|PS5M1||X||m||(No name, age unknown, historian, Interviewing) unspecified|
|K6MPS000||X||u||(No name, age unknown) unspecified|
 [...] to take you further on in your [...] about nationalization.
 Er had it been something that you'd long sought after you know, like like in the mines where it had been an issue for some years?
 You know, during the war years [...] ?
 Er well nationalization during the war, the [...] er nationalization and war news were interspersed you know, I mean the When you hadn't any war news to talk about, you spoke about nationalization.
 After the war we'll get nationalization you see.
 But that was er er a a faint hope.
 Before before we could get nationalization, we had to get a Labour government.
 And I and many others thought that the Tories, after the war was finished, the Tories would walk in.
 By reason of the fact that Churchill was the great leader.
 And never in my wildest dream did we imagine that Labour would get in with the resounding majority that they did get in.
 But however nationalization was always on the minds of the railwaymen.
 And we learnt of course the minds of various other big heavy industries.
 Do you recall nationalization being an issue that was talked about in the work place, you know was it talked about in the buffets and in the union meetings and
 Erm firstly I mean,du during the war in particular?
 During the war Well ... while the war as going on ... nationalization was brought up in the buffets by what we would term now, the activist or militant Labour people.
 They were always broaching that subject, nationalization.
 Because they believed and they got me to believe at the time, that nationalization would be the cure for all our ills.
 It would cure unemployment, it would give the workers control of their own industries and that everything would be hunkydory.
 There was a lot of talk but of course you always had these people who sons and that in the army, and they would always come in with the war situation.
 So as I said, it was interspersed you know it was [...] .
 But I don't think there were any anyone that I knew on the railway were not against nationalization.
 They were all for nationalization, because they believed that nationalization was the only way to solve the problems of the development the future development of the railways.
 Because you must remember during the wars, the railway stocks were being run down.
 You see even the the workshops, the railway workshops were working very hard you know, but they were only making make do and mend style.
 And there were no new stock built during the wars.
 So it meant that by the end of the war, the railway stock, the carriages, locomotives and all that was on their last stages.
 And that's why at that time, near the end of the war, [...] and when the talk of nationalization become greater, the hope of nationalization because as I said before, never in our wildest dream did we think that Labour would get in with such an overwhelming majority.
 But the the the railway stock was in such a bad state, that that's when people started the real activists of the Labour movement really started talking about confiscation instead of compensation.
 Because there was a great Tory voice sounded throughout the press and the mass media you see, that er on compensation for the railways, if there ever should be nationalization that they had to be amply compensated you see.
 And then they come in the Labour activists come in with this, no compensation, confiscation, the [...] was worth tuppence you know.
 But I don't know how it was, but it came about that this confiscation business was dropped just as soon as we Labour got into power.
 That the government got into power, That seemed to be put aside, confiscation.
 No we had to be fair, was the saying, for the leaders.
 We have to be fair, we've got to give them the compensation.
 You see, A fair price for their stocks and their holdings.
 Now that disappointed me I know, because I knew from where I stood, that the stuff was practically worthless.
 It would have to be renewed as soon as the the nationalization was prepared to go, the government took over.
 Now workers control, that's what it meant to me.
 I was gonna take you on to that you know.
 What did workers understand by and mean by nationalization and what did they want from nationalization?
 Was workers control a prominent part of people's thinking on this like?
 It was a prominent part of people's thinking, worker's thinking.
 That they had more say in the running of their industry of the railway.
 Now the first disappointment in that respect was the appointment Now I may be wrong but I'm I'm I'm s I think I'm right here [cough] the appointment of the chairman of the railway executive, that's what it was first called.
 It wasn't called the railway board.
 the first Chairman I'm sure it was, Lord Robbins Alf Robbins.
 A Labour minister.
 Now I might as well say it here, at this point that Alf Robbins was just another social democratic party member.
 That's what he was on that at that time.
 And this is forty eight, nineteen forty eight.
 He was a right, right and ultra right [...] Labour party, and he was made the first chairman.
 Now I knew him for what he was as a right softly softly.
 You know, all things to all men man.
 But he was our he was on the national executive.
 I don't know what position, ministerial position he held I just forget, at the time.
 But he was a prominent figure from the Labour party.
 And he was made chairman of the Railway executive.
 Now I smelt a mice then you see, I I my own personal thoughts were, What's what's the idea of appointing instead of a a real go ahead executive member, why did they put him in.
 I learned later that he was just another capitalist.
 So after about a year, eighteen month, I could see by his dictates that we weren't going to have worker's control in the real sense of the word.
 True they set up er local departmental committees and sectional councils.
 And they had the whole machinery negotiations fixed you see.
 But as the years went on, they were useless I mean er they were just talking shops.
 And the management always came out tops you see.
 So within about three years, my hopes were dashed.
 I realized then that nationalization, the great the great nationalization enterprise was simply state capitalism.
 It was just capitalism continued.
 Only the people were paying for it off of taxes.
 Instead of the well to do investing in in shares and that.
 It was the people that were being drawn by the nose and paying for the whole thing.
 How did you see nationalization being put into effect?
 Er I mean in the sense of actually er on in the railway yards itself er themselves.
 You know were there any immediate changed that er were apparent to you?
 There were no immediate changes, it went on from private enterprise, the changeover We were told at the time that we were just just to carry on the way we'd been doing.
 Er there were some dubious appointments as er yardmasters.
 See before nationalization, it used to be men who rose form the ranks that got the jobs, you know, men that knew the job.
 After nationalization, there was quite a number of university graduate appointed as yard masters, station masters.
 Without any railway experience.
 They read up the transport laws at university and all that transport and everything.
 But they had no practical experience you see.
