Nottinghamshire Oral History Project: talk. Sample containing about 14372 words speech recorded in leisure context

5 speakers recorded by respondent number C164

PS265 Ag5 m (Jack, age 84, retired) unspecified
PS266 X m (No name, age unknown) unspecified
PS267 Ag5 f (Anne, age 80, retired) unspecified
FYHPSUNK (respondent W0000) X u (Unknown speaker, age unknown) other
FYHPSUGP (respondent W000M) X u (Group of unknown speakers, age unknown) other

1 recordings

  1. Tape 095901 recorded on unknown date. LocationNottinghamshire: Nottingham () Activity: Talk

Undivided text

Unknown speaker (FYHPSUNK) [1] You want me to start again?
(PS266) [2] Yeah.
[3] Right erm, could you tell me about how you left school please? [...]
Jack (PS265) [4] [...] I were let good.
[5] Well it was nineteen thirteen, I know that because I was thirteen.
[6] You see I were born in nineteen hundred so that means to say that when it's nineteen ninety eight I'll be ninety eight, I think they did that so I could er reckon me age up more easily.
[7] But nineteen thirteen I went to this examination and it was called a Labour Examination, and if you were able to pass this examination you could leave school at thirteen.
[8] Well it'd probably be the June or July before I went in for this exam, which they didn't hold very frequently and er then I had to to pass this exam and that I could leave school in the August, Bank Holiday.
[9] So I left in the Bank Holiday and er I went to work at er , the first job, me father worked there.
[10] and on Street.
[11] And er me job there was turning sock what you'd call halfoes you know mens' socks, from one side to the other on a piece of wood, you know you'd pull the stocking onto this wood, put your finger on the back, turned it over and threw it down.
[12] And er we used to get the work come to us all jumble up in waggons, and throw it onto a bench and then of course you'd got to pick the top before you could turn it.
[13] We did that and we counted it in bunches of five dozens, tied them up with two other stock socks tied together, and when we'd done, I'll know this figure's right two thousand four hundred socks we got six pence.
[14] That's two and half pence in today's money.
[15] But but strange to relate er I can remember on you know a number of occasions earning a golden half sovereign, you know real gold it was then, the you know there was the gold coins.
[16] Nineteen thirteen, fourteen, fifteen.
[17] And so er it it was a a reasonably good wage but when I first started of course I wasn't on piece rate, you used to get a penny an hour, when we worked Saturday morning got about six and sixpence a week.
[18] And er and that's how I went on.
[19] Now in nineteen er nineteen fifteen, the the of course the War'd started and I can remember this so well because the day after me birthday er there was a raid, a Zeppelin raid on and I saw this Zeppelin and that day the thirty first of January nineteen fifteen when this raid was, I wen I went to work at six in the morning and I finished work at quarter to nine at night.
[20] This wasn't regular, the real hour was half past six until six o'clock but when we were very busy you could stop you know as long as you like nobody'd ever bother.
[21] All all the boss used to say, Well if anybody comes round th that you don't know just go and hide in a hamper.
[22] You know in case there was any inspector or anybody but er I don't remember anybody ever coming.
[23] We just worked as long as we liked and it and it was hard work of course it was, turning these socks like that, two, well it was hundred dozen pays, that's two thousand four hundred.
[24] And you used to get sixpence for that.
(PS266) [25] So how much could you earn in a week?
Jack (PS265) [26] Well that's well I cou I could earn a lo er a golden half sovereign.
[27] That was it.
(PS266) [28] Did this go to your, did you live with your mother at the time, with your parents ?
Jack (PS265) [29] Oh of course oh I I was only fourteen aye.
[30] Of course and that w oh I and ti and so anyway I started er work in August nineteen thirteen and er when December came around er there was a strike.
[31] And at that time the hosiery finishing union had perhaps got [breath] eight hundred er nine hundred members spread over perhaps eight factories.
[32] And er there was a er er one of the prominent factories was at .
[33] Now ... [...] it er they said that this chap had g had gone to work after an illness and the boss said, Well er you've been away six weeks, he said, There's no job here for you now.
[34] He'd worked there years and years.
[35] And he got the sack so the firm came on strike.
[36] And er then they started blacklegs and when they started the rest of the firms all came as well then and I remember er going down on the picket lines and er they'd be all the members there.
[37] You know I don't know who wouldn't go.
[38] Er with the addition of a lot of of members of the public who sympathized and knew what was happening.
[39] Well they got these blacklegs and I could tell you a story about that as well.
[40] Now a man as I used to visit, older than me now, er the blacklegs used to be escorted with police to their homes like from this factory.
[41] They'd sometimes er take them in vans depending where they lived and how many of them, but where there was a single one two police used to escort him, and they escorted him what, where we what they call the viaduct.
[42] And it was a real big viaduct at , back of [...] .
[43] And er now this chap him a wan he he was about ninety and him and his pal, they said, Well we'll lie in the, there were a lot of bull rushes, we'll lie in these bull rushes, he says, And we'll throw bricks at them as they go by, at these two police and er this blackleg.
[44] And er he tells me he says, Well we night that we were going to do it, meeting them from work it w it was getting dark of course, December, he said that there was only me turned up.
[45] He says er er and he says me pal didn't come, he said, Well, I thought well I've come here to do it, and I'm going.
[46] So I said I went and lay in the in these bull rushes and I got half a brick, yes, he says, and I saw them coming and he says and I threw it and hit him this er blackleg with this half brick.
[47] He said of course I scampered through these bull rushes, they never saw me they never caught me and they never ever knew who it was who'd done it, see.
[48] And he always tells me, he said that er he had no sleep during the night he he thought he'd killed this man, you see, he says, I seen him drop, and I seen blood.
[49] So I thought I've killed him.
[50] And er so he never had any sleep that night, well that was the that's a story about them days.
(PS266) [51] How how did you feel about trade unionism then?
Jack (PS265) [52] Well now everybody had to be in a union in our factory, it was er it it it was they were closed shops all of them.
[53] And er y y and it's surprising isn't it?
[54] There was you know little firms like that and yet everybody was in, nobody nobody would ever try and er and er and er and escape paying their contribution, but there was a law you couldn't join a union till you were sixteen, that was the law then in then, but er ... when this strike came back and we came on strike in December, er we lads who was under age joined the union, they give us all six bob a week, the union did.
[55] Un until they were broke you know, after a week or two they got broke.
[56] And so th union er er issued er er a a leaflet affair and said that they'd be pleased to receive loans from any of the members.
[57] Would any of the members lend them any money?
[58] Now the Co-op allowed, of course there was individual Co-ops then, this was Co-op, it wasn't like what had a big Co-op.
[59] But they allowed all strikers er to have er free credit, free credit, and er well of course this six bob was what we got o practically on an ordinary weeks work, was about as well off on strike then and we was going to work you see.
[60] But what I was going to tell you about this loan and I was there on this Friday morning when we were drawing our money, and the men were bringing their their s life savings to lend to the union.
[61] And I saw one man the fact that he was me uncle don't make any difference, but he was, and and he was very religious, very Christian man,S Sunday School superintendent.
[62] But I saw him with his cap full of golden sovereigns and turned on the table and lent them all he'd got.
[63] And everyone were paid back, you know.
[64] That that's good, isn't it?
(PS266) [65] Mm.
Jack (PS265) [66] Now ... So anyway the strike er never reached a successful conclusion, this firm had it's blacklegs and er eventually closed because it couldn't carry on.
[67] But every other factory agreed to take so many each of the men, so they'd nobody be at, lose their job.
[68] And they did.
[69] And the factory where I work I should think we took about fourteen of the men at this factory.
[70] But no man was unemployed.
(PS266) [71] Was it mainly male labour then?
Jack (PS265) [72] Well it were main i i no really there was er well pretty equally divided then.
[73] And the general run of hosiery is that there is of course that there's a lot more females than males but in our side pretty equal.
[74] [cough] The finishing side, and so that was that.
(PS266) [75] Er you read a lot about women in the hosiery industry not being as willing to join the unions, was that true?
Jack (PS265) [76] Well in them days everybody used to be in anyway, there was no question.
[77] All the women were, and that's true of of the hosiery industry, of course you've got a a there's a big distinction between the hosiery industry as such and the hosiery finishing industry which was then the, they're amalgamated now, but there were two entirely distinct unions, in tho Er as a matter of fact they n n they never met together.
[78] ... Course the hosiery union was as it is now, was always right wing and the small finishing union was really er left wing you know.
[79] But we was all in and they was er they wasn't fifty per cent organized anyway near.
