The inaugural SIP company outing, July 1924

12/16/2003 - 00:00 AM

  • The inaugural SIP company outing, July 1924
- + Text size
Print

A long feature published in a 1924 issue of the SIP company magazine “Sincronizzando...”, entitled “A Magnificent Day of Joyful Brotherhood”, describes in great detail the first company outing organized by the newly formed SIP Sports Club. A hundred and twenty daytrippers assembled at 7 a.m. on 27 July that year at Turin Station, bound for Funghera, in the Val di Lanzo, site of the brand-new hydroelectric plant. After arriving punctually at 8:21 a.m., in a “tumultuous and festive disembarkation”, the group reached the Electricity Plant. Once the welcome address had been given by Mr. Palestrino on behalf of company management, it was time for a guided tour of the electricity plant, a climb up the precipitous path leading to the upper basin, and then another “long explanation” (sic) by Mr. Palestrino, before taking lunch in the gardens, accompanied by many a toast. After lunch came more speeches, all of which are printed in full in the magazine, followed by a football match pitching younger workers against older workers, a men v. women tug-of-war, sack races, crockery smashing, and the nomination of the “outing queen”. That evening the happy band took the train back to Turin, where they arrived at 7:10 p.m. and “merrily took their leave”. This was to be the first of a number of outings. The Sports Club added many more cultural activities and welfare initiatives to its roster as it developed into a thriving working men's club. Company management strongly supported the venture. Even in those inaugural speeches to the Funghera daytrippers, the company's motivation was clear: it was believed that company organization of free time would provide a great pedagogical opportunity to counter conflictual attitudes within the company, promote collaboration between workers and managers, distract workers from the vices of drink and women, and help to build a company culture by cultivating a sort of religious admiration for industrial and technological progress. As our Mr. Palestrino explains in his after lunch speech, “For the Company this first outing is the foundation of a synchronism; it provides an agreeable and genial opportunity for those higher up and lower down on the ladder to meet and mingle, which we, particularly we in Management, wish to see happen on an increasingly lively and cordial basis. On a day like today, spent out in the bright sunshine, in high spirits, the kind of spirits that give both mind and body a rest, we all feel that tomorrow we shall return with renewed vigour to our habits, functions and duties; that we shall bring to bear greater strength and energy to the responsibilities that each of us holds.” In his speech, Commendator Buscaglione, Chairman of the SIP Sports Club, emphasizes the trip's positive effects: for “everybody to get on well” in this big company family “made up of hard-working people, active people who have made work their creed.” In more general terms he highlights the Sports Club's beneficial goals: “Of course, every now and then we turn our backs on life in the office or the factory floor, not to run after the pleasures of gluttony or the gloomy pub, but to run towards life, to drink in the sunshine, light and immensity, and to dedicate ourselves to that powerful expression of vitality we know by the name of Sport.” Referring to the tour of the hydroelectric plant, he goes on to say: “I must confess that this morning, visiting this site and admiring this wondrous basin, I was deeply moved, as if I were visiting a place of worship. But then these are places of worship; these are immaculate temples, where men work to perfect the boldest of inventions, the fruit of experience garnered by generations and centuries of human endeavour. Thundering down from the implacable and wild Alps, this water has found its master in Man.”