Last Up-dated -  Friday, 16 October 2015   Today is -

Recorded Memories

Arthur Amos Interview. 30th October 2001

’Working life as a mechanic at Nicholls and Wileman: ‘I was dead interested [the ‘W’]

…really fascinated me…I wanted to know exactly how it worked – what did what’

[Toon’s]’…the presses were very old fashioned…with balls at each end (looked like footballs) and they swung round to close the press’

Arthur remembers visiting his mother at Howe’s hosiery factory where she worked on the winding machines.                       He can’t remember seeing any knitting machines at this time and seems to think the winding machine was in a room of its own. Howe’s factory was surrounded by houses with the factory in the centre, ‘it was like a courtyard’. The Howe’s family also kept the village post office and Mr Howe, who ran the post office, was a pigeon fanciers.

Arthur’s mother took Arthur to get a job at Eatough’s boot and shoe factory in Earl Shilton and he hated it and after a week got himself a job at Toon’s hosiery factory, it was the same money - 10s. a week.  At that time the factory were knitting half hose for the army on XL knitting machines.  Arthur was fascinated by the knitting machines. He had been apprenticed to the countering but ‘in them days you always got pushed into these other jobs’ and he was made responsible for the knitting of the half-hose and after knitting the socks which had been stitched at the toe they were then turned back by a Mrs Storer and this process would ‘make her arms awful rough’.  The half-hose were then steamed in the presses – the presses ‘were very old fashioned …with balls on each end (they looked like footballs) and they swung around to close the press’.  The man who operated this machine used to sweat and ‘he’d have his beer under the under the counter’.  And at break time would bring more beer back from the Nelson (the Nelson was just across the road from the factory).  The socks were then taken and put into hessian bags and sewn up.

After about a year Arthur had a row with his boss and he left Toon’s and went to work at Nicholls and Wileman. While at Toon’s he had been going with a friend, Alan Hunt – a fellow cricketer – to the small factory in Burbage where he worked. At this small factory Alan was teaching Arthur how to ‘mechanic’ the ‘W’ as it was called - a Stibbe knitting machine. On starting work at Nicholls and Wileman he found that they had the same knitting machines in the factory ‘Oh, you’ve got them machines here, blow me, I can work them!’ His knowledge and enthusiasm for this particular type of machine must have impressed one of the managers and Arthur was eventually taken on as a trainee mechanic.  During his apprenticeship Eddie Ireland, a very good mechanic, decided to go and live with his daughter in New Zealand and ‘who better to mechanic them [the ‘W’ machine] than the guy who had been with him’ – Arthur.  Eddie Ireland had been surprised that he had known so much about this machine. Arthur had, however, learnt on a finer gauge machine than the ones at Nicholls and Wileman which were 260 needle machines – at Joey Colkin’s he had learnt on 300 needle machines that knitted Courtualds rayon.

At this time knitters in the various factories were doing 12hr shifts and Arthur did work a set of knitting machines for a few months and although he was still very young his fascination and enthusiasm for the machines meant that he ‘got quite a lot out of the machines’ and this hadn’t always been the case especially on the night shift. Mechanics tended not to do shift work. Arthur remembers working four sets of machines knitting silk stockings. It took six minutes to knit one stocking – 3-thread pure silk - and they had the clocking device which was a feature and ‘defeated most makers’ (knitters often referred to as makers). Arthur speaks very technically about this particular machine the ‘W’ and what had to be done if and when the machine went wrong, admitting that it was a very ‘complicated machine in them days’. As mentioned earlier Arthur would go along to his fellow cricketer’s factory in the evenings after work and this is where he learnt about these machines – Alan was a man in his late 20s and had encouraged the young lads of 13-14 to play cricket. Alan worked as a knitter and mechanic on the ‘W’ machine (Stibbe knitting machines) and when he was doing the late shift Arthur would bike over to Burbage from Earl Shilton and stay until 11 o’clock at night (this was during the winter, the summer months were taken up with cricket). Alan’s wife would pack up some cakes for Arthur ‘which were rather nice’ and Alan would give him one of his sandwiches.  Arthur was ‘dead interested [in the ‘W’ knitting machine], don’t know why…’really fascinated me, that’s the word, I wanted to know exactly how they worked – what did what, why did it do it!’ Arthur could not praise Alan enough.

At Nicholls and Wileman he knew of two women who worked on the ‘W’ knitting machines and one woman working on Trump knitting machines and according to Arthur the Trump machines ‘were a nightmare…always going wrong’. Arthur remembers these lady knitters as being very careful with the knitted garment which had just come off their machine – they would place them so perfect on the lines between the machines – so lovely and straight’. The machinist who then took the stockings from the knitters would ‘like to get hold of the ones the ladies had made’ – because they were so neat. It was Arthur’s job to look after the ‘W’ machines and he would do any repair work needed adding that the ‘ladies could thread them up if the yarn broke [but] they couldn’t do much else…’  He then went on to explain what could go wrong with the machine and the ‘mechanicking’ needed to put the machine back into working order.

Arthur's Interview No1.
Run time 16 minutes & 57 seconds.

Player controls     Lt to Rt     Start/Pause   Stop     Volume       Status


Return to Top
nike shox hogan scarpe calcio Tiffany christian louboutin Scarpe Adidas superstar Scarpe Reebok Adidas Scarpe nike sb Scarpe nike air force air jordan adidas scarpe Tacchi Scarpe da donna Scarpe
Scarpe hogan oakley nike air presto new balance nike air max adidas Scarpe nike free nike blazer michael kors Ray ban nike huarache Adidas Scarpe Abbigliamento Asics nike flyknit scarpe converse Scarpe air jordan scarpe da calcio nike free nike cortez nike roshe air max new balance
Scarpe Scarpe da donna Scarpe Scarpe Adidas oakley nike air presto Adidas superstar Scarpe adidas scarpe Tacchi Reebok adidas Scarpe Scarpe Scarpe hogan nike air force Adidas Scarpe Tiffany nike sb nike shox hogan scarpe calcio christian louboutin Scarpe air jordan
scarpe calcio Tiffany Scarpe da donna Scarpe Scarpe Adidas nike air max adidas Scarpe nike air presto new balance Scarpe nike air force Adidas superstar Scarpe Scarpe nike shox hogan air jordan adidas Reebok Adidas Scarpe nike sb nike free christian louboutin adidas Scarpe Scarpe Scarpe hogan oakley scarpe Tacchi
Kleid Sportschuhe adidas schuhe adidas schuhe nike schuhe schmuck nike schuhe damen Taschen sonnenbrille Chaussure nike chaussure sport sac a main nike chaussure adidas chaussure lunette de soleil Vetement Chaussure adidas