[80] Now of course that's er er [...] the story but I went to them afterwards you see.
[81] ... So anyway I er ... the War came and went but before it went I was in, went int eh Army of course.
[82] At eighteen, I was called up for the Army and I was three years there.
[83] Came back in twenty one.
[84] ... I don't think there's anything really amazing about me Army career, I didn't [laugh] .
[85] I don't know whether I was a good soldier or not, but I went to Egypt and the Sudan.
[86] I had a good look round you know.
[87] Cairo.
[88] ... Er right are you?
(PS266) [89] We're still going.
Jack (PS265) [90] Switch er as switch it off a minute, while I er [break in recording]
Jack (PS265) [91] Er i i nineteen eighteen in the Army, they er came round er asking for volunteers to relieve the British troops er on the Russian front, where there was fighting, the Russian Revolution.
[92] And of course you know there are twenty odd fronts at where they were fighting, and er they made big paly of this because er the people who did volunteer knew, there was a few volunteered, they they gave them er white bands to wear round the arm to show that they was members of the relief force you know.
[93] And so it were good propaganda this er this, people were saying, Well they're prepared to go to Russia and fight the Russians to re re you know release our lads, they're trying to capture.
[94] And er but of course that didn't last long because of course you know the story of the Jolly George, when that really stopped England's intervention, didn't it.
[95] You know that?
(PS266) [96] I don't know about the Jolly George.
Jack (PS265) [97] Don't you, you should do.
[98] ... I well I could tell you the inside story of that but I'm not going to but I will tell the outside, the public story.
[99] The the Jolly George er was a ship that was loaded with arms er to send to Russia, to for our the use of our troops in Russia, and the sailors refused to sail it, and there was quite a to do about this because they'd got the steam up and it was ready to go but they never went.
[100] And it never sailed.
[101] And that was the real reason why it was stopped, because the the the the other dockers were going to refuse to allow ships to leave the ports with arms, and that's where it really stopped, but you never heard, you don't hear about it now in history.
[102] No.
[103] But anyway er and then of course I, we went to ... To the East, well we went to Ireland first, there was trouble in Ireland you know.
[104] I went to Ireland, but we was only there about three weeks.
[105] The reason why we was there b it was because er there was so many deserters in our lot.
[106] But they took what few they'd got left on our regiment to Ireland so nobody else'd desert, while they rounded the others up and took them to Ireland you see.
[107] And then so we went from Ireland er to er to Egypt.
[108] Come back through England and went to ... on the boat.
[109] We'd took incidentally which is not uninteresting it took us ten days to get to er Egypt, to get to Alexandria from er Plymouth, we went from Plymouth.
[110] And er the date was December the fourth, now December the fourth, and that was the day which er you wouldn't know this but er that was the day when fought er Joe you know, for the European Championship.
[111] I don't know of any boxing match that's ever captured the interest of people and it was that night, course we never heard the result, not until we got to Egypt, you there was no wireless you see, you didn't know what was happening at all.
[112] And er if you were interested in football you'd never know till Tuesday morning what had happened on that Saturday, the previous Saturday.
[113] I mean that's how communications were in them days.
[114] And anyway so we went to er over to Egypt and then it was when we came back ... and I I, the other morning on the radio they was talking about asking people to ring in about, I've never rang in, I never bother ring, er how they spent their twenty first birthday.
[115] Now my twenty first birthday I'd never had a copper for weeks, w e hadn't got anything, anything at all, and all we got really was the old fashioned dog biscuits.
[116] And I was in in Alexandria, and er and that was it, that was my twenty first birthday there you see.
[117] And anyway when we got back to England er we went to Aldershot, and wasn't there long.
[118] But while we were there they had several meetings because of course we were going to be demobbed anyway, and the Colonel er of the regiment he had us together and so did the officers, and warned us that when we got back to civilian life we must er beware of these agitators who tried to er create suspicion amongst the troops who were coming back, and telling them that they ought to join er these revolutionary parties.
[119] Warning us all about this, so well I thought well if they warn us, something must be good here, if they're warning us that it's bad you know.
[120] And so when I er I wen I went back to work.
[121] And there was a a a a lad who was about a couple of years older than me, he'd be about twenty three, he'd been through the War and er he was a real revolutionary, he was re and and he was very intelligent.
[122] So he started me on the on politics, and he was very good.
[123] He'd got the one of the quickest er turns of er of brain you know, he could switch from one thing to another, and he was most remarkable.
[124] He he really was.
[125] He died pretty [...] but he's got.
[126] And he was a member of the Independent Labour Party.
[127] So I used to go with him, and incidently he was a, he was very good on classical music, although we never went into this although I'd got very close to him but I'm sure he were brought up in an orphanage you know, and never talked about this but I'm sure he was.
[128] But he was a real first class tutor.
[129] Well so we went to the I L P and er at this time we started getting er a class together in the, where I worked there was a hundred men and hundred lads, approximately.
[130] Every man had a lad working for him you see.
[131] So at this er time we decided we'd start er a little class in this [...] we did.
[132] And we got the union to er all all they did was to help us, was to pay for the text books that we had.
[133] If you see we'd got about er twenty eight thirty in this class, and er they bought the text books and we joined a national college of labour colleges.
[134] Now you've heard about them of course, you must have heard about them.
[135] And er I think er the retreat of the working class movement s i i is from the date when the N C L C was abolished, and opt into the General Council of the T U C.
[136] You see the T U C education er department is er rises from the demise of the N C L C but of course the the N C L C was really really good, first class tutors.
[137] We'd got two in and they was really first class.
[138] I could say a lot about ho , but anyway we started this and we used to go to the I L P, and we used to get packed meetings there on a Sunday night, and s then about nineteen, course we had the general strike, and through the general strike we was both in the I L P and we were doing everything we could you know, distributing the illegal leaflets, and er newspapers that we duplicated, on a hand duplicator.
[139] And er so I spent several years in the I L P as a secretary and at that time met er the people who ran the place.
[140] He, including Oswald Moseley, he was a big man in the I L P you know.
[141] Till he formed his new party.
[142] ... As a matter of fact I've been I've got a book now [...] from the library we got last week that er about Moseley and er and his daughter, and it's good.
[143] ... Are you right [...] ?
(PS266) [144] Yeah.
Jack (PS265) [145] There was a a s an Indian student came to and he was a prospective Labour candidate, but the Labour Party prevented him from being a candidate er because er his main theme in life was to try and get India free from you know the British Empire.
[146] And er he he was having a conference in , course with dropping out of the Labour Party, the Labour Party finished with him and didn't bother and anyw he he someone I don't know who it was, it wasn't him himself but someone told me that he was looking for somebody to organize this conference in , so I said, Well I I'll do it.
[147] And er so this student came to and I organized a conference and took the chair for him you know and er and helped him every possible way.
[148] And he er and he was really delighted of course, so he said, Well I'm [...] holiday and I'll come round with the caravan, so I had my holiday which didn't make much difference because there was [laugh] had to you know we weren't working really, and I went round with him for this week, all round and the villages everywhere.
[149] On the theme that India must be free you see.
[150] And I can remember having a rubber stamp made and every letter that went out I insisted every one should have this frank on India Must be Free.
[151] And er now this chap was , you never hear of him.
[152] Well his name was , a very brilliant man, well ... w he'd be nearly as old as me of course.
[153] And er I've heard it mentioned about him on on on [...] people who have interviewed him on television.
[154] And they said he never said much to them, well he perhaps didn't, he wouldn't do because he was like that you see, but pra before interviewing him on television, er of course the War came and India was given freedom, and er there used to be you know the Sweet people who used to have a big factory on Road, was a very famous sweet in them days, I don't think they are now, but was a very good sweet firm, and they'd got a daughter cos she was in the, during the War the Anglo-Soviet Friendship er she was one of the course they'd got hundreds but she was one.
[155] And er the years went by and al all I know is that he said ooh she's she's married a London doctor, you see.
[156] [cough] So I was waling through the bus station one day and I met this girl and er Ooh, she said, I'm glad I've seen you, she said.
[157] She said er, I was at a reception in London at the Indian Embassy and when er I was introduced as coming from , she says, The High Commission said to me, You come from ?
[158] She said, And and it were , of course.
[159] He was the first High Commission for England in England, said, You come from , she says, Yes, he says, You don't happen to know Jack do you?
[160] She says, I do, know him well, he said, Well I'll, I am pleased, he's alright?
[161] Says, Yes.
[162] He says, Well you tell him from me that I shall never forget.
[163] You see that was nice wasn't it?
(PS266) [164] Mm.
