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

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VN026 Blodwen Owen, Cookes Explosives, Penrhyndeudraeth

Blodwen worked in Cookes Explosive from soon after leaving school to when she retired in 1970. She had a five year gap when she had her children. The factory wasn't a comfortable place to work especially during the war, when they made hand grenades and the women's hands went yellow and there was an odor of TNT. It was a dangerous job. In describing the work, Blodwen said she had a stand and she had to push the powder inside the grenade. Other girls painted the outside, either green or red, and when they were dry, they were put into a holder to fill them with TNT. If they weren't filled properly they came back to be refilled. Blodwen always tried to do hers properly. She lost a sister, Elizabeth, in the big explosion of 1957, when four workers died in a explosion in one of the 'cwts'. Blodwen was on the works committee in the late 1960s. After working there for 25 years, the company presented her with a silver watch, which she still wears today. In the end, the doctor discovered that she suffered from 'NG Poisoning' and said she was not going back to work, she had to finish work on the same day. After that, she worked in a shop.
Blodwen in the Cookes canteen, 1960sThe Cookes Works Committee, Blodwen front row on the right, 1960sReceiving a clock from Dr Stone  on her retirement, 1970Blodwen with co-workers, 1940s