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

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VSE077 Jeanette Groves, Western Shirt Company, Cardiff

Jeanette left school at 14 (1946) and started in the sewing factory, where her mother used to work. She started in the cutting room then she became a machinist. Needles through fingers, scissors in her eye and one woman scalped (in her mother’s time) Getting to work by bus or bike. Wearing rollers to work but putting make up and combing hair at the first break. Some made their own clothes during lunch time. Had to unpick if there was a mistake and they helped one another or lose money. Their aim was a dozen skirts an hour @ 1shilling a dozen. Out around Cardiff during lunch break. A crowd went out in the evenings – dancing. They waited for natural light before making dark clothing. They made shirts and pyjamas only. Teasing the one mechanic by interfering with their machines. Annual trips and issued with cigarettes. She left after 3 years because she had TB. She married and moved to Bristol where it was cured eventually.
Western Shirt Company workers,  Jeanette Groves standing left, 1940s