Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Trouble at Mill!


I have gathered some information about the working conditions from my own memories of visiting my grandma who worked in the mills and also from my mum, who in those days worked there too. But some of the detail I need is missing and so I trawled the Internet looking for information about this industry. Eventually I found a web site that allowed people to add their memories of areas from all over the UK and one such area was perfect for my research. So I signed up with the website and then contacted one of the contributors.

Mr Ingleson kindly answered my emails and has provided a wonderful insight into that period of time. My story is not about the working conditions in a wool mill, but one about three families, and like my previous books, it will be an emotional story, filled with love, happiness and tears. But as two of my characters work there, it is important that I make sure everything about their time in the mill will be as true as possible. And thanks to my mum, the memories of my grandma and Mr Ingleson, I think it should take the reader, with all the noise and airborne fluff right into the spinning room. So hopefully they'll be no trouble at mill!

I will keep you updated on progress!

18 comments:

Paula Martin said...

Sounds like a great story, Pauline. A lot of my mother's relatives worked 'in't mill' in East Lancashire, and I still remember visiting an aunt in Colne, and seeing all the women leaving the mill in their clogs and shawls.
When I visited an old mill, now museum, in Burnley, they set 5 of the weaving looms going, and the noise was deafening, so it was almost impossible to imagine what it would have been like with all the machines going (about 300 in total in the weaving shed)

Shirley Wells said...

Can't wait to read it, Pauline. Get writing. :)

I visited an old mill, now a museum, in Helmshore and they started up weaving loom. That was noisy so I can't imagine what it was like with them all going. No wonder the workers had to "talk with their hands".

Pauline Barclay said...

Hello Paul, thanks for popping by and yes the noise was scary. I remember visiting my grandma who worked in a mill and it was a very noisey and dusty place. What would health and safety say about it today?

Pauline Barclay said...

Hi Shirley, no wonder they needed to keep going out to the loo for a cigarette, it must have been hell!

Suzy Turner said...

It sounds fabulous, Pauline! Can't wait to read it... especially being a northerner myself (well, kind of... South Yorkshire!)
xxx

Pauline Barclay said...

Hi Suzy, thanks for stopping by, I just need to find a few nore hours in the day and then all will be fine xx :)

Crystal Jigsaw said...

It sounds great, Pauline. As a fellow northerner myself, I also grew up near mills and my grandmother worked in one - we were Lancashire born and bred.

CJ x

Pauline Barclay said...

Hello CJ, I think many of our older relations worked in the mills if they lived in the north. A time we tend to forget about these days! Thanks for stopping by. x

Pauline Barclay said...

Hello CJ, I think many of our older relations worked in the mills if they lived in the north. A time we tend to forget about these days! Thanks for stopping by. x

Dizzy C said...

Pauline

this sounds exciting

love social history
carol xx

Pauline Barclay said...

Hello Carol, lovely to see you here. Thanks for your kind words, bopefully my characters will give you a glimps into those days :) x

Chris Longmuir said...

One of my many jobs when I was just 'a bit of a lass' was as a spinner in the local jute mill. I worked on the high speed spinning frames, there was also a gilt spinning room, the gilt frames there were different to the ones we worked (not sure 'gilt' is the correct spelling). I can still remember the friction burns when you grabbed the flyer top to stop it spinning, in order to mend broken ends, and having to put your fingers into the stopped flyer while all the others whizzed round beside them. If you lost your grip on the top you'd have lost your fingers. Not so sure about the gilt frames but I recall a girl was pulled in by her hair while I was there. We didn't wear clogs and shawls in the late 50s, early 60s, but we did wear overalls (pinnies) and headscarves. Working hours were 7.30am to 5.30pm with an hour off for lunch. We also worked 7.30am to 12 on Saturday mornings. Oh, and toilet breaks were restricted to one per morning or afternoon, and you only got 10 minutes.

Melanie said...

I'm sure you've had an interesting time delving into the workings of the mills, Pauline.

I can't wait to read this book.

Rosalind Adam said...

It must be fascinating talking to Mr Ingleson about his life. They always say that you have to know far more about the background of your characters than you actually put into the story, don't they. Sounds like the new novel is coming along very well.

Pauline Barclay said...

Hello Chris, thank you for your fascinating story, I know from my mum it was hard work and often dangerous work in those places.

Hi Melanie, thanks I have!

Hello Ros, It is very interesting talking to Mr Ingleson and all helps to add the real feeling to the story.

Deborah (Debs) Carr said...

What a lovely post.

I love hearing stories from my family's past and wish I'd asked my grandmothers more about their lives when they were younger.

Pauline Barclay said...

Thanks Debs, my grandma had lots of stories and just wish I had paid more attention!

Miriam Wakerly said...

Sorry, late to see all this but how wonderful! The research for a novel can be so absorbing; and getting out and about asking people questions is a really good balance to the rather solitary business of writing! I love all this meaty background stuff in a book - so look forward immensely to reading it already.