Those were the days…


A couple of wonderful pictures from a Ruffler and Walker staff party in the 1950s. Does anyone recognise any of the characters in these pictures. Do send in your comments! (Click on the images to see the whole pictures)

Comments (40)

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These pictures were taken at Ruffler & Walkers showroom in Clapham Junction in1959 to launch the new Rock-Ola Tempo model jukebox, in the pictures are Bill Ruffler, Fred Walker, Gordon Walker, Len Cullum, Harold Robey ( Battersea Park ArcadeOwner) Val Manzi (nee Val Ruffler) Val is married to Frank Manzi (past President of BACTA) RoyRuffler had not joined the family business at that time.

Freddy Bailey
The Official Industry Historian

P.S.Tell Michael Green I have known him longer than Colin,we met in 1959.

Freddy Bailey
U. S.A.
12/05/2011, 03:04

Hi Freddy
You definitely win a free product inclusion or advert with that impressive memory of yours. You didn’t mention the young Colin Mallery who is also present in these pictures!

We love getting your comments – please keep them coming!

all the best


ps – we have had an enquiry from a reader who is looking for a Ruffler & Walker Allwin machine – any ideas?

Coin-Op Community
13/05/2011, 10:05

I can easily see Fred and Gordon Walker along with Len Cullum, there are more I know as well!

Michael Green
18/05/2011, 09:04

Is there any way possible of emailing me a copy/scan of these photos, Fred Walker was my Grandfather and Gordon is my Father. I would love to surprise him with a good framed copy!
Much thanks

simon walker
30/06/2011, 17:03

Hello Simon,
I have several pictures of both your Father and Grandfather, if you send me a regular e-mail I will send you copies. It is always good to hear of people like your father, who was very active in the industry during the golden years of the business. Ruffler and Walker were a major distributor and a major player throughout the 1950-60′s.

Freddy Bailey
Coin Machine Historian

Freddy Bailey
08/07/2011, 00:45

Hi,please can you tell me who is who in the photos,particullarly Fred Walker and Bill Ruffler,thanks.

Tony Maxted
13/07/2011, 22:01

Hi Tony,
In the picture with the Rock-Ola jukebox, Bill Ruffleris the man behind the jukebox on the left.

In the picture with the Tom-Tom’s Fred Walker is the one on the immediate left showing only half of his face, on the opposite side of the picture on the far right is Gordon Walker last on the back row.

Bill Ruffler is on the immediate right of the Tom-Tom drums with his Daughter Val Ruffler now Val Manzi immediatly behind him. I have several pictures in my collection of both the Ruffler family members and also Fred Walkers family that I will be putting in some articles that Iwill be writing for Steph in the immediate future.

Freddy Bailey
Coin Machine Historian

Freddy Bailey
16/07/2011, 19:24

do you know anything about a man named Len Pope who was part of the rock-ola juke box business in the early 50′s ? he was a great friend of my dad and i remember him as a kid as a sharp looking man about town. with a pencil moustach. he ALWAYS had the prettiest girls around. I was wondering if he was the man 5th from the left in the juke box photo, thats how I remember him (and he dose have the prettiest girl!)

paul coppin
07/08/2011, 14:07

Hi Paul – I am sure we will get some responses about Len. I have asked Freddy Bailey, our resident industry historian for some details. As for the guy in the photo you mention, I think that’s actually a young Colin Mallery!

all the best

07/08/2011, 19:40

I worked for Ruffler and Walker from 1966 to 1968 for the Operations Manager, R. Hamilton-Jordan. He and Mr. Walker and Ruffler were wonderful gentlemen to work for. They were really happy times and I would love to know if anyone who used to work there remembers me. I would love to hear from you if you do.

Marilyn Moore Meier
11/08/2011, 17:13

Dear Marilyn – I am sure there are people who will remember you! I will contact some of the most likely people and get back to you! Do let us know what you are doing now. Are you still involved in the industry at all?
Regards – Steph

12/08/2011, 06:32

I dont have a R&W allwin for sale but i do have a great ,very kitch, R&W 1960′s fruit machine ive just finished refurbishing if anyone is interested

paul coppin
14/08/2011, 10:47

Hi I have just stumbled across this site whilst searching for info, does anyone have any information about a 1965 ruffler and walker machine called southern belle, it is electric and works completely by lights and has no reels? Thanks

Dave Randall
30/08/2011, 23:49

send a photo of the southern belle to me and ill find out all about it, send to

paul coppin
10/10/2011, 14:58

I was very pleased to find this site as Bill Ruffler was a name that I (now 72) remember from the past. I met Bill when I used to play table tennis at a club called Bluegates in Ewell, Surrey, UK. From memory that was back in the 1950′s. I would have been in my teens then but clearly remember that Bill worked in the juke box business. I am very pleased to be able to add my name and comments to your site.

