“I can remember those early days before Cooper Mathias closed, Mat would drive down from the Cowcliffe factory in his new Ford Cortina 1600E with about five or six amps in the back. As soon as he arrived, the amps would get fitted into the Rexine-covered wooden sleeves, boxed and dispatched. I’d never seen a Cortina 1600E before. I was nineteen and had only just passed my driving test, I remember Mat gave me the keys and let me drive it around the block in the middle of London – unsupervised! I got in and put my foot down, and it frightened the life out of me…. the thing was so fast – it was amazing.
After our amps stopped being made in Huddersfield, we began building an updated version of the Orange Graphic amp in the basement at Short’s Gardens. The building was an old derelict shop on the corner of Neils Yard and Short’s Gardens in the heart of Covent Garden, London. The idea behind moving into Short’s Gardens was to increase productivity, provide more room for cabinet-making, amp testing and storage. We made cabinets on the ground floor and amps in the basement. I have to say that the building would never have passed any modern day Health and Safety regulations!
However, John James our R&D engineer, never compromised on quality control. Everything was thoroughly soak tested before it went out. Orders just kept on increasing and soon we were bursting at the seams. By the end of 1972, it was clear that we had to move to larger premises – we urgently needed a proper factory facility.”