Shop H.E. Bates Online
Pastoral on Paper
Page Count
Word Count
Publication Year
Document Types
Organizations, Writings on Behalf of

Medway: Medway Corrugated Paper Company, Limited, 1953. 12 pp. (of text). Consisting mainly of thirty-three full-page black and white photographs by John Gay, with additional drawings and map by Leslie S. Haywood.

This volume is one of two non-fiction company histories (see Fawley Achievement) written by Bates in a style not unlike his war title, There's Freedom in the Air: an uncritical volume of praise for a company that indeed appears to have taken a very enlightened approach to its mission and employees. As he did in the other company history, Bates first establishes the natural setting in writing similar to his many nature books, in this case the town of Aylesford on the river Medway in Bates's own adopted homeland of Kent. He reviews the history of paper production and of the wartime transition from wood packing cases to cardboard ones. He notes the deleterious effects of overly quick industrialization on both land and people, but praises the Medway company for giving great attention to schools for employees and their families, playing fields, social clubs, entertainment venues, pension plan, and other amenities: "These workers are happy; and they are happy largely because Aylesford likes to see its problems in human terms."

Eads (1990, p. 82) refers to a publication party hosted by the Medway company on 27 May 1953 at the Savoy Hotel, London. "The author was guest of honour. It was later reported in the Company's magazine that the book had been widely circulated to Medway's many connections and had everywhere been received with interest and approval."