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Jeanette Groves. Voices from the Factory Floor

Western Shirt Company – Cardiff

Interviewee: VSE077 Jeanette Groves

Date: 5/8/14

Interviewer: Catrin Edwards on behalf of Women's Archive of Wales

Jeanette left school at 14 (1946) and started in the sewing factory, where her mother used to work. She started in the cutting room then she became a machinist. Needles through fingers, scissors in her eye and one woman scalped (in her mother's time) Getting to work by bus or bike. Wearing rollers to work but putting make up and combing hair at the first break. Some made their own clothes during lunch time. Had to unpick if there was a mistake and they helped one another or lose money. Their aim was a dozen skirts an hour at 1shilling a dozen. Out around Cardiff during lunch break. A crowd went out in the evenings – dancing. They waited for natural light before making dark clothing. They made shirts and pyjamas only. Teasing the one mechanic by interfering with their machines. Annual trips and issued with cigarettes. She left after 3 years because she had TB. She married and moved to Bristol where it was cured eventually.

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00:20 Tell me a little bit about your background, your mother and father, what they did for a living and whether you had any brothers or sisters and what they did.

Yes I had an older brother 4 years older and then my mother finished or so she thought and then on the change she had another boy. And he is still around he is 70 now. He has just had his 7oth birthday so I must have been 11 or 12 then when he was born.

What did your father do to start with?

The war was on and it was the docks, there were a lot of secrets. But he signed the ships, he spoke languages and he signed the ships in. My brother tells me that there is document all round the world now with my father’s signature something to do with the ships in and out. My father had to talk to the captains, he didn't tell me much because the war was on about what they talked about.

So he sort of worked in the docks?

In the red building now in Cardiff Docks his name is on the wall down there.

Is it?

Yes because I didn't know that. My cousin from Bournemouth came up for a match went round there and said, 'your father’s name'. I said never.

What was your father’s name?

James. R R G James is on the documents. He was on the wall because of the war and the gentleman who took me to show me where it was said he was wounded. I said was he? How do you know? There's a code on the names and he can tell who was wounded and what have you. Mt brother knew but my father never perhaps me being a girl he didn't want me to know. Apparently a bullet went through his leg and out the other side. Of course having trousers on  I never discussed anything with me about the war. But my little brother knew a couple of things.

2:21 What about your mother then tell me what she done.

Sewing factory, shirt factory sewing. There was a Co-Op and the Western Shirt Company I think she worked in both from what she told me. But she was married and left and that was it.

2:40 What about school then where did you go to School?

Herbert Thomson’s in Ely. My leaving card is on there and I put them on the side board in case you wanted to see them.

Was that primary, secondary or both?

It was just girls. We separated the boys and girls. The boys were upstairs and the girls were Then they had railings between so the teacher was one on each side to make sure nobody talked to each other. You weren't allowed to talk to your brother. So there were teachers on one side and teachers on the other side. But upstairs and...

3:19 How old were you when you went to School?

Well I was supposed to be five but what happened was my mother went on holiday and I remember there was a row, when she came back my Grand said 'I've started her in School'. My mother said 'Oh my god'. So I don't know if I was a little bit early or my Gran got rid of me.

So did you stay there?

Yes till I was 14.

Were you 14 when you left School? How old were you when you left?

I've got the card I think I was 14 in the May and I think I left mid-July at the end of term. I'd better have a look but I'm sure I was. I think some people were allowed to leave on their birthday. In fact a friend of mine her father paid for her to be a hairdresser and they said she could start and that was before her birthday. They let her start at 13, just before her birthday.

4:32 So what did you do?

Sewing in the sewing factory, same as my mother. I went in the same place.

4:38 Did you go there because your mother went there?

My mother sent me there. I didn't have a say in the matter. I was crying and grizzling to go to work and my father said take her down there. So my father took me down there.

4:55 Did you have an interview or anything?

No because they knew my mother I don't know if she was keeping in touch or what and they all said, look there what’s her names daughter. Made a big fuss of me and in I went.

5:08 Did you have any training at all?

