Tape 026. Miss May King, sides 1 and 2

Tape 26

Miss King was born in 1898, and was interviewed on 6 December 1977, when she lived at 3 Rex Mott Court, Witham.

She also appears, with others in her family, on tapes 37, 40 and 41

For more information about her, see notes on the “King family and Cecil Ager”  in the People category.

The original recording of this interview is held at the Essex Sound and Video Archive. To listen to the recording, please contact them at ero.enquiry@essex.gov.uk or 033301 32500.

[???] shows words that are not clear enough to interpret and so have had to be omitted.
[?] after a word shows that its interpretation is not certain.
Later explanatory additions by JG or the transcriber are in square brackets [e.g. explaining locations etc.]


Side 1

Miss K:    I know your husband. (Q: Really, how do you know him?) We voted for him. (Q: That’s good.) He put up for the Council. He got in that year (Q: Yes that’s right.) but he never got in last time did he ? (Q: Not this year, no.) He’s a very good fellow, oh yes, very good. And I think you want to vote for the one that do the things. Because he’s really for Witham people, I think he is He’s pretty good.

Q:     How long have you been a Witham person? You said you hadn’t ….

Miss K:    I was born at Beccles that’s about eight miles out of Lowestoft and twelve miles from Great Yarmouth and that was just a market town. We were all born there and then you see my father was an electric linesman and he got moved up here for more money. That’s very poor pay down that way so if he got near London more he got more money, see ? So of course we moved up here and we lived in that house over there for nearly sixty years [Mortimer Cottage, Guithavon Valley].

Q:    Really. So how old were you when you moved?

Miss K:    I was seventeen I think when they come up here. My sister, younger sister was nine and she was born on Christmas Day. We come in the November and she was born on the Christmas Day and she’ll be 71 this Christmas Day. And I’ll be 80 in June. But I can’t realise it really. You can’t not when you are getting old. I shall be 80 in June. We lived, a family of six of us, there, Mother and Father lived there, they both died there. Mother died in Broomfield but Dad died there and my brother died there and we were a family of six. Of course Dad and Mother rented the place but then we had got to get out because they wanted it and my brother-in-law said ‘Oh no, I’ll buy you the place and you can still live there’. Which he did and I lived with them you see and then the Council came one day and said ‘We should like a piece of your land’. So they thought and talked it over and one night my sister said to them ’Well if you’re going to sell your land it ain’t no good having a house with a little garden’. See, so she said if you are going to sell the land we’ll sell the house. So they both agreed to sell the house and we seed the Council and he said to me of course you’ll be able to live with them if you go over Rex Mott Court. He said that’s where we think you’ll go and we were priority of course because we’d sold the land. And Mr Chapman was on the Housing then and he come and saw me one day and he said ‘I think I can get you a one person flat’. [???] So I said ‘OK’ and I said ‘Well I hope you get it as near to my sister and brother in law as you can’ and he got me right next door. Ain’t that lovely? And I mean I’m on a lovely floor where I can look out and see and we often look over there at the memories of what we had there. ‘Cause we used to have a lot of our relations come and stay up there ‘cause they liked it so much.

Q:    No, you said your Father rented.

Miss K:    He rented. Well when he first come up here you see he knew that we’d got to find a place to live and we was lucky to get that. When we first went in that was nine shillings a week but afterwards that kept going up and up till it got to nearly thirty shillings a week. That’s how that … (Q: He bought it later, did he?) My brother in law bought it later. And that’s a six bedroom house and there are only two people live in that now. He works at Braintree Council, he’s a foreman on the maintenance.

Q:     Your Dad worked at Witham when he came did he?

Miss K:    Yes, he had little workshop on the side of the station because you see he was important really. Used to do all the telephones, telegraph wires and all that. He was very, yes, he was important really.

Q:      Did he have to work long hours ?

