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

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VSE001 Rita Spinola (nee Stevens), Mr Spencer's leather factory, Cardiff;Horrock's, Cardiff

Rita left school at 15 (1954) and worked in a laundry while waiting for a vacancy at Horrock’s. First task – hand sewing; then machinist - making part of garment. They made lovely circular dresses and dressing gowns. Social life; radio and singing; Cutters and packers were women too. Factory closed c.1958/9. Attitude to factory work. Sales of other Horrock’s products too. Union – temperature at factory. Needle through finger. Lorna Leslie (singer - stage name Irene Spetti, David Dickinson’s wife) worked there. Moved to leather factory – 2/3 machinists making school satchels etc. Oiling machines – got impetigo, lack of hygiene and no facilities. No fun there. Stayed there 18 months and then went to Germany with her husband. She became pregnant. Returned and she worked in St Paul’s school as a dinner lady for 38 years.
Horrocks workers at a dinner dance in the Connaught Rooms, 1955. Rita is on the right