 And I remember one, a Yorkshireman he was appointed yardmaster of Portobello Yard, [...] and [...] where I worked.
 The three yards that were under him.
 And he had assistants at each yard you see.
 He was a hale fellow well met sort of Yorkshireman you know, a bluff Yorkshireman.
 A nice enough chap and he was knowledgeable in theory you see, but when it come to the practical experience and the practical doing of the work, he would just say, Well what did you do the last time Jimmy?
 And I said [...] like this.
 I would tell him.
 Well do the same.
 You see?
 So that was er the blue eyed boys period.
 But strangely enough that went out, it came in with a flush see?
 And there were you could see them all over British Railways.
 Ex graduates you know, university boys getting positions there.
 And the story was that they were er ex railway shareholder's sons or you know all this.
 That's how they were placed in the position you see.
 Alf Robbins, Lord Robbins as he was then, knew what was going on.
 He must have agreed to all this.
 [...] getting the go ahead.
 And he went along with it.
 But as I said, that finished after about five or six year.
 And then they started recruiting or or or promoting them from the ranks you know.
 Step steps.
 Each step you see was promotion and er I think about nineteen fifty five, we started about nineteen fifty five aye after about seven years.
 The railway started to what I could only term, improve.
 It started to improve.
 Because there were men there who had the experience, knew what they were doing, knew what their mates were capable of and not capable of you know.
 Knew their shortcomings and their capabilities.
 And that's when the railways I thought, nineteen fifty five to nineteen sixty, there were a great surge forward.
 Ideas coming forward.
 Trade unionism taking a grip.
 On the railways.
 A real grip.
 There had been trade unions before of course, and er activity but not to the same extent between fifteen er nineteen fifty five to sixty, there was a great surge forward.
 The railways railwaymen were demanding more, because they felt quite rightly that they were giving more to the railways.
 And therefore they wanted the rewards that go with it.
 Nationalization was dead as far as I was concerned, we were back in the rat race.
 And that's when we started putting in for annual wage increases.
 See previous to that it was maybe every five years you put in for a wage increase a wage application.
 Between er in the late nineteen fifties, that's when we stated going.
 Going ahead and it started with annual wage increases because the wage increases that you did get were all about three, four or five percent at the time.
 And that only lasted you you see.
 [...] of the living in the standard of living was slightly better for those who were working.
 Slightly better than it had been previously.
 I'd like to take you back to that this whole idea that you've you've expressed about the idea of of state capitalism.
 Er how nationalization in effect as you've described it, existed for about maybe ten years
 before people twigged if you like, that what had actually happened amounted to hardly anything more than a change of sort of managerial personnel.
 Is that how you you saw it?
 Aye well you see when we did twig, ... the great deception you know, and it's worthwhile recalling here that we had Richard Marsh ... I think he's a title now [...] Sir Richard Marsh.
 He was another Labour great Labour mouthpiece.
 Another S D P man see.
 Lord Beeching, a Tory Tory.
 He came and he just slashed the railways you see.
 It seemed that they were either capitalist or social democrats which I mean a social democrat by any other na a Tory by any other name's just the same.
 I mean there there's no difference.
 As I've said before you're either red or or blue or black and white.
 But anyway, the railways there was a spurt on between in the late sixties on the railway and that's when I think I was sure, not only because I was a branch secretary at the time but I'm sure that all the [...] British Railways there was a greater awareness of the fact that we had been deceived by the word nationalization.
 It wasn't anything like workers control as we had expected.
 It was just old natio Old private enterprise, private railways back in, only there were no different region, there were no L M S, L N E R, G W R or that.
 They were all one.
 I'd like to take ba take you back to the the changeover itself.
 Do you remember much about the the attitude of the of the old L N E R management you know, er especially during the lead-up from Labour coming to power, and it becoming more obvious that nationalization would in fact take place?
 Do you remember much about how the old managers felt about that?
 The old managers?
 Aye well of course at that time, in nineteen forty eight, I was detached I mean I I didn't know much about the management's thinking, or their pronouncements.
 But I can remember one thing that happened in in that respect was that the superintendent came down to a meeting or he wanted to see us after nationalization.
 And it was all about er, Now that th we're nationalized railway nationalized, it meant that we could er gain promotion and we wouldn't be confined to the one section.
 There'd be no L N E R, no L M S, see.
 Well that was the only two railways that affected us.
 The L N E R and L M S. And er I could see then that I knew that superintendent in the private days of the railways.
 And [...] few years, and yet he said a long face, if you wasn't you wasn't happy with the thought of running a district that was nationalized see?
 But it as it turned out he needn't have had no fears.
 Because he was just doing the same job as he'd been doing under the private [...] under the L N E R. Management were more conciliatory when nationalization came on.
 See in pre-nationalization days, a superintendent was the big chief.
 When he appeared in the yard, you had to jump it.
 The red carpet literally was out for him you see.
 But after nationalization, it was obvious, when he did put in an appearance or and that was very rare, there wasn't the same palaver for his visit.
 He would just came and went into the yardmaster's office and had a word or two with him and then he would maybe ask to see the staff local representative and the local [...] committee.
 And he'd have a word, Er how's everything going along?
 Alright and er you're quite happy with things as they are and that?
 And that would be the extent of his visit, he would have a cursory look round the yard and away.
 But there was no er pointing this out and pointing that out, that's wrong, as he did As they did in the pre-nationalization days.
 It seemed to me that they assumed and air of couldn't care less you know that that was their attitude after nationalization.
 Couldn't care less and they were just there until their time for retirement was [...] .
 They didn't like it at all.
 They didn't like it at all.
 But as I said they need have no fear.
 You made some interesting points there with your s er your suggestion that at least the idea of a different relationship with management was there.
 You know, there were knew structures and new procedures for the unions and
 that kind of thing.