Miss K:    Well they left off half past five at night. He could get called out after that if there was any technical fault or anything like that. I can always remember him saying to my younger sister when she was a little tiny girl, she went to school in Guithavon Street. That was pulled down to make the Car Park – can you remember that ? (Q: just about that). Well both my sisters went there. I was older, I’d left you see, left school and they both went there. And I remember her saying to him one day ‘Daddy I should like to talk to you on the telephone’. So he said ‘When you come out of school you run up to my shop (he called his workshop) and I’ll call from the station in the booking office and you can pick the phone up and talk to me over there.’ Which she did. Oh she was thrilled ‘cause she heard his voice over the, she was only nine, she picked that up. She had never used one before you see. Then I thought I was going out to work. Dad always thought he’d got to keep me you see but one day somebody said ‘There’s a glove factory here. Did you know, May, where you can have a sitting down job?’ And I said ‘No I didn’t.’. So they said ‘Well we’ll tell you where it is’. I went up and got a job and I worked there 42 years. And they were all right but of course they went bankrupt in the end you see, and he was a Liberal Agent when he first came there and he opened that glove factory but that was well-known, a well-known place.

Q:      So how old were you when you went there ?

Miss K:    About seventeen.

Q:      Quite soon after you came ?

Miss K:    Yes, because, I tell you what I said Mrs Gyford, I said to my Dad. ‘I’d like to go out to work’. He said ‘Whatever for?’ So I said ‘A shilling of your own is better than yours, isn’t it’. [laughter] So he said ‘Well you please yourself’.

Q:      So did you get yourself …

Miss K:    I only got about three and six a week. And we had to buy our own scissors when we started and when I brought it home Mum said to me ‘You’d better keep that for yourself.’ So I kept it for myself. Of course as I gradually got on I got on piece work, what they call piece work,  and I earned what I done, got paid for what I done you see and in the end I got what I thought was a lot of money those days, I earned over five pound a week doing these gloves and then I slowed down a bit ‘cause I couldn’t do the work quite so fast and they put me on the time work job. So they paid we so much a week.

Q:      Did you do different sorts of job. What did you do when you first went there ?

Miss K:    When I first went there I was learned to make the gloves with the finger and then in the end I went on a buttonhole machine. They learnt me that with the buttonholes all down there and I also worked the buttoning machine. Where they put the buttons on and used to get so much a dozen for doing that.

Q:      So when you say make the gloves, that was …?

Miss K:    Well, when you’re making the gloves you have a forewoman over you and of course if she didn’t like it you see, you have to do them all over again. Because that’s very particular work and they were nylon and that silk and we done suede. We done leather palms and astrakhan backs. We done a lot of lovely gloves up there but in the end they went bankrupt you see so.

Q:     Do you remember any of the other people who worked there? What sort of people were they? Was it all women ?

Miss K:    No, the men used to have big presses to cut the gloves out for the women to make. That was the men what cut the gloves out, ‘cos my brother was one of them, he worked up there, he did.

Q:      You say there was a forewoman was there ?

Miss K:    Yes, there was a forewoman, manageress over us and she come down one day ‘cause she knew I’d got into this flat and she said ‘I’ve come down to see you May and look over the flat’. So I said ‘You’re quite welcome’. So then she said to me ‘Would you like to come up and have a day with me.’ and I had a day up at Nicholas Road. Sach I think here name is.

Q:     What about when you first started – who would be the forewoman then ?

Miss K:    Well she was a Londoner the forewoman then and they also turned their hand to making blouses when they got short of gloves. And they had a forewoman over them. They had these women all over you to see that you do the work right of course.

Q:    Did they watch you all the time or would they check when …

Miss K:    Oh they didn’t watch you all the time. They used to come round now and again to see if you had done what they told you to do you see. That was very interesting you see. Then my Dad said to me one day ‘You ain’t going to stop up there are you ?’ So I said ‘Whatever made you think that?’ He said ‘Well I thought you came home a bit miserable the other night.’ I did because I got wrong with how I’d done something and I thought to myself ‘Oh, I shan’t stop up there’ I don’t think. But in the end you see I was up there all them years. I mastered it and of course there you are. I really liked the work. I liked machining. I had a machine and I often wish I’d got one now ‘cause I can’t do it with my hands and I have done crochet work, knitting and all that to pass my time away. You do don’t you ?