Jack (PS265) [165] And then he went from England as being High Commission, he went to Russia, to be the first Indian Ambassador in the Soviet Union and that were .
(PS266) [166] Do you remember much about other members of the I L P at the time, particular names ?
Jack (PS265) [167] Oh yes.
[168] Oh yes I do.
Anne (PS267) [169] [...] turn the fire up cos it's not very warm in here.
Jack (PS265) [170] Aren't you, he says he's always warm .
(PS266) [171] I'm fine, thanks.
Jack (PS265) [172] And I'm warm enough.
Anne (PS267) [173] You'll see
Jack (PS265) [174] Are you warm enough in there?
(PS266) [laugh]
Anne (PS267) [...]
Jack (PS265) [175] Can you find plenty to do?
Anne (PS267) [176] Yeah yeah, I can, looking after you.
Jack (PS265) [177] [laugh] .
[178] And anyway er er switch it on.
(PS266) [179] Er I l I left it on I can cut that bit out when I
Jack (PS265) [180] I do oh I don't know I'd leave that, I mean [...] what were
(PS266) [181] Talking about other people in the I L P
Jack (PS265) [182] Oh other people in I L P.
[183] Yeah.
[184] Now in this little booklet that I've got about the er er the potted history of the Cosmopolitan Debating Society, it mentions a very brilliant man by the name of W H , now I was very friendly with him because he was th President of the I L P and I was the secretary.
[185] And he was a brilliant man.
[186] I've met a lot of brilliant people and and was one.
[187] He was great.
[188] He was a salesman for the Pencil Firm, you know a big pencil firm.
[189] And I always remember he said said to me, he'd placed the biggest orders for pencils, of course in them, there were no ball pens, er he he received that from the London County Council by accident.
[190] It was di , he used to, he he he'd got an office in London, and he went every day to London, catch the train about twelve o'clock, catch the train back about four.
[191] He'd only go for a couple of hours to his London office.
[192] A b on on one day he he went earlier and he had his lunch in London, he said, and there was another man on the table and er the both reached for the salt together and upset it and there was apologies and talks and then he discovered that he was the buyer for the London County Council.
[193] So he placed an order with him for all these, and he had to come back to the factory, reorganize the factory, to meet this terrific order he'd got for pencils, you see.
[194] That was .
[195] And he s he said to me, he said er, at that time after the War, the Viennese, the Austrians, had er erected er working class flats in Vienna, something unheard of.
[196] And we'd seen photographs of these and they were marvellous, and he said to me, I should like to see these fl these flats, he said er, I'm gonna convince the Board that it's necessary in the interests of the firm for me to go to Austria, you see.
[197] So he said, But any road, before I go, he said er and my first [...] nineteen twenty nine this was, and we went together on holiday, on the Continent which was unheard of, you know for working class people, but we went in nineteen twenty nine.
[198] We went to er Ostend, and he went from Ostend at the end of this week's holiday to Austria, for the firm you know.
[199] And er I I don't know where they've gone now but I had some lovely photographs of these flats.
[200] An then a few months later he said, Well oh, he said, I'm I'm g I'll go to Canada, he says, er I'll tell them.
[201] And he went and told them how necessary it was for him to go to Canada, in the interests of the firm.
[202] He said, But, I said, Are you going?
[203] He said, I'm going, he said, But, he said, I've got to, I've got to take the s the, this millionaire ran this firm and his name was if I remember right.
[204] He said, I've got to take his stupid son with me.
[205] So he had to go there to Canada you see and er and [...] .
[206] And it says in this booklet that W H was for one for a period, the prospective Labour candidate for er Central , as was then.
[207] He said, but he never fought the election, well now I know he did, that's a mistake cos he did.
[208] Because he he told me about the chap who was his agent.
[209] This was before I was associated with him, was his agent.
[210] And he said but the way I'd like to do it, he says I I'd love to fight it again, with er with you as me agent, instead of, I'm sure I could win it.
[211] And i I remember going to the Empire to a debate we took with .
[212] And er I think the Liberal was Norman , you know the great barrister.
[213] And er a Tory.
[214] ... And he were a lot better than the Tory, and he held his own with which was saying something, saying something.
[215] But anyway, he died in his forties of er diabetes, he said sugar diabetes, and he died, which is a pity.
[216] But his son I I kept in touch with his son for years, he was an architect.
[217] He was on the Trades Council.
[218] And er he he always used to say of me, he say, Well you know er he was on the Executive, he said of the Trades Council.
[219] He says You know go ho I go home, he says, And I could never make out wether you praise me or criticize me.
[220] [laugh] [laughing] He said I I'll I'll I'll never really know [] and I think now what was he was he praising me or blaming me, he said, And I'll never know.
[221] You know it was fun though.
[222] Very nice lad.
(PS266) [223] What did you think about about the the Parliamentary Labour Party at the time?
Jack (PS265) [224] Well now the Parliamentary Labour Par , what what happened was that er ... oh I went to a conference at the the I L P in Carlisle, annual conference.
[225] And er it was real great event, and of course Moseley was to speak in there.
[226] On the committee of the I L P at that time, and John , and then er and then an MP from , er Birmingham, Fred .
[227] One of one of one of the most charming speakers I ever heard, he was.
[228] And er it was at that time that the Independent Labour Party left the I the Labour Party.
[229] You see the majority er er at least half the er Labour MPs also was in membership with the I L P.
[230] But when the I L P wanted to lay down more militant lines the Labour Party wanted to throw them out anyway, and so the I L P-ers all decided that er the best thing to do was to leave rather than get thrown out.
[231] And which is different for today, but that that was what really happened.
[232] Well and so it split the Labour Party and the from er at that time you know we got five hundred members in with the Labour Party.
[233] And er we had our own hall in Street.
[234] Own hall.
[235] Where we had meetings, packed every Sunday night and dances, you know people more was er much more militant then, the people were, I don't know about the M P, but the people were much more militant.
[236] I mean during the er, preceding the General Strike, I know that there were pubs in you know, ordinary working class pubs, and they used to close with the singing of the Red Flag.
[237] You know amazing change.
[238] My view of the General Strike is that if we'd have had a Lenin we'd have had a revolution.
[239] The people were r they really were ready you know, I think so.
[240] Mind you some people living through that, you know George ?
(PS266) [241] No.
Jack (PS265) [242] Don't you?
[243] ... I had a letter from him last week er er a lengthy letter.
[244] Well George's secretary at the Cosmopolitan Debating Society after er er Tom Moseley had er died, and er George takes an entirely different view of from me, of the you know.
[245] He's more right wing than me, he's a very far, he's a good socialist, he's a very fair man.
[246] But he we don't share opinions about the General Strike.
[247] He don't think it was, but I I'm sure it was.
[248] ... I remem remember being with with our newspaper being chased up ... up Road, and you know, the police were chasing me, of course I were only young I could run faster then.
[249] But in any case I'd chucked all me things in the cemetery, you know, and that's so when they caught up with me I hadn't got any newspapers.
[250] I'd thrown them away.
(PS266) [251] How how did the newspapers at the time respond to the Ge General Strike?
Jack (PS265) [252] Well there were no newspapers.
(PS266) [253] The newspapers?
Jack (PS265) [254] er well of course they were opposed to everything, working class, there was some er some sympathy from the old Journal, and the Evening News was a lot better course course it was, it was a Liberal paper.
[255] And it was pretty Liberal too.
[256] Er ... but of course there was no newspapers er printed at all then, [...] and I've got, there was a Churchill's Paper, what did they call that?
[257] And there was our paper, the British Worker.
[258] What did he call his paper?
[259] I've got one upstairs.
[260] What ?
(PS266) [261] Bulldog was it?
[262] Was it Bulldog?
Jack (PS265) [263] No.
[264] I've got one of his papers upstairs somewhere.
[265] Somewhere I've got it.
[266] You know that was i i issued during during the time.
[267] The General Strike was a was a great time.
[268] Was a great time.
[269] They could have gone over the top you know, I think, I'm sure they could, I'm certain they could.
[270] I mean you know what happened when,wh when th General Strike was on, there was er nothing entered unless it'd got a permit from a Trades Council, and you know that don't you?
[271] Didn't you know that?
[272] Oh yeah.
[273] When they got to Bridge they, if they hadn't got a permit they they had to go back, the pickets'd be there.
[274] The Trades Council it would be.
[275] And one of the craziest debates during that time there was whether to allow beer waggons over.
[276] W who who you know they they allowed food waggons through, and the the the great debate was was beer food?
[277] You know, and they came down that it was food, and they allowed the the beer barrels to proceed over the bridge.
