D Jackson -H W Tricketts

Started work at 14 years old in Tricketts as this was the biggest and best firm to work for and he had friends working there. He recalls the two steam engines Elsie and Janie name after Sir H W Tricketts two daughters. The machinery was driven by pulleys and belts which you had to ‘flick’ onto a pulley to make the machine work. The room was very noisy and very scary.

Sam the caretaker would stand by the door with his pocket watch and Mr West (managing director) would be there with his, at 7:30 precisely Mr West would drop his hand and the doors would be locked…there were however lots of other doors you could run to and get in before Sam could get around them all. Gaghills was a massive mill with a cellar which the river ran through, 4 stories and an attic. The night watchman went into the cellar and was never seen again, suspect the flooded river took him? Tricketts had old mill and fashioned attitudes.

His first job was sweeping up and going for lunch, he did this for 12 months before being allowed to do a junior job – punching holes in leather uppers.

He worked in the press room / clicking room and had to wait some time before getting the opportunity to work on a cutting press…a revolution press that was the most terrifying machine in the factory; using a 4” knife to cut soles / insoles he worked on the machine for 9 years while also learning to be a hand clicker.

The rough department cut bottom stock (soles / insoles) and used many techniques such as splitting, channel opening, levelling and closing.

By the 1950’s the canteen had stopped making hot food and was just used as a room to eat and drink the food you brought in. The cost of food and staff had made this too expensive to continue.

Tricketts had a rest room staffed by a retired nursing sister from Salford Royal hospital and also had a doctor on call – Dr Brooks.

The union was strong at Tricketts supported by the secretary Robert Driver ensured workers and management had effective processes for job pricing. Once a year the union would organise a children’s treat for the children of the workforce using the canteen they organised a party, had games and gave a pencil, apple and a few nuts.

Christmas started 1 week before closing on Christmas Eve. The word came round ‘natives are getting restless’ and the foreman would disappear for a brew while the women form the closing room formed ‘hunting parties’, tied men to the poles and remove their shirts (and more). The mill was decorated and looked like a Christmas grotto – marvellous sight. They would be a bar and a footin with sandwich, cake, trifle…management turned a blind eye.

Trips were organised to the race course at Rippon and to Blackpool.

H W Trickett also orgnaised a pensioners meal once a year paid for by the company.

No equal opportunities in those days there were junior jobs and senior jobs / men’s jobs and women’s jobs and the union had different rates of pay accordingly.

Tricketts bought out by the John White Group who were not interested in it and it soon went downhill when Lambert Howarth & Sons (LHS) bought it, renovated it and streamlined production. They said there was ‘too much talking and not enough working’.

LHS moved the cutting a closing room to a unit in Farholme Lane and the moved it back to Gaghills. When they closed Gaghills he moved to Greenbridge and then moved on to Bacup Shoe supervising 30 people in the clicking room.

To listen to his experiences and stories please click on the gren button with the white triangle below - 57 min