A few weeks ago, we highlighted a manufacturer’s generator plate, dating to 1939, which had been unearthed during excavations along the A417 Missing Link in Gloucestershire. The plate, perhaps for a searchlight, was made by R. A. Lister & Co Ltd, a local Gloucestershire company, based in Dursley and founded by Robert Ashton Lister in 1867. Soon after we shared this find and its fascinating story, an unexpected modern-day link between Cotswold Archaeology and the company came to light.
Fast-forwarding 82 years from the date of the plate’s manufacture, Cotswold Archaeology’s IT team were contacted by Rob Lister, Charles Lister’s great grandson, who, with his brother Tom, runs Lister Unified Communications, a Stonehouse based Telecoms and IT business who have in fact been providing telecoms services to Cotswold Archaeology for over 15 years!
“As a follow-up to your excellent social media article about the Cotswold Archaeology discovery of the R. A. Lister & Co 1939 generator plate on the A417 dating back to World War Two, I thought it would be good to fast-forward the connection between the two companies to today,” said Rob Lister, “we’ve really enjoyed worked closely with Peter Moore and his team to provide the Telephone Systems and phone lines over many years now as CA has grown into the much larger Kemble office and expanded services to Milton Keynes, Andover, and now Needham Market.”
Rob added that it was tremendous to see Cotswold Archaeology literally unearth some local history so directly related to his company and for our research to pick up on the largely unknown story of Rob’s great grandfather Charles Lister’s efforts to rescue Jewish families during WWII.
“My understanding is that whilst Charles was on a trade mission to Germany in the run up to the war, in the ‘hyper-inflation’ stage, realising the payments for engines in deutschmark would be worthless on bringing back to UK, he used the money to buy a hotel in Germany and this became the gateway to smuggle Jewish families to safety” included Rob.
Pete Moore, from Cotswold Archaeology’s IT department also added that he was “really pleased to help make the connection between the R. A. Lister generator plaque found on the A417 and Rob Lister, who’s company has been such a key provider of telecoms for Cotswold Archaeology over many years. It’s always exciting when we can make direct links between one of our archaeological projects and a current local story like this, especially with direct decedents who are so interested and able to help paint a bigger picture.”