Nottingham Oral History Project: interview. Sample containing about 6194 words speech recorded in leisure context

4 speakers recorded by respondent number C143

PS256 X m (No name, age unknown) unspecified
PS257 Ag5 m (No name, age 79, retired engineering toolmaker) unspecified
FXUPSUNK (respondent W0000) X u (Unknown speaker, age unknown) other
FXUPSUGP (respondent W000M) X u (Group of unknown speakers, age unknown) other

1 recordings

  1. Tape 094301 recorded on unknown date. LocationNottinghamshire: Nottingham () Activity: Oral history project interview

Undivided text

Unknown speaker (FXUPSUNK) [1] [whispering] [...] . []
(PS256) [2] So Mr , can you tell me whereabouts you were born in Nottingham and when?
(PS257) [3] Well it so happens I was not born in Nottingham, though my early memories are of Nottingham, right even from infant school, which er ... started at five years of age till about seven.
[4] But in fact I was born in , Northamptonshire.
[5] My father being a railwayman and er asking and doing various jobs from being ordinary shunter and man-about, eventually graduated by way of He's he was a Lancashire man, you see?
[6] And the family really come from in Lancashire?
[7] Which is a considerably humble place.
[8] Anyway he went about in [...] railway jobs as the years went by and I was born in , taken with the rest to Leicester, City of Leicester, but my early memories was in Nottingham.
[9] I don't remember the prior, it's what my parents have told me and the birth certificate shows, of course.
[10] And so the first memories is in the meadows of Nottingham, going to infant school about the age [...] don't remember starting, but perhaps I'd be six years of age, and it was a little church school and they were all lady teachers and most of them Mrs and not the Miss which is nowadays er more common.
[11] And strange to say, it had coal fires in the winter, huge coal fires to keep it warm, or attempt to do, and most of the classrooms were only divided by portable partitions so that while we went from class to class as the two or three years went by, [laughing] it really was in [] one long building and quite adequate for the time.
(PS256) [12] How big were the classes then?
[13] Can you recall that?
(PS257) [14] I recall being in the first class and er a teacher coming to me, as I weren't paying much attention I think, and to this day I shall remember and never forget, she just folded my arms in front of me and says, Percy, you're not listening, you'll have to have a rest.
[15] And she put my head on my hands on the desk in front of me and believe me, I went to sleep, it was must have been very, very new, compared to being at home and perhaps being laid there.
[16] But they're they were all kind ladies and er the thing that they punished us with really was made of cardboard, like er, er a pointer or a stick, it was a pointer that they pointed to the board when they drew things on and told us about them, but sometimes boys By the way, boy sat with girl, at the desk with two in and er it was quite satisfactory, I don't remember any other upset with being there th th th there were two sexes, we were five years of age to begin with and stayed till seven.
[17] Anyway, that took a year or two and I even remember taking my next brother to school, me mother saying Take Frank to school and tell Miss , he's your brother and he's five.
[18] So I did [laughing] and it's very strange [] I remember toddling off with this little chap and er and Miss said, Who is this then? or words to that effect.
[19] And [...] remember now, the language of the day, said It's our Frank.
[20] And er that was all the particulars I think Miss ever got for him.
[21] And that er church school took us to the standard, at that time, called standard one, which was in a big school, about half a mile away and was built by the Nottingham Education Committee and was one of say, six or eight in the Nottingham area, I suppose.
[22] And there was a far cry from the kind [laughing] lady [laugh] who would lay one's head on a desk [] and say, You have a sleep.
[23] [laugh] And er [...]
(PS256) [24] In wh In what ways was was it a far cry?
[25] How how did the contrast strike you?
(PS257) [26] Well although it was so near, it was really a mining district and ninety percent of the boys We were at separate schools by the way, the ground floors were boys, from the age of seven upwards, till fourteen.
[27] Upstairs were the girls, from the similar ages and and one wing of this big school was infants.
[28] Which I hadn't known about or my mother and otherwise living near enough they could have s done that school and gone through from five years to er fourteen.
[29] Anyway, standard one was a breaking-in for this er other discipline and not quite so easy and learning how to spell.
