John Brown

(cutter house)

2002/104 John Brown interviewed in his own home by Sarah Bromage in Edinburgh on 15/11/2002

John Brown worked at Inglis Mill, Bonnington, Edinburgh from 1946 to 1989. He worked in all sections of the mill, but was mainly based in the cutting house.

000 From school worked in a wood merchants. Went to Inglis Mill after 6 months.

033 All his family worked in the mill and lived in mill housing. Uncle worked there as a beaterman when he started.

048 Could easily get a job at this stage. Started as a labourer, went to navy for two years. Then went on shift work.

072 12 hour shift, breaks taken as and when. Went to do Teddy Meechan's job. Was machineman, but did not like it.

095 Went to work on cutters. People stayed on after retirement age.

115 Secretive with their skills. You are put on a job. Papermaking was a semi skilled trade. Brought in as an assistant

140 There for 43 years, finished as he came in. No lab, did it yourself. Dyes and colours at the mill; recipe charts goes to the beaters.

162 Mill producing craft paper. Raw materials. Made bingo paper, crayons for school books.

184 Newspaper was main raw material and woodpulp into the early 1960s. Woodpulp became too expensive.

200 Mill was a happy place; 1960s people started questioning hours and pay. Mill joined union and lost out as paid less.

224 20 people worked at the mill. 4 to each shift. Fire men. Women at the mill worked in the finishing. Automatic counter stopped the finishing

260 Shortage after the war. Made paper for stock. Still got eight hours on short time, was a printers strike in 1959. Mills went out too.

293 Collected pay from office. Mill hours; shut 12pm Saturday to Monday morning. No holiday on Christmas day, got New Years day off. Week off and a couple of days.

318 Annual trips. Collected waste paper and that paid for the trip. Description of the mill trip.

340 Different places visited on mill outings. Would collect paper in buckets, boss would pay them and that would pay for the trip. Price of paper fluctuated.

360 Trip taken on one of the holiday days. All the family would go. Bosses were good, would not think of leaving. Mill managed by Mr Williamson. Father was manager before him.

380 Connor took over the mill in 1986, closed mill in 1989. Tried to extend the mill and changing the colours too much. Led to too much paper of the wrong colour. Why mill closed.

412 Pension scheme. Money he got from the pension scheme.

430 People who had family in the mill. A lot of people lived locally, then started living further afield.

454 Not much socialising out of work. Ran dances at Assembly Rooms, mill would not pay.

472 Health and Safety, 2 men killed. Friend got caught in machine. People would leave guards off. Had to fight for compensation, didn't get paid wages when you were off.

502 No first aid, too small a concern. Union rates. As shop steward collected money, talk new people into joining. Would only fight for those that he believed in. Not a closed shop, but most people joined.

538 People that worked on the shift. Everyone helped with the parceling. Made for order, hold some extra in stock.

566 Buildings at the mill. Now 12/15 factory units. When he first started coal burner. Then got self feeding hopper. Not much investment into machinery in mill. Last 10 years got second hand cutter. Machines very old.

588 Mill quite noisy, no protective clothing. Things like earphones meant to be a help, but actually a hindrance.

612 If break would lead paper in by the hand, machine still going. Felts would last for a year if machineman was good, usually 6 months. Could buy felt and got blankets. 5 blankets out of a felt. Felt at 80 inch wide.

715 End

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