Well they trained me. But my Gran had a sewing machine in her room upstairs and I was always making dolls clothes. My Gran taught me to knit and crochet when I was 5. I knew a lot.

So you were quite confident when you went to the factory?

Of yes.

You could use the machines?

No. They put me in the cutting room to start. That was interesting. There were rolls of cloth and they rolled it the length of the room and then back and back till it was that thick, then there was a great power cutter that went right through the lot of it and they must have cut hundreds out at the same time of the pattern. I didn't use that machine but I tell you what they told me to do first was they had sacks and you had to make 2ears on the sacks, so they showed me with this big needle how to sew the ears, sew the sacks up. That was the first thing I did. Then they put me cutting material not good stuff only practice with the big scissors. So I learn to cut the material and then I didn't do much because they did put me on the machines pretty quick.

6:29 So you were in the cutting room, so how long did you stay in the cutting room do you think?

It didn't seem long at all, a few weeks I should think. Because I didn't use that big, it was electric, it was that thick and it went right through the cloth, they wouldn’t let me touch that. If you think of a bale of cloth going back and for like this tell it was that thick. (She shows the interviewer)

About 18 inches.

Maybe or 12. Then they got this machine and cut through. They chalked the pattern on top layer and then right through it cutting hundreds out at the same time.

7:16 Although your mother worked there, your father took you down. Did you know anybody else when you went to work there?

No. Soon made friends they were a lovely, we soon got together.

7:32 Do you remember your first day there then? Do you remember walking in, what was it like, what was the factory like? Describe it ...

I remember going there with my father.

Describe the factory to me if you can?

Well I told you where it was, it was between Westgate Street and Havelock Street. Behind the church and it was right through and it had doors in Westgate Street where all the stuff was delivered and the back where we went in, there were all stairs, which we took our bikes up a lot of us took bikes. We took them up the stairs and that’s where, we had to punch the clock of course because of the time, paid by the time. Then there were all the machines roaring and then at the back there was the cutting room, where they cut the cloth.

8:26 How many people worked there do you think?

Quite a lot, I don't know. Lots.

Are we talking hundreds or tens of you know?

I'd say about a hundred myself. I'd say about because the machines.

8:49 Were you mainly women?

Yes I thought of that the other day. There were 2 men one was the boss we never hardly saw him and the other was a mechanic for when the machines broke down. We used to tease him and we used to be naughty and play him up. He was there on the hand ready to mend like we were going like heck, the speed was terrific. Big powerful machines and they didn't half move. There were big wheels underneath. My mother said she saw a woman scalped because they had long hair in those days. She bent down and her hair went right in mothers time. I saw loads of people it was normal for the needle to go through your hands. They used to nip over the Infirmary. I didn't but I did pop the scissors in my eye at one point. But loads of people said oh gosh here we go over the Infirmary to get their needle out of their finger that happened a lot.

They went to Cardiff Infirmary did they?

Yes they did a lot.

Did you have any nurses or anything on site?

No. They just nipped over the Infirmary.

10:03 What happened to the woman that was scalped then?

I don't know that was my mother’s time. She was only warning me to watch that big wheel. But I got an idea it was there and I think probably there was netting on it during my time but I don't really. My Auntie worked in the biscuit factory and she said a dog run in and jumped in the machines that was CWS Biscuit factory in Cardiff somewhere. I know. I'd be no good as a nurse.

10:45 Let's go back to so you say where were you living then?

Ely. What happened I was born in town and they pulled all the houses down.

Where were you born then?

Stephen Street by the station. Oddly enough when my husband was ill, this old doctor came and we were chatting as you do. He said where were you born. I said there’s no use telling you that because it’s gone. He said that his family were from the same street. So they pulled the houses I was 3. Oddly enough I can remember things. I've got a good memory.

They moved you out to Ely then?

Yes.

11:36 You said you went by bike, did you go by bike every day?

Not every day, I don't know why. It maybe because of the time you had to clock in by 8, you had to punch the clock by 8 or lose money. So I probably if I went to bed late and looked at the clock if I had time to catch the bus it would be 7:15 that I'd go, if it was later I'd probably get hold of the bike and get there quicker. I did used to go down there a lot on my bike.