[278] [...] you know they were tipping buses and everything up then, you know. [...]
(PS266) [279] So was much more militant then?
Jack (PS265) [280] was was good then.
[281] Mm.
(PS266) [282] And the Tr how did the Trades Council organize
Jack (PS265) [283] Trades Council was all for it.
[284] It was well up, I w I wasn't a second at it.
[285] They were a well organized Trades Council.
[286] Very well organized.
[287] And there was real real militant, they was good.
[288] ... Aye, and there were very few people caught you know for when the the the particularly buses, which was a blackleg firm, they used to tip their buses over.
[289] They'd never let them run from to .
[290] People had to get out and they'd turn the bus over time and time.
[291] I I've got a paper somewhere that refers to this business, I don't know where.
[292] Go on, are you, are you right?
(PS266) [293] Yeah, I'm alright.
Jack (PS265) [294] Right.
[295] ... Well Of course came the War and ... and er ... like for about twelve years like before the War I'd been president of the Hosiery Finishers Association.
[296] And then ... in nineteen forty two the secretary, the very well known for a number of reasons secretary of the Hosiery Workers, his name was , he was the J P and he was er er I wouldn't say he's a a pillar of the Tory Party but he weren't far off, you, well he died.
[297] And er they advertised er for a a secretary.
[298] Well I was very reluctant to to to put in for this job, I didn't want to really, but I was you know people said, Put in for it, you won't get it if you put in.
[299] And er I thought well I won't really, and I probably didn't like losing anyway you know [laugh] I I I was never a good loser I don't think, and I thought no I shan't get many votes and I'll look silly I'm not putting in for it.
[300] But anyway there was so many people and one chap who he he was, as a matter of fact, he was organizer with Communist Party for whom I've got the very greatest respect, the very greatest respect.
[301] Because er his name was Les , and he got er er and the whole family was real militant Labour Supporters at .
[302] And his brother ... he was in the er ... Spanish Civil War, he was an officer, he was a miner, but he left to join the ... the Spanish Brigade and er he came back and of course but after the General Strike they wouldn't neither set him nor his brother on the pits you know.
[303] And he never got into the pits, so Les and he was er ... was a very fine Marxist that he he he could tell you anything you know about Marxism.
[304] And and as a matter of fact he if er if ever you went to see him about anything and said, What about this, Les?
[305] And he'd say, Well and he'd got a whole string of Lenin's books, and he'd reach down and pick one and turn to the right page straight away, says, This is what Lenin said, and he said, I'll stand by this, you know.
[306] But Les was a great great bloke.
[307] But he got down the pit, after you know whe after the War.
[308] Er they had them all back like when the pits was nationalized, all these people who'd been sacked you know got back on.
[309] And so these two brothers, they both got back on, but unfortunately er Les, he was made a full time official of the miners, when he retired, full time official of the miners union.
[310] Er but unfortunately Les died.
[311] Very great loss to that was.
[312] Very great loss.
[313] And er but his brother's still alive, and is a retired miner.
[314] ... Aye.
(PS266) [315] Do you remember many people going off to the Red Brigade?
[316] To the International Brigade?
Jack (PS265) [317] Oh yes, quite a few, quite a few.
[318] Now talking bout the Cosmo, I'll come back to that again because there was a lad there and he was in the Independent Labour Party, and er his name was Eric and er this pamphlet will tell you said he answered more questions when he spoke, and at nineteen he was he spoke, he answered more questions than any other speaker had ever answered at the Cosmo you know he got a record for answering questions.
[319] But he was a very fine lad.
[320] And he were nineteen then, he went and he got killed.
[321] Eric , his name should be remembered, but nobody now will know, but he was in the I L P.
[322] I tell you he was a very good bloke.
[323] And he got killed, oh aye.
[324] Lionel , you know Lionel ?
(PS266) [325] In fact I've got to I'm going to interview him.
Jack (PS265) [326] When?
(PS266) [327] Soon.
[328] I've not fixed up the date yet.
Jack (PS265) [329] And where you going to interview him?
(PS266) [330] I don't know yet, I've
Jack (PS265) [331] At his er at his work?
[332] Where he is independent tailor you know.
(PS266) [333] Mm.
Jack (PS265) [334] Oh I was very, I haven't seen him for a while, being ill you don't, but er, he was always sending messages of good will when I was in hospital.
[335] Lionel's a very he he he, you'll enjoy him, he'll be good.
[336] He'll be your star turn, you you must see him when you can.
[337] But, the best thing to do is to see him at his off where he works, he's a tailor you know that, do you?
(PS266) [338] Mm.
Jack (PS265) [339] Good too.
[340] I've got lot's of clothes he's made me.
(PS266) [341] What about Fascism in ?
[342] Do you remember Fascist meetings?
Jack (PS265) [343] They was never strong in , you'd think it would be in a place like this but they weren't.
[344] Er I remember a debate, they'd two debates, there was one on the Market Square and there was one at the Cosmo, between the Black Shirts er and of course the Cosmo platform was open to anybody, didn't matter who they were, any shade of opinion.
[345] Er no there was never never really active in .
[346] The New Party made some members when they started, but when they turned themselves into the Fascist Party er they they rid of themselves of many of these er New Party peop , was in the New Party you know.
[347] ... He was a very brilliant man you know.
[348] His father was [...] , editor of the Spectator, and there was a very ... you know, intelligent family really.
[349] But he joined the New Party and so it er he spiked his guns for a long while.
[350] ... Yes, now then, where are we going.
(PS266) [351] Talking about the the formation of the National Union.
Jack (PS265) [352] Oh yes, aye, that's right.
[353] So anyway I put in for this job and and there were people who who ought to have got it before me, er for instance er there was a councillor at er at , Tom , did you know Tom ?
[354] Well he was a councillor at and a leader of the labour group on the Council at for ooh about thirty forty years.
[355] His father before him was a fine man too, he was a prominent member of the Co-op.
[356] And anyway he he was one of the candidates, but what I didn't know at that time there was a real feud between the women and the men.
[357] Anything the men wanted the women would oppose, and vice versa.
[358] So of course when Tom was put up and er there was about five of us put up for this job, they was all members of that union and I wasn't.
[359] I was a member of the other union like the Hosiery Finishers.
[360] But because all the men were supporting Tom all the women was in a vast majority was opposed to him and they'd vote for anybody, and it happened to be me you see.
[361] [laughing] They didn't know me. []
[362] And er I got, they'd got about twelve hundred members, and I think I got about a thousand [...] , of course there weren't two of the men that knew and they voted.
[363] Er and so I got the job like dead easy you see.
[364] I've got an interesting point that I relate about this job [cough] that when I went to see them, about starting this job, they said, Well, they never told me before I got in, they said er, We've er we've got no money so we can't pay you a very good wage, but er we'll start you off with five pound a week, that's all we can afford, well I was earning more than that, during the War, nineteen forty two.
[365] And so er I thought well I don't know, you know, I don't know [break in recording]
Jack (PS265) [366] And so I said, [...] saying to my wife, Well, I said er, I've got, I'm going to get involved in bus fares to and from office, and I'd got two kids at that time and I said er, I don't know when Anne said, Well no good, cos she was a good socialist and all, and says, Right, no good letting money stand in the road as it will get by.
[367] Here, take it.
[368] So I took it, for a drop you see.
[369] But there were true to their word [break in recording]
Jack (PS265) [370] Well we we formed the national union that comprised, have have you read any books on that [...] , aye, [...] formed that about nineteen forty ... forty five I should think, guess, that'll be it, about forty five.
[371] And er then I left them in forty six and went back to me first love, and er it was a little self contained union.
[372] I think it was one of the best in the country, and I'm I'm serious about that.
[373] Not because I was there, but it was.
[374] And then we had a wage structure that was second to none really.
[375] We ... we had a cost of living bonus when it was practically unknown to have a cost of liv , which we'd had er er since er immediately after the First World War, nineteen nineteen time.
[376] We had a cost of living bonus and er our wages rose with the cost of living er every month, not every year.
[377] Every month, we got this cost of living, course it didn't er it didn't er fluctuate like it did in more recent years, but it was a safeguard and we always got increases on top of that like piece work increase and and er it it was a it was a good union, it you know.
[378] With with we got innovations that no other union, not of it's size, ever had.
[379] There was two thousand, we er you know was more than a union, it was it was a first class Friendly Society as well and it was friendly.
[380] As a matter of fact er as the years went by we got this benevolent fund and we used to give all the old w as a mat we got a pension fund I know it don't sound much now, but at that time like during and just after the War we paid twelve and sixpence a week pension to all everybody who'd retired from the union after they'd done time, and we also gave them extra grants and took them on er you know outings until a time [...] I said, Well we're spending all this money on outings, we could buy a bungalow at the seaside and let them all go you know pensioners go in their turn free.
