Unwin and M. for Margaret his wife who started the business at Rochdale in 1964. Peter was born in 1934, went to Oughtibridge village council school near Sheffield, then to King Edward Grammar School.


  Early years at school  Memories of KES - Peter J. Unwin


Not keen on sport, apart from swimming, he was interested in photography and contributed many photographs to the school magazine. His chief interest was in electronics, and all his pocket money went in radio parts and making experimental circuits.


Punching Holes with a 10UKP Flypress

Early guillotine used for cutting board edges. 1965. Flypress costing 10UKP and was delivered by the local milkman. 1965. Peter drilling out large holes with a lathe.

During 1950 he designed and made a prototype ankle joint for an artificial limb manufacturer, experimenting with sound on tape and making a tape deck. The following year, he passed the school certificate in six subjects, taught himself to play the piano from reading books on theory and was able to play popular music by ear. With three friends he formed a quartet until neighbours complained.


In 1951 he became articled to Ronald Atkin, a partner in a firm of accountants at a wage of twenty-six shillings per week. He spent two years with them travelling the country with a senior doing audits, but found the long nights spent in hotels studying, weary and boring. In spite of protest from parents he decided to give up and do his National Service, but passed his driving test first.


Left, Plate camera used for making negatives. Right, early drilling system, boards were lifted up onto the drill.{ Not all that safe as Peggy  once found, when her hair was caught by the chuck.}

January 1954 he was accepted in the Royal Corps of Signals and was posted to Hong Kong where he spent two years as service engineer with radio. He was invited to stay on as an instructor but said No thank you.

After a few months working as radio engineer for a local shop he got tired of clambering about on roofs fitting aerials. He left and rented a small shop, bought a small van and set up as television engineer with one man as assistant.


In 1958 he married Margaret Bacon, with our warm approval, and in August started working for British Relay Wireless as service manager for the Sheffield area.


Left, Gold Plating Tank. Right, Extensive manufacturing supplies on shelves.

In 1962 he passed his finals exam in telecommunications and obtained his City and Guilds certificate. After building up a busy service station employing several vans, they turned down his application to be put on the staff, so he left and joined I.T.V. and went to Emley Moor transmitting station. The work was not as demanding as expected with much time spent playing chess and games, then panic stations if transmission failed. The next move was as technical and production manager of a television factory employing two hundred people. Around this time, printed circuit boards were beginning to replace the conventional wiring together of components. The factory was paying such high prices for them he decided to leave and have a go at making and selling them himself. Also he could see no better long-term prospects with the firm.


Roger and David with home made Ferric chloride spray etcher Left, Sons Roger and David with Spray Etcher 1967. Right Roger with Ex Police camera. Purchased in 1967 for 150UKP. 150 UKP Ex Police camera

A small back street shop in Rochdale was rented, and after some experimenting, the first few boards were produced. Having little capital all the tools were second hand. These included a foot operated guillotine, pillar drill and surplus dark room equipment I gave him.



A five pound advert in Wireless World brought in many small orders with cash, and the first weeks takings amounted to eighty pounds. The first few months I was able to assist occasionally by photo copying drawings in my darkroom, but as fine accuracy became needed in commercial work I had to give up. Meanwhile Peter had taken on a man, found that some contacts on the boards needed gold plating, studied library books and constructed a serviceable method using an old fish tank, meccano parts and a motor which served very well. Cash was very tight. Margaret dealt with correspondence and even the two children helped to pack the boards.

 In September 1964 P. and M. Services was formed. The directors were Peter, Margaret, and myself. Having retired from business I only consented to join in a nominal capacity without pay and to act as standby.


Left, New upstroke drills cost 500UKP ea April 1968. Right Precision micro Drill, drill sharpener in background.

Two years later much larger premises were taken. Two part time women were engaged for drilling and assembly work and Peter was working seven days a week until very late at night. He constructed a compressor and etching machine using two second hand motors from washing machines. A massive precision second hand copying camera, which ran on steel rails, was purchased so large the children could get inside.



During 1968, Peter constructed and designed all the apparatus to set up the silk screen-printing room and gold plating section and made the tanks. A new cutting machine was purchased and one of the latest drilling machines installed on hire purchase.


Left, home made Silk screening table. Right, The Unwin Family 1969. From left to right David, Vicky, Peggy, Roger, and Peter.


During 1969 the more advanced type of boards were introduced using fibreglass and a printed circuit on each side, connections were made by through hole electro-plating, with which even the largest firms were having difficulty. Peter spent several weeks experimenting with different methods and chemicals until he had mastered the technique. Then came a long postal strike and four workers had to be laid off.

A bank loan was arranged to tide things over and a secondary company was opened selling motor ignition units by mail order to help cash flow. However in 1972 came the miners strike. All firms were limited to a three-day week to conserve electricity, and a customer went into receivership owing over a thousand pounds for boards.


Left, Stoneswood mill 1977. Right Roger and Peggy with Hi tech ‘Pet’ pricing computer. Photo taken 1987.


Adjoining, vacant premises were rented. A new type of Hi- Fi Speaker was designed for possible future production and articles for technical magazines raised a little extra cash, but over two million were unemployed and orders were scarce. David and Roger helped during school holidays and weekends.


A few months later circuit board sales took off and by 1976 the premises were too cramped and the roof leaked. Roger, the younger son joined the firm, having a natural bent for electronics, and seemingly able to repair anything whatever, became very useful and it was hard to keep him away at week ends.  
Left, Roger with C.A.D. System 1986. Right Faster Excellon Uni Drills 1986.
A large Tannery, near Todmorden, empty for many years was purchased freehold with aid from the bank. The shell of the building was sound, with thick concrete floors but with no fittings and needing extensive alterations to comply with factory and fire regulations. It took three years for Peter working with a labourer and occasional advice from an architect to cut out a section of the first floor and construct a wide brick and concrete staircase. He built an outside effluent tank for chemical drainage, and installed all the complicated plumbing and water timing devices used for cleansing boards. 

Jerry silk screening solder resist

Left, Jerry Silk screening solder resist. Right Wayne Roller Tinning.

In May 1983, after long and protracted negotiations, the adjoining Stoneswood Mill and land was purchased. I retired from my directorship and passed on my shares in the company. 


In 1986, Roger was made a director. As I write now the year is 1987 and my age is eighty one. Last year, in a national survey of the top ten thousand private Limited Companies P. and M. services came 23rd. for growth and profitability. I think this is a great achievement from an original capital of one hundred pound shares, and no present burden of loans or debts to service.


Left, Anna using an old Excellon Uni Drill. Right Early Mape C.N.C. Drilling machine.

Over the years, most of the profits have been ploughed back into the business. No salesmen or representatives ever employed. New accounts all obtained by recommendations from customers. Happy staff relations by staff working close alongside the proprietors, and talking problems over in a friendly atmosphere.


Left, is a copy of an old slide of Robert F.B. Unwin with his newly wedded wife Lois, taken on honeymoon in Bristol. Who wrote the text above back in 1987 when he was 81.


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