So that was the Cardiff Service Bus?

Yes, or friends used to knock the door and wake me up sometimes, banging lumps out of the door. I used to get ready the night before put my sandwiches and my money. It didn't matter about your hair because we all had to wear curlers every night so you could put a turban on quick and then comb your hair once you got to work because when there was a break we all used to put make up on or comb hair. But we'd get there to punch that clock.

12:40 So with curlers in?

Oh yes and a lot of us were going out in the night, single. And another trick, that friend I told you about earlier she was always putting odds and ends on a card which I remember. Hiding food under the material when you were sewing and all that nonsense. But a couple of the girls when we had a lunch break would go to Cardiff market and but a piece of cloth because they were going out and run it under the machine to make themselves a skirt or a dress to go out.

On the same lunch hour?

Yes it didn't take long to make a dress. Mind you all the machines we could see the cotton going like this because we were sewing so fast. It was terrific speed on them and we'd hide the material and then run it under the machine when nobody was about.

13:37 So you weren't really allowed to use the machines?

No crumbs no. If the girls did it wrong course they would chuck it back and they would be crying because it took hell of a time to unpick something as you can imagine. So when they knocked the machines off lunchtime so we would try and get together and unpick. It was quick to sew it but it took ages to unpick. We'd help each other and unpick but we didn't do it wrong much because it was stupid.

14:13 So if somebody had done it wrong you’d all chip in and help?

Yes because they would be crying because they knew it was their money, you worked on piecework as we called it.

Yes well I'll ask you about that now then. Do you remember how much you were paid when you started?

I do it was a shilling a shirt.

That’s for the piecework but did you have a basic wage as well?

No. Well I don't remember when I was in the cutting room I don't know because I weren't in there that long. I think they gave us a basic wage and then when you learnt and picked up your speed it was better for you to go off it. I do remember having a pay packet with one  pound four and typence. Because I had to give my mother the pound and I had the four and typence, which I know sounds rubbish but it’s surprising what you could buy with that. I can remember that so I think after you got your speed up it would be better to go on the peace because you made more money.

15:28 So how many shirts could you do a day?

A dozen an hour. Because it was a shilling a shirt and we'd aim at a dozen an hour and that’s good pay.

That’s good pay then?

It was. But then again we ....

It would be 12 Shillings an hour then. A dozen shirts at a shilling a shirt.

It might be a shilling a dozen hang on. That would be more like it. It was a shilling a dozen not a shilling a shirt. They gave us them in a dozen so yes it was a shilling a dozen and a dozen would take us about an hour when we worked it out. Sometimes we were slower or  quicker. Not how much is that, that’s more like it.

It would be 8 shillings a day that’s 40 shillings a week.

That was it because if we were paid one pound four and typence if we could do the dozen an hour it was better, that was what it was.

16:43 What about your breaks then, you went in at 8 in the morning.

We had a cup of tea it wasn't long. I don't think it was much as half an hour. It wasn't an houror anything in the morning it was probably a half an hour break perhaps, but we would try to comb our hair, wash and clean our teeth and do all sorts. Then an hour for lunch.

17:09 What did you do for lunch then?

Well they had one oven. You could put anything in it, you couldn't mess around. But if you brought say some girls bought an egg in a dish with something else you could use the oven to warm things up.

17:27 Did you stay in work because you were in the middle of town?

No way we'd eat our sandwiches. In fact we'd eat the sandwiches before the hour see we were

naughty and then we'd have a cup of tea and clear off.

penderfyniad

Round the market and round Marks and Spencer’s because the war had just finished and they had butter and all on these rolls in Marks. They were lovely. There was still rationing, yes. We used to clear off, sometimes we would sit outside and like I said I've got this photograph with the building in the back I think it’s the law courts now or something to do with courts. But that wasn't there then it was a post office or something I can't really remember you could find out.

18:20 So you would sit outside on Westgate Street?