Q:     So what did you used to do in your spare time when you were first started ? Did you have any spare time ? Did you have any spare time, when you first started work?

Miss K:    No, I was one of them that couldn’t get about much so of course I didn’t go far. No, my sisters and my brother they used to go out and about but I had a girl friend and she’d say to me ‘Shall we go up Chelmsford for the pictures?’ And I said ‘I don’t reckon I can get up’ She said ‘Oh I’ll help you.’ So when I was younger I went you see. And she used to come and come home with me and I had a girl friend and I also had a boyfriend. He was nice but he went to the War and he got killed. So I didn’t have him for long. That was when I got older about in my twenties then. He used to come and have tea with us. Mum and Dad rather liked him and he was, ‘course I weren’t like so bad as I am now. I worked up there all them years but I never had a stick until about the second year before I left to go to work . Cause there used to be an old gentleman used to stop me. He said ‘You really ought to have a stick you know to get along with’. So in the end I stopped and had my meal, sandwiches, up there then Mother cooked me a hot meal at night. So I was up there practically all day and that’s what she done, cooked me a meal at night.

Q:     Did the other people working there go home for their meals ?

Miss K:    Oh they went home and then there was another cripple, two more crippled girls worked there. They used to stop with me. There was one, her mother fell downstairs when she was going to have her and that deformed her you see, but the other girl had paralysis in her legs. All iron right up to here she did, the other girl. But they worked the machines and they done nice work. And Mr Pinkham, one of the sons, chewed[?] the girls up. Because he said to them one day ‘Now there’s Miss King’ he said ‘She get here on time and she’s a cripple’ because we used to clock in. Used to have a clocking machine, clock in and out. ‘She gets here on time and yet you keep losing two or three minutes.’ He said ‘Take your time off of her?’. See. That’s what he told them when we used to get speeches and tell them what they’d done and what the profits and that all were. Oh yes. ‘Cause one of the sons went out to America. He got a lot of orders. But what crippled them was Japan. Japan used to send gloves in so cheap, so cheap to what ours was you see that we couldn’t get the orders you see. Very interesting though.

Q:     Did he used to get everybody together to tell them ? How often was that ?

Miss K:    Oh yes and Christmas time we used to have a big Christmas tree in the factory in the space and he used to put a little present on for every one of us and he used to dress up as Grandfather Christmas and he used to call out the names and pick them off the tree and that was very nice that were. That’s was the last day before the Christmas holiday you see. They used to be nice up there. I used to enjoy that. But I dare say they don’t do nothing like that now do they ?

Q:     Did they have anything else that the people did together at the factory, sort of social things ?

Miss K:    Oh yes, they had whist drives at night. They used to have that about once a month. I used to go to them. And they had them in a big sort of hut place what run alongside of the factory. Used to have them. Whist drives and that. That was rather nice.

Q:     He was quite strict though as well was he, Mr Pinkham ?

Miss K:    Oh very strict. You’ve got to be there on your time. He said ‘You’re all anxious to leave off but you ain’t anxious to get here’. See. He used to tell them that. Well they were, as soon as the bell, they used to have a bell go, a buzzer, they were out but they never come in like that, see.

Q:     Did anyone ever actually get the sack or anything from there ?

Miss K:    Oh they sacked no end of girls. If they didn’t do the work properly. Oh yes. Because he said to me one day, he said, ‘I don’t think we get many girls.’, he said, ‘I wonder why ?’ So I said ‘That’s the poor wages Mr Pinkham’. So he said ‘Do you think so?’ I said ‘Yes I do’. I said ‘You don’t pay them enough’. See. Because they used to say that he’d have every pound of flesh. He was one like that. Very strict with the girls but in the end we got too many youngsters there. They used to go to dances and they used to do their hair up in these rollers and put a scarf over their head. Well he was very nice in that way, didn’t used to say anything. Used to let them machine like that with that on. So I mean he was all right to them. There were several pairs, the fellows got on with the girls, got married from there. You see.