Graham Fletcher
United Kingdom
28/02/2012, 08:57

Dear Graham – thank you for adding your comment and for visiting the site! These photos have brought back a lot of memories for people involved in the industry at that time in one way or another. Some of Bill Ruffler’s family also saw them and we ended up arranging for copies to be printed for them.
Kind regards

28/02/2012, 09:53

I was born in ’46 with the names Ruffler and walker ringing in my ears. My father, James, was initially employed at St Johns Hill in the 40′s and subsequently, up until the mid 70′s, produced coils, transformers and motor rewinds for them through his own business. I would often travel to Clapham Junction from Crystal Palace to deliver finished items and the tall man in a smart suit (Fred?) would thank me with sixpence. For years we had a photograph of my father and other staff sitting at a long table at a social event. My father would tell me of his field trips to Skegness and Clacton.The last time I had any connection was when Ruffler and Deith were setting up shop in Wandsworth; suddenlythe computer age was upon us and my father’s electromechanical skills gradually became redundant. Graham Brown

Graham Brown
Dartford Uk
02/10/2013, 18:35

Some of these are way before my time, I worked for R and W from about 1968 until the Phono takeover. I then went to Manchester in 1969 – 1972 when it was PRW sales.

Alan Wilson
14/03/2014, 17:03

Hi my name is Jill Blin used to be Jill Phillips and I worked for Maisie and Rose. I live in Australia and I remember you very well Alan. I went to Germany with Ann Davis and managed to track her down a couple of years ago. I come back to England almost every year so we catch up and she visits me too. Absolutely love my time at R & W, never a dull moment. Regards to anyone who remembers me.

Jill Blin nee Phillips
30/03/2014, 11:39

My Uncle, Bernard Briggs, was in the juke box and fruit machine game for many years (Modern Enterprises on Lavender Hill, Battersea) before Playland Arcades and was the Chairman of the trade body at the time.
I remember meeting Fred and Walker and Bill Ruffler a few times in the late fifties and sixties.. Including at St.John’s Hill when I was a youngster.
Bernard used to take me round various sites on a Sunday ..semi social.. keeping an eye on his machines..Wondered if Freddy Bailey knew Bruce Eckart?. He moved back to LA after the Playland debacle..1980 or so?

Chris Briggs
06/09/2014, 20:07

Hi everyone,

Does anyone have any other pictures with Harold Robey in them (Battersea Arcade Owner)? I’m engaged to his youngest son and would lve to surprise him with pictures of his late father

Thanks in advance

Tammy Lancaster
Eton, UK
08/11/2014, 23:59

Hi guys,

I just wanted to say a big thank you to Steph for putting Freddy and I in touch, I really appreciate it so much

Best wishes

Tammy Lancaster
Eton, UK
28/01/2015, 15:03

I am so pleased that Freddy could help – he is a star! Good luck with your wedding – I am sure you will have a wonderful day !

29/01/2015, 21:21

Wow, I’ve not seen these photos before. They are fabulous. I would love to have a copy of them. Sorry let me introduce myself, my mother is June,val and Roy are mum’s sister and brother. Can’t wait to show this to mum. .Steve.

Steve brown
Surrey. Grandad
14/08/2015, 23:53

Nice to see so many old friends, that evokes many memories, sadly so many of them no longer with us although we were competitors in those days we were good friends. None of us then had even thought of the merger that took place a number of years later. Yes Freddie we have been friends for over 60 years

Michael Green
19/08/2015, 14:56

Great to see some of the old names associated
With the early industry like James Brown who I remember bringing in motors after rewind to R&W in St Johns Hill where I first started full time work
Having been a seasonal worker at R&W arcade in battersea Park also the Robey bro’s who were in the park at the same time .
I also met Bernard Briggs many times and most of
The top people in the industry as I was constantly
Sent on errands by Bill And Fred collecting money and delivering machines. Colin M

Colin Mallery
25/08/2015, 17:20

Never thought I would ever hear Colin Mallorys name again! I worked for R&W from August 1963 until October 1970 & subsequently moved to Cornwall after a spell as a service engineer. Still keep in touch with some of the R&W mechanics from those times! Great place to work, loved it there. Good memories of Altenburg Gardens! I recognize some of the faces in the pictures but can’t remember some of the names. I cycled from Roehampton every day for the first couple of years to get to & from work. John Braybrook.

