Arnold Burlin gets a fiery welcome


It was back in 1967 when we had a three story building in Ladbroke Grove, North London. In the basement we had a workshop that refurbished fruit machines.

Part of this facility included a paint spray booth with strong air extraction to the roof of the building for obvious reasons. One day a member of staff decided to burn some betting slips that he didn’t want anyone to know about, well as you cam imagine within the confines of a spray booth with plenty of paint residue the whole area was soon all burning.

Fortunately the fire was extinguished within a couple of minutes, but there was tremendous amount of smoke throughout the building and to clear it all doors and windows were opened.

This meant large clouds of smoke poring out of the building and all the staff were outside on the very wide pavement. Just then a taxi pulled up outside and out got Arnold Burlin ( Martins father). Arnold was a larger than life personality and one of the biggest Fruit machine operators in the North West. He has also had a great sense of humour.

As he got out of the taxi he said. “I know I am an important customer, but you didn’t need to burn the building down for me”. We all had a good laugh at the time, and for me it still ranks as one of the funniest moments in the history of the UK trade.

Comments (3)

Add Your Comment

If it was not Gordon or Cyril burning their betting slips, it must have been Jessie Piggot , not only was he the best fruit machine tech, but he loved burning things, I remember when Jessie and his brother operated out of a cafe in Camberwell. Jessie told me that he once saved the life of a site owner that was breaking into his fruit machine that he had in the club. I said to him “How did you save his life Jessie ?” he said “I poured a gallon of petrol over the bastard, but I couldn’t find a match.” Michael, we had some great stories in those day’s, especially outside Phonographic on that wide pavement.

Best Wishes.

Freddy Bailey

Game World (Manufacturing) LLC
21/04/2011, 01:39

It really was Cyril I assure as he told me what he was doing at the time as he didn’t want Gordon to know. Jessie i agree was the best fruit machine mechanic outside of Las Vegas. he certainly took no prisoners and grew up in tough environment and could look after himself at all times. Yes let’s keep the stories coming but don’t think we should tell the one about you and Rolly Thompson on the pavement. Call me when you can

Michael Green
21/04/2011, 08:13

Came across this by mistake While looking for an article about my grandad. Jess was my Grandad and this did make me laugh. Many Thanks

16/02/2013, 15:30

Add Your Comment

* Required field. All comments are reviewed before appearing.

Get our newsletter