[30] And teacher would er tell us that next week with her spelling lesson she'd want a new word, would we learn one at home?
[31] And er er the week following we'd all [laughing] have to spell the word we'd chose.
[32] And it was a simple as that [] .
[33] Again, Oh we'd graduated then from pencils and paper, to pen and ink and paper, the ink being in er a well sunk in the desk in front of us.
[34] Each boy had a inkwell and er a pen, blue-black ink and so on and some of the small books that we used for writing in were kept under the desk.
[35] Most of the textbooks, were handed to us came from cupboards of storage, of which they must have had about sixty each, those classes were always, from then on, sixty boys in a class for one teacher.
[36] ... Er standard one was er no trouble, except er er pretty timid, remember being timid, the boys could be very rough in play and there was much nudging in the playground as they ran about at their various games.
[37] And so to standard two, where the That was th the next year, each class was expected to take about a year, which it did.
[38] In st in standard two though, having passed through there, the Headmaster came in near the end of the second year and said because of the number of scholars er some boys would have to miss standard three because there was too many for the class.
[39] They could er er er because thi it this would be a birthrate problem not known to us as boys and I along with seven or eight others, were taken to the standard four to start, after the holidays, which was in August.
[40] We had a month's holiday in August every year.
[41] But to break us into this new er schooling the Headmaster had us in various mornings for an hour and was supposed, well tried, to make a sort of summary of what the lesson would have been [laughing] in standard three [] .
[42] And believe it or not, one of the subjects was er the geography of England.
[43] Now, to this day, I'm a dunce at the geography of England, I know where the principle towns are, I know you go north to Manchester and south to London and generally get about.
[44] But the intricacies, I [laughing] know more about Europe, eventually [] , and other countries, due to not being having a a briefing by a Headmaster for half an hour of something The group of us, he had eight to ten of us in the [laughing] room trying to [] prime us on what we'd missed for a year.
(PS256) [...]
(PS257) [45] And and many times I apologize [laughing] for asking where [] various places are, because I just can't visualize Most of the other things from school come without being beckoned, er one thinks of er the economy, they taught about us about various things of the economy.
[46] Oh, by this time, er being born in nineteen hundred and five, by nineteen fourteen, that was nine years, the Great War started.
(PS256) [47] Yes, what what impact did that have upon your schooling ?
(PS257) [48] The Great War started and took the scho er ... This Road school had all men teachers extep except standard one, which was an introduction from infants to grown-up and a matronly lady always called Miss , er broke us into this new sort of discipline and [laughing] sternness [] really.
[49] The rest er er standard two to standard six, were all male, but lo and behold before I got to standard five, that had all become women and the men had all gone to the into the services.
[50] Because although that war didn't have conscription in nineteen fourteen or nineteen fifteen, I believe it started in nineteen sixteen, back end, and er we we'd got all women teachers who were quite a different problem from a school of that nature.
[51] Cos a boy in standard five could be getting on for thirteen.
[52] There were quite a few dunces, [laugh] and er some didn't always get moved on and they didn't all make it into the top class, they had to stop again for another year, or period, in the class they were.
(PS256) [53] Yes, I was going to ask, what well, what effect did the er er the substitution of the the male teachers by the women teachers during the the the Great War period?
[54] H How do you think it affected the schooling?
(PS257) [55] Well, in my observation, as regards young boys, it er th they played could play them up, the lads would play pranks on the teacher, who would put the best on it for a long time.
[56] Worse come to the worse, she brought the Headmaster in with his cane and he was er like the one in the stories, skilled to rule, but anyway his most proficiency was wielding this cane, which was a good three foot long.
[57] It wasn't the things you go fishing with, it was a s solid cane of er not hollow, and er I never knew him have another one.
[58] But if even if one was late from for school, he had a monitor on the doors to the outside world and when the whistle went for nine o'clock that door was closed and there The boys marshalled in the yard to er get in the lines and marched to the classes.
[59] He then dealt with those who were late and those who were late would then appear to be six or seven minutes late because of these other preliminaries.
[60] But he brooked nothing, he just asked er, What's made you late?
[61] And there's various reasons, whether your mother wanted some milk bringing.
