James McKechnie

1999/161 James McKechnie interviewed at his home by Dr Heather Holmes on 26 October 1999

000 Starting work in Nelson's; dates
003 Seeking work; close residence to place of work
021 Reputation of Nelsons
028 Payment of wages; reputation; general reputation
036 Length of apprenticeship; print exam; location; nature and subject of exam; interview
055 Interview at Nelsons; qualification requirements; need for apprentices after the end of Second World War
071 Starting work; work in warehouse
080 Location of old factory and new factory; work processes and extent of production work
099 Work in warehouse; starting work as an apprentice bookbinder; length to be waited for other trades before apprenticeship could be started; comparison of wage rates between labourers and apprentices
126 Wage rates for first year apprentices; comparison with labourers
137 Status of labourers and apprentices
147 Relations between labourers and apprentices; orders for work for apprentices and labourers
152 Jobs at the start of apprenticeship; type of work; dodges; breaking up of monotony of work
182 Work during first year of apprenticeship; assisting journeymen; specific tasks
199 Development of skills; move onto skilled jobs; training methods; hand binding and learning of its skills
218 Increase of responsibility
224 Apprentices had specific machines
227 Technological reputation of Nelsons
229 Folding machines; shift patterns and work patterns on one of the folding machines
240 Apprentice work; learning how to work machines
247 Training; attachment to journeymen; learning of skills; character of Harry Steele
261 Employment of old men; shortages of skilled males
270 Pension; factors for deciding level of pension; need to employ workers over the Second World War
279 Old men in the bindery; pride of old men and their jobs
291 Names of old men
300 Old men and rates of productivity; factors behind low productivity
306 Bindery area; work of dilutees; nature and character of dilutees; rearrangement of workers
314 Reactions to women dilutees
324 Presence of dilutees; phasing out
329 Names of women dilutees; character
336 Jobs of dilutees; character of their work
350 Relations between dilutees and journeymen; nature of relations
361 Names of apprentices after end of Second World War
367 Effect of war on apprenticeships; calling up of men who had been apprentices; night school arrangements of men who has been on service
384 Interest in hearing of war-time exploits; work on hurdy gurdy; telling of stories
402 Numbers of men; men going to war
414 Older men had stories of First World War; re-enacted episodes from the war
424 End of apprenticeship; marking end of apprenticeship; initiation; meeting the bookbinder's daughter
430 Meeting the bookbinder's daughter; custom; sending apprentices for 'Tales of Adam's Grandfather'; other pranks
456 Shortening the length of the apprenticeship
469 No indentures; knew when you were to become a journeyman
475 Starting the apprenticeship; other apprentices starting at same time
483 Culture of apprentices; socialising
490 Playing of pranks; thread and fur; letting off fire extinguisher
509 Work in glue room; types of work; throwing snowballs
516 Smoking; places where smoking took place
528 Length of training in specific areas of bindery
534 Night school and bindery activities; scholarships
553 Training at college; times of release and places of classes
558 Day release; night classes; times when undertaken in apprenticeship
556 Studying; sitting of City and Guilds Exam; purpose of exam; importance
585 Subjects taught at day release at Heriot-Watt
596 Day release; size of classes; apprentices from other firms; days of week for day release
623 Length of working week; Saturday working; collection of wages on a Saturday
637 Work on Christmas day; New Year holidays
649 Beano, a feast at Christmas day; time of feast; working conditions
677 Preparation of beano
691 Hogmanay and work; animosity between office and factory floor over Christmas day holiday
704 Victory over Christmas day holiday; holiday throughout industry at same time; differences in date of getting holiday because of strength of unions
727 Unrest in 1946; employment of dilutees
742 Didn't notice labour shortages
752 Shortages of materials; rationing
768 New equipment; types of machinery; impact
789 Manufacture of machinery by Nelsons; date of machines; improved technology
803 Effect of mechanisation on labour; relationship between new machines and labour
813 Reactions to introduction of new machinery; introduction of new machines; types; problems in introduction of new machines; moving machines
833 Introduction of new machines; high status to work on a new machine
842 Engineers; number of engineers
852 Introduction of machinery after the War; time of introduction; difficulty of buying new machines; waiting lists
869 Smythe had engineering men visiting Nelsons; frequency of visits
874 Smythe sewing machines; number of machines; range of Smythe machines; nature of Smythe machines
893 Size of labour force in bindery; range of trades and processes; ratio of women employed in the bindery
904 Women employed on specific tasks; range of tasks
923 Relationship between men and women; way men viewed women; status of women
929 Apprenticeship of women; length of apprenticeship; character
937 Female management structure; presence of female overseers
951 Women managers; award of supervisory positions; way of rising in status
968 Process to become a supervisor

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