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

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VSE080 Margaret Gerrish, Cora Garment Factory, Pengam;Spirellas Corset Factory, Cardiff;JR Freeman's Cigar Factory, Cardiff

Margaret talks of her father’s unionism NACODS and of leaving school at 13-4 (1944-5). She started working in a boarding school in Yeovil and then returned to Wales. She worked in Freeman’s. They travelled there from Tredegar by train. It was a new world. She saved with a provident cheque from her wages. The work was about earning money. Radio and singing. Shirley Bassey used to work there. Before Freeman’s she says she worked in Spirella’s. She had been apprenticed at The tailoring shop in New Tredegar- Parry’s. She didn’t go into the factory but did corset fittings for people in their homes. She had a skirt and jacket made for herself at Spirella’s. In c.1949-50 she went to Cora’s, making clothes for M&S and began in the cutting room. Supervisors were sent to Leicester to train. Then a new supervisor who began sacking workers. She was on examining and because one whole batch was bad he sacked them all. The union stood by them and they had their jobs back. After getting married she didn’t work in a factory.
Margaret Gerrish, far left, and colleagues from the Cora garment factory