 How did you how do you recall that?
 [cough] Well the there was a new machinery of negotiations set up.
 ... And strangely enough, the branch, the branches were not in the machinery of negotiations.
 They were excluded from the negotiations.
 But what happened was, if a member of my branch had a complaint, he would come to me as secretary and complain.
 And ... I should have told him, if you've any complaints, come to the branch meeting and make your complaints there.
 But er I knew that it wasn't poss always possible for one to be at the branch meeting you see.
 So anyway, that was it, you had to go to your branch and complain, make your protest in writing, see, and the branch secretary would reply to your letter okay, And they'd ask for maybe a few more details about the complaint.
 And then he would take that complaint, if the branch committee approved it, you see, or nine times out of ten if the branch secretary thought it was a valid case, he would send it in a ... letter to the [...] sectional council.
 You see, from Portobello branch to the Sectional Council Scottish Region.
 Er stating the case you see, stating out the case.
 And urgent you know [...] on it immediately see.
 Well that went to the secretary of the sectional council, and that's when the negotiating machinery of negotiation started.
 It would maybe take They held meetings ev The sectional councils held meetings, every three month, every quarter.
 Now there were sectional councils in every region you see, for different regions, [...] Scotland [...] .
 Scotland was one region.
 And the management, top management in in Scotland would meet er representatives for the N U R and they would discuss it.
 The A S L E N F, they were a different they had a kno they had a sectional council of their own you see, for local men.
 And then there was a sectional council number three, that was for guards, shunters, ticket collectors and various other grades.
 And they would have that meeting and they would maybe last, the meeting would maybe last a week you see, it was held in Glasgow.
 And er at the end of it you were issued with a a report you see.
 The sectional council minutes, the minutes would come out, and they were di distributed to all the yards and depots.
 And you would see the case of er er J , head shunter [...] , protests at being superseded for yard foreman's job at .
 Well of course the branch secretary would give all the data, information regarding that, you see, and why s as a protest why he shouldn't have been superseded you see.
 And er [laugh] invariably it would come out, the reply [...] not conceded.
 Or t protest not susp not sustained you see.
 It was amazing, I think you had one about a hundred conceded.
 So much for the N U R and A S L N F. Although I will say, the driver's union, the A S L N F, their sectional council got more from their anyway, than did the N U R [...] .
 I'm sorry to say.
 Because ... well I don't know they seemed to be more active.
 More interested in the real issues you see?
 On the railways and the conditions of their members.
 But that was a fact under the sectional council number three, the one that I was represented by, they seemed to be poor.
 Or the management seemed to be better, okay?
 But then if that not conceded or protest not sus sustained, that would the letter would come back to the Official letter would come back to the branch secretary you see, and he would look at it, and he would put it to his branch ... and if they wanted to go further, that went to Euston House, the N U R headquarters, Euston House.
 For the to go forward to the R S M C and that was Railway Staff National Council.
 That was held in London you see, the headquarters.
 Management, top management and the N E C or the N U R and that's when it went to there and it was discussed and dealt with at that level.
 There was another higher body, like an arbitration council, ... dealing with railways, but er that was very seldom used.
 It was more for wage negotiations and various other conditions of service, general conditions of service, not individual.
 I'd like you to just summarize your your your feeling on on nationalization.
 Er that kind of ... idea that er you know, whether any changes at all that you thought that you appreciated er in that made workers feel that they were in fact a more important a more important part of their industry?
 Just to summarize your feelings on nationalization .
 Well I don't think we felt any more important, At the beginning, we had great hopes you see, on Nationalization, but they quickly faded you see, and we were soon lulled into a sense of hopelessness.
 Very soon you know, months rather than years.
 We knew that right away that there were there were no future.
 Here labour government by the appointment of Lord Robbins, and one of [...] calibre who couldn't care less.
 He gave me more more decisions against the workers than he ever gave for them.
 And er he wanted the railways to be run, like clockwork.
 Without any concessions at all.
 His wage concessions were negligible.
 [...] . And that's when we saw that the railways would just as well have been run under private enterprise.
 Nationalization was a pie in the sky, and the pie fell to the ground very soon.
 Well generally speaking, how did that that awareness affect your feeling and other people's feeling about the forty five government?
 The ninety forty f er the nineteen forty five government?
 Did you feel that people had that same kind of disillusionment with the government more generally speaking?
 There was one great hero, in that nineteen forty five government and that was Ni Bevan.
 He seemed to me and many others, I think we were in common agreement, most of the people that I was associated with, that Ni Bevan was the only man that really cared you know, he really cared.
 He came from Wales of course, from the valleys and that.
 And er I heard him speaking twice when he was in Edinburgh, wonderful orator, but not only that, you see we have Neil Kinnock, present day, good orator, good articulate [...] .
 But he lacks ... the intensity of feeling that Ni Bevan had, he lacks it.
 I mean the the caring feeling oozed out of Ni Bevan.
 When he introduced his national health service, a wonderful scheme, everything was free, it was paid of the taxes you know, as it should be as Beveridge envisaged you see?
 Ni Bevan took it up, introduced it, put it through parliament, and then lo and behold, it was running wonderful wonderfully well.
 Everybody working cha and women were getting false teeth and new glasses.
 I was gonna ask you how working people what working people felt about it when it was first introduced ?
 Aye oh, this was the greatest thing the greatest thing that could have happened to the people.
 Because prior to that we only had the Lloyd George nineteen eleven scheme.
 Where the wage earner only got free dental treatment and free medical treatment you see.
 The wife and family the wife and family didn't the wife and family didn't er benefit in any way.
 The worker paid his contribution and that was for [...] own benefit.
 Shocking when you think of it isn't it, your wife and family.
