1888 - 1988
- Tel. 373-4059
Mr Clem Lewis, Pype Hayes,Features Department, Erdington,Evening Mail, Birmingham
Colmore Circus, B24 0JX
Birmingham.B4 6AY 14th November 1979
Dear Mr. Lewis,
Having read your article in last night's mai1, I thought you might be interested in the recollections of my mother Mrs. Violet Priest who is
91 years old and has a very clear memory.
She left school in 1901 when she was 13 and started work at Southall's winding and pinning bandages. Shortly afterwards a Law was passed preventing girls under 14 from working in factories. She had to leave and went to work in Service minding a baby. 5he was the only servant employed and had to sit in the kitchen alone at night. She was terrified of the cockroaches flying about and after her employers heard her
screaming she was allowed to sit with the family.
When she was 14 she was able to go back to Southall's winding bandages. Shortly afterward she left and went to work for the Dunlop Rubber Company at Aston Cross, examining cycle tyres. She had to walk each day from the top of Alum Pock to be at work by 6.15 a.m. and worked until 6.0 p.m. The factory gate was shut promptly at 6.15 a.m. and anyone locked out would have to wait until 8.l5 a.m. before they were allowed in. This time was usually spent at Jelf's cafe. ~be had to work until 1 o'clock on Saturday when all the workers had to line up in the drive to be paid.
She had always wanted to be a dressmaker but couldn't afford the fees but she decided to leave Dunlop and she then went to make babies' pinafores at 4d per dozen, having to find her own cotton. However, she could not earn enough money at this job and as she was the eldest of five children she had to go back to Dunlop until she got married.
Even the long working hours did not prevent her cycling after work to Earlswood to a dance. She also went dancing at Bird's Assembly Rooms, which later became the Hippodrome. As a child she knew Aston Cross with the horses and cabs lined up at the rank and also the circus coming to
the field in Rocky Lane.
My mother lives with me and spends her time helping with the household chores, reading knitting, doing jigsaw puzzles, playing scrabb1e and is always ready for an outing to the country or to visit relatives.
Hoping these few comments will be of interest to Kathie Sandler
(Nora May Barwick néé Priest)
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