Q:     Did they ever used to complain about the pay ?

Miss K:    Yes, oh yes.

Q:     What happened then ?

Miss K:    Well, they said they were going to come out on strike and all that but they never did. They never come out on strike.

Q:     When was that, when you first started ?

Miss K:    Yes, when we got them low wages. You see we used to have to pay for all the needles we broke. All what we broke. They called it a penny then. Used to have to pay a penny per needle. Oh, they wouldn’t give you nothing. Even your pair of scissors, you had to pay for that. Yes.

Q:      So who were the ones that said they were going to come out on strike, was that most people or just some of them ?

Miss K:    There was nearly all of them but in the end that never come to nothing you see. (Q: you wouldn’t?) I wouldn’t no. I wouldn’t. Wouldn’t do that.

Q:     So I suppose you were there so long you’d be one of the senior ones?

Miss K:    Well, yes, well do you know one of the sons said that, ‘Of course the older girls carry the younger ones on their shoulders.’, he said. Which we did. They didn’t do, wouldn’t like we done. They didn’t used to care you know.

Q:     When they got the sack was there anywhere else much they could go to work ?

Miss K:    No, only shops. There weren’t no factories only that one you see. But in the end I think Crittall’s opened a place where they made venetian blinds and some of the girls went there. See. But there wasn’t nowhere only that and shops you see. This was a little market town. Now look at it. Grown tremendous hasn’t it ? You know where the Labour Club is ? That’s where they used to have the all cows and sheep and all the market, you know, used to go and buy, eggs and chickens, and all that sort of thing there. Then you see that got so they done away with that and it got sold and the Labour Club bought it. They had a nice place built there [Collingwood Road]. I’ve been in there. I’ve been in several times. Oh I’ve played whist in there. Yes, I have. And I’ve seen a concert in there too. Because they’ve got a nice stage, isn’t there. Oh yes I’ve been up there.

Q:     Was there an ordinary market in those days or just the cattle. Was there a market where you could go and get vegetables and that sort of thing ?

Miss K:    No, only recently. That never used to be there.

Q:     I suppose you were too busy at work to do much shopping ? (Miss K: Used to have to go to the shops in the town.) What did your mother do ?

Miss K:    My mother was a Co-operator and she used to get nearly all her stuff down there. ‘Cause that was only a little place then, but of course that’s extended a lot. You see. Oh she was a strict Co-operator. Mother. Well she was a Labour woman you see. She was. So was Dad. Can you remember Mr Crittall getting in ? V G Crittall. (Q: People have told me about it.) Well, my father worked with him and the agent. They worked hard to get him in. Yes. I can remember them pulling them in his car with ropes. Oh that was ever such a do here that was. ‘Cause you see he owned that big place, that factory you see. That window place.

Q:     Did your father spend a lot of time on politics then or was it just at election time ?

Miss K:    No, my dad used to go round with a lot of leaflets and that, dad did. Dad and Mum was very big Labour people. I expect you are, aren’t you (Q: Oh yes.) Thought you was. We were. Well all my Dad’s people were Conservative. Like his Father and Mother and his sisters and that. Then they turned Liberal and my Mother’s people were always Liberal. Well then they come into the, they weren’t thought of, Labour then. Then that came Labour and of course they turned Labour ‘cause they were all for working people, weren’t they.

Side 2

Q:     He [John Gyford] seems to be kept pretty busy with meetings and that sort of thing you know. Did your father have that as well ?

Miss K:    My dad used to go a place called Medina Villa [80-84 Newland Street] That was in the town. That was the Labour head office and then that turned into – were you here when that was a dentist? (Q: I don’t think so.) That was De Trense, he was French[?] Well that’s where I had my false teeth off of him. He was a good dentist but he had that up top, that was a two, three, big house, and the Labour offices were down below. He only had it on the top floor.

