ALAN TURNER might be de
scribed as a young Christian employer. He is 45 years of age, director of the Ernest Turner group of factories, founded by his father, and a convert to the Church.
In 1941 when he and his brother. Norman, took over the direction of their business Alan commenced to develop the fine system of welfare already inaugurated. He attempted to apply the principles set down by the Popes for the guidance of employers in their association with employees. The measure of his success is known to those who have seen the film " Family Affair," recently made An technicolour by the Ernest Turner Film Unit. It has been claimed that his organisation of 650 employees would be better named the " Alan Turner Family."
E commenced work on the ground floor of his father's factory at King's Cross. He had a brush in his hands; he was sweeping with it. Turner, ere. had a realistic conception of the value of the most humble tasks in fis plants. He ensured that it would be transmitted to his sons. Alan learned as much as any man possibly could of the whole range of tasks in the organisation of factories, distributing centres and offices attached. And this knowledge has made him an understaneltng master whose friendly relations with his workers are never strained. nife knows their difficulties and he does not underestimate their value.
He was born in Highgate in 1902, and ho attended the local school. Faintly hut courteously rebellious was his attitude towards the family business. He wanted to become an electrical engineer. His father disliked the boy's desire to abandon the family organisation but like a wise man assisted by placing him in the High Wycombe Power Station. At the age of 16 Alan commenced work, carting machine oil from the local railway station. His hobby is still electrical. It was in a tradition of hard work and quick decision that, Alan was raised.• He went to church and he gravitated towards Anglicanism. Then one evening in 1920 he casually attended Benediction in High Wycombe. He has not been in a Protestant church since. He immediately commenced receiving instructions and because of a surgical operation later that year almost bundled himself intosCatholicism. At this time the fajniTy lived in Princes Risborough, and it was there that the convert made his debut in Catholic action. There was no church in the towp in those days. The few Catholics gathered in " old Mrs. Mead's cottage" for Sunday Rosary. For Alan this was not enough. He petitioned the Bishop of Northampton asking for permission to have Sunday Mass. It was granted provided he could obtain the services of a priest. On the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. 1923, the first Mass was offered in one of Princes. Rishorough's public halls and from that day until June, 1936, when a pneat was permanently appointed. not ooe Sunday passed without the Holy Sacrifice, and often Alan worked until two o'clock on Sunday preparing the hall for the service.
IN 1939 Ernest Turner retired. Alan had married in 1926 to a lady who is also a convert. They have nine children. The two Turner brothers took full control of the business when their father died in 1941. Since then it has progressed steadily.
It has one of the most comprehensive welfare schemes in England. It has factory committees comprising workers and managers who, among other innovations, established the shorter working week sooner than most
English plants. A generous pensions scheme is in existence. Special, royalties are paid to employees who make workable suggestions on the products of the factories. Workers in Derby, High Wycombe and London will tell you the brothers take a personal interest in their health, living conditions and futures. And they reciprocate. The Turners and their workers play together, Alan's brother Ole saxophone in the factory dance hand. They have a works opera company which has raised thottaands of pounds for charities. They have fine playing fields, and in each plant they have youth clubs run by their young employees. The Ernest Turner Film Unit recently had one of its productions screened at an international exhi bition in Brussels. Cardinal Griffin made his debut as a film star in technicolour in this film. Special educational courses have been planned and are operating in the Derby technical school for young workers in the Ernest Turner factories.
As a Catholic Actionist Alan has two great ambitions,. He wants to see a working organisation of Catholic employers and a Catholic college of welfare workers set up in England. His boys are products of Mount St. Mary's school. His eldest, Bruno. has commenced his career. This last is an ordinary mechanic in a factory 1 eitoa.xd 2.1f near Derby. It is not owned by his father.