[62] By the way, this was the period when I could to a milk shop for a hape'orth of milk, but it's not the halfpenny that people think now, cos the currency's been altered quite a lot, it was very trifling, but it's true.
[63] Milk, a little dip of milk was sold, into a jug, there were no bottles, and er you could get some for a ha'penny.
[64] And so, you could be late for various things like that, but you got the stick.
[65] Oh, so whatever.
[66] And er
(PS256) [67] Did it happen frequently?
[68] Children getting the stick ?
(PS257) [69] It happened everyday for those who were late.
[70] Eventually, the discipline is such as one used your influence on your mother and so if I'm late I'll get the cane, and so on.
[71] So er it wasn't pleasant and I didn't have it a lot either, because I never were very big, and I never liked punishment, it made me cry every time.
[72] It did, really.
[73] It's a cruel thing and especially to hit a boy on his right hand and then expect him to write with it.
[74] This I found, at various times, my fingers were suffering from this wallop in the oh, at ten past nine in the morning.
[75] But anyway, most things were like that, I think it had to be something like, In his noisy mansion, skilled to rule.
[76] It had to be, he had to do something or they would never have er got In other ways in was a lenient school because as the years went by it was, a register was called, a teacher er opened a book and we called numbers.
[77] Alas, I found that , my surname, spelt , was always first on the register whichever class I was, so I was number one.
[78] And er,l er those whose names er began with er later initials in the alphabet and we didn't have any Z 's, there were no Zilliachas in those days.
[79] But they were some well on, lo and behold, could open the door er two or three minutes late and c er call the er number, Yes sir, er as they entered the class and they would get their mark, this being I think you got a red mark if you were late,t to stand out so that an inspector who came down periodically could look down the register and there was the record of who was early and who was late by the colour of the ink-pens, I think.
[80] So that was a strange thing too, with this er alphabetical thing.
(PS256) [81] So
(PS257) [82] The only Excuse me, er no, we even had Abbot, A double B, er didn't always get in front but I think it should have done [laugh] [laughing] you know, you take the first letter and then you take the [...] [] .
[83] We had Askews and all sorts of, Astills, [...] strange, isn't it?
[84] The alphabet?
[85] Anyway, that was a simple rhythm there and periodically a chap from the Education Committee used to come and check this register and the classes, and some passed through the class.
[86] But that was just er ordinary the geography of this, or the history of that, many battles, Bosworth Field and
(PS256) [87] I was going to ask,d d do you think looking back er th th that the school erm tt taught you to regard certain things as important in life?
[88] Was it d d d w was there was there [...] like er erm sort of pa er erm love of country or or did they stress, say the virtues of honesty a a and fairness, can can you remember anything like that?
(PS257) [89] Well I I think the period that embraced my school days, you see I didn't leave till nineteen nineteen and th that meant there'd been four years of war at school and the last year well, it ended in er nineteen eighteen, the war did, so only the last year [...] , but it was full of patriotism and all the old scholars that had er served or suffered or been killed, their names were up.
[90] Yes, we were very, very patriotic and er I'm not ashamed of it.
[91] Er I have a love of country, I know I'm er English, I don't like to say I'm British, I live and was born in England.
[92] And when I go to Wales for a holiday and there are Welshmen, they're just as good as I am, some can sing so much nicer, and I've worked with Scotsmen in engineering factories, and there's no better engineers than Scotsmen, but they don't necessarily call them British.
[93] Everywhere I've been, He's a Scottie.
[94] Or he's a p er Irishmen can be a Paddy and so on.
[95] And so I er never went the whole hog that way with thumping the British [...] , British and best and so on.
[96] It could be and sometimes was, but i er the standard takes a lot of keeping up and er Much of the influence comes from newspaper and superior people implanting it on the population by reiterating these standards which often are wishful and they would like it to be so, but er ... They were hard days, they were hungry days.
[97] I was growing, but I'm now, I never got much higher than about five foot one and I weighed eight stone for a many years.
[98] But I was a little person in er a commu community of little person and er my brothers worked down the pit and I believe it was an advantage not to be much greater than five foot in height down the pits.
