Last Up-dated -  Tuesday, 18 August 2015   Today is -

Recorded Memories

Tony & Olwyn Taylor and Diane Elliott Interview October 1998.

Work, Life and Friendship:

‘I’ve always liked working in the village…we’ve had a good life…and a nice lot of friends’

‘I was never out of work…I gave myself pride, I was always prepared to adapt’  

Tony started his working life at the age of 14 at Atkins in the mid 1940s, his father was already a knitter at the factory and after his national service he went to work at Percy Taylor’s on the B5 knitting machines as a seamless machinist. He met Olwyn at Percy Taylor’s where she had started work straight from school at the age of 15 in early 1950. She was a welter and they were married when Olwyn was coming up to her 19th birthday. In all Tony worked at Percy Taylor’s for a further 15 years on the fully fashioned knitting machines and was made redundant when the fully fashioned trade ‘went out’. From there he went to work in Coventry where he stayed two years, then Davenport’s followed by Sketchley’s where he was again made redundant, then Bennett’s on Southfield Road where he stayed for 10 years as a fully fashioned knitter on fabrics, ‘a very happy time of my life’. The factory closed down. Tony had a varied working life and after Bennett’s worked with a friend and learnt carpentry and did this for nine years. From here he worked for Couture Marketing in Stony Stanton as a maintenance engineer where he stayed for eight years before having a heart attack when he was 64, a year before retiring. Tony had never been out of work and was very proud of the fact that he was always prepared to adapt to different ways of working.

Olwyn after marriage and the birth of their two sons went back to work at Ward’s (boot and shoe) in Barwell when the children started school. From there she worked at Nicholls and Wileman for 18 years until the factory closed down. She finished on the Friday and started a new job at Pex on the following Monday. She stayed there for nine years, then moved to Barbara Nicholls in Barwell and back to Pex where she stayed until she retired, three years ago, and now enjoys a quiet life. They both consider their retirement as the best part of their lives, having led very busy lives. Tony mentioned the wages being earned at Couture Marketing ‘some of the girls were on £300 a week, that was four years ago’. Diane had worked at Couture in the wages department and commented that ‘they [Couture] paid above the average’. Diane was also able to relate when Couture moved from their original premises in Stoney Stanton to the purpose built factory building on Station Road (at the time of writing an Evangelical church), It was a week that ‘was never repeated…the opening of that factory’. All the reps were put up at the Fernleigh (a hotel in Earl Shilton). They had mini-buses to pick people up from the stations for tours round the factory. It was purpose built and very modern – ‘the bees knees’. From the factory, buyers were taken to John Brindley’s (manufacturer) home where he had marquees on the lawn. The office workers were treated the same as the buyers and Diane spent a day with the Harrod’s buyer and at the end of the day each buyer was given 12 dozen pairs of tights.

Tragically both John Brindley’s wife and mother-in-law were both killed in a traffic accident. John had worked at Nicholls and Wileman and had subsequently set up in business as Brindley and Cooper in Barwell – according to Tony, John wanted to go to ‘the top of the market and Cooper wanted the lower’. John was a ‘smashing man’. His second wife was a good business woman. Diane felt that the opening week of the new premises had been a privilege to be part of – Joanna Lumley did the official opening, ‘Fergie’, the Duchess of , had also visited. John according to both Tony and Diane had started his working life as ‘an ordinary working man and had never lost that’. Diane remembers being sent him because of a ‘streaming cold’. Another time when her car was playing up John had sent someone to pick her up.  

Both Tony and Olwyn emphasized the importance of friendship and over the years had made many friends in the various factories they’d worked at and they still keep in touch with numerous people. Olwyn commented that ‘you need friends to go to work with’. A lot of the jobs in the factory could be very boring and the company made up for the monotony. It was important to work hard because of the piece rate system in operation, ‘how fast I went was how much I earned…you just worked well but you needed someone in the background to be friendly with’. When Olwyn worked in the Warehouse colleagues birthdays were celebrated with cards and a cake, and ‘happy birthday’ would be announced over the tannoy. Bosses always seemed to know their workers Olwyn remarking that while out quite recently she met an old boss of hers who she hadn’t seen for 8-10 years but he still remembered her and Tony. She didn’t feel that that there was any snobbishness felt towards factory workers because so many people worked in the local factories in Earl Shilton and Barwell and she has always liked worked in the village [Earl Shilton]. Diane, originally from Leicester found it strange that people came from Nuneaton to work in Hinckley which was a smaller town.

Olwyn and Tony have spent all their married life in the same house, Olwyn’s father had been a miner and they had moved from Durham to live in Nuneaton where he continued to work as a miner in one of the local collieries. Both Olwyn and Tony’s sons had done well for themselves and felt it was important that youngsters had a good education. Whey they were young, ‘there was nothing else’. When Diane left school she had the choice of doing office or shop work and chose office work. Tony had been brought up in Earl Shilton and his family had lived at ‘The Oaks’ – it was a small holding with pigs and poultry. At the age of 16 he had started doing shift work at the factory but before leaving for work he would have to get the pigstuff ready and then bike to Atkins for a 6 o’clock start. On his return home after his shift his mother had his dinner ready for him and it was job to look after the animals. After National Service he had £40 with which he bought himself some pigs and ‘made £400’. With this money he and Olwyn were able to get married and set up home together.

Olwyn earned £8-£9 a week as a welter and Diane as an office worker earned £1.17s 6d. Olwyn’s sister worked in an office and Olwyn subsidised her. Her father working as a face-worker was earning approximately £12-£14 and Tony as a fully fashioned seamer was earning £21 a week – this was in 1953. Olwyn, her mother and the boys spent a week in Blackpool for £20. Fully fashioned stockings were expensive and considered a luxury item. Diane remembers while working at Minard’s in Earl Shilton – the factory had been experimenting with ‘pantyhose’ – tights. ‘They were literally stockings sewn onto a lace brief’, and she and a colleague had been asked to try these new tights – her colleague was nearly 6ft and Diane 4ft 11in ‘and if they fitted her and me, they’d cracked it!’. Both came to work next morning – Margeret’s had fallen down and Diane’s had stayed up – the reason for this – Diane wore a panty-girdle over the tights. She was asked to wear the tights over her panty-girdle and the following morning she walked through the village to work with her hands in her pockets holding up the tights – ‘they were slithering down!’.

Tony, Olwyn & Diane's Interview No1.
Run time 26 minutes & 28 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