W Taylor - Lambert Howarth & Sons

Started work in 1930’s and after signing on the dole found a job a Lambert Howarth’s – Whitewell bottom.  As a boy his first job was raw edge inking on leather slippers. Not long after he started they started working for Marks & Spencer that would provide the firm with large orders. There was seasonal trends and some short time working before the second world war but after the war there was full employment all year. Overtime was compulsory and that would be 2 or 3 nights per week until 8pm and Saturday mornings. Before the war there was no paid holidays.

He moved into the ‘velt’ room and worked on the sole press for many years. It was piece work and you could earn good money. There was only one foreman in the early days and that was Mr Greenwood who was very strict. They were using mainly leather and crepe soles producing men’s children and ladies footwear.  He talks about the velt stitching process and the ‘puritan’ stichers operated by women.

Lamberts was a friendly place to work and they invested into making the mill clean and modern. In the early days there was no canteen you had to go across the road to shops that would provide hot drinks and food, you were not allowed to stay in the mill at lunch time.

The union was small but getting stronger with the then secretary Robert Driver, Lamberts was a closed shop and everyone was in the union.

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