Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Wednesday 20th September 1933

I was awakened by rain, splashing through the open window, then at 9 o’clock a cup of tea was brought me, in bed. Went to Paripan’s works which were quite close, along a country road. Saw Mr. Val Randall – the son of the director. Little white lies. I am 19, left school 18 months ago and have never been to work before.

(1982: And so began for me the equivalent of the years of college. Learning, discovering, always hard up, without any responsibility. Good, never-to-be-lived-again years. “Those were the days my friend. We thought they’d never end”)

He took me round the shop.

(2005: I realise now that a trip around the works was a symbolic gesture. Being conducted around by the Works Manager showed that this was not an ordinary new employee, but an executive member in training. Status also proved false by gents natty suit and bowler hat).

Fresh smell of paint in most places. Wages £1 Almost a garden factory. Suit of overalls. Introduced to my foreman. Went home for lunch. Neared the factory again feeling scared. I need not have worried; everyone was most decent. Started work, self conscious in my brown overalls, at the Making Shop. Boiling oil. Ellis the tough, kindly foreman. I shall probably spend about a year in this shop, as it is important, being the first process. Respect and Authority. Hands on my hips, wondering what to do next. “Pull that switch across, Mr. Dawson”. Ladling out hot oil at 550 degrees F “If it splashes, it will mark you!.”

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