[381] And so we did this ... and we had this bungalow at Mablethorpe which is still running, we've been down, we went down a few weeks ago.
[382] And the pensioners go down to this bungalow free, and it's in lovely spot and we gave something like two thousand pound for it.
[383] And I was very friendly with the manager's secretary of the Co-op, Cyril at that time who was a big noise in , and er he furnished it for us at wholesale price you know and everything, they furnished the bungalow.
[384] Put the carpets, put everything in and er and we paid for it and they still go ad now course the national union's taken it over but when we joined the national union there were two things that er I stipulated before we'd join.
[385] And one was that this bungalow should be retained completely er by members of the Hosiery Finishers in spite of being a national union which of course has still operated, and secondly, that er nobody should go to this union until er er at least when I've finished that they should be voted for and they weren't going to impose anybody on this union, they'd vote for somebody from among their own members, which of course operated and that's operating now.
[386] See.
[387] And er I'll show you a little booklet I've got somewhere on that about the nation about his bungalow.
[388] Which perhaps not revolutionary but to me it was er it was [...] but of all these things that er we've done lots of things you know, but the thing that I, that stands out in my memory is is that er it'd be about nineteen forty eight, there was a a one of the old members who I worked with was, lived alone and he was very ill.
[389] So I went to see him and the neighbour said to me, Well, I said, God it's cold, I said, Why ain't he got a fire?
[390] She said, Well, she said, The truth is you know we keep bringing sticks in and that, but he's got no er ... he's got no fire, he's got no coal, he can't he can't make a fire.
[391] You know there were only very few electrics, so I said, Well we've got this money in the benevolent fund.
[392] So I ordered him a load of coal.
[393] I went down to the straight away to the coal dealer and said, Take him a load of coal, and he took him.
[394] Well I told the committee and they were delighted and so was I.
[395] Er and that's one thing that stands out in my, of course he died, but the point is at least he died with a fire.
[396] And er I think that's good you know.
[397] I'm sentimental enough to think that's good, and er and er and lots of things like that you know but that th really stands out.
[398] I remember the man very well and [...] alone [...] .
[399] And I tell you one of my early recollections when I went to school, I'm going back now, was er across the way from where I lived, was a family and their name was , I remember the name although I'd only be about nine.
[400] I remember their name.
[401] I'd only be nine.
[402] And er he and I know where he worked at Brass Foundry on Road, and he fell ill.
[403] And he died.
[404] And er of course there were no pension, no widow's pension, no nothing at all.
[405] And so there was er old age pension, state, there was nothing then you know nothing at all.
[406] And so er they had to go to the workhouse you see and I can see it now in this er this cobbled street and this er cab er drawn by a horse of course, hansom cab.
[407] And I can see this er this woman with her three children go off to the workhouse and er they was crying but they were waving and then all the neighbours was out waving to them.
[408] Now that's er er a recollection isn't it?
[409] Going to the workhouse, yeah, this family, mm.
(PS266) [410] Do you do you remember ever ever having long periods of illness yourself?
[411] At all?
Jack (PS265) [412] I I I only had one one illness in my life until last year.
[413] And er I had er in nineteen sixteen I had er what they called typhoid fever which now they call enteric fever you know.
[414] I had s that for sixteen weeks.
[415] And I never went to hospital because me cousin was a nurse who'd er you know got married and so she er proffered to nurse me which she did and er the then er health people in allowed me to stay at home because of this you see and I was at home and er that was in nineteen sixteen.
[416] And that's the only illness I that I ever had.
(PS266) [417] And did you find it difficult managing without without the money, your parents?
Jack (PS265) [418] Well me parents they got they was alright they, you know what I mean, they weren't wealthy but they they ... they were [...] they'd always got enough to live on.
[419] Me dad had got a decent job for them times, you know he, I think he got thirty bob a week which was a lot of money.
[420] But he was alright you know what I mean with the, I never never really knew want, there were lots of things that I wanted and never got of course but I never really, I could never say I wanted, and I never went hungry, not even at any time, you know.
(PS266) [421] Did your mother work at all?
Jack (PS265) [422] She worked at home, she used to make er bags, you know, er shopping bags, and she was a very good machinist and a remarkable cook and everything.
[423] She could do anything, she was a wonderful woman.
[424] And er a very devout Christian who never went to to er chapel like in her later years but she was, she was a good Christian lady.
[425] Aye.
[426] ... And she died of a cancer and er so did me father, and probably so shall I, but if a cancer don't kill me summat else will. [laugh] [break in recording]
(PS266) [427] Erm you started work
Jack (PS265) [428] [...] at
(PS266) [429] yeah it's on, you started work at in nineteen thirteen.
Jack (PS265) [430] That's right.
(PS266) [431] Er how did you go about getting the job?
Jack (PS265) [432] Well jobs were weren't particularly hard to get in nineteen thirteen and er ... well in any case me father worked there and he'd worked there many years so i it was the normal thing that you usually followed your father like.
[433] Although I wanted to go down the pit because you got more money you see.
(PS266) [434] In in those day
Jack (PS265) [435] Nearly all my friends were down the pit.
(PS266) [436] Oh really?
Jack (PS265) [437] Oh aye
(PS266) [438] Cos I I thought the the pit was quite well known for being a poor poor payer.
Jack (PS265) [439] Well i i it wasn't so bad as where I er as when I went.
[440] And they didn't work so many hours, I worked er I don't know whether I told you this last time but er I worked, my normal week was sixty six hours, sixty six hours for five shilling.
(PS266) [441] Was this when you started?
Jack (PS265) [442] Ah, nineteen thirteen.
(PS266) [443] So when you started did you receive a wage, rather than piece rate?
Jack (PS265) [444] I I I received, it was, it was, yes that's right, until you get into the job, yeah.
[445] Five bob, and then you get on a piece rate.
[446] I I must have told you before that what we got ... er ... we used to turn and bundle two thousand four hundred, I told you that didn't I?
(PS266) [447] Mm.
Jack (PS265) [448] Did I tell you that story?
(PS266) [449] What did erm
Jack (PS265) [450] For sixpence.
(PS266) [451] What did tu turning a sock actually involve?
[452] Why why did the socks have to be turned?
Jack (PS265) [453] Why, because they was dyed on the wrong side.
[454] Erm, you see they were dyed on the wrong side you know they were of course it was easier to penetrate than it would be if they dyed them on the right side you see, it was technically i far far superior.
[455] And so that's what they did.
(PS266) [456] So how many departments would there be at at the time?
Jack (PS265) [457] Well there'd be dying and scouring and tacking ... sorting, trimming, packing, drying, all kind, you know that that's about total number of departments, brushing.
(PS266) [458] Would each department have it's own foreman then?
Jack (PS265) [459] Oh yes, oh yes, even if it was a department of only ooh five or six people, there'd be somebody in charge.
[460] Always be a charge-hand, foreman.
(PS266) [461] Yeah, was a, is a, was a charge-hand different to a foreman then?
Jack (PS265) [462] We well a a foreman usually was over more workers than a charge- hand was.
[463] [cough] You see you could have a charge-hand over er er two or three people really, he'd be working with them but he he'd be the charge-hand.
[464] I mean the chap that the management would come to and say, Well has there's this particular lot of work gone through yet?
[465] Or and he he'd know this, that'd be his job as well.
(PS266) [466] I see.
Jack (PS265) [467] Th th er th did I tell you about er how I how I started at , how I left school?
(PS266) [468] Taking the Labour Examination ?
Jack (PS265) [469] That's right, that's right .
(PS266) [470] Yeah.
Jack (PS265) [471] Er go on, glad I've got that bit.
(PS266) [472] Yeah so how would the workers, presumably the er charge-hands and foremans were promoted from the the shop floor.
[473] How did you feel ?
Jack (PS265) [474] Usually pretty fairly.
(PS266) [475] How did you feel about ... pi your own people sort of being transferred into positions of authority, was there much resentment?
Jack (PS265) [476] Er ... well n not really because they had to be in the union.
(PS266) [477] Mm.
Jack (PS265) [478] You see if they wanted to be a foreman he'd still in the union.
[479] So it didn't make a great deal of difference really, you know, you you'd still got er some jurisdiction over them even though they were the foreman like.
(PS266) [480] Yeah and what was your father's job at ?
Jack (PS265) [481] Well he he was a a foreman of the sorting room.
[482] You know and he was when I started there in nineteen thirteen.