[99] It was the time of wooden pit props and er much kneeling and laying down and hacking away at the coal with picks and there was no mining machinery as we know it now.
(PS256) [100] Could I?
[101] Could I just move you on a little bit?
[102] Having having talked about about your schooling to er
(PS257) [103] [...] .
(PS256) [104] ask you about er family life and the impression that left upon on as you were growing up?
[105] W w what can you remember of your father?
[106] W w w what job did he have?
[107] And what kind of man was he [...] ?
(PS257) [108] Yes.
[109] My father worked on the railway and in my conscious life he was a supervisor, he was called an inspector, Inspector .
[110] He had two foremans worked under him, the purpose being they did the shifts, my father did all the writing for the Great Central Railway Depot, the marshalling yard or sorting out the trains.
[111] Strange to say, these trains do not come from other towns, say Birmingham, with er a trainload of stuff for Nottingham, they come with a trainload of stuff for here there and everywhere.
[112] And the person who had sorted it together at Birmingham made sure that the next stop it was at, the waggons would be at the back end to leave in that town and this is what my father was doing by er er shunting as it was called, or making a train up to go from Nottingham to London, or some other place in the country, with up to fifty or sixty trucks behind it and they didn't want the trucks next to the engine to be dropped off at the first place and having to shove and push about in their marshalling yard.
[113] It seemed a simple system when I got to know it, but wondered what it was all about, with chaps standing in different places and shouting and bawling where they wanted this waggon that was being pushed off, as he came running without the train they diverted it into siding, you see, sorting out a train.
[114] And it's not [laugh] everybody's [] job to do that, so ordinary people took the jobs as shunters and could be taught how to do it in short time, if they were average and er in good health.
[115] Cos it's an outdoor job, it's a three shift system for those on the bottom, er early, morning and late, cos the eight hour day had come in at this time.
(PS256) [116] Which would whe around when?
[117] When are we talking about now?
[118] Say about n nineteen?
(PS257) [119] In the early nineteen twenties.
[120] We'd er
(PS256) [121] Twenties.
[122] Yeah.
(PS257) [123] er s er but those occupations that worked shift and had to go round the clock had to have eight hour shifts, three shifts.
[124] You could have earlies, lates and nights, which many people don't know, and I worked earlies, lates and night in engineering.
[125] Earlies er when I worked at the Ford Motor Company it meant getting from Ilford to Dagenham and starting on a machine at six A M in the morning, in the middle of winter or the middle of summer.
[126] And the next fortnight I would be on the afternoon shift, which meant getting the same distance, to half past two to work till They were eight hour shifts you see and the night shift likewise had to come a very er a tremendous number from working at the Ford Motor Company at Dagenham ev even in those days, travel from various places.
[127] And it's not all honey, starting somewhere at six in the morning if you live eight or nine miles off.
[128] There were not the multitude of motorcars about in those days, as there are now, but [laughing] that was one of the firms that was trying to make it, [] and has done it, like that.
[129] So workmen have very irksome hours of work, unsocial hours I think they call them now, one of the most unsocial is the night shift.
[130] I've never been in any factory in my life, working nights, I have been in many, but I've never found my fellow men very sociable on the night shift.
[131] Actually you go there to work, but there is er a meal break and various things, you have contact with each other, either borrowing tools or sharing the use of them, but tempers get very short in the small hours of the morning and men get pretty tired.
[132] They can be It's no comparison with day work. ...
(PS256) [133] Okay.
[134] Just to t to come back to what prompted you to to give us that interesting er little evaluation of the the differences that night and day work have [...] men [...]
(PS257) [135] [...] night and days
(PS256) [136] to get get back to the beginning, to get back to your father?
(PS257) [137] Yes.
(PS256) [138] Erm y i i is it [...] growing up ?
(PS257) [139] Yes.
[140] On the railway.
(PS256) [141] Yeah.
[142] Erm
(PS257) [143] Well, I find, and still find, the clerical people are remote from reality.
[144] They they would think that a man er starting at eight in the morning will do as many and as quick for ten o'clock, as a man starting at night, or at six o'clock in the morning, or the afternoon shift.