 You had to pay them five shillings a visit to the doctor, and then your spectacles or any dental treatment you got, you had to pay for them.
 A shilling a week you know you had to pay out.
 But anyway as I said, Ni Bevan put that through.
 He was greater than Attlee.
 Attlee was a good leader I believe, he went about it surreptitiously you know, he wasn't a vociferous sort of chap, he was a quiet man.
 But er I his lieutenants were there and I'm sure he looked to see that they were doing their job properly.
 Ni Bevan in particular and then, when Gateskill came on, maybe that's going a bit too far ahead, but never mind.
 I remember Gat er Ni Bevan, he tore Gateskill to ribbons.
 When Gateskill was leader of the Labour party.
 When he proposed a shilling on prescriptions, one shilling and that's At that time, Ni Bevan started himself started to deteriorate.
 But I can remember Ni Bevan calling Gateskill for everything for this.
 It spoilt his whole scheme of things.
 And of course from then they've increased, increased, increased and still it's The National Health Service is a farce now.
 It strikes me though that at that time, at the time of the forty five government that, rather than nationalization, the National Health Service became ...
 That was the centre .
 the centrepiece.
 The National Health Service was the greatest thing, the greatest achievement of the Labour government.
 There's no doubt about that.
 If people just sit and think about it, the National Health Service you know?
 ... Security and Health that's from the cradle to the grave, it's a wonderful a wonderful thing.
 And Ni Bevan obviously felt that for he fought tooth and nail to get it through.
 Mind you must remember at the time when he was fighting to put it through, the bill through parliament, the whole B M A, British Medical Association were against him, to a man.
 They had the Socialists Medical Association well there'd be they'd be on the side of Bevan.
 But er the B M A were totally and absolutely against this er National Health Service.
 But he won.
 And it was mainly destroyed by the Labour party, future Labour parties.
 Mainly destroyed.
 I'd like to take you back to one or two more aspects of your actual work on the railways.
 Erm from the war onwards.
 Er you were still a head shunter for I think about five years after after
 the war.
 Er I wanted you to maybe describe some more of the responsibilities and duties you had in that job.
 I mean, making up the rosters for instance.
 Er how was that done and how were they handed out and that that kind of thing?
 Aye well you see there was a a local departmental committee, of which I was the employees' employees' side, of which I was secretary.
 And it was a responsibility of the L D C. [...] it was the management's side and the workers' side combined.
 Their responsibility was to see that the rosters were properly worked out you see.
 And er inevitably of course, we always fell to the secretary you see.
 And I used to make out the rosters.
 [...] . And then soon after that, the rest day, the five day week came out you see, where you got a rest day every week.
 ... And it was the L D C who were responsible for making out the rest day rosters you see.
 The top management didn't bother about that, they know left it to the local you see.
 As long as it didn't [...] you see.
 Now it was strange at the time, I only represented the shunters and the guards and the lower grades, I didn't represent the supervisors, yard inspectors at the time.
 But the yard one of the yard inspectors came to me and said, I wonder if you would make up a roster for the supervisors [...] .
 Of which there were six, seven.
 [cough] So I made a roster out for the ro for the supervisors which meant that every week they got a rest day.
 One day in the week off.
 And every month, they got the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday off you see.
 Three days off every month.
 And this was great.
 They adopted it right away, the management thought it was too m too long away from their work you see.
 But the supervisors was fair away with this.
 So that was adopted.
 Now that roster stayed from about nineteen When was it?
 ... Er I don't know, nineteen fifty, right until the day I left in nineteen seventy six.
 That roster was still in operation, the supervisor's one.
 Er that was one of the duties.
 Then of course, suggestions was another thing for the improvement in working practices and working conditions.
 There was always there were always adverse against the management.
 The management were always against carriage cleaners getting a rest day, they didn't think they needed one.
 Imagine, because they were a lower grade they'd meant nothing you see.
 So I made out a roster, and there were over a hundred carriage cleaners at [...] and I made out a roster for them.
 Rest day rosters.
 And I put it to the some of the women and men cleaners you see, How would like a rest day roster?
 Oh that would be wonderful, that'd be great.
 You see.
 Oh that'd be great.
 See and they got a Monday this week, a Tuesday next week, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, that's how I made it you see.
 And then Saturday, it meant they got off on the Sunday and the Monday, they got their long weekend you see, when they reached the Saturday.
 Oh this'd be wonderful.
 Oh but we'll not get it, we'll not get it Jimmy, No.
 Won't get it.
 I said, Well we'll have a go anyway.
 Well it took about six month with me arguing and arguing and arguing.
 Oh it would take too many spare people rest day [...] .
 So, Oh aye, they [...] take about twelve rest day staff, extra staff to allow it.
 Well I got it whittled down to six extra.
 And I settled for that.
 You see, And it was a just a bit of a trick, I was putting in the rosters you see.
 Now duty rosters, trains, all the different trains that have got to be clean you see, and I was putting in ten minutes less than really would be required you see, and that saved er hours you see, saved hours.
 And I brought it down to half a dozen staff.
 It was a bit of a twist but [...] the management didn't notice it.
 Or they didn't care.
 And it was conceded. [break in recording]
 [...] that er the railway wasn't [cough] satisfying my my my needs.
 You see, when I became an inspector on the railway eventually, ... it was like a fire being damped down.
 You see?
 And that's when I felt that I wished I had of went for a career in the trade union or I felt that had I done that, I would have been satisfying something that was there.
 That's always been there.
 However it was too late then.
 I had made my decision and I'd taken the first step.
 Now the first step was from [...] as I said earlier, I had stayed too long at I thought.
 With my family growing up I was needing more money and er that's when I decided I would apply for a foreman's job at .
 Well to cut a long story short, and bear in mind the fact that seniority and everything took precedence over e everything else, all things being equal.
