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A collection of interviews and photographs recorded by Women's Archive of Wales in 2013-14

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VN011 Marian Roberts, Cookes Explosives, Penrhyndeudraeth

Marian worked first as a children's nurse after leaving school, then returned to Penrhyndeudraeth. Her father, who was already working in the powder factory, asked the manager for a job for his daughter. She worked in the canteen, serving and cleaning for four years, and she remembers vividly the big explosion of 1957: “I was at the tub and there was a bang, and the tub and the chair, went sliding down the canteen, but not a drop of water spilled out from it. And we ran to the window and Mrs Williams shouted, 'Don't go to the windows, it's dangerous.' Four were killed that day, in that cwt. It was a dangerous place, but you never thought about it when you were there.” She also remembers the time they were filming 'Inn of the Sixth Happiness' in Penrhyn and she and a friend sneaked out of work to get Ingrid Bergman's autograph! She married a man who also worked there, leaving to have her first child in 1959 and didn't return to the factory afterwards but says that her time in Cookes was the happiest in her working life.
Marian with the powder workers. Her husband is also in the photo, far right, 1950s