Artist Anne Schwegmann-Fielding, in collaboration with Bellway Homes, presents a memorial to Eric Kirkham Cole on the former EKCO works site, once Southend's biggest and most famous manufacturer.
From humble beginnings in a garden shed in 1922, Eric K. Cole went on to establish the EKCO factory in 1930 on a former cabbage patch field in Priory Crescent, Southend. What started as a radio manufacturing firm, grew to be an international brand producing the must-have electronics and gadgets of the time.
At its peak the company was the main employer of the town, employing over 8,000 people in Essex. Eric took great pride in his employees and was a pioneer in paid holidays, workplace pensions and apprenticeship schemes.
The sculpture is a dedication to EKCO employees. “Our Eric” stands on the plinth, but his suit makes it clear that more than just a brand, Eric built a community.
Download the brochure to find out the story of the Ekco factory and to identify
all the photos that appear on Eric's suit: