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

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VSE002 Sonia Gould, Smith's, Rhumney;Clifford Williams, Tredegar;Denex, Tredegar;Harvey's, Tredegar

Sonia’s father (electrician) and mother (machinist) worked at Denex and they were given a pre-fab by factory to live in. Sonia left school at 15 (1956), her father trained her to use machines on Saturday mornings so she got a job in the factory. But Union objected because laying people off – so sent home. Returned in 6 weeks. Lots of strikes and one lock out. Drinking at Xmas and trimmings. Started on patches, on to buttonholing. Made children’s clothing > then Harvey’s making duffle coats; then Clifford Williams and Son. Worked in Smiths, Rhymney too – very strict. Denex - Pilfering bits of jackets to sew at home and cotton reels. Lots of fluff. Radio and singing, record player. If getting married tied to machine. Bond like sisters there. Pierced her ears in toilet. She finished when she was pregnant. She could do every task there. Cutting with the ban knife was dangerous – men’s work. Social life: dances, dinners for children and carnival – Rag Trade float, put on show. Tailor and Garment Workers Union – badge with scissors. Smoke sitting on toilet floor. Needle through finger. Her mother worked until 80 in Denex then LCR components. Reunion of Denex workers ‘We all just cwtshed’. Writing ‘I Love Elvis’ down a trouser leg!