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

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VSE032 Violet Ann Davies, JR Freeman's Cigar Factory, Cardiff;Currans, Cardiff

Ann left school at 15 (1955) and went straight into the cigar factory in Clive Street. The machines were dangerous – no guards. Singing and playing pranks. Smell of tobacco sticking to you. Names the girls she worked with. Got 200 cigarettes every month. Piecework. Describes processes. Making 3000-4000 cigars a day between two machines. Proud to be making King 60s and Indian Sticks. Company supportive when her mother was ill and when she had to take time off. Sick leave pay. Moved to new factory in 1960 – one big room. Radio and music. She left when pregnant in 1962 but returned on evening shift in 1963 but she became ill. Poverty and not having shoes to go out in. Tells story of Pat Perks – gymnast who competed in Commonwealth Games. Factory collected money to buy clothes etc for her. Ann worked part-time in Curran’s 1976-78- saucepan and baths factory. She worked on returns. Refused to work out in the yard. Her dad worked there during the war – terrible burns from boiling lead. Later she was a home carer for 23 years.
Ann Davies  at work in J.R. Freeman's Cigar Factory, 1957