Q:      Was there anybody working at the Labour office all the time or was it only …?

Miss K:    Yes, I think there was. Young, I think Miss Cottee her name was. She was typing and all that. Oh yes. She’s dead now and her husband’s he’s still alive though, Mr Wade. She was a Cottee but she married Mr Wade and he lost her and now he’s married again you see. That’s how they do don’t they. But this was a very blue place, very blue. But we didn’t care about that, my dad he was red hot really from what he told. That’s what I said to him. ‘You’re red hot’. [Laughter] He said ‘Well we stick up for them that stick up for the working class’. He said ‘Them others don’t they stick up for the ones what they thinks got a little bit of money’. So one woman, before I left the factory she said to me, there was going to be an election on, so she said ‘Don’t you go and give that to them Labour people’, she said. ‘You put down with that’, who was that, ‘Ruggles Brise?’ She said ‘You put it in with him, he’ll get you right’. But of course, I never.

Q:     Would there be elections for the Council as well. (Miss K: Yes, yes.) That would keep him busy.

Miss K:    Oh yes, there used to be in wards, didn’t they, certain wards. I wonder whose in my ward now, I’ve got to think. It’s years ago now. I don’t know who was in the last ward, I forget. Only I have a postal vote, see.

Q:     Did your father ever think of standing for the Council or anything ?

Miss K:    No, no. He wouldn’t do that. He was too busy on the railway. When he retired he sorted of rested like. He was very fond of his garden when he retired. So he used to be out in his garden a lot.

Q:     What was his first name ?

Miss K:    George, George King.

Q:     So if ever I read about him I’ll know who it is then.

Miss K:    George William and my brother was William George. Mum reversed their names.

Q:     Can you remember your mother voting in elections or anything.

Miss K:    Mum was very thick with the agent’s wife, she was. Very thick with her. (Q: That was Mrs …?) Burrows, wasn’t the name then ? Years ago you know. Burrows. He was a coal merchant, I don’t expect you remember that. (Q: No, but I’ve heard the name from somewhere.)  Yes. Coal merchant. And recently I had Mr Burrows’ brother’s wife come and see me and her name was Jarrett and her husband was sort of under manager at Crittall’s. And he died and now she’s give up that big house up up London Road and come and had one of these, she’s got her name down for one any road.

[Chat about Rex Mott Court and old people’s flats, not noted]

Miss K:    My brother had a Council bungalow in Laurence Avenue, he did. There’s a bus stop, they live on that end one, they did.

Q:    So, were you the oldest or the middle or what ?

Miss K:    I’m the oldest of the family. I’m coming 80 in June, my brother died when he was 73. He’s been dead four years. He would have been 77. My other sister is 73 and this one 71 Christmas Day. So we are all getting on you see. (Q: So you all stayed quite near.) And all my mother’s people are dead bar one Aunt, one sister and she’s 87 in April, not 87, 97 in April. Mother died when she was 86. Dad died when he was 77.

Q:     Where does your aunt live ?

Miss K:    Ipswich. We’re all Suffolk people. (Q: You all come from that way.) We’re all Suffolk people.

Q:     So what was your mother’s name before she was married ?

Miss K:    Hudson, Hudson, she’s related to the Hudson fruit people, mum. Her father, her father’s people kept the big brush factory and jute[?] factory in Coventry I think. So they were pretty well, you know.

Q:     You said your father was Labour because he said they were for the working class. Would he reckon he was working class himself or ..?

Miss K:    Yes, he did in the end.

Q:    He thought he was working class.

Q:     What about your mother was she …?

Miss K:    Oh mother, she was no different, she was Liberal you see till Labour come and then of course she turned over Labour. When her mother had any children she used to name them after Liberal MP’s. [Laughter] (Q: That was her mother?) Her mother did.

Q:     What was your mother called then ?

Miss K:    My mother’s name was Georgina. (Q: Who was that after?) I don’t know. I think that her mother was in service with a [???] who had a daughter that name.

Q:     You say Pinkham was a Liberal ?