[145] But it's not so.
[146] There's different tempos and I would think er on all the shifts there is a variation of production just because of the hour of the day.
[147] It is not natural to work through the night shift, I've worked it, there is no way of starting a week without your Er I've slept a night before, somewhere at the weekend, when the day comes, but you've got to go the next night to work.
[148] Even as a young person me mother used to say You'll need some sleep, you go to bed this afternoon, which I did, in obedience.
[149] But you know sleep escapes a young person, if one's in their young twenties and they think you can go to bed at er half past two in the afternoon and have an hour or two.
[150] It's not on.
[151] Er nowadays I've no trouble in dropping asleep in the afternoon
(PS256) [152] No.
(PS257) [153] but in the twenties I was better at the pictures or somewhere like that, which you could get for a few pence, but you're not walking about or doing tiring thing.
(PS256) [154] Could I ask you then, when when you?
[155] When when was your first job?
[156] When did you leave school?
[157] And did you know what you were going to do when you left school?
(PS257) [158] Well, my mother I left school and me mother said, the Labour Exchanges had come into being, er this was nineteen nineteen, they were in existence in Nottingham.
[159] And they had addresses and I ran around, I went to get a job at the pit, which er I had no more sense so I'm glad now that I didn't get on.
[160] And I found months and months after that most of the boys that got on there had their fathers work there, who went to the office, or asked the Butties, they used to talk about Butties in the pit, and I found this was short for deputy.
[161] Not er the th The employer deputized his authority and there was deputies in the pit, but never in factories.
[162] They have foremen, under-foremen, charge hands and so on, but in the pit they deputies down there.
[163] And er [...]
(PS256) [164] You passed up the chance to go the pit then?
(PS257) [165] Yes.
[166] Inside a month, I was sent to an engineering place which was er close to where I live and I started there inside about a month. [...]
(PS256) [167] Can you remember the name of it? [...] place ?
(PS257) [168] It was the John and a very big factory in it's day, in as much as it was er four storeys high, rather high in those days for heavy machinery to be on level like that.
[169] And with the war ending the the Germans had had to pay reparations and that factory and many more were extremely busy because they were making lace machines for France.
[170] France was devastated and er they had always had a lace trade but we found in after years, this is a point that shouldn't be missed, that destruction by the Germans and the replacing under reparations, I understood the money came from, anyway the firm worked day and night for years, er left Nottingham the lace centre with the old pre-war machines and France and areas, including Italy, er with the modern machines.
[171] Even in villages, I known men who've worked abroad fitting them up in in er Germany and in France and in Italy, one of whom went to night school in Germany to learn the language t to get on better, he was there to receive machines.
[172] They're very big, like printing machines are .
(PS256) [173] Yeah.
[174] Yeah.
[175] So i it was a thriving and booming factory because of this supply of machines through
(PS257) [176] It was a [...] working day and night and the er [...] just as busy as the
(PS256) [177] [...] .
(PS257) [178] wartime until, oh before, say, four years.
[179] And then much of this leeway was made up and the capacity being there er, well the hours of work were getting tackled then, they'd been longer hours and er I think as a a boy coming out of apprenticeship, er the forty seven hour week had come into being.
(PS256) [180] Did you take an
(PS257) [...]
(PS256) [181] apprenticeship then?
(PS257) [182] Yes.
(PS256) [183] Yeah.
(PS257) [184] I was apprenticed
(PS256) [185] Yeah.
(PS257) [186] and er worked till I was twenty one and you usually got the sack when you were twenty one, unless they were busy, very busy, they would say, You er, you won't get the full money at twenty one because er w I can get a man of forty one for that money.
[187] Th there's a t three a two year period where you'll be an improver, where you could have an increase in pay about every six months, bringing you up gradually.
[188] But should go to another factory and er hold your own in the factory you could expect to get the full money, which I did at twenty one.
[189] I went to Newark and got a job at , a ball bearing factory, and er they paid me the handsome wage of er two pounds ... sixteen for forty seven hours.
[190] It came to about one and three halfpence an hour.
[191] You have to allow the coins changed now, the three halfpence is not comparable with the present pence.