[483] And er th th that was it.
(PS266) [484] How much would he have received for that?
Jack (PS265) [485] Well er I I his wage round about er First World War s commencement fourteen, thirty bob a week, which was a good wage.
(PS266) [486] Mm.
[487] And you you were earning about ten bob a week then ?
Jack (PS265) [488] Well at that time I was getting as much as ten bob a week.
(PS266) [489] S and was that the the whole wage for the whole family or were there other members of the family working?
Jack (PS265) [490] Oh no, no other money coming in, oh no.
(PS266) [491] Did you have any brothers and sisters?
Jack (PS265) [492] I've got one brother, but he was younger than me and at that time he were going to school anyway.
(PS266) [493] So was the s the family standard of of living reasonably high in those [...] days ?
Jack (PS265) [494] It were reasonable, quite re , er as a matter of fact we could afford to go on ho my father could afford to take us on a holiday every year.
(PS266) [495] Where about
Jack (PS265) [496] To the seaside.
(PS266) [497] Whereabouts?
Jack (PS265) [498] Well we the the main place was Cleethorpes, although we was at Blackpool when, in fourteen, when the War started.
[499] Went to Blackpool one or or on one or two occasions but me mother suffered with er with her heart and the doctor said, Well don't go to Blackpool again, the air's too strong.
[500] So we didn't you see after that.
(PS266) [501] Yeah.
[502] Did your mother work at all?
Jack (PS265) [503] Not until er ... when was it, ooh, I think not until er me brother and I were married and her and me father were together and she used to do a bit of homework er making ... these er kind of leather bags,
(PS266) [504] Mm.
Jack (PS265) [505] you know, sewing the leather bags.
(PS266) [506] So as as a youth and a child she didn't take,
Jack (PS265) [507] No.
(PS266) [508] do any work to make end ends meet ?
Jack (PS265) [509] Never done any work at all after being married no, never, no.
[510] She was a lace mender.
(PS266) [511] She'd been a lace mender before she married your father?
Jack (PS265) [512] She was a lace mender, yes, that's right.
[513] That's right.
(PS266) [514] Yeah, you just mentioned the Wars, you remember much about the War in in ?
Jack (PS265) [515] Well,th I I must have told you because it's one of the things that er stand out that on on the day when they dropped the first bomb in I and I I and it was er it'd be the thirty first of January, but I don't know whether it was er fifteen or sixteen, nineteen fifteen or nineteen sixteen.
[516] On that particular day I I was coming home from work and it were quarter to nine, I'd just finished work.
[517] And I'd started at six in the morning.
[518] And I'd been there from six in the morning till quarter to nine.
[519] And there were two of us worked together [cough] a lad my age and myself.
[520] And we was walking down Street when a soldier was coming and he said er, You want to er you want to make haste home me lads the Zeppelins are about, you see.
[521] Well you know what kids, we kind of laughed at this you know, we didn't take it as serious.
[522] So we sauntered home and by the time just when we got home perhaps by you know we'd get home at nine, by quarter past nine er we saw the Zeppelin come over.
[523] You could see this Zeppelin.
[524] I remember this.
(PS266) [525] Was this the one that hit Woolworth's, was that cos Woolworth's was bombed wasn't it ?
Jack (PS265) [526] Aye, that's right.
[527] Woolworth's and er and the water fountain in Street.
(PS266) [528] Mm.
Jack (PS265) [529] That's right, that's the one.
(PS266) [530] Did it drop any other bombs or?
Jack (PS265) [531] Er there was er I think there were thr [...] I think there were three killed in Street, three people in a, killed in a house in Street.
[532] Er ... but everybody in went down to see what had happened like, you know to see Woolworth's.
[533] They'd never ... you know imagined that anything like that could quite happen so we ,
(PS266) [534] Mhm.
Jack (PS265) [535] well I went down and had a look at it as a kid you know.
[536] I remember seeing Woolworth's.
[537] With
(PS266) [538] Did
Jack (PS265) [539] er a tear in it's side.
(PS266) [540] Mm.
[541] Did it upset people or?
Jack (PS265) [542] Not really, I don't think so.
[543] It were a talking point but er it wasn't er n nobody seemed unduly perturbed about it.
(PS266) [544] Mm.
[545] Go going back to before the War, erm last time you spoke you mentioned a s strike in nineteen thirteen.
Jack (PS265) [546] That's right.
(PS266) [547] Erm what how how how did that come about?
Jack (PS265) [548] Well it came about and I believe this man's name was but I wouldn't be too certain, I think it was .
[549] And er he worked at .
[550] And er it was said that he he was he 'd been away ill.
[551] Well when he went back to work er they didn't let him start.
[552] And he hadn't been off long, perhaps been off three or four weeks, I I would say.
[553] And the boss said, well you know he hadn't got the work for him and and he couldn't start then.
[554] And so what happened was everybody downed tools at and come out on strike you see.
[555] And er it it got very serious.
[556] So after a fortnight, thereabouts, the union had a meeting and decided that everybody in the industry like, which of course there was only about a thousand of us any way, everybody would s would stop until this man could start at work.
[557] So that's everybody came out.
(PS266) [558] Mm.
Jack (PS265) [559] And er but this was a very determined man, everybody knew that, [...] one of these, although he he'd got probably er the the best factory in in the city.
[560] Like for quality of workmanship.
[561] The workers were good, his machinery was good.
[562] But any way he decided to s to take blacklegs.
[563] And er he advertised and got quite a few.
[564] Not, they weren't members of ours and they weren't er skilled in the trade, but hey were just people who were prepared to work any way and and scrambled through as best they could.
(PS266) [565] Would they be local people?
Jack (PS265) [566] Oh aye.
[567] And er the police used to take them in black marias some of them.
[568] Some of them had to walk because you they they couldn't take them in in in any conveyance at all because er it was over what they call the viaducts, you know and the big rushes and reeds, I told you about a chap hitting them didn't I?
(PS266) [569] Mm.
[570] Yeah
Jack (PS265) [571] Hitting somebody on on the head with a brick.
[572] Aye.
[573] And there was quite a few court cases.
(PS266) [574] What court cases against the strikers?
Jack (PS265) [575] Yes, oh aye.
(PS266) [576] Because was there was there much violence?
Jack (PS265) [577] Well there there i they used to s you know invite everybody you said to you know everybody down on the picket line, well we were kids we used to go like re to be quite honest like we went because it were you know a bit of fun really.
[578] But there were police on horseback charging them.
[579] And I always remember, now whether this is true I wouldn't know, and I don't think I've ever spoke about this before but I, thinking about it just now, it's just struck me, I remember one chap saying, Well now if we put some barbed wire across the road about two foot high, he said, No horse will jump over barbed wire, now I don't know I don't suppose that's true I don't think it is but this chap said that.
[580] So they went and got some barbed wire and they strung it across this street you know, Street at .
[581] I could remember it but I just couldn't say now whether the police were stopped in their tracks.
[582] But there was a lot of police there, there was a lot of of er pickets, you know, ooh aye, six or seven hundred pickets.
[583] We and they used to go there when the blacklegs came out.
(PS266) [584] Yes, so what was
Jack (PS265) [585] And there were three blacklegs lived in er in one house in Avenue.
[586] And so every night when they got home there was all kinds of people, I mean you know say miners and anybody as well, they all surrounded this house and when the police brought him in, of course they were booing and all this business you see.
[587] Well one night he got really rough and er they they broke these windows.
[588] ... And at the court I can remember this as a kid, at the court, of course I wasn't in at at the court but I remember the story the blacklegs er picked out people and said they and they and they threw stones you see, through the window.
[589] So of course these chaps well I don't wether they were youths and chaps and that denying it.
[590] And er I always remember the lawyer who was acting on behalf of the union er said to these blacklegs, How would it be possible for you to see it though your window who was throwing the bricks seeing that the windows are so black and filthy you can't see the curtains that's hanging up from the outside?
[591] So you couldn't possibly see who was throwing, er the windows were too filthy.
[592] And they got off.
[593] Got off. ... [...]
(PS266) [594] Was the was the lawyer paid for by the union?
Jack (PS265) [595] Oh aye, oh aye.
[596] I I don't remember but he must have been.
[597] And but any anyway we got er, I've probably tell you this before, the Co- op allowed everybody to have er ... credit until it was over and there was a n there was a a preacher wh who er and I don't know whether a Baptist or a Wesleyan Preacher, I think he was a Wesleyan, he was a Welshman and his name was .
[598] ... And er he was he he he you know came and spoke and he was very very good, aye.
(PS266) [599] Was your family religious?
