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

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VN039 Olive Jones, Laura Ashley, Carno

Olive was a nanny to Emlyn Hooson's children in London before returning to Carno and getting work in Laura Ashley in 1968. There weren't many working there then, about 20, and the girls were sitting in two rows by their machines. She doesn't remember her first wage but said it was more than she was getting as a nanny as she lived in then. She remembers when piece work came in and how hard it was, and that she worked during her lunchtimes to make money. They also came in earlier in the mornings to catch up with the work. She started on hems first, moving on after she'd learned how to do that, onto the button and button hole machines and the overlocker. The work wasn't monotonous, she said, because there were different styles and different amounts of overlocking, some of the dresses needing a lot, but things like skirts not so much. She was a machinist until she left to have her first child in 1979. She thought about returning as a machinist but the piecework had become so fast that one of the girls said to her “Oh, Olive, you'll never get your speed back up.” So she returned to Laura Ashley as a cleaner and later on worked in the canteen, serving food and cleaning until she retired in 2006
Women working in the Laura Ashley factory, 1980sOlive working at Laura Ashley, 1980sLaura Ashley women's football team, with Olive middle of the back row, 1970s.