Ellis & Son, 1933. Courtesy of the Records Office for Leicestershire, Leicester & Rutland.
Click to hear sound clip of Mr Bilton (b.1901) recorded in 1986. Ref: 1112, LO/459/409
Mr Bilton: I was helping two chaps on two hosiery machines, one was casting 18 stockings off at a time, another 15. These two chaps were called up [World War I], within a month they were both killed. I was carrying on the best I could with these two machines, the old foreman came round, ‘How are you getting on?’ ‘As well as can expect’, I says. I was on 5/- [25p] a week then, eight, ten hours a day. I asked, I says, ‘What about a bit more money in my wage packet, end of the week.’ ‘Oh’, he says, ‘you’re not experienced enough yet.’ I says, ‘The bloody machines are still running.’ He says, ‘There’s always one standing when I come by.’ I says, ‘Look I ain’t got eyes in my behind, I’ve got to stop one while they replace the empty bobbins else where should I be - spoiling a set of stockings.’ I said, ‘Anyway if there’s no more money in my packet at end of week I’m finishing.’ ‘Where will you go?’ I was straight forward enough, I said, ‘I’ll go down Quorn factory, double my money, 10/- a week, not five, less time.’ He says, ‘Where shall you go then, sludge pumping at Ellis’s?’ I said, ‘I don’t care where I go sludge pumping, I’m not coming to this hole anymore!’