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Recorded Memories

Nellie Skelton Interview. June 1998.

Living and working in Stoke Golding: HJ Hall & Sons 1928-1977:'We loved to go to the pictures then...'

'Mr Hall reckoned the women were better than the men'
(working the XL knitting machines)

Nellie lived and worked in Stoke Golding.

She went to work at HJ Hall’s in the Warehouse just before she was 15 in 1928. She was asked to learn the knitting on the XL knitting machines from about the age of 16. There were no men working on the knitting machines at this time only women and girls – Mr. Hall reckoned the women were better than the men. Her older sister was already working on the XLs. It took her a while to learn the knitting and she operated two machines. She remembers making black cotton stockings for the inmates of Hinckley Workhouse. It was not an easy job, the cotton was hard and the needles on the machine kept breaking. Mr Hall complained when there was too much waste. The knitted stockings were placed on a rack and when 20 dozen had been completed they were put in sacks and each sack was given an information tag.

She remembers one big order when they were working 8 in the morning until 8 at night. They would then rush out and catch the 8 o’clock bus into Hinckley to go to the cinema, this was on a Wednesday evening. They also went to the cinema every Saturday. Nellie explaining that they had to book their tickets in advance and they would catch the 11 o’clock bus back to Stoke Golding. The very first film she remembers going to see was Rin Tin Tin in Nuneaton. It was 3d to sit in the Gods, 6d return on the bus and 3d for a bag of chips. Her favourite cinemas were in Hinckley and she loved the comedy films. She also enjoyed ‘the amateurs’- plays held at the Regent Theatre, they were usually musical comedies. She commented on the fact that now she can’t go anywhere because there aren’t any buses!

Nellie was the third oldest of seven children, her older sister worked at Hall’s, one brother worked in the Boot and Shoe in Barwell, her father worked on a local farm and her mother took in washing. She moved to the cottage she still lives in when she was young. Two of her brothers were killed in WW2. Her father had served during WW1.

Nellie worked at Hall’s as a knitter for just under 50 years. At the time of the interview she was 85 and had been retired 20 years. She finished Christmas 1977 at the age of 64, she was 65 the following April. Hall’s was also in the process of relocating to Hinckley.

She spoke about the winter of ’47’ and of the terrible cold, a friend of hers from Nuneaton would sometimes bring a bag of coal for her and she remembers a small stove in the family home and they burnt anything including old brushes.


Nellie's Interview No1.

Run time 21 minutes & 41 seconds.

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