John Braybrook
28/08/2015, 20:43

We are refurbishing an EM pinball at the moment. It is called Rockmakers.It has a Ruffle&and Walker sticker on it. Does anybody remember it. We were told that it may have belonged to Eric Clapton. We have resprayed it and are currently working on the mechanics. Its looking very good and will be at the Brighton Jukebox show on 23rd & 24th April 2016 if anybody wants to see in for old times sake.

marion rainthorpe
pinball refurbishing
01/02/2016, 13:30

Hi Colin I thought that you would be dead by now
I remember you very well I worked for Maisie and left R & W to go and work in Germany with Ann Davis my maiden name was Phillips hope that you are well. I now live in Australia. Of course I am retired. Caught up with Ann last month she came to Australia for a few weeks.

Jill Blin
24/03/2016, 11:20

How lucky am I to have stumbled across this site. Not that I know a single person mentioned. It’s just been lovely to witness such comraderie. Thanks for opening this little window in history, it’s been a joy to read your shared memories.
An important lesson for today’s generation lies here and that it that work really shouldn’t be ‘All about the money’.

Helen Benjamin's
27/04/2016, 08:14

I have read this with great interest. I have a large collection of 1950′s laughing characters made by Len Insull Jnr and cased by Modern Enterprises.
Laughing Sailor, Laughing Clown, Cry Baby, Playboy, Laughing Policeman, Piano Player, Minstrel Band, Al Jolson.
I would really like to know more about the history of Modern Enterprises and their connection with Ruffler and Walker

Robert Hind-Smith
West Yorkshire / collector
27/04/2017, 23:18

I am writing a book to be published in Q1 2018, about my experiences in London in 1975 and in particular the Playland Amusement arcade in Coventry St. I saw an entry here dated 06/09/2014, from Chris Briggs (Bernard Briggs was his uncle, who worked with Bruce Eckart in Playland). I’d love to get in contact with Chris. Can anyone help?

Anthony Daly
Northern Ireland
29/06/2017, 11:44

Hi Anthony – I have emailed Chris and asked him to get in touch with you directly – Kind regards – Steph

29/06/2017, 11:48

can anyone tell me the address of the R&W factory at Erith Kent? I believe it was originally the B.M Corteen facility

paul coppin
26/08/2017, 16:08

As with so many others, such a pleasure to stumble across this site…although I see my brother Simon was here a few years ago! I’m gordon walkers daughter, Fred walkers granddaughter, and so many of my early childhood memories centre around R and W . The Ruffler were always like family, and I remember people like Val the secretary and Cyril shack, David Gershwin. We always had a machine at home for special occasions, a juke box for Christmas, kiddy rides for birthdays! The last one I remember was a space invaders arcade game! I remember hearing many stories from my grandma Muriel walker about the early days of the business. It sounds like R and W was a close firm to work for with a real family feel, and it was certainly a gig part of our family life :)

Susan walker
02/02/2018, 16:56

Very pleased you found the site too, Susan and pleased you enjoyed the photos – feel free to send us some of yours and we can publish them too! – best Steph

03/02/2018, 17:28

Sadly my dad passed away in 2014 and my mum Marylyn just two years later in 2016. I know we have hundreds of photos of R and W through the 50s and 60s, and also of wilts automatic, if anyone would be interested in seeing them……

Susan walker
02/02/2018, 16:59

Just looked at the photo again and saw half my family! Muriel walker, Maisie Greatorex, grandad, aunty Annie, uncle nobby, aunty Anne with Brian, John Greatorex, I think Brian pierce, my dad and in front of him, my mum!!!!

Susan walker
02/02/2018, 17:05

My Dad is John Greatorex. He is Fred’s nephew and Gordon’s cousin. He worked at Ruffler and Walker when I was a small child. I can remember running round the offices to see my Nan , Maisie who was Fred’s sister and worked there.
Dad also worked at Phonographic after R and W was sold.We then moved in Trowbridge in1975 when Dad along with his cousins Brian Pierce and Gordon Walker took on Wilts Automatics.

Sally Collins
05/02/2018, 13:15

Hi Sally I remember your Dad very well, i worked for Maisie , Rose and Brian my maiden name was
Phillips. Maisie and Rose were very kind to me and R & W were a great company to work for.
It was the best place to work and most people loved the Walkers. They treated us all like family
Regard Jill

Jill Blin
24/03/2018, 11:23

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