VSE083 Violet Skillern, HG Stone Toy Factory, Pontypool
Violet describes her childhood in Pontypool and how her father had difficulty finding work after the war. In their row of cottages they shared a toilet but everyone was friendly. She started in the toy factory at 15 and describes being sent for 'glass washers' - teasing her. She describes moving from the stores to the sewing - finishing off the teddy bears and sewing on their eyes and embroidering their noses etc. 'Happy days' on the line. She did homework too. When she got married she left the factory. She talks of her pay. She recalls having to finish off a huge Teddy Bear destined for London. Mainly a female workforce and one of the designers was a woman. Annual dances. Everyone was a union member, but it was happy environment. The camaraderie was good. She walked to work but caught a bus home, and took her own lunch though there was a canteen in the factory. She didn't like it when a conveyor belt was introduced. They listened to the radio over a Tannoy. She remembers a holiday with fellow workers in Bournemouth. Not many social activities linked to factory.