Plaque dedicated to workers of Roses of Gainsborough unveiled by history group

A blue plaque mounted on a wall that reads: "Roses og Gainsborough (1880 - 1987) Dedicated to the townfolk who built this remarkable engineering firm. From the world's first packaging machine to a leading contributor of the WW2 wartime effort. Plaque erected by the Delvers.

The Delvers History Group unveiled a new ‘blue plaque’ at the weekend, dedicated to the workers of Roses of Gainsborough.

The plaque is one of 17 that can be found around the town that tell the lesser-known stories that link to Gainsborough’s fascinating past.

Invited guests gathered at the Riverside in Gainsborough where members of the Delvers History Group, along with founding member Thelma Childs, celebrated the final plaque recognising the significance this local company had in the town. The event also received fantastic support from the public as a crowd formed to watch.

Group member Darron Childs thanked various special guests for attending, including Keith Vince, who runs the Roses of Gainsborough Facebook page; Sue Edlington, author of Roses of Gainsborough; Gainsborough Heritage Centre; the Friends of Gainsborough Old Hall; and Linda Browning, whose father met Guy Gibson and Bomber Harris whilst working for Roses.

Members of the Rose family were also able to attend. Annabelle Farmer, great-granddaughter of the founder of Roses, who attended along with her children, Joseph, Ellie and Alfie, spoke of her pride in the dedication of this blue plaque.

Darron also paid tribute to founding member, Thelma Childs, who has worked tirelessly over the last 35 years to share her knowledge and memories of Old Gainsborough, through slideshows, publications and talks. She has also been instrumental in the installation of all 17 plaques.

A crowd gathered to watch the blue plaque unveiling at the riverside in Gainsborough.

Thelma was delighted with the attendance at the event. She said:

“It was lovely to see so many people come support the unveiling of the blue plaque. I guess this is because Roses played such an important part in the families of so many towns folk, including my own. My father, Eric Barlow, worked as Alf Rose’s personal mechanic and my husband, Dave Childs, started his apprenticeship at Roses in 1953 aged just 15.”

Roses were a huge employer in Gainsborough during its time

Roses of Gainsborough was formed by William Rose after he designed the world’s first tobacco wrapping machine. His invention then later evolved into confectionery and other items.

Their revolutionary flare for design also led them to play an essential role during World War I and II and is said to have made parts for the Lancaster’s that carried out the Dambusters raid.

Special guest Group Captain James Beldon MBE unveiled the plaque alongside cadets from 203 (Gainsborough) Squadron. He thanked everyone for attending and gave a fascinating overview of Roses work and how it played such an important role during the War.

Gp Capt Beldon was delighted to be invited to such an historical event. He said:

‘It was an honour to unveil the Delvers’ blue plaque commemorating and celebrating the role Rose’s of Gainsborough played in the Second World War, especially in support of the Royal Air Force and, in particular, the famous Dambusters raid almost exactly 80 years ago. The blue plaque will remind future generations of Gainsborough, residents and visitors, of the vital work that the staff of this great company conducted during this country’s darkest hour.”

The Delvers Blue Plaque Trail
A group of people stood next to a blue plaque on a wall with trees in the background.
WLDC are delighted to support the installation of the plaque and creation of the Blue Plaque trail. Pictured left to right – Faye Pudney – Visitor Economy Officer (WLCD), Thelma Childs – Founder of the Delvers History Group, Group Captain James Beldon MBE, Darron Childs – member of the Delvers History Group and Ady Selby – Director of Operational and Commercial Services (WLDC)

A wider project for the group is also underway to create a printed trail that will include all 17 plaques. The booklet will provide further insight into the stories behind each plaque, with an opportunity to find out more online.

The trail booklet is being funded by West Lindsey District Council and forms part of the town’s developing visitor offer.

Faye Pudney, Visitor Economy Officer at WLDC also attended the event. She said:

“It has been a pleasure to support the Delvers History Group to install and unveil the Roses plaque. Roses of Gainsborough resonates with so many people, and are well known nationally, and internationally, so it made sense to dedicate the final plaque to the company and their workers.

“This is just the start of a wider project, and we will continue to work with the history group to develop a trail around all the plaques, adding more reasons to come and explore the town.”

Ady Selby, Director of Operational and Commercial Services also added:

“The Delvers History Group have made great progress over the years to promote Gainsborough’s history and I look forward to seeing the printed trail come to fruition. It is a welcome addition to the town’s visitor economy offer and contributes to our wider Levelling Up agenda to help create a Thriving Gainsborough.”

Watch the unveiling on West Lindsey District Council’s YouTube channel


To find out more about the Delvers History Group search for The Delvers Old Gainsborough Online on Facebook. A full recording of the unveiling can be found on our website.

To find out more about things to do in and around Gainsborough, go to our visit and have fun pages. For regular updates and latest news, follow @discovergains on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.