Yes. Chat and mess around or we'd go over the market, birthday cards because I remember one girl I said to her that I needed a birthday card for a baby a year old, I said get a nice one for me. She got it for me and when I read it there was a block with a snake on the front saying you’re a faker and inside it said you make your birthdays disappear by looking younger every year and that was for a baby of one. I'll never forget the card because of Your a Faker with a snake on the front. I said oh god Lucy.

19:12 So did you used to have a break in the afternoon as well?

I don't really remember but we must have had.

Could you get a cup of tea and stuff then?

They used to make it for us, yes. They had a girl probably who couldn't sew she made tea. She was lovely the what was she called, Olive her name was. I think she was the manageress  I think she used to make tea and have it all ready because we were obviously in a rush to do as much as we could.

19:44 So you didn't have a canteen there?

No she used to do it in a little room for us, make tea.

19:52 When did you finish in the day then?

The time?

Yes

Was it 8 till 5?

Yes I think it was 8 till 5.

Its long hours isn't it?

Yes. But that was normal wasn't it to work 8 till 5. And the Saturday not all day, half day Saturday we had.

20:13 Did you used to work every Saturday?

Yes, till lunchtime i think it was twelve o clock. 4 hours on a Saturday and 8 on the other days.

And that was every Saturday?

Yes. we never had Saturday off.

20:33 You made shirts what else did you make?

Pyjamas, men’s pyjamas.

Was it just shirts and pyjamas.

Yes that’s all they made.

20:46 Who did they make them for, what shops did they make them for?

No I don't know.

21:02 Who worked there? Were you all the same age?

No. That’s what I can't remember because everybody left work to get married and yet there was people who knew my mother. I don't know anybody who worked after they got married, I can't remember anybody yet there were all age groups there.

21:27 Did they maybe come back after they had children.

To us they looked like old women but of course they weren't. They put us all youngsters together we seemed to be all in a row. All that that did you go out with last night and all that nonsense. All stories and what did you wear and dance. We used to go out in the evenings as well. Meet each other and go to the Victoria in Canton, the ballroom. We used to go over the Regal where the played table tennis and sports. Its over Maindee, the Regal is was, on North Road.

22:08 Was that a dance hall?

No. It was like a sports place, there were motorbikes outside, because there weren't many carsin those days. I think one person in the street had a car.

There was a crowd of you about the same age was there?

On our group, but there were all ages on the and there were a few women with their children working there as well, unless they were widows I don't know.

They used to bring their kids in?

To work. They were 14 they used to say her and her mother.

I see a follow on. So their mothers and daughters working there.

Yes.

22:59 You say you used to give your mother most of your money.

Yes but she bought all my clothes and everything. Then I when I got more money I think I bought my clothes. When I was on Piecework it was more money.

23:19 How long did that go on. You giving your mum all your money. Did that go on until you married?

Yes. Not all my money.

Did she used to give you pocket money back?

When I started on the £1/4/2, I just gave her the pound note. But when I was on more money, I probably didn't give her much more, probably all she got. I'd buy all my clothes and that then.

23:50 So what did you do with your money, the money you had when you had a bit more?

Well spent I bought sweets and chocolate. Mind it was rationed. My father would give me his coupons, he never had a sweet he gave it all to us. I don't know really bus fares, dances.

The Victoria in Canton was that a dance hall?

Yes it was upstairs. It was in the middle of Canton we all used to go there. But they didn't sell booze it was pop and tea. In the interval you'd go for a pop or a cup of tea or coffee, there was no drink. We never used to I don't know the children of today, we never went much for the drink. My Auntie was in the Skittle Team and she used to encourage we to go there and have a game of skittles at the Culverhouse Cross. I might have one drink all night but no drink didn't come much into our lives as they today.

25:03 So what was the music in the dance hall?

They were live it weren't records proper people playing proper music.

Were they a local band?

I don’t remember now. I remember my older brother he used to keep his eye on me. He used to go as well with his friends because he was single as well. They'd say he would say have you seen my sister. I think he was keeping an eye on me.