Miss K:    Yes, he was a Liberal Agent. Of course he turned Conservative, oh yes, when he got up a bit. He thought he was it you see. I always think they think they are it, Conservatives. I don’t know why but I always think they think they’re above you. And always right i’n’t they ? in what they say and do. But they’re not, far from it. Like that woman they’ve got to have. I’d like to send her a spoon ‘cos she stir up everything don’t she.

Q:     That was when Mr Pinkham got on with the factory you reckon?

Miss K:    He was …, that was how he got the factory because he had just a little money, you see. He was a Devonshire man. He come from Barnstable, Devon he did.

Q:     Did you get on with him all right ?

Miss K:    I got on with him all right, and the old lady. ‘Cause they used to have little garden parties, well they invited the older girls you see. Like a strawberry tea and all that. They were very good to the older girls, that stuck to them.

Q:     How many girls would there be in that sort of group do you think?

Miss K:    Well, I should say there’d be about twenty or over. (Q: That’s the older ones?) Yes, then they kept bringing these 14 years old and 15 and 16 then.

Q:     Did you have to supervise the youngsters ?

Miss K:    Yes, we used to tell them when they were doing wrong. (Q: So did you have a special name, like a supervisor or something?). They did have a supervisor over them (Q: But you weren’t a supervisor?) Oh no I wouldn’t be it. (Q: Did they ask you?) Well they asked me to look after them. I said ‘No, I can’t do that’, that’d be too worrying to me, I couldn’t do it. I told them so. I said ‘No, I don’t mind doing me work what I’m doing but I don’t want be over the other girls’. So that’s how we, I was up there all them years. Oh he thought a good bit of me you know in his way. I got on all right with him because they got a greenhouse at their big house they had in Collingwood Road and they had peaches and big pears and all that and he’d often bring me a peach or a pear. And of course, if the other girls saw it they used to say ‘You’re well in’. Jealousy that was weren’t it? (Q: Mmm.) But I couldn’t help that, if he done it.

Q:     What about the younger ones ?

Miss K:    No, he weren’t very keen on them. The younger ones were cheeky you know. Used to sort of… Now if he said anything stern at me I wouldn’t answer but they turned round and said something to him. Well they don’t like that do they ? (Q: So what happened to the ones that were cheeky? What happened to them.) Well he just let that pass by he thought that if he said too much to ‘em they might leave and then he’d be left you see.

Q:     Would that have bothered him do you think? Did he find it easy to get people to work there ?

Miss K:    No, he didn’t. They used to run the place down. Oh no he couldn’t. They’d rather go somewhere else. Now my young sister what lived next door [Christina Ager?], she started up there, she couldn’t bear it. So of course she went in the shop. She went to the International and worked there. She couldn’t bear it, machining. ‘Oh’, she said, ‘How ever you’ve stuck that I don’t know’. She used to say. But there you are.

Q:     If you look at when you started and when you finished up there was the place very different ?

Miss K:    Oooh, the difference ! (Q: How was it different?) Well, the atmosphere was a lot different you know. You used to get in with your own girls but I didn’t used to get in with the young ones at all. I used to get in with the girls what I first went with and kept with them like.

Q:     Was the work different, when you finished up ?

Miss K:    Yes A lot different, it was a lot different. As I told you we made gloves for the Queen when she went abroad and we had an exhibition in the Public Hall when it was the Coronation and that. For George the fifth, that was, when they had their Coronation and the gloves were all on exhibition and they were lovely. They had to pay to go in there and they raised a good bit of money over that. Oh yes, I’ve enjoyed me young life you know but I worked till I was sixty, yes till I was sixty. Then you see I got a little pension and of course I didn’t get so much over there as I what I get here because you see I lived in with other people. When you live on your own that’s quite different.

Q:     I remember you saying that when you left the factory the girls gave you ..?