 Er I got the job at .
 I was quite interested in that actually because you you did imply at an earlier stage that er although seniority was the the important principle in ge in gaining promotion, er there was no harm done if [...] in your favour [...] you know.
 Er [...] .
 Well what with my at , for years at , I had made my mark, not only at but throughout the East of Scotland with trade union activities and various other things.
 And I'm not sure whether I was the senior man or not.
 I assumed I was the senior man but one of my mates, a very good pal of mine [...] to me, a senior shunter, he says, Oh you'll get the job, they'll be wanting to get rid of you Jimmy.
 You see.
 Well anyway, I don't know what was true or not or what what was right, but I thought I'd got it through seniority and we'll leave it at that.
 I got the job at and ... I'd had e I'd had experience, I knew that going to was no problem.
 Cos was a small small [...] .
 [...] compared to .
 was about ten times the size of it.
 And only catered for Street Station, which was a small station, it was being run down at that time, Street Station.
 See this was after the nationalization and the policy of the railway executive at that time was to instead of two stations in one town, they were all they were reducing it to one station you see.
 And was the most modern station so it was obvious Street was on the way out.
 However, that would be a few years, take a few years before that happened.
 So anyway I got to and I was amazed at the opposition I got from the two or three staff shunters at .
 You see, to let you understand, this was maybe about four or five years after nationalization and prior to nationalization of course, was under the L M S, Street Station and were under the L M S and was under the L N E R. But when I arrived at , I heard them talking about the Callie see, the Callie railway.
 That was pre-L M S, see, Caledonian Railway.
 Now that shows you how far back they were and how how their thoughts ran.
 And they called me an N B man, a North British Railway man.
 Where I was a [...] L N E R you see.
 So the the their thoughts were away in the past and they hadn't moved I thought and I learned later that my thoughts were correct.
 They hadn't moved with the times.
 They were still doing jobs at ... that were long since dispensed with at you know, marshalling and that and methods that adopted and the shunting techniques.
 But what amazed me as I said before was their antagonism to strangers.
 It's laughable but at the time it wasn't laughable but when you think back, this man that I was put on with, he was acting guard foreman.
 He come from he was [...] .
 And er he thought he was the bee's knees you see, he thought he knew everything about railways.
 Because he knew the job at .
 And er he wouldn't tell me which You see there's there's things in the railway in every place in every job there's er [...] dodges you know.
 And techniques that are peculiar to that job.
 But he didn't tell me that and I knew there would be you see, but he didn't tell me these things.
 However, it took me two or three weeks to learn them, to pick them up.
 For he wasn't clever enough to hide them, exactly, he stumbled through you see and and er of course they they were exposed you see, for all to see.
 And I was there with my ready eyes to pick them up.
 Er ... for instance, he would get a message the phone would ring and he would answer it.
 He always rushed to the phone, he wouldn't let me answer the phone you see.
 Always rushed to the phone.
 And he would get a message from er Street Station from the station inspector.
 Er he wants two two or three coaches for this and that and for a special to Liverpool you see, he'd need it later that afternoon.
 And er he wouldn't tell me what the message was you see, he would just say, Well go across to the other yard and shunt out a couple of coaches you see.
 Wouldn't even tell me the coaches you know.
 And we'd go across and I would help him to couple up the various coaches and that.
 And we'd shut them out shunt them out and then we'd collect the two coaches and take them over to the main yard, and put them under a cleaning platform you see for the cleaners.
 And he would go away, he wouldn't say, Come on we'll go down to the cleaners [...] and tell them [...] , he would go away himself you see.
 And I wasn't a sheeplike person you see, I didn't follow him I just let him go.
 And er then I would see the two two or three cleaners coming out and going on to the coach and cleaning them, and I would say to them, What are they for?
 Oh er they're for some job at Street, they're wanting it for some job or other.
 Didn't even tell me it was for [...] a special train for er Liverpool you know.
 To go to Carstairs and connect with the Glasgow portion to Liverpool.
 And that went on for two or three weeks you know, and ... I said to the ... the station master ... at when he came across on his once a week visits he would come across.
 How are you getting on Jimmy? he would ask.
 I says, Och, this is a a toy place it is.
 This is not a railway.
 I says.
 They're a way back about a hundred years here.
 What do you mean?
 What do you mean?
 He says.
 I says, Well er we're going about here, the two shunters are going about here and they're vying with each other to see how much they can ignore me.
 I says, Why [...] let me go on [...] see I was getting about a month learning you see.
 I says, I'll go next week This was after three weeks, I says, I'll go on next week and I'll take over the job of yard foreman, and I'll do it the way I want it done, not the way that [...] .
 Do you think you'll be ready for that?
 I says, I have been ready for the last week.
 I says, a fortnight at this place is long enough to pick it up.
 I says, So I want to cut the ordeal short, I says, and I'll go on next week.
 That were three weeks you see.
 Oh well, I'll tell er Street then.
 Well I got word from Street that er I was to take my full month you see.
 That was er this chap [...] who answered the phone, Aye that's er Street saying you can take the full month for learning.
 And I says, Give me the phone then.
 What are you doing?
 What are you I says, I'm ringing.
 Was that the station master Aye.
 So I got onto the sta I says, Hello is that the station [...] Mr ?
 I says, This is J at er .
 I says er, I want to go on as yard foreman next week.
 Oh you're supposed to [...] .
 I says, Aye, but I'm fed up with this I says, I'm learning nothing.
 I says er, I want to take charge, and I'll do it the way that I think it should be done.
 So after a few words, he says, Oh well, right I'll put you through as yard foreman from next week.
 So I took on as yard took on as yard foreman on the following Monday.
 Much to the resentment of the other you see.
 And I didn't go about it in a bombastic way or anything like that, I just gave them their orders you see, the two shunters.