[192] But it was very low.
(PS256) [193] Yeah. [...]
(PS257) [194] You wouldn't ten shillings for a day.
[195] Or it would be approximately ten shillings for a day because we had to work Saturday morning, although it was at Newark and got to travel twenty
(PS256) [196] Yeah.
(PS257) [197] miles there and twenty miles back.
(PS256) [198] We Was it apparent to you at the time that the wage was low?
(PS257) [199] Well to me it was a first time and being an unmarried man that I'd earned anything like it.
[200] It was the men there who were aggrieved, who had had better wages as the war had ended and there was such a rush on, wages had gone up, but the once the boom was got over they came down.
[201] And by er nineteen twenty six the engineers suffered a calamitous drop from about er four pound odd down to this two pound sixteen.
[202] Newark, by the way, was less than Nottingham because it was a country district.
[203] Nottingham considered to be more of engineering, not quite metropolitan, but varied trades and factories
(PS256) [204] Mm.
[205] Mm.
[206] Mm.
[207] Yeah.
(PS257) [208] and commanded a little bit more.
(PS256) [209] Yeah.
[210] Was it was it difficult then to to to to have to have got a job in Nottingham, you had to go to Newark because it was w work wasn't as ava as as er
(PS257) [211] As I said the er lace trade
(PS256) [212] available in [...] ?
(PS257) [213] had er B building lace machines had er had it, in the term, and they started to diversify into a variation of the hosiery, which was quite another speciality.
[214] There were other places in Nottingham that had made nothing but hosiery machines and weren't quite as good as were at making lace machines.
[215] had a good reputation, although it was a non-union firm and n much maligned by er union people who disliked stand for not er sort of recognizing.
[216] You could work there being in a trade union but didn't have to say so.
(PS256) [217] Yeah.
(PS257) [218] See?
[219] It was kept small.
[220] But they made machines that did lace curtains, lace er is er a variant now, and er probably a thing of the past, but there was amazing things done on a lace machine.
[221] There's some in Nottingham, in one of the mus museum, that has the Nottingham coat of arms, I think it has the council house and various things, and it's all done mechanically on a huge machine that er is a repetition in each bay It's probably thirty, forty foot long, but in each bay of about seven foot it's separate curtain.
[222] But that machine can be doing, say eight curtains, coming off a bottom roller, being woven over and onto another one, till they're taken off.
[223] Endlessly, this pattern repeated endlessly, and the man could walk along and they'd all be working, he just goes with an assistant to er repair broken threads.
[224] They get broken, or the end of the line and so on, to join up you get a little blemish there which a repairer will do.
[225] So they they're pretty accurate er machines in a a pattern way, not a [...] I found later in engineering where they needed things to the micrometer and the very, very fine measurement, very particular to the th the tissue paper difference between er er one thing and another wasn't good enough.
[226] It had got to be as near as thi thinness of tissue paper.
[227] We have feelers, metal strips, that are one and a half thou thick, we call it, you can't have them any thinner because they can make them in Sheffield at one thou thick but they suffer and bend by use.
[228] If you try to push them under a place to see if it's touching, you'll find they get bent up and once there's a bend in you can't smooth it.
[229] So the standard feelers for an engineer goes from about one and a half thou up to fifteen thou, the rest you can measure by other things.
[230] These are feelers.
(PS256) [231] Y Yeah.
[232] You mentioned er earlier the trade unions and er you mentioned the the er middle twent middle nineteen twenties as a period of industrial un un un unrest.
(PS257) [233] Yeah.
(PS256) [234] W When when did you first join a trade-union yourself and get involved?
(PS257) [235] When I er er were in the tool room at , Newark at the age of twenty one plus, you see, not twenty two er I was approached then by a shop steward who worked on the bench, was a fitter.
[236] I was always on a machine, cutting, milling machine.
[237] And I joined the the engineer's union, one Saturday night in Newark, had to go back there and they had meetings in the townhall, a room that was hired and er was er particulars taken and I've been in ever since.
[238] I'm still in the union, from nineteen [cough] twenty six to nineteen eighty three and next Monday I shall go to the branch cos I have an interest in the organization and the movement.
