Cymraeg
List all records by:

A collection of interviews and photographs recorded by Women's Archive of Wales in 2013-14

Browse the interviews


Sorted by factory location

Maesteg: Louis Edwards

VSE059 Esther Baitup, Revlon, Maesteg;The Rubber Factory, Maesteg;Cymer Bookbinding, Maesteg;Louis Edwards, Maesteg

Esther left school at 15 (1965) and started in the Edwards Factory, ticketing and inspecting. Machinists didn’t like to have their work returned. They made dresses for M&S. The workers – pressers, cutting etc were divided into cages. She was not on piecework but had some bonuses. She used her wages to buy a sewing machine. She stayed there about 3 years. Everything in the factory would be covered in paper overnight and doubly so on stop fortnight. She left when pregnant (uncertain from which factory); she worked temporarily for Cymer Bookbinding on shift work with machinist sewing catalogues. She went to Revlon’s in 1988 – evening shift, part-time and after 3 years full-time. Changed shifts. She did all kinds of tasks there – labelling, filling, etc. In the beginning in aerosol dept. dangerous - if a can was faulty it would explode. Other workers were afraid of this job. Also using boiling water with the perfumes – dangerous. Many of the workers there didn’t like the factory. Talks of some workers who took advantage and didn’t do their work. Bad management. Revlon taken over – Cozy? She stayed 15 years + 5 others, off and on. She had bonus of £200 every year for not being off sick. She only worked in the rubber factory for a few weeks because of the smell – trimming the rubbers that go round the windows of cars. She discusses unfair incidents. However she earned good money.

VSE046 Betty Thomas, Louis Edwards, Maesteg

Betty left the grammar school at 17 (c.1966) and started in the office in Louis Edwards, as a clerk telephonist and also on the comptometer doing wages. Collected tickets from factory floor. Machinists paid more than office staff because of piecework and bonuses. She stayed here for 3 years Talks of monkey-parading to meet boys. She notes that the management were ‘foreign’. She left when she had children. Since then she has worked in shops etc. When she got married, the factory collected and gave her a huge wedding present – everything possible in Pyrex.

Maesteg: Revlon

VSE059 Esther Baitup, Revlon, Maesteg;The Rubber Factory, Maesteg;Cymer Bookbinding, Maesteg;Louis Edwards, Maesteg

Esther left school at 15 (1965) and started in the Edwards Factory, ticketing and inspecting. Machinists didn’t like to have their work returned. They made dresses for M&S. The workers – pressers, cutting etc were divided into cages. She was not on piecework but had some bonuses. She used her wages to buy a sewing machine. She stayed there about 3 years. Everything in the factory would be covered in paper overnight and doubly so on stop fortnight. She left when pregnant (uncertain from which factory); she worked temporarily for Cymer Bookbinding on shift work with machinist sewing catalogues. She went to Revlon’s in 1988 – evening shift, part-time and after 3 years full-time. Changed shifts. She did all kinds of tasks there – labelling, filling, etc. In the beginning in aerosol dept. dangerous - if a can was faulty it would explode. Other workers were afraid of this job. Also using boiling water with the perfumes – dangerous. Many of the workers there didn’t like the factory. Talks of some workers who took advantage and didn’t do their work. Bad management. Revlon taken over – Cozy? She stayed 15 years + 5 others, off and on. She had bonus of £200 every year for not being off sick. She only worked in the rubber factory for a few weeks because of the smell – trimming the rubbers that go round the windows of cars. She discusses unfair incidents. However she earned good money.

VSE060 Rosalind Catton, Revlon, Maesteg;New Stylo, Bridgend;Anglomac, Bridgend

Rosalind left school at 15 (1958) and soon went to the Anglomac Factory, which made raincoats. She was in the cutting room – until 18 she could only lay out the fabrics. All the cutters were women. The factory closed (after c.1 year) and she went to the shoe factory. Believes there was a stigma with being a factory girl. The cutting knife could be dangerous. Perks – buying raincoats and got cottons. In New Stylo she decorated the shoes, using a stapling machine attaching trims. Stayed a year again. Bigger factory wirh more facilities. Later when she had children she worked in Revlon (c. 1969) on 10-2 shift – mothers’ shift. Very fast and boring jobs there. One job putting a top on a bottle and hitting it with a mallet. Nonstop so had to be replaced if she wanted to go to the toilet. Some of older women talked a lot about sexual things. She worked intermittently there for a period.

VSE063 Susan Leyshon, Revlon, Maesteg

Working in the Revlon Factory was holiday work from College for Susan. On the first day she had a huge shock to hear the improper language but she became used to it. She had another shock when she tried to keep up with the assembly line – fixing the lids of the nail varnish. She was stopping the girls from reaching their targets to earn money. She was filling in during the factory’s annual holiday. Then she was moved to the office to work. The girls weren’t very supportive of the temporary students. She bought her make-up cheaply at the factory. Everyone escaped when the bell rang at the end of the day. She respected the girls for sticking the job.