 I says, What we'll do, first of all you know, we'll go across to the other yard and shunt out so and so and so and so.
 You see you used to get a a sheet from Street for the week's work.
 And then any extra specials that come up in the meantime, they would send out send out a wee typewritten sheet you see.
 [...] So that's where I got my instructions, very simple no bother at all.
 So I took over from then and er I just ignored what they was you know.
 We usually [...] this way and that way.
 I said, Ah well we've got to be different.
 I says, We're doing it the right way, the proper way now you see.
 And er well things got on and er gradually I had [...] .
 And they were had no alternative but to accept it.
 Well I was there about eighteen months and I was still active as a branch secretary for the N U R, the Portobello Branch.
 And er there was two or three or the carriage cleaners, men and women at , who er were in Edinburgh number one branch of course.
 And er they used to come to me and ask things about what they should do and did I think they had a claim for this and that you know, and I used to tell them you see.
 But ... I forget the exact date it was fifty o two or fifty one or fifty two but the N U R [cough] were threatening a strike to strike over a wage claim.
 They'd been offered something, two or three percent and they's rejected it and they were threatening strike action.
 And er their members were agreed to strike action.
 They'd taken a ballot and the members had agreed.
 And er I wrote ... to the No we'd taken the decision at the Portobello branch th that Sunday that we support When we supported the executive decision, the strike for our just demand you see.
 And this got out, seemingly to the news.
 The Edinburgh Evening News.
 And I was working at this day and being a Monday or a Tuesday after the Mo Sunday meeting.
 And one of the reporters came out and er he asked me he's heard that our decision was to go out for a strike you see.
 Well Edinburgh number one were noncommittal.
 They just said they would support any action the executive took you see.
 But Portobello branch went further [...] They were urging you see, the national executive committee, to take industrial action immediately you see.
 [cough] This is what they believed the news were out for you see, a statement.
 And I says, You come into the foreman's hut, to the reporter I says, and I'll give you a statement.
 See I says, I'll give you the the resolution that was adopted at Portobello.
 I says, And I'll add something else, the secretary's view.
 And again I wrote it out for him you know, wrote it all out.
 Now, I says, er I'll read it out to you.
 He says, That's what I want.
 So [...] you know, and there was quite a big column, there were one column in the Edinburgh Evening News, and it's in my my wee red book there.
 [...] at Portobello branch you see, urging the national executive to take immediate action in support of their claim for so and so [...] .
 So this er oh was great news for the carriage cleaners and [...] .
 And they were wanting to Some of them anyway wanted to join the Portobello branch.
 I said, No no.
 I says, We're all one union, I says, it doesn't matter what branch you're in, I says, this is your area you see.
 However, things went on very well at after that.
 I was accepted after about three month or four month you know, I was accepted as one of the
 It's interesting though that that you talked about that sort of identifying with the old companies, even in the nationalization days.
 Was that a common thing [...] was that something that [...] I presume
 I unders
 it wasn't unique to .
 I understand that this was pretty common, quite common throughout British Railways, it took a few years to to knit together you know, the nationalization and the fact that we were just the same railway after that.
 You see.
 The L M S used to be the biggest of the railways you see.
 And er they thought they were the big cheese you see,th th th those who worked there [...] .
 But er they were no better than and no worse than the the others either.
 [...] . However, after about eighteen month at , as a yard foreman, as I say I was still branch secretary of Portobello branch, and carrying on as usual, er I put in for There were this yard inspectors job wanted at Street Station.
 And I applied for that job, and I got it.
 Now yard inspector at er Street Station, seemed a there were there were va there were only f half a dozen sidings, outside the station at Street, see.
 Outside the platform and er as I said before, it was like , they only [cough] had small trains you know, five coaches was the biggest train they had you know.
 And that was the Liverpool.
 The rest were maybe three or four coaches.
 Because they went from s from Street Station.
 To the Edinburgh, at least the Scotland passengers, to Carstairs to connect up to the main Glasgow Central to Liverpool, Birmingham and there were all these places.
 And London.
 So it was quite a simple job and of course, as yard inspector at Street, my job was to see that the s platforms were always When one train left you had to put the other train in to get the shunters to shunt another train into the empty platform you see, for the next the next shunt and that and if a train came in from Carstairs you see, you seen that the pilot and phoned the signalman, let the pilot into number five dock.
 [...] But er it was quite a simple job and er I liked it, then now and again I used to walk down to the station master's or the station inspector's office you know, have a chat with him and and get the gen on what was for the weekend working you see.
 And er they had a quaint a queer way of working.
 Which the head station inspector was an old chap Douglas was his name.
 Dougie we called him.
 And what Dougie said, that went for the rest of them.
 They all kowtowed after Dougie you see.
 Because he was the [...] you know, [...] Anyway, ... this day I was just standing blathering away to Dougie and one of the inspectors says, Er the Monday holiday, This would be the Friday the previous to the Monday.
 Er on Monday the Edinburgh holiday, now er I'll need for the Birmingham, will we need an extra coach for that?
 And Dougie would say, Just a minute.
 And he'd look up a book.
 And it was with writing in it his Dougie's writing in it.
 Er oh aye.
 Aye we better have two coaches extra like.
 Instead of three there'd be five you see.
 And I wondered how he deduced you know, how he got this.
 ... And I learned after a few weeks that how he got this was There was no weather forecast as we know them now you know on the television.
 But it'd been a good day last year, on the Monday holiday, and they had needed two coaches you see.
 So he was taking it for granted or or chancing his hand that this Monday for this year was going to be another good day.
 You see.
 So he'd put two on.
 If it was only one for the Liverpool ex you know, one extra for the Liverpool, you see, it'd be the same this year.
