My father, Ernest Boschi, served the company S. A. Mather & Platt in France at Roubaix for forty-four years. Beginning in 1920 after an apprenticeship and then fieldwork in North Africa, he worked his way up through the company until Sydney D. Potter, the Managing Director in Paris, appointed him as Manager at Roubaix in 1931. Ernest also worked with other English Chairmen from the Paris-based Head Office. After Sydney Potter came Mr. R. F. Kindersley and then Herbert North who was so well known in Manchester. I, too, met him on several occasions. I also met Eustace Balfour (son of the British politician) who was the last English Chairman in France. Thereafter, all Chairmen in Paris were French.
At Roubaix, my father succeeded Robert Hilton who had been Manager there since 1925. At that same time, Loris Emerson Mather was Chairman in England. When my father died in 1964 - at the early age of 61 - he was still employed as the Manager at Roubaix. In fact, over the years, many members of my family have been connected with Mather & Platt in France. In much the same way as the company was a family concern in England, so it was in France. My father recruited his four brothers to the company Albert Boschi, who died whilst still employed by the firm and also my uncle, Jean Boschi. During World War II, Jean was a key figure in the French Resistance in Lyon and he fought throughout 1944 for the liberation of France. He was severely wounded but survived and went on to serve the company, being appointed after the war as the Director of the Mather & Platt Agency in Marseille a position he held until his death whilst still in the service of the company.
André Boschi, the youngest brother, is dead now too but my other uncle, Pierre Boschi, the last of the five brothers, died only recently - well into his eighties - on June 21, 2003. He was a keen supporter of this history site and always indicated his great pride in having served Mather & Platt and in having been a part of the rich history of the firm. Other members of my extended family have since entered the company in France the company that still bears, proudly, the name Mather & Platt - and some are still working there.
In June 1951, at the invitation of Loris Mather, my father visited England for the first time. He took great pleasure in visiting all the English Mather & Platt sites with Loris Mather himself as his guide. He went to Newton Heath, Radcliffe and Preston and also enjoyed some tourist visits to places such as the Shakespeare Theatre at Stratford-on-Avon which was, of course, protected by Mather & Platt and our sprinklers! During this visit, Loris Mather drove him personally in the comfort of his Bentley and introduced him to many people, including the celebrated Arthur Roberts, in Manchester.
My father was always delighted to receive visitors in his home and it was there that, during the late thirties, he had received the young Bill (later Sir William) Mather to lunch. He had just come down from University and was visiting all the Mather & Platt establishments round the world. On his way back to England, Bill Mather arrived at the house in his own car a little low-slung Triumph, I seem to recall and after lunch he left to take the Calais boat for England and then drive back to Manchester. Ernest met him again in 1960 and was again pleased to entertain him at the house. My father was a passionate ambassador and advocate for Mather & Platt and dedicated his life to the company in much the same way as so many people did, so willingly, during its illustrious history.