25:39 Were you unionised?

No never heard of it.

There wasn't a union in the factory?

No.

Do you remember any disputes you had or were you fairly..?

Never heard a cross word. I never heard anything said about anybody. We used to make fun of the manageress. Her name was Olive Mistletoe and we used to call her silly names us younger ones. I never heard of an argument in months.

26:18 Do you think you were quite well treated then?

Yes.

What were the conditions there then? Did you have to wear a uniform to work?

No. I think you were supposed to tie your hair back but they never said.

After the scalping incident probably.

Nobody was strict on anything. We just did as we liked really.

What about overalls?

No nothing.

26:53 Do you think the work was dangerous in any way then?

Not at the time no. I didn't think so.

Were there rules and regulations did they make you aware of health and safety?

No never heard of that. There were different types of machines. There was one with double needles where the sewed the seams like that. That was 2 needles together and there was a collar machine. I went on that after they had sewn the collars the machine turned them inside out and pressed them to make them nice. So I went on that machine. That’s where I poked the needle in my eye and I knew I had poked my eye but there was a chrome switch and I thought what's that red in the switch as I was working and it was beneath my eye. I never took any notice and it went on.

27:56 Was the factory well heated?

I don't remember feeling cold at all, it must have been.

What about the lighting then?

We never made dark shirts in the electric. If it were black or navy or dark brown they didn't ask us to make them in the electric lights.

Where did you make those then?

Well they waited until there was daylight to do them.

So there was daylight and lighting was there?

Yes. electric lighting.

28:35 So what do you mean that you waited until it was daylight. Was the natural light good then?

It must have been.

You used to do the lighter shirts in the electric lighting?

Yes they never asked us to the darker ones in the electric. The older ones told us they never have.

29:03 What about other facilities like toilets and stuff like that were they ok?

Yes. We were allowed to go if we wanted to go.

Did you have to ask?

No because they knew if you were on piecework you're losing money it’s your own. We never had to because we knew we'd lose money for messing around it was our own fault, so they let us get on with it.

29:27 Were you on any kind of line?

No....

Or did you complete the shirt yourself?

No we did it all apart from that side seam. Then you'd send the collars to be turned and they'd bring them back. You had to send them after you'd sewn them and wait for them to come back. But you did so many jobs those collars would come back and then you'd get on with them and that’s how you went on.

So you weren't depending on someone else's speed then?

No because you would do a couple of dozen and send the collars and as they were coming back. Then after you did that the double one you had nothing to do with it that was finished then ours except for that seam and then they'd be gone then. Then someone ironed them. They had a woman standing all day with iron ironing the shirts and then they'd pack them, somebody had to do that job and put them in the bags.

30:37 Were they kind of high end shirts then were they really nice shirts?

Yes.

Expensive, do you think?

I don't know if the prices were different then.

30:50 Did you get any perks for working there, could you buy things cheaper?

No we never did. It was only shirts and pyjama's there.

You know for your dad or boyfriend?

No we never thought about that, well I didn't.

31:08 Were you allowed to talk to one another then?

Yes and sing.

Did they play music or did you just sing?

There was music coming over. We'd sing our own songs and tell jokes, we loved it was great.

31:28 Do you remember what songs you sang?

Only what was in the dance at the time the popular ones.

Do you remember any of them?

Not really but I would if I heard them. When they come on the radio I sing all the words. I remember all the words to the old songs.

31:47 Was it noisy in the factory?

It was a bit with all the machines going at the same time but I didn't take any notice really. You hear the hum of the machines go all at the same time.

And the music and the signing.

Yes.

32:06 Do you think it affected your hearing at all?

It didn't because I'm 82 now and I've only just said I think I'm going deaf. I've put in for a hearing aid; I've just asked the doctor. But I don't think it did me anyway.

32:27 What about smoking then?

Yes but I didn't.

Did they smoke on the factory floor or where did they smoke?

In where we had our cup of tea and that room they did.

So you did have a separate room for a cup of tea?

