Cynthia Broadbent - Newchurch Boot

Born in the 1930’s depression father would only work 1 week in 6 so found new work teaching in the technical school (now the Grammar School). During the war father would be ‘fire watchman’ at the technical school watching for incendiary bombs.

Mother worked at J H Hirst canteen and sometimes brought home left over custard made from dried eggs, horrible!

Left school aged 15 and started at British United Shoe Machine Company on Victoria Parade in the Arcade in Waterfoot. Moved into the warehouse at Newchurch Boot Company labelling shoe boxes for 1 penny per dozen. She would start work at 7:45 am and the noise from clogs on the cobbles going to work inspired the local poem ‘clatter of clogs’. Hooter would warn of gates closing and if late you would be locked out and money deducted from your wage.

Machinery was belt driven and foreman Jim Bright would make you connect the belt while moving so as not to stop other machines no health and safety in those days. He was very bombastic and often sack you at a moment’s notice but if you saw his wife she would persuade him to take you back on.

Lots of community singing in the mills, hymns as many people were church people. There was a factory nurse who had the nickname ‘ fanny by gas light’ who only had two cues…gargle, for sore throats and guard all for everything else.

While bring up a family she did some ‘out-work’ for Ashworth and Hoyle making bows from home. After her family had grown up she returned to Newchurch boot as examiner and boxing. The mill had a leaking roof but they were told to put an umbrella up.

The factory had lots of family working there from the local area and on Fridays you could buy reject footwear.

There were happy times and she would write silly verses and Burt Swift would draw funny pictures for people when it was a special occasion. There were tricks play – Eddy Cook put a dead mouse on the table expecting lots of screams. While at Newchurch Boot she spent some time at the Holmes Shed mill on Burnley Road Rawtenstall.

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