Interviewee: Georgina Banfield – age 71
Interviewer: Liz Bloom
Date: August 18th 2011
My name is Georgina Banfield and I lived at Wellington Road, very close to where I worked at Nicholson’s. I started there when I left school (I think my mother got me the job) and they started me on basting and that’s the normal procedure when you first start in the trade is to learn to baste hems and seems which was very tedious and it went on for nearly a year. Then I got moved to hand sewing and invisible sewing and I did that for many years. It was very dingy inside; there was nothing decorated, it was just a normal brick built factory. A lot of elderly people worked there and because I was the youngster I used to think it was an old people’s home when I first went. But gradually I met different people in the firm and people my age – well, nearly my age, at any rate – and we used to have a laugh when we were able to; because in those days it was very strict and when you went to work, you couldn’t move about and talk. It was piece work; you had to work very hard to earn any money. I can remember having a very bad cold one day and I loved Liquafruta (cough mixture) and I used to take it into work with me and in the end I got banned from bringing it in because nobody could bear the smell of it! First of all they banned me to the toilets to take it but even from there I got banned, so I had to leave my Liquafruta at home when I had a cold.
We used to have a firm’s do every Christmas and it used to be at Thrale’s and we used to have a good time, the few of us who used to go. We used to be dressed up and think you were the king pin. My boss was always after me because I was always the devil in the firm and in the end he used to come and take me out of the toilets when I was too long and in the end he got so fed up, he had me on his bench and sat with me and kept an eye on me whenever I moved. I stayed with him for nearly a year and in the end he said he was going to give me one more chance and moved me to somewhere else in the factory, and “any misbehaving, I was out the door!” But I was still there until I left and got married and I was expecting my first child. Then they were so happy with me, they used to bring me work at home to do when they got over….(inundated with work). I’ve still got the cottons today that they brought home; and they were waxed cottons that you can’t buy…….I don’t know if you can buy them today; but I’ve still got them and use them whenever I do sewing at home. I left in 1962….1956 I must have started…….I still see my old foreman now and again out and about and we have a good laugh. Yes, it was enjoyable and then I went on to many other things, of course.