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Last Week I learned that …

September 24, 2012

Last week I learned that I should forget Google for a bit and trust my memory.  For instance while at work; shelving some Ladybird Books; part of a recent deposit and forthcoming exhibition I remembered …
In 1978 as part of my role as a buyer’s clerk; I had to marry; the delivery note and invoice with the original order for any item received at the ‘goods in’ department.
The factory was  a huge site on an island between the Grand Union Canal and River Colne.

I walked between the departments with a clipboard looking important.
Each week I went to the Salle to ensure their package order from Nash Mill had been fulfilled correctly.  Here the newly milled paper was cut and prepared for dispatch; home and abroad.
While some printers like Longmans’ and Ladybird books required rolls of paper.  Others like the Houses of Parliament, Banks, solicitors  needed cut; Croxley Script was known throughout the world.
The women who worked there, as the other employees in the mill were from the local community and worked in poor conditions for very low wages.  Yet their skills won them in national acclaim; winning competitions for counting sheets of paper.  Long before computers and automatic counting machines these ladies could count paper at the speed of light almost; using only their fingertips, so not to damage the paper, with perfect accuracy.

It was a quiet and peaceful place compared with other parts of the mill where you could not hear yourself speak.   However, it was overlooked by a fearsome Charge Hand with a rod of iron ; not just watching the women diligently counting and ensuring that they didn’t slacken;  but also  for the cats … for them there was a deadly charge … to be continued

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