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2258, WA/06
Wathes Collection

Speaker: Anon., 1926 - 0, Interviewee, Male, Electrical engineer
Speaker: Hyde, C, Interviewer, Male

Summary of interview item: Outlines family background in Leicester. Describes how started as errand boy at TH Wathes, then as apprentice at early age of 15 due to Second World War, preferring the work to parents' shop. Describes TH Wathes, names men who were at Wathes during war, briefly mentions fire watching. Thumbnail sketch of Sydney Wathes. Talks about training at Wathes, and in army where worked with engines. Describes work at Wathes, tools, reputation for good quality work, difficulty of progressing in company. Comments that although women drove cranes during war they wouldn't have been electricians. Illustrates dangers of work, recalls going on strike for a day but unions not featuring at Wathes, pay rates agreed union or not. Recalls few social events other than Christmas meals at Grand Hotel, 50th anniversary. Describes premises at St Nicholas Circle, retail not working too well, problems with acquisition of Tarratt's. Explains problems of making estimates for work, competition, good period when working abroad in places like Dubai. Recalls changes when Peter Thurnham took over, such as monthly accounts. Mentions work for Kempton's hosiery, changes in budgeting, decline of electrical contracting, increasing informality of workplace, people being sacked on spot in past.
Place of birth: Leicester
Marital Status: Married, Children:
Father's Occupation: Clicker; Shopkeeper
Mother's Occupation: Shopkeeper
Location: County: Leicestershire
Location: Town/Place: Leicester
Periods Covered: 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s
Language: English

Recording Date: 9/10/2002
Playing time: 2 hrs 20 mins
Access Restrictions: Name withheld Item Copyright: EMOHA
Summary: Yes
Transcription: No
Copies: Yes
Cross Reference:

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Last updated: 08/05/02
East Midland Oral History Archive Web maintainer
This document has been approved by the head of department or section.