 What an qu antiquated way of working.
 You know.
 But anyway it seemed to work all right so.
 And that's how they they got their [...]
 [...] Were there a lot of these er particularly amongst the older men and the and the inspectors and that that kind of thing, were there a And you've talked about , a lot of the old ideas were still
 Did you find that [...] so many it took a long time for change to take place [...]
 Oh aye.
 You see th at every station, every depot, on British Rail, there were always one man thrown up as being ... the one who knew everything.
 You see.
 The leader.
 Everybody looked to this person for guidance see.
 And that in itself was a form of antiquity you know, it it it is it went back to the old days you see.
 And it it was laughable you know, at times.
 [cough] When you asked phoned up say from from the yard at Street, and asked an inspector, the shift er the man on the shift, Er what about er tomorrow?
 ... Saturday.
 Do you not think we'll need another extra coach on the the Manchester?
 Or something like that.
 Oh er aye Jimmy, well, I'll tell you, I'll see Dougie when he comes out.
 You see,
 and I'll let you know.
 That was the style of it, they couldn't see, couldn't make up their own mind.
 They were afraid to ta but if they'd had that if they'd told me to provide an extra coach for the Manchester as I was suggesting, Dougie would have come out and taken strips off them for You see.
 I i it was a queer queer thing but that's what happened.
 That's what happened, not only at Street but other places [...] .
 But more so at the ex-Callie.
 With the ex-Callie, they took longer to adapt to nationalization I think, than the rest of the railway.
 However er I got quite friendly with a signalman at er Street.
 The signal box was just up er where I was stationed you see.
 And er there were some great characters among the signalmen.
 But they too were er old fashioned in their way.
 They were old men of course, getting old men you know, at the sixty mark.
 And er Oh no, this is how we do it here, no.
 But er if I would suggest but if you're er letting that train out first you see and [...] .
 Ah no no no.
 We don't want to upset the working and [...] .
 They wouldn't If you suggest anything you suggested anything to expedite the working, ... you're wasting your time, wasting your breath.
 They would go on their own merry way you see.
 Because that's how they'd done it twenty years ago, and that's how they're going to do it till they retire.
 So it were no good fighting against them I mean they I used to let them please theirself you know, and er ... just because they were quite happy to go along that way.
 I was gonna ask you that, you you moved into er more a a more supervisory capacity when you
 moved into the foreman and inspector jobs.
 Er what sort of relationship did you have with with the men, did you er particularly thinking that you you were still for a long time after that, the the branch secretary of the union as well you know .
 How did that square up?
 Aye well, ... there was I wasn't aware of any what you'd call transition.
 You know, from the wages grade to the supervisory grade you see.
 I wasn't aware of that.
 That said, I got to know my men my staff and everybody of course has their peculiarities you know, the different thingummies.
 And I put myself out to find out what they liked best.
 [cough] And what they liked their job How how they liked their job.
 And what part of their jobs they liked best you see.
 And it was surprising how they responded, and I used to cater for their their whims and wishes you know.
 As long as they were doing what they were expected to do you see.
 But for instance, ... say we had two shunters, I had two shunters.
 One liked coupling up coaches you see, and then the vestibules, the canvas vestibules joining the coaches together for passengers to walk through.
 If One of them I found, loved He was an expert as he said at coupling vestibules.
 And the other one thought he was good at the buckeye coupling.
 You see.
 He knew all about it.
 Because I had taught him about it you know, from coming from .
 And I would say to him, look Joe, you know what to do with the Buckeyes, I say, You go across to the yard and get them ready, set them you see.
 And you, [...] , you're good at the vestibules, the canvas vestibules you know, concertinas like.
 I says, You get them coupled up and I can rely on you to get them right you see.
 Well that's how I I played my shunters.
 Now ... I found that I got results that way.
 And I could rely on them because they were good at that job you see, particular job.
 And I used to tell them they were good at it.
 And that satisfied them and it satisfied me.
 And I got on swimmingly with them.
 The same with the signalmen, I would go up to the signalman and tell him, Well ... on the other shift you know, they would have left that train away first, before they left that other one in you see.
 Ah but [...] No not on my shift.
 My shift we do it this way.
 You see.
 And you got to know all these things, you got to know the peculiarities of what they liked best doing you see, and everything like that.
 So that was my way of of working with the staff.
 I didn't oppose them in any way you see.
 I was getting the best out of them.
 Because, what they were doing was their best.
 You see.
 And that satisfied me.
 They were never never any hassle.
 On my shift you know.
 And I just don't know [...] .
 Do you think it was important that er or do you think your experience coming though the [...] was important?
 Oh invaluable.
 That was Aye.
 You see, coming right up from coal boy and lamp-man you know, porter, signalman and parcel porter, leaving parcel porter, yard foreman and then shunter, guard foreman.
 I mean it was invaluable, you were learning everything there was to to know, you know.
 It was a I was gonna ask you you know,wh when you moved from shunter to foreman, you had responsibilities for a lot a lot besides the shunting.
 But as you as you're describing there, coming through the grades,
 you'd already had some at least some former knowledge of all the other aspects of the railway in any case.
 You see, when I became yard inspector, the staff soon got to know that they couldn't kid me, they couldn't kid me you see.
 Because I knew their job, I'd done their job you see.
 Each one of their jobs I'd done except the carriage cleaning of course, but of course that was a straightforward job, cleaning carriages.
 But [cough] shunters and all the rest [...] I'd done their job.
 I'd come up the hard way you see.
 And I knew the tricks of the trade.
 So there were no good in the fighting against me.
 You see.
 I could tell at a glance whether the job was done or not.
 In fact I could hear the click of the b buckeye coupling.
 And the ring the bell you see.
