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

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VSE051 Jill Williams, Lewis & Tylor Ltd, Gripoly Mills

Jill left school at 16 (1968) and started in Lewis and Tylor. She found the noise unbelievable (electrical and manual looms) and cried at the thought of working there. She stayed there 10+ years. She also did home work repairing belts. She describes and explains the skilled work in great detail. Calluses on her hands – no gloves. It was like rowing. Caring – wedding gifts etc. One group made rubberised belts on smaller looms. The men made pipes and hoses for aeroplanes. After having the children she worked part-time there. The story about the foreman and his dog. Piecework and doing quota of belts. Some rushing and poor quality of belts. Describes bouncing up and down when weaving. Some dangers – tripping, weights falling, Helping one another. They all liked one particular loom – made better quality belts. She wanted to keep her own wires – during the holidays the foreman would wrap them up for her. Different patterns – plain, purl, herringbone etc. She took a record player into work. Her clocking-in number was 60. Trips and great fun. Later there were many Indian (Kenya) workers – TB a problem and the factory was closed for a time. Story of one arranged marriage. She worked as a dinner lady too – story of the bag of money. Her mother and father’s work. She shows the measure and the needles she had. Effect on hearing. Further details of technique.
Part of this interview is available as an audio file
Jill Williams, on the right, training a young worker at the Lewis and Tylor Factory