Jobs And Houses
“History may be written in the books of the famous – but it is created by the lives of everyday individuals”
THE STORY OF BILL
Jobs And Houses
And so, because we wanted our own little house, Bill had to change his job. The Mill was in LUDDENDEN FOOT called Whitworth, an old established Family Business. Now a long time gone but in those days a very important busy place. They made the Cloth for Khaki Uniforms amongst other uniform cloth.
Here again, Bill had to learn something new, completely different. Because we rented their Cottage, the job would not be the best, like perhaps spinning or weaving. It was a job which had a great turnover of men. It was a job in the Dewel Hole. A strange word and if it had been called Devil Hole it would have described it better.
But, he had a wife and child to keep. So you did what you did! And it was not the hardest job in his life as we will see later. He made many good friends, working there. Especially George and Noreen Carter come to mind. Our Families had lots of good times together.
In the Dewel Hole the work is, roughly, like this. A Cloth like Uniforms, by the nature, is made of Wool and Shoddy. Shoddy is made by collecting used Woolen Garments of many colours. Usually collected by Peddlers. This Material was very important in those Days, before artificial Fabrics came on the Scene. This Material was finely shredded after washing, until it was fluffy. It stank to high heaven. The Reason for change in Manpower. Not many people could stand this for long. Bill left it fairly quickly as well. He had proven himself a good reliable worker and applied and got another job in the same Mill.
Anyway, to get back to the present job. Eight or nine different colours of new Wool, and this Shoddy, was spread on the floor. Spread by hand evenly whilst walking on the pile, getting higher and higher, spreading, mixing. The Khaki takes 8 or 9 Colours to get the right.colour. Up and down the length of this heap. Then it was fed lnto Cardlng Machlnes. A Carder has thousands of Pins, turning round and round and makes very loose cotton-wool like Fluff. There it blended itself into the right colour and had the consistency of fine Gauze. This was then spun into yarn, woven and transported to the next step of the manufacture, ending eventually in the Sewing shops to make the required Uniforms.
Before that, as all pieces made in this Mill, it went into a Department called PIECE LOOKERS or MENDERS. Mainly staffed by women who were the Lookers or Menders. Here the Cloth was rolled over a Roller under fairly strong light, to be inspected for faults. The very slightest fault was spied by these Ladies, or a missing thread. This was then MENDED. The fault would never be seen again.
A very skilled job made the Ladies think of themselves as something special, and even a little better than the ones from other Departments. So there was a heritage in those Mills, with different Grades, even though they would not really earn any more, or even a lot less than a Weaver or Spinner. Ladies would proudly say ‘I am Mender’, while others may state I work at such and such a Mill. She was a Mender in such and such a Mill, a very subtle difference.
Bills step up was into this Department. Bringing and fastening the Pieces (Roll of Cloth). Nice Cloth which did not smell anymore! A step up in the right direction, maybe towards Spinner or Weaver, what would the future hold?
What a piece of Work Is Man? said Shakespeare. What is a Man on ‘Piece Work’ I might ask? What was a Piece Looker? Sort of a Quality Assurance Department for the Mill…
For myself, I hope that today’s post has, in some way, encouraged you – Dear Reader – to reflect on the life journeys you have and are undertaking.
As well as those undertaken by those who are near and dear to YOU.
You are who you are because of these journeys.
Where is YOUR journey taking you next, I wonder?
Oh, and by the way,
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