 And I would say, I'd maybe be about twenty or thirty yards away from the coach, and I'd say to the shunter when he come out, That buckeye's not caught.
 You'd better go back and uncouple the [...] and split it again and set the buckeye.
 The jaw's open [...] .
 I could even tell thirty thirty or forty yards away just by the ring see.
 If it was caught.
 If if it hadn't caught, it was a dull sound you see, a thud.
 [clap] Whereas if it caught, there were a [singing] cling  a ring you see.
 So these wee things I I knew and er ... my staff soon found you see that well they just had to go along and do the job as it should be done, you see, and they were no good at kidding me that it had been done, for I used to examine everything that was done you see.
 If I gave them an order to couple up a full line of maybe ten coaches, I wouldn't take it for granted that they'd done it, I'd walk up the coach, one walk up one side, down the other side and I wouldn't If there were a heating valve not open, if they forgot that you see, I wouldn't do it for them, I would go back and I'd say, that S K third from the back end, the heating valve is not pulled down, you've missed it, you'd better When you're up that way, just pull it down you see.
 So that was If I'd done it you see, that was spoiling them.
 So it was the likes of that and these things that got me to know my staff and got my staff to know me.
 And there were no hass
 [...] building a relationship with your
 Building a relationship, that's right.
 And there were never any cause for arguments or never any rows or arguments and that, and no shouting and bullying and er No that started at er at er Street as a yard inspector.
 And er well I was there for eighteen month as a yard inspector.
 And I enjoyed it, it was quite good, I got on well with the staff.
 And er then there was a vacancy That was a class three inspector's job at Yard inspector's job at Street.
 So the the inspectors were actually graded as well.
 They were er a grade five, that was the lowest inspector, grade four But eventually the grade er five and four were done away with.
 But anyway, that was a grade three I was in.
 And there was a grade three carriage cleaning inspector advertised for .
 So I thought I'd put in for that, it was a lateral move you know, but still it was getting back to my depot and nearer my home.
 So I put in for that and I got that.
 And er well the carriage cleaning well A carriage cleaning inspector you just, looked after the carriage cleaners and seen that the coaches were right you know and walk along the [...] and examine the coaches after they'd been cleaned you see.
 And if they weren't properly done, you'd [...] tell the forewoman that that wasn't in such and such a coach in compartment was needing under the seats were needing cleaning [...] .
 She would tear into her staff you see and get it and then er an along the corridors you know, there's ledges up above the doors as they slide into each compartment.
 And I used to go along with a well a finger you see and, That's not been dusted you see.
 And er just tell the forewoman [...] .
 That was it.
 But you were responsible.
 You see, when the trains arrive from at Waverley, and heard that er one superintendent and Gerald was his name, he was a great boy for going down to Waverley to meet trains coming from .
 [...] maybe once a month at that you know, and occasionally just to catch, to see if the trains were properly cleaned you see.
 And he used to take his white handkerchief out, and go along the corridors and above these, up on these ledges, with his white hanky.
 Imagine imagine a white hanky.
 And go along with it.
 And if it was dirty, he would go back to his office and phone and phone the yard master and say, So and so coach [...] dirty.
 [laugh] I've been I've been intending to ask you actually about the about the women workers.
 Er you you've mentioned them off and on quite a few times er that there
 that it was predominantly women that were in the carriage cleaners.
 Er how did you find them as workers e in given that there weren't many women at that time er in
 a a manual working environment if you like.
 At aye and even at , there was one woman in charge of them.
 There was a woman in charge of the women workers.
 They called her a forewoman you see.
 And most of the forewomen See there were one on each shift, three shifts and then there were f a middle shift, a nine to five shift that was four forewomen.
 Now the carriage cleaning inspector ... had a good job if he went about it the proper way.
 Now I never if I was going through a train or going down a platform, and there were two or three carriage women carriage cleaners you know, ... I wouldn't speak to them about their work.
 I'd maybe have a chat chat with them you know, personal like.
 But I wouldn't talk to them about their work.
 I went to the forewoman you see.
 And I told her what was wrong or what wasn't right you see, and what w what was wanted what I wanted done you see.
 And that put her in her place you see, and it gave her a position.
 And she in of course in turn, she could get tore into the women if they missed anything, see.
 Not me, that wasn't my job I thought.
 My job, my contact was the forewoman, you see.
 So therefore there were never any hassle or or arguments and the forewoman got her place, I gave her a place you see.
 And she in turn supervised her her own women staff you see.
 So it was as simple as that.
 [...] is er the fact that carriage cleaning was probably considered a low grade I think you'd have felt it was [...]
 Aye aye.
 Was there any feeling amongst the men that er it was not only a low grade, but it was done by women if you if you like?
 No you see, the women cleaners done the interior of the coaches, and the male carriage cleaners did the exterior, the brushed you see.
 With the X mover that's what they called the solution.
 They just put it on you see with a brush and it was a paste you see, all over the coach, [...] and then they had a hose and they washed all that X mover off you see, the X mover was an acid and it ate into the you see, bodywork.
 And they So that was the men's job, was the exterior of the coaches.
 And the woman done the interior.
 So there were all there were a distinction you see, between men and that. [...]
 That's what I'm getting at you know, what
 was the relationship like between the men and women, er the men and women cleaners even?
 Ah there were no no bother with them.
 There were no bother, they just they were a men er a a male carriage cleaner and the women were women.
 That's not my job as it were.
 They knew their jobs you see.
 That's a man's job, the woman would say.
 And the men would say, Oh that's not my job, that's your job.
 So there were a distinction in that respect and there were never any trouble.
 And there were never any fights that I had that I can remember between men and women or anything like that.
 There were squabbles and shouts and screams with women tearing each other you know.
 Tearing each other 's hair but of course the forewoman would come on the scene and she would settle it. [recording ends]