Miss K:    Yes, they gave me a watch. I’ve got the watch, I’ll show you. [Noises] A basket of fruit. I had all that. I only wear it high days and holidays. I’ve had that, let me see, I’m 80, I worked till I was 60, I’ve had it twenty years. And he slipped twenty pound in my hand. So that weren’t too bad was it. (Q: That was Pinkham? [???]) Well his father died and that was the son. And I got on better with him, Bert I always called him Mr Bert and I got on better with him than I did the father. The old man was a bit grumpy. But I got on a lot better with him and he’d say ‘I hear you’re going on holiday, I said yes I am, I’m thinking about it,’ so he come up and he slipped that in my hand. I never looked at it when he give it to me but when I got home I did, so I said ‘I come off a bit lucky going up to see him.’ Because Mr Chapman what was on the housing in the Council, he was on the Witham Window in the Braintree and Witham Times and he used to write it. Well he come and see me one night. I said to him, now don’t go and put that in the paper what I’m telling you, which he did. And the next day I had the van driver come down [???] and said ‘Mr Pinkham want to see you’. So I had to go up in the Board Room. So he said ‘Look at that’ he said ‘I never thought you thought anything like that about us’. I said ‘Well never [???] farewell or nothing, did you?’ Like that. I said ‘What you got there has nothing to do with our family whatever’. I said ‘Somebody else has had that put in [???] that ain’t nothing to do with any of us at all’. And he said, of course the manager said, what was it now, ‘How are you got to get home’. So Mr Bert, the boss, said ‘I’m taking her home in the car’. So he took me home then he come right in and I introduced him to Mum and Dad and Dad had a cigarette with him and everything went off all right. So we parted good friends.

Q:     But he was the one that was cross was he ?

Miss K:    Yes. He thought I had that put in the paper but I didn’t. I just spoke to Mr Chapman about it and I said to him don’t have it put in the paper. And that’s the very thing he went and, in the Witham Window it was called. He just put that in there. Course they got the paper and read it you see.

Q:    Who was the manager, that was somebody different was it ?

Miss K:    Manager was Mr Keeble. I don’t know if you know him (Q: I think I do.) Herbert Keeble. Reckon you do know him. He lives in the bungalow in Mill Lane don’t he. I think he do. You know where the tannery used to be, well in one of them. That’s where he lives. He was the manager. He’s about my age, there ain’t much difference between him and me.

Q:     Did you get on all right with him ?

Miss K:    No, oh I couldn’t bear the man, couldn’t bear him. Yet he went and told his sister in law, she live up here. I was in there one day and she was talking about Herbert, that’s his name, Herbert Keeble. So she was saying, May, he said that you were one of the best workers, one of the best buttonholers that they ever had. So you hear these things.

Q:     Did he have much to do with you when you were working ? What was his job as manager ?

Miss K:    No he was watching all the time. He was in an office high up so he could see all round you know, that sort of business, watching like you know. We didn’t care for him at all.

Q:     What happened if he didn’t like what you were doing ?

Miss K:    He used to come round and sort of tell you off, you know, if he didn’t like what you were doing and that.

Q:     Was he there a long time ?

Miss K:    Oh he was there a long while, years, years. Before me. As a young boy he went there. And then he gradually worked his way up you see.

Q:     He did quite well then ?

Miss K:    He done well for himself, oh yes. He had three children I think, yes, he did, a girl and two boys.

Q:     So the Pinkhams themselves weren’t at the factory all the time ?

Miss K:    Oh no, ‘cause they went out, they went abroad to get these orders you see. And they also had to go to London a lot, all that.

Q:     So did you see much of them, the Pinkhams ?

Miss K:    Well, no, not a lot but when they were about you knew it. No we didn’t see a lot of them but when they were about they were sort of, seemed inclined to tell you off, you know that sort of business.

Q:     But they didn’t find fault with you much ?

Miss K:    No, not a lot. I really hadn’t got nothing to grumble about, not really, because they were pretty good to me.

Q:     You said one of your sisters worked in a shop. Was she there a long time ?

Miss K:    Yes, the other sister she became manageress of the finishing department. They used to have to have to put the gloves on hot …


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