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Sheila left grammar school at 16 (1953) and started in British Nylon Spinners (Courtaulds) – 4000-5000 working there. New factory (1947-) and developing. She began in physical test lab. Very noisy – lip reading. Describes processes. In PTL she went round factory with ‘Albert’ machine to check humidity and temperature. Also knitting panels to test dyes. Testing how much twist, and breaking strength of nylon. Looking for slubs. So a control centre to check machines working properly. The factory produced the raw material not finished products in nylon.. Didn’t like women working night shift. Called the men in the lab ‘the girls’! Constant flow of buses. Trained by osmosis. Gradually worked herself up to section head. Worked in textile development dept. – testing garments to destruction – bri-nylon. Lab assistants sent to Doncaster factory – helicopter crashed. Exhibition to promote factory. Perks – two pairs of stockings a year. Danger – one girl caught her hair in a machine. Allowed 10 minutes in toilets to smarten yourself up. Grades of canteens. She was staff. One long social life: clubhouse with huge ballroom, rifle range, judo, concerts with big bands and films, parties. The Queen visited. Never bored – singing. She left when pregnant – 1967. ICI had taken over – not the same. Later became market researcher – 23 years. She was in a training film made in 1960s. Company newsletter – The Signpost.

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