Jack (PS265) [600] Aye, aye religious, aye.
(PS266) [601] What denomination?
Jack (PS265) [602] Baptist.
[603] ... They they when when I was younger used to go regular but they didn't go regular you know as years advanced.
[604] but er m anyone ask, I remember me mother was a great Christian really.
[605] Although she didn't go to er but me dad did always you know believe in the Baptists.
(PS266) [606] Was the church very important in the community then?
Jack (PS265) [607] Oh yeah.
(PS266) [608] Particularly?
Jack (PS265) [609] Particularly the Non-conformist.
(PS266) [610] Mm.
Jack (PS265) [611] Oh yes.
[612] Oh yes.
(PS266) [613] How did you fell about the Church of England and the [...]
Jack (PS265) [614] Well they always er regarded the Church of England as er a little [...] socially and erm politically they'd er erm the Tories of course,m mainly the Church was Tories, and er like in Wales the Non-conformists was er more liberally inclined.
(PS266) [615] So was there strong connections between the Wesleyan and Baptist Churches and the trade unions?
Jack (PS265) [616] Yes, yes.
[617] Well there was between this particular Wesleyan Chapel and er in our street it was, as it's practically opposite the u present union office.
(PS266) [618] Yeah I think I know [...]
Jack (PS265) [619] You know up the side street but now it's used as a as a store house but you can tell it's a it's an old establishme and and they used to get full you know.
[620] The they used to the Non-conformists whether or not I couldn't speak for the Church of England but er there'd be a lot go you know i in the evening there'd be several hundred at every one of these places, and there was, there'd be, ooh four or five Non=conformist places in in .
[621] Little place like that.
[622] And they'd all get full.
[623] ... Oh yeah it was very strong.
(PS266) [624] Yeah, you said your your uncle was a religious man.
Jack (PS265) [625] Me fath me grandfather.
(PS266) [626] Was it your grandfather?
Jack (PS265) [627] Now he was very religious.
[628] He was er ... me mother's chief objection to him, it was me father's father, me mother's chief objection was that he was always talking about revolutions [laugh] and she couldn't stand this you know.
[629] And they said, He's alw , ah your granddad's always talking about there's going to be a revolution.
[630] But he he'd got a little mission er on the side of the at ,, I've I went with him so I saw it.
[631] But I I do you know I've been back since but I just couldn't find it now, but there it'll be [...] , but on the side of the er at , he used to preach at this mission, there was only him you know used to preach, and I don't know how many other people were at, it wouldn't hold above er wouldn't hold above thirty.
[632] A little tiny place.
[633] ... But he used to go there, he used to nearly live there and er you know.
[634] He was always preaching there, he he he was the man who ran it.
[635] Ah.
(PS266) [636] Was was politics important at at home in your childhood?
Jack (PS265) [637] Well it was for, well me dad was a l me dad was a liberal.
[638] Course there wasn't no Labour pen men then you know.
[639] But when the first Labour man put up for ... for in the area, West , 's constituency now as near as possible.
[640] Er put up there, you wouldn't know of would you?
(PS266) [641] No when would
Jack (PS265) [642] No.
(PS266) [643] this be?
Jack (PS265) [644] Well, probably nineteen fourteen.
[645] ... And er ... I think it was er ... in the election in er perhaps twenty two er got in.
[646] Previously they'd always been er very staunch liberal, well know intellectuals, Sir James , and he represented the teachers.
[647] That was, that was in that union.
[648] Very very er able, capable man, but anyway, and he was in for years, but er beat him.
[649] were he he he was a an ex-West councillor.
[650] I I don't know whether he went to jail over the job you know, in East and West .
[651] And er I I think they they were, most of them went to jail and I think did, but when he came down here ... he, he beat .
[652] One of his chief claims to fame was that he got about thirteen kids, you know,, but a very very capable bloke.
(PS266) [653] So ... did the Labour Party have staunch working class support in
Jack (PS265) [654] They did yeah .
(PS266) [655] In then?
Jack (PS265) [656] Oh yeah,be in , and yeah.
[657] N nobody strange well this is strange to relate.
[658] Nobody ever stood a chance of getting in in unless they were Labour.
[659] You know I mean after the ... after the the liberals had er ... lost the m main support er and the Labour Party came into prominence nobody w w you know you it'd be almost impossible to put up in and .
[660] But one one time one man put up and I don't know the reason why and I couldn't tell you the year but his name was er the Honour somebody .
[661] And he came he became a prominent Parliamentarian, perhaps in the thirties.
[662] But he got in in this, you know they moved moved w w you know would
(PS266) [663] Mm.
[664] He was a barrister
Jack (PS265) [665] A barrister aye probably the greatest that's ever lived you know.
(PS266) [666] Was he a liberal MP in then?
Jack (PS265) [667] He was a liberal yes.
[668] I heard him a few times, he was very very entertaining, very entertaining, nice bloke really.
[669] Ah.
(PS266) [670] Now going back to this this strike erm
Jack (PS265) [671] Yes.
(PS266) [672] Presumably if if all the finishing companies erm
Jack (PS265) [673] Supported us.
(PS266) [674] Had had to come out on strike, then er all the workers be on strike fund, er did you and your father receive strike money?
Jack (PS265) [675] Well no no member of the staff came of strike that was the understanding you see.
[676] I mean they they stayed in to you know see the work through the processes rather than it all get ruined, because of course you know they weren't er they weren't great er individual capitalists and er capitalistic companies.
[677] I mean the bosses hadn't got all that much really, you know, they weren't like they are today.
[678] I mean they got a lot better living what we got and and and they was alright but the the ... you know you'd never call them bloated capitalists because they weren't bloated really.
(PS266) [679] Mm.
Jack (PS265) [680] Er about this strike and er but time went on and it became obvious that er nobody were going to win only the boss like this boss, [cough] course he was he was scratching through, and so they called the strike off and every person who worked at er every firm had a meeting and they all decided to take so many and every firm took so many of the workers and so nobody was ever unemployed as a consequence of the strike which was very very good.
(PS266) [681] Was this a a management decision or a union decision ?
Jack (PS265) [682] Union decision.
[683] And the union had the meeting and the union went and told the boss that we're having so many more men here and that was it you see.
(PS266) [684] Mm.
Jack (PS265) [685] And that that's what operated.
[686] A very fine thing, and you know until er until the day I left in nineteen forty two ... they always referred to these chaps in the forties like say I was, er a as being er, Ooh he's a man.
[687] You know or f or or you know always it was that they were men cos they came from during the strike.
[688] Mm there's very ...
(PS266) [689] [cough] After the War, well I know you did military service [...]
Jack (PS265) [690] Aha.
(PS266) [691] after you came back from military service did you carry on working art ?
Jack (PS265) [692] Yes, oh aye.
(PS266) [693] Did you
Jack (PS265) [694] Yes
(PS266) [695] Was it easy to get your job back?
Jack (PS265) [696] Er ye yes and n no really.
[697] Everybody coming from military service ... er was er got the job back there were no question about that at all, you got your job back.
[698] But ... I'll have to tell you a bit of my history.
[699] Nineteen er nineteen eighteen I joined the the Army, compulsory you see.
[700] And I joined up on March the fourth nineteen eighteen.
[701] And er the War ended as you know in November eighteen ... and er when the War came to an end the the Government introduced a form of service whereas if er we youngsters volunteered say if you volunteered for two year they gave you twenty pound and two months leave you see, if you volunteered for three year they gave you forty pound or was it thirty, thirty forty, and er three months leave.
[702] And if you volunteered for five years I know you got fifty pound for that which was a hell of a lot of money, a year's wage in some peoples' eyes that was you know.
[703] And er so er er I said to my friend, like me pals I said, Well look we we haven't been in the Army a year, so we've got to be in two more years before it comes our turn our turn to be demobilized, so we just might as well sign up for a couple year, get two months leave and twenty quid, because we shall do that if we don't.
[704] So we did this you see.
[705] As a consequence of which ... well we went to Egypt and the Sudan this business, we came back and er the b the ... the foreman's brother he ne he never liked me ever this forema when I were a kid you know, he never liked me at all, I never got on with him and ... and er mind you there's a long story about that but it's a silly little thing that er that I really upset him with.
[706] ... It'd it'd be no interest to this but er
(PS266) [707] Go on, go on [...]
Jack (PS265) [708] [...] you see ... We was working together and you know a a few benches from each other and of course as I told you the the lads worked with a man.
[709] And in the Football Post er cos everybody used to have the Football Post then, not like now, and so everybody knew what was in it and er ... [...] there was like a Who and Why column in the Football Post and one of these was, Who will stop County now, you see because they was at top of the second division or something like that, and the team that was next to them was City in them days you see.
