Pattern Making Shop Agreement

In June 1973[1], the firm entered a type of risk and revenue sharing agreement with Ken Dalby, who had worked for the firm for many years running the pattern shop. The agreement essentially handed over the management of the firm’s pattern shop to Ken Dalby, allowing him to tender for outside work as well has having a monopoly on in-house work.

The agreement gave him complete responsibility for all pattern making including obtaining orders, estimating, requisitioning materials, engaging labour, incorporating repairs and maintenance of both the equipment, and pattern making shop occupied and even included the running of the horticultural department. This last statement firmly places the firm’s view of its horticultural business into perspective.

Surprisingly, it was agreed that work undertaken by Ken Dalby, on behalf of the firm, would be charged at the same rate as for external customers.

In return, Ken Dalby would receive a commission, paid quarterly, on any profits. Based on an annual net profit, commission was to be paid at 10 per cent on the first £5,000; 7½ per cent on the next £2,500 (£5,000-£7,500); 5 per cent on the following £2,500 (£7,500-£10,000). The agreement appears to assume that the annual net profit would not exceed £10,000, although there was a clause which, if the situation arose, allowed both parties to revisit the agreement.

It is difficult to know whether this was a desperate measure on behalf of the firm or one of immense insight in attempting to maximise one of their major assets.

Full Text of Agreement


Separate accounts are to be kept for all work undertaken in the Pattern Shop, and a commission on profits will be paid to Mr. K. Dalby at the following rates:-

On an annual net profit of £5,000. Commission at the rate of 10%
On the next £2,500 i.e. from £5,000 to £7,500 at the rate of 7½%
On the next £2,500 i.e. from £7,500 to £10,000 at the rate of 5%
Thereafter to be agreed later.

This commission to be paid quarterly.

Mr. Dalby to be responsible for obtaining orders, estimating, requisitioning materials, engaging labour, and all aspects of this department. The Pattern Shop to be responsible for all types of patternmaking, repairs and maintenance of pattern equipment, repairs and maintenance of buildings at the firm as required by Management and the running the Horticultural Department.

Work done to the firm’s property or for other Departments to be charged at the same rate as for outside customers.

The Pattern Shop to bear its fair proportion of overhead expenses. Reasonable travelling expenses will he allowed for the Company’s business.

Mr Dalby to have access to all accounts and costs relating to this Department.

This agreement is a confidential arrangement between the Management and Mr. Dalby and on no account must it be discussed with any other person.

This Agreement commences on Monday, 11th June, 1973 and to continue on an annual basis until terminated by either side.

On behalf of
MESSENGER & CO. LTD.                          DATE: 13th June, 1973

F.G.M. BURDER – DIRECTOR                                     K. DALBY





  1. Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland Record Office ref: DE2121-284.