Mary Bones - Bacup Shoe

Started work at aged 14 years. After short period in a shop moved into footwear industry starting at Maden & Ireland's Kilnholme Mill and as her friends were working at Bacup Shoe's Stacksteads Mill move there. Starting in the closing room buckling shoes ready for last and worked her way up to supervisor of the preparation and closing room in charge of 46 staff. The day to day work managed by department heads, they recruited staff, managed staff and work flows.

When she started the founder Mr Ernest Goodwin was still managing director before the Chanter family took over. Friendly, family firm where there was little change in staff and those that did leave 'following the wages' often returned.

She recalls being locked out if late but this was more the caretaker than a management policy and no money was deducted from their wage.

There was a 13 week training period before you would go on piece rate and earned your own wage, but machinists were very difficult to recruit as young don't want to work in the mills and current staff are mostly middle age or older.

In the past there was a social club and they would visit Granada Studios, Warburton Bakery and have dances at the Saxon hotel, in more recent years this social element had stopped. The Christmas 'footin' is now a quieter than in previous years and people tended to go out and socialise in small groups. This is a result of the isolation of a track system and being too busy earning money. Women getting married would still be dressed up and paraded around the mill and town.

Over the years there has been a lots of changes with materials and machinery.

Key Words:

Vamps & Quarters, Skiving, knocking-down / rubbing-down, back seaming, eye letting, flat machines, post knife machines, stiffeners, toe puffs, frenching machine

To listen to Mary's experiences and stories click on the green button with white triangle below - 44 min