[710] And so er and somebody wrote back and said to them, A Yorkshire team with the same ambitions you see.
[711] Well this bloke this boss's brother er his his his brother was the mayor of for several years, the only one that's been during the War, the First World War,.
[712] And he said er, Well ha it isn't in Yorkshire, says, Well er it is, he said, It isn't it's in Lincolnshire.
[713] And so we had a proper argument about this, of course he was a grown up man, I were only a kid you know.
[714] And er so one bloke brought a map the next day to prove as it was in, he says, He's right it's in Yorkshire.
[715] And he never forgive me for this you see because he were a big noise you know, he he'd got a big business in .
[716] And er so when I came back after the War he says er, I object to him starting, he's not come f direct from conscription, he volunteered for the Army.
[717] So you can't volunteer and then come back like that and ... Well that was that.
[718] But of course he he was the only one who thought this, everybody else said, Ah how ridiculous, have him back.
[719] So that was the end to it you see.
[720] Mm.
[721] So [laugh]
(PS266) [722] Yeah and so had wages increased in [...] ?
Jack (PS265) [723] Ooh aye was wages increased.
[724] You know I would think we'd be the first er industry to my knowledge to have a cost of living bonus.
[725] And as the cost of living wen went up our wages went up.
[726] A but seeing that the official figures were published every month our wages went up or down every month.
[727] And and or or remained stationary but they mostly went up a copper or so every ... and this was er a real thorn in the side of the employers you know, they wanted to get rid of this and they couldn't.
[728] And er when I left, about seventy two, they were still every year they come to try and get rid of this cost of living, but we did er er concede that we'd only move annually.
[729] And so the wages went up and down annually like as distinct from monthly, which was a bit of a job for the employers to adjust every month.
(PS266) [730] When so when was this introduced,
Jack (PS265) [cough]
(PS266) [731] when was the cost of living intro [...]
Jack (PS265) [732] Oh nin i during the First World War.
(PS266) [733] Was this did this occur for the whole hosiery industry not just
Jack (PS265) [734] Oh yes.
(PS266) [735] the finishing?
Jack (PS265) [736] Oh finishing.
[737] Finishing er finishing only.
(PS266) [738] Finishing only.
Jack (PS265) [739] Finishing only, and er ... then after a few years the manufacturing side of the industry adopted the cost of living different from ours but they adopted a cost of living bonus in in a degree rather different from our. [cough]
(PS266) [740] How were the employers persuaded to introduce this through threatened
Jack (PS265) [741] Well
(PS266) [742] action or or negotiation ?
Jack (PS265) [743] Well they never threatened any action on the manufacturing side, they [...] you know the manufacturing side didn't.
(PS266) [744] Mm.
Jack (PS265) [745] But anyway seeing that we got it and all this business and and er eventually they got it, but they didn't get it in nowhere near a a as good as ours and you know.
(PS266) [746] Well how did the finishers get it [...]
Jack (PS265) [747] Oh well they got it during the War.
[748] When things were pretty easy.
[749] I should think at that time the employers thought, Well we don't want to be arguing about wages every five minutes during this War business you know and they all got b you know they got bags of work you know that of course, don't you?
[750] No end of work during Wartime, no end of work.
(PS266) [751] Yeah was this when utility clothing, was was that
Jack (PS265) [752] Pardon?
(PS266) [753] Was there utility clothing during the First World War?
Jack (PS265) [754] No.
[755] No, there weren't, Second World War yeah, but not First World War.
[756] Er
(PS266) [757] So was a lot, was a lot of lot of stuff made for the Army then?
Jack (PS265) [758] Oh yeah, lots of stuff made for the Army and and and they didn't know, I mean the manufacturers s sent the work to the hosiery dye- yards they they didn't know what they were sending or what they got, they just churned it all out and and that was it you know it were I could a lot of things about that.
(PS266) [759] What were the what were the main major products at the time?
[760] Was it mainly just socks and stockings ?
Jack (PS265) [761] Well ours was mai ours was was footwear.
[762] Ours was footwear.
(PS266) [763] What about other local companies?
Jack (PS265) [764] Well er ... the the majority was footwear er but there was shirts and pants and as a matter of fact there was one small section of gloves, made gloves.
[765] And there was a lot of fabric, quite a lot of webbing fabric you know.
[766] ... You know to be made up into underwear and garments.
(PS266) [767] And would a all these companies be included under one finishing union?
Jack (PS265) [768] Er all those that finished was in the finishing union, yeah.
(PS266) [769] How come, how did you get to be involved in the union after the War?
Jack (PS265) [770] Oh well I b , it were, we all had to be in the union anyway and so we used to er we used to go to the meetings a a a you know as youngsters and then when we came back from the Army we'd got to the union meeting as well.
[771] And er when it come to the election of a shop steward about in ni nineteen er I think it were nineteen twenty seven, it were nineteen twenty seven er I there were two hundred in our shop and I got elected shop steward, mainly I think because a lot more, most didn't didn't want to be bothered you know but anyway I I [...] and so that's what I retained.
(PS266) [772] And it was, were you shop steward for the whole factory or just part of the factory ?
Jack (PS265) [773] Oh no only, nobody was shop steward for the factory.
[774] but he person who was shop steward for the finishing department more or less assumed responsibility for the other shop stewards because the other shop stewards would perhaps only have fifteen or twenty, you know members er under them.
(PS266) [775] So what areas would
Jack (PS265) [776] I'd got two hundred see.
(PS266) [777] What other areas would there, would be involved in then?
Jack (PS265) [778] Well th th the auxiliaries would have one shop steward like for brushing and tacking, mending you know there's perhaps only be fifty altogether.
[779] And we'd got two hundred and then the dyers they were in their own union er at er at that time they'd perhaps got er er thirty in the dye-house.
[780] And we I tell you we'd got a couple of hundred in ours.
(PS266) [781] So this, you becoming a sop shop steward was was after the general strike.
[782] How were you involved in
Jack (PS265) [783] Yes just after the general strike.
(PS266) [784] Were you involved in the general strike itself much?
Jack (PS265) [785] Er aye but not er not industrially, you know not through the union.
[786] Er because of by this time I'd er ... joined the Independent Labour Party and er we used to run news-sheets off you see.
[787] I'd been to work all day and I'd been and been running sheets off all night.
[788] And then gone back to work next morning.
(PS266) [789] So the hosiery industry didn't come out [...]
Jack (PS265) [790] No.
(PS266) [791] [...] during the strike?
Jack (PS265) [792] No.
[793] And er and although it nobody could ever say that the union was politically motivated er it it's strange to relate that at union meeting when the general strike started and we of course we weren't in the T U C we were too small anyway, although I know that there's been unions with twenty eight members in the T U C now.
[794] And er anyway ... we eventually er ... ah but er the questions used to asked at every meeting, when are we going to come out and er so much so that er they made the secretary who was a J P and a Tory write to the T U C and er say that we prepared to come out when ever they ask us.
[795] And they sent back and now this is what they said to us in this letter I remember this distinctly that er if we want you to come out we'll tell you but we regard your factories as our second line of defence.
[796] That's what the T U C said.
[797] Course they were worried because they they'd bit off more than they could chew, same as you say about this like you see. [cough]
(PS266) [798] S so how was the str do you remember how the strike was organized in ?
[799] Was it organized?
Jack (PS265) [800] Oh organized yes, through the through the trades council no doubt about it, trades council organized it.
[801] As I've probably told you before the they used they used to meet and meet daily, trades council.
[802] And er they used to determine what came through , they used to really, you know what came over the Bridge, all picketed and er they'd want to know what was in the van and everything and if the er trades council said, No it's not coming, it didn't come.
(PS266) [803] Was there much trouble over over blackleg firms in ?
Jack (PS265) [804] Well the not not re not really, the chief er the chief trouble er arose from the bus people, you know that.
[805] They was t that tried to be the strike breakers and there was several of their buses turned over you've probably read that have you in the
(PS266) [806] Mhm, yes.
Jack (PS265) [807] in the news-sheets.
(PS266) [808] Heard about that.
Jack (PS265) [809] Oh aye.
[810] [...] particularly on the road from to .
(PS266) [811] What was the role of the police during the strike?
Jack (PS265) [812] Oh well the role of the police, well of course they were opposed [laughing] to the strikers [] but there weren't er quite so many police you see and and the strike movement was strong and so the the the they didn't have a great deal of affect.
[813] I mean wh where they, anybody was arrested they mainly got off you know. [recording ends]