[239] I can't say it's been marvellously successful but I do know for a fact that the conditions of the working class was improved tremendously by organizations in the thing which has come to be described as trade-unionism.
[240] Er, there are abuses in some and variations and er not always a desire by everyone to belong to it, but the odd man out is often like a bad apple in a barrel.
[241] And er it's strange to me how an employer would be happy to have a room with a hundred and hope to get one or two who weren't, either for reasons of information or things that one couldn't trust from a worker.
[242] They are not in company in factories, there's antagonism between management and the shop floor.
[243] There is also the difference between employees who are in offices, who for some reason or other, I've always found and still do, they seem to have a notion that they're a different class to others who work for wages.
[244] They will talk about salaries and things like that but they're often paid, well, very remotely some of them, monthly now, and think that's er heavenly or something.
[245] But mostly, in my experience, they were paid just the same as we do we were, perhaps on a different day and a different method.
[246] We had to stand in a line.
[247] I've been to Newark on a Friday night and stood in a line with others on a night shift at a w wooden hut in the yard whilst a clerk from the pay office came to meet us, the day shift finishing at er, say five o'clock.
[248] He'd come half past seven to eight to pay us as we came to work, to hand us the money we'd earnt for the last week, always keeping about three days in hand.
[249] So employers, in my experience, even to the day I left, always owe the workman something for what he's done
(PS256) [250] Mm.
(PS257) [251] and it would appear in the simple times, before mine, even I had experience at Newark, that men could get a sub in the week because you're actually [...] in two days you've actually earnt two days money and you haven't got it.
[252] And if a yarn was spun, or a general true story that a man had to have his train fare to get to Newark and he had to pay this and that, you could er get a loan on your wages.
[253] But you had to have qualified for it by working, see? [...] end of the week and the only place I ever had one was at and because the foreman approached me, I'd been out of work and got the job by writing to it, going to the library and it was in one of the London papers, they wanted men for the tool rooms.
[254] I got to be working where they made the tools in that [...] of the engineering shop and er I travelled on a Sunday from Nottingham to London and
(PS256) [255] What year would this be?
[256] Just to put it into context ?
(PS257) [257] Yes .
[258] Yes.
[259] Well, I'd be er I'd got er a daughter, nineteen twenty nine, I would say, nineteen twenty eight .
(PS256) [260] Twenty nine, yes.
(PS257) [261] I'd er at been at Newark till then for about four years or so and the er slump had come about and they were sacked by the hundreds, including myself.
[262] I asked the under-foreman what I'd done to deserve this, he says You're not on your own, there's er a quarter to go this week and good many next, so that's what it's come to.
[263] We made ball and roller bearings for the car trade, the car trade had come a slump and the car trade to this day doesn't want one bearing or one detail for a car until it's ready to put it on a car.
[264] I found this out at Dagenham, when I worked at Fords, the supply lorries used to come through the day and through the night with articles made in other factories, including bodies and wheels and these were put on the assembly line and routed through Fords to be assembled.
[265] It's quite true that er wheels from subsidiaries in Dagenham and bodies would be on the road inside two hours of having left another factory because they were on the same industrial site.
[266] But they hadn't been made at Fords, they'd been made in a subsidiary, taken up the road on long trailers, taken off the trailer onto the assembly conveyor, which er crawls round the assembly line and fitted like that.
[267] That's the economy of the motor trade, apparently Henry Ford in America had an upset and er tried to beat the banks and er had loans and he was frightened that they would get control of his business and the we were told that at Dagenham.
[268] And it's quite true, I was there about four years and they always took stock before January the first, so that after Christmas came an anomaly, we'd had a Christmas holiday and gone back to work.
[269] In the north of England they have New Year's Day but they don't in the south in England, they might do now.
[270] And but at Fords we they we were laid off again for this other weekend till they took stock.
[271] It would appear Henry Ford had insisted on this ever since that crush, so that he could always how he stood financially.
[272] It's with not knowing how one is that one has to go to the banks and so on.
[273] Anyway that was their way of dealing with workmen there, they their word was law.
[274] So whilst it was a good paid job, for instance ri [recording ends]