Separate to the machines yes it was down the bottom she used to make tea and all that down in the room there. It wasn't very big. Oddly enough all of us youngsters none of us smoked that’s queer isn't it? Like today they all smoke.

33:06 Yes because everyone smoked then.

My mother and father did and they gave us cigarettes on the trips but I only took them for my mother and father I didn’t' want them. I don't know why but I didn’t smoke or my friends.

33:21 So you said there was this one guy, was it just the one gut apart from the boss?

Yes.

Was he harassed you know?

We teased him you know. It was a joke really we used to have a bit of fun with him. With the strap of the machine, the tighter it was the quicker the machine would go. So we'd knock it off on purpose so he would have to come over and mend it and they used to staple it together because you're going so fast and we'd do it on purpose so he'd staple it and then it became tighter so it would go quicker then. He knew we were messing but he had to come and mend it. We'd say the machine is broke. We were naughty.

He had to be pretty....

He was on the ball all the time.

He'd have to be pretty quick mending it then?

Yes he just stapled it together with a machine.

Otherwise you'd be on his case.

Oh God yes we were desperate we'd have to couldn't stop work had to go, go, go. But the time went quick to quick because we wanted to get as many done as we could to get more money and the time would go so quick.

34:43 You started talking about the social life, going out with the girls. You also mentioned some trips tell me about the trips.

Well every year the firm would treat us to a trip. It wasn't far but in those days it felt miles away. Burton on the Water. I've got a picture of it there but it’s only of us with the bus, Burton on the Water that one. We all were issued with cigarettes and off we'd go.

35:61 How many cigarettes would they give you?

A packet each for the journey.

It’s weird isn't it?

It is. Well in the cinema you couldn't see it was thick with smoke you could cut the smoke with a knife in the cinemas everybody smoke and ashtrays in the front and in theatres. It seems silly now doesn't it?

35:46 So the firm used to pay for the trip?

Yes.

Did you go every year?

Yes

35:53 What did you do on the trip?

Well on Burton on the Water there was like this little model village they took us there. Then we just did as we like I suppose.

So was it a long day?

Yes.

What time would you go in the mornings?

Well about 8 I expect because that’s when we started work.

36:17 And they'd pay for everything would they?

Yes.

That’s lovely. When did that happen- in the summer?

Yes about June or July.

36:28 What about Christmas ‘dos’ did you....?

No we never. I don't remember anything about Christmas or mentioning any parties we all used to give each other presents and cards but the firm never did anything for Christmas.

36:44 When you went on this trip were you given; you obviously had a day off to go were you paid for that day?

I don't know. It may have been a Sunday or Saturday. It was probably a Saturday. But no i don't remember any money.

They must have shut the factory on the day?

Yes because everybody went.

37:18 What about holidays then, did you have paid holidays?

I don't remember.

Summer holidays that kind of thing?

I don't remember.

What about bank holidays, Christmas day that sort of thing?

I don't remember bank holidays like they have now. No I don't remember. Now my friend might somebody else who worked in our place might remember but I can't remember anything about holidays.

37:50 You can't remember going off anywhere on holiday?

No. The trouble with my Gran is when her daughters got married one lived in Bristol, one lived in London, one lived in Bournemouth and we were back and forth a lot to see them. I don't know unless I stayed home from work I don't really remember to be honest. I was always back and forth.

38:20 How long did you work in the factory?

I'd say about 3 years because I went and caught TB. That was that my mother went mad.

38:38 That’s why you left because you caught TB?

Yes that’s why I left.

So what did you do when you got better?

Well there was no cure to be honest at the time. All you had to do was go to bed which was ridiculous because you didn't feel bad. You didn't know you had it, it was queer.

39:01 So you got that around 1949 then?

Yes.

You've obviously got better. How long did it take to get over it?

What they thought was because there was no cure to keep the lungs still and cold air. If you could go to Switzerland or somewhere they found that if it was cold it wasn't cured but dormant, you wouldn't get any worse. Because if people got worse they would die, they were dying like flies it was terrible. Around the next street there was a wedding and the next week there was a funeral, the same girl. It was terrible and they buried you quick in those days.

