Jim Aird

(analytical chemist)

2002/101, Jim Aird interviewed in his own home in Bonnyrigg by Sarah Bromage on 31/10/2002

Jim Aird worked as an apprentice analytical chemist at John Galloways and Sons in 1967.

000 Leaving school must get a job. Advert for John Galloway for an apprentice analytical chemist. Got a shipping company job at £2.50 a week, no future in shipping he thought.

031 Galloways paid more and needed to help mother. Was 16/17 when started at Galloways.

054 Contracted by Galloways. Interviews with a gentleman who used to pay for Hearts. Technical Manager.

073 Interviewed in the block just in front gate. Description of office buildings and lab.

097 Time office and time keeper. Description of the lab.. Lab still; Customs and Excise would come and check still.

126 Mr Donald Technical Manager, his office worked 8.30 till 5pm.

157 Did not know what the tests he was doing were helping with.

170 Important to take tests from certain places to get a fresh sample. Would walk round mill and take tests at certain times.

185 Boiler house first, 2 boilers. Personnel in Lab; John studying HND, man interested in Citroen cars. A brown lab coat meant you were down the bottom of the hierarchy. Lab coat often soaked because of leaning over the potcher. Bought own lab coats.

237 Guy suffering from muscular dystrophy, knew what he was doing in the lab.

262 Paper testing lab separate. Workers would test the paper. Workers not allowed in the lab. Health and Safety poster on the wall.

283 Any doubt, someone else would do it. Broke would go back in the potchers. But only a certain percentage as fibre length would get too short.

305 Paper strength constantly monitored throughout run to maintain quality.

321 Boilerhouse samples of clinker. Caustic plant takes sample from roaster looking for quality of material. Samples testing pH and colour of water for water treatment. Dose the sewer with mercuric compound to outflow on Water of Leith.

363 Pollution, people quite aware of . Measure to help this. People he worked with in the mill. Samples of potchers and esparto grass. Looking for starch content and moisture, so you weigh and burn it.

401 Advice from chemist, chew the esparto to beak it. Iodine indicates starch. Sit and count fibres. Looking for amount of china clay. Weigh it, burn it and look for ash. China clay used as coating. China clay goes on like paint on a wall.

441 Test for viscosity, solids. Problems with coating. Trying to get highest quality you can possibly produce.

462 If paper gone out and been rejected. Very important you find out if there is a problem with the paper. How it has been stored, how it has been delivered and if it has been used in the wrong manner.

477 Small store. Paper produced to a specification. Would tear bits of paper after calendar rolls.

491 Would check process through and beyond the salle. Check the relative humidity of the salle by windows and heaters. Would go to the salle at your peril. Did what you and to do and get out quick. Would get teased.

515 Were men in the salle, but not many. Women were experts and could count out flaws. Would always get samples and cast offs.

532 Would check abnormality and then report to Mr Donald. Problems with paper all the time. Major problem would be a mechanical breakdown.

547 Maintenance during the holidays. Remembers Trades holidays and annual holidays. Cannot remember being off on holiday.

561 In lab always had tea on the go. Drunk tea out of beakers doing tests on. Took enough breaks to eat. Staff canteen separated from workers.

581 No memory of office, remembers mill well. Did not mix well with workers. Welcoming to those form elsewhere. Played rugby not football. Living out of Balerno and being dependant on SMT buses.

640 Pay given in office. Wouldn't have to clock in and out.

665 Took job at Galloways. Uncle and grandfather were bookbinders. Made career choices by accident. No advice on careers. Training, the HND was something attained over a number of years.

703 14 test. Given a sheet on how to do them. A bit ham fisted at first. All results worked out mathematically from figures. No calculators.

740 Constantly monitored, looking for consistency. Protective materials. None of the indicators were problematic. Caustic acid, wore gloves. Mercuric compound, wore big leather gloves and goggles

783 Accident, hurt hand. Burst machine which measured strength of paper, caught hand in it. Called nurse. Papermaking dangerous; hazards in mill.

821 Can't remember fires. Fire extinguisher round mill. Remembers people smoking cigarettes and pipes.

839 Not aware of the job specification of the nurse. Was not aware of the trade unions and was not a member.

863 Any problems would go and speak to Mr Donald. Remembers death of John Galloway and the funeral at Dean Cemetery

884 Did work in total isolation of those in the mill. Noisy and couldn't make out what people were saying to one another.

898 End

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