The Northern branch is not, of course, based
in the C-P building but most of the references to it come
from visits from its staff (which generally cause utter
mayhem). Based unmistakably in Yorkshire it features quaint
characters who refer to London as "the smoke"
and a cheeky youngster called Ernie ("proper daft our
Ernie"). The boss is Mr. Ramsbottom.
Typical dialogue on hearing that Lady Chester-Perry
is to pay them a visit.
Ernie : "What does she want with us
with her hoity-toity ways"
Ramsbottom : "Nay lad sitthee where there’s muck
In February 2003 a series of strips on
frankdickens.com revealed much more about this key outpost
of the C-P empire. A so-called goodwill visit is announced
by an anonymous manager "They are waiting downstairs.
Go and get them Bristow. The rest of you fasten down everything
that can be fastened down and hide everything you can lay
your hands on". The visit is not a success. There is
bitter rivalry between the respective buying departments,
trouble when Miss Sunman falls for one Stan Pike (hobbies
- racing pigeons) and eventually an all-out war. ("Pass
me that paperweight"). The Northern branch take over
the post-room but their visit is cut short and they return
home, leaving a trail of broken hearts in the typing pool
and much missing furniture.
Like any large organisation, there are
frequent visitors to the Chester-Perry Building. We often
encounter one of them, escorted through the corridors by
a mentor. They pass the canteen and hear a voice within
chanting "Double double toil and trouble fire burn and cauldron
bubble" - this is Mr. Gordon Blue
making Christmas puddings. They may look into public relations
where Mario, Lefty Bugsy and Guiseppe are ready to deal
with any complaints. And their path will eventually lead
down that corridor that passes the Buying Department. There
they may observe the buying clerks playing desk-top football,
downing everything for tea or just occasionally doing some
work. Bristow is invariably pointed as the man eighteenth
in line for Chief Buyer. This will be when he is making
paper aeroplanes or counting on his fingers. He may be arm-wrestling
with a temp (to assert his authority) or showing slides
of the girl in the orange bikini to a packed and hushed
audience. On the whole it does not seem the visitor is impressed.
But the day that Fudge returns after an unexpected absence,
during which time Jones was appointed acting-in-charge and
made the mistake of lording it over Bristow - that was a
day to remember strip
Strip 4393 was published
in the Evening Standard in May 1975. This scan
is from the Melbourne Age June 1975