39:55 Did they?

Yes about 3 days, the maximum for a funeral.

40:00 So you must have been petrified then?

Actually I know it sounds ridiculous but I didn't think anything about it. That’s crazy that is because i went in the factory and I saw the manageress and I said I've got TB. She said don't be daft you haven't you've got a lovely complexion and I said it’s not make up. She said you can't possibly and they all said don't be daft she can't have TB. No one believed it when I went in there. But they told me to go to bed and have the windows open to get air, preferably  cold. The doctor was coming and they couldn't so anything, there wasn't any cure. It was terrible. I was naughty I used to get out of bed and clear off and come back. What my mother did she put me in the front room and my friends would all come in. It was silly really because you could catch it, but they all used to come and see me. Well I told you that Betty she would take the day off and spend it with me at our house and all things like that. It was terrible because it was catching. My mother would keep special dishes for me and she would scald them all the time she wouldn't give them to other people but it was terrific.

41:20 Did anyone else in the family get it?

No my mother didn't know where I got it from it was ridiculous. I had 2 brothers, my mother and father and nobody caught it. But it went on and on then for a few years. Then they brought a cure out. Mind you my father and my mother were arguing about it, saying she wants to stay in the bed and my mother said leave her alone. I think my mother thought if I was going to peg out I might as well. He said well she's not going in the pictures and my mother said leave her alone. I could hear them arguing in the other room as I was in the front room. My father said you should do as you’re told and be in bed when you’re told. But I used to dress up and go out. Because I didn't feel ill.

42:09 So you didn't feel ill at all when you had it?

No.

How did you know you had it then?

I kept having these colds and my Auntie was a fuss pot and she said you want to go to the doctors and have an x-ray. I said don't be so daft you know. She kept saying to my mother get her an x-ray because she was a gas bag. So I went down there and I couldn't believe it when they said yes you've got it. I couldn't believe it. My little brother they went round the schools and he was immune. They were testing the children in school for the injection and my brother didn't have to have it because he was immune. Which sounded crazy.

42:44 He must have caught a bit off you but wasn't ill.

I don't know.

42:50 When did you get married then?

That's what I was going to say. I used to go to these dances and things and meet the girls. My mother used to let me know and of course I met my husband and he didn't care that I had it, which was terrible really. Because if a son of mine had come home and said I'm with this girl with TB I would have gone mad. I think most people had it, I know it sounds awful but it was rife. Most families had someone or knew someone. It was terrible but I did say I wasn't going into hospital at all because there's no cure anyway and my father said you keep away from that hospital you'll catch it worse from the others and all that nonsense. Then these tablets came out that you could take, there was probably a cure for some people but by the time it got to the public and I was so ill and they gave me these tablets. So they took the tablet off me and I didn't take them. Then I met my husband and got married and he had a job in Bristol. It wasn't so bad the TB in Bristol. Because I was checking up on my chest I went for an x-ray and he said you’d better come in and have this stuff. I said I can't take it because it won’t work on me because I was too ill and he said we'll desensitize you. I said what’s that and he said we will give you the smallest spot like a pin head of it and then we'll increase it so gradually your body won't know you’re having it. He done it and I was cured it worked and I went in, it was hellish going in. It was awful and there were people have operations and having their lungs out, Southmead in Bristol. He gave me the little bit and I didn't know when he was giving it to me and they got me on it and it worked so they got rid of it for me.

44:57 So basically you never went back to work?

No.

45:09 So did you enjoy working in the factory?

Yes I did.

Did you ever find it boring?

No the time was so quick, the clock was so quick.

45:21 Did you keep in contact with your friends, former work mates?

Well when I got married I moved to Bristol so I was up there 10 years so I did lose contact. I'm still writing to girls who were in my class and this one Betty I told you, she worked with me and she sends me Christmas cards, so I imagine if you got in touch with her she could remember what I can't.

Looking back how do you feel about the time you worked?

I loved it.

Thank you very much.

46:03

END OF INTERVIEW/ DIWEDD Y CYFWELIAD

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