Maesteg: The Rubber Factory

VSE059 Esther Baitup, Revlon, Maesteg;The Rubber Factory, Maesteg;Cymer Bookbinding, Maesteg;Louis Edwards, Maesteg

Esther left school at 15 (1965) and started in the Edwards Factory, ticketing and inspecting. Machinists didn’t like to have their work returned. They made dresses for M&S. The workers – pressers, cutting etc were divided into cages. She was not on piecework but had some bonuses. She used her wages to buy a sewing machine. She stayed there about 3 years. Everything in the factory would be covered in paper overnight and doubly so on stop fortnight. She left when pregnant (uncertain from which factory); she worked temporarily for Cymer Bookbinding on shift work with machinist sewing catalogues. She went to Revlon’s in 1988 – evening shift, part-time and after 3 years full-time. Changed shifts. She did all kinds of tasks there – labelling, filling, etc. In the beginning in aerosol dept. dangerous - if a can was faulty it would explode. Other workers were afraid of this job. Also using boiling water with the perfumes – dangerous. Many of the workers there didn’t like the factory. Talks of some workers who took advantage and didn’t do their work. Bad management. Revlon taken over – Cozy? She stayed 15 years + 5 others, off and on. She had bonus of £200 every year for not being off sick. She only worked in the rubber factory for a few weeks because of the smell – trimming the rubbers that go round the windows of cars. She discusses unfair incidents. However she earned good money.

Menai Bridge: Mona Products

VN055 Beryl Buchanan, Ferranti, Bangor;Hotpoint, Llandudno;Mona Products, Menai Bridge

Beryl went to Mona Products, which made clothes for Marks and Spencers, straight from school in 1958. She was sewing collars and sleeves onto T shirts and putting elastic in knickers and sewing gussets. There wasn't a basic wage and she said you had to work your socks off to make your wage up, the wages were very bad. There were no health and safety regulations and a small canteen. There was only a few men there - two packing, two mechanics and the manager. There was music on the factory floor, and the boys would choose what station they'd listen to - like Workers' Playtime and the news. After two years, she moved to Ferranti, which made electronic meters. This was much bigger than Mona Products and she was working on the laminations and making tops for sports cars and leather covers. She was much happier in Ferranti's, lot more fun, and a better wage plus bonuses. Beryl was there until 1968, when she went to Hotpoint for a few months. She didn't like Hotpoint and returned to Ferranti, getting married around this time and stopping work when she had children.

Merthyr: Barton's

VSE025 Mair Richards, Forma, Merthyr;Kayser Bondor, Merthyr;Courtaulds, Merthyr;Chard's, London;AB Metals, Abercynon;Barton's, Merthyr

Mair left the grammar school because of her father’s ill-health, at 15½ and worked for W.H. Smiths before joining Kayser Bondor c.1952. Her mother was against her working in a factory. She describes the interview, the spotless factory – timing of toilet breaks; hand-cutting – shades and sizes of materials; producing bras and slips in huge orders; the importance of KB for Merthyr. In Dowlais (1960 onwards) they made silk stockings and other garments. She remembers raising money in the factory after the Aberfan disaster. She notes the Xmas celebrations; the rate of pay, unions, one strike for pay and how Courtaulds treated them. Accidents with the cutting knives. She didn’t like working at A.B. Metals – it was dirty and the girls were different. She returned to KB and when it closed she moved to Barton’s and then to Forma – supervising the cutting room. She finished in 1995.

Merthyr: Courtaulds

VSE025 Mair Richards, Forma, Merthyr;Kayser Bondor, Merthyr;Courtaulds, Merthyr;Chard's, London;AB Metals, Abercynon;Barton's, Merthyr

Mair left the grammar school because of her father’s ill-health, at 15½ and worked for W.H. Smiths before joining Kayser Bondor c.1952. Her mother was against her working in a factory. She describes the interview, the spotless factory – timing of toilet breaks; hand-cutting – shades and sizes of materials; producing bras and slips in huge orders; the importance of KB for Merthyr. In Dowlais (1960 onwards) they made silk stockings and other garments. She remembers raising money in the factory after the Aberfan disaster. She notes the Xmas celebrations; the rate of pay, unions, one strike for pay and how Courtaulds treated them. Accidents with the cutting knives. She didn’t like working at A.B. Metals – it was dirty and the girls were different. She returned to KB and when it closed she moved to Barton’s and then to Forma – supervising the cutting room. She finished in 1995.

Merthyr: Forma

VSE025 Mair Richards, Forma, Merthyr;Kayser Bondor, Merthyr;Courtaulds, Merthyr;Chard's, London;AB Metals, Abercynon;Barton's, Merthyr

Mair left the grammar school because of her father’s ill-health, at 15½ and worked for W.H. Smiths before joining Kayser Bondor c.1952. Her mother was against her working in a factory. She describes the interview, the spotless factory – timing of toilet breaks; hand-cutting – shades and sizes of materials; producing bras and slips in huge orders; the importance of KB for Merthyr. In Dowlais (1960 onwards) they made silk stockings and other garments. She remembers raising money in the factory after the Aberfan disaster. She notes the Xmas celebrations; the rate of pay, unions, one strike for pay and how Courtaulds treated them. Accidents with the cutting knives. She didn’t like working at A.B. Metals – it was dirty and the girls were different. She returned to KB and when it closed she moved to Barton’s and then to Forma – supervising the cutting room. She finished in 1995.

Administration