William Nelson

(bookkeeper, then company secretary at Caldwells)

2002/118 William Nelson interviewed in his own home by Sarah Bromage in Fife on 3/12/2002

William Nelson started work in John Galloway and Sons in 1948. He worked in the firm as a book keeper until 1956 when he moved to Caldwells Mill in Inverkeithing to become Company Secretary.

000 Went to George Heriots school. First job was in Edinburgh Corporation transport as a clerical assistant. Day release to Edinburgh University. 1941 called up, when came back finished degree

040 Applied for bookkeepers job in Galloways, advert in the Scotsman. Interviewed by Robert Mowat. Appointment letter, kept ordinary books. Daily duties; received cash from bank, supervised girls in the office, filled cash envelopes.

086 People paid on a Thursday, 200 people worked there. Products made from 2 machines. Patent for champion process, coating during process.

119 Fine paper mill, made writing papers, twin wire boards. Machine coated boards.

133 Paper control not long stopped in 1948. London, Manchester, Dublin sales office.

147 Company Secretary Mr Mowat. Filled in customer order book. Changing deckle to accommodate different orders. Colours of paper flow naturally. Skill of papermaker is to run the machine efficiently from one order to the next. Battle between what was ordered and what was efficient.

194 Demand for paper so high. Involuntary rationing scheme. Papermaker very important; a director. John Anderson.

218 People who worked in office, time keeper. Time clock, times went up to wages office, 3 girls worked in there. 5 girls in general office. Filled in machine order book and finishing house book.

254 Galloways had 15 tonne lorry. Trains for goods to Balerno station. Esparto grass went into Leith docks for goods down to London.

275 Used to Smith and Saunders hauliers. 15 tonne lorry went to Leith docks for good down to London. Lorries took sludge from settling pond to tip. Day shift lorries.

301 Mill ran 24 hours for 6 days a week. 3 shift system, 42 hours. Stopped on Saturday 6-8am and washed machines. Renew felts and new wires. Mills would close at 12pm.

328 Used felts. Directors would get felt overcoats, curtains made. Esparto wax sent to Tullis Russell as they refined wax. Esparto mills distinctive to Scotland. Once a year the mill got share of surplus.

359 Esparto grass was a horrible smell. 2 boilers, recovery rate of caustic soda. 60% recovery rate average. Steam boilers ran turbine and esparto grass plant.

392 Found job interesting. Involved with sales and production. Not given any papermaking training. Got on well with Tom Elliot the foreman. Got into mills because family worked there. Balerno separate from town. Girls finishing house or office. Boy would start off in machine room.

427 Beaterhouse and machineman. Penny more in hourly rate. Boilermen not as important to the finished product. Laboratory and chief chemist would have studied ONC and HNC. Chemist had two lab assistants who would take samples.

458 Built new lab, lab assistant would also go to night school. Machinemen would not go to night school, would learn on job. Foremen would decide on daily orders.

478 A good machineman would work on both machines. Always a learning process with coating. Twin wire machine a speciality.

498 London office responsible for most of orders. Agent in Manchester and Belgium. Chief salesman Freddie MacDonald at London office, had a typist and an office girl. Was in central London, daily letter from agents and offices about orders.

523 All info on orders would go to John Galloways. He was very involved and needed to know everything. Carried in letters to John Galloway. History of John Galloway, left Portobello mill because the Edinburgh corporation was pressurising him about effluent and moved to Balerno.

563 Edinburgh corporation would come out daily to check effluent levels. Promise of new sewer, didn't build in it as lack of funds.

580 Mr Galloway would occasionally walk through mill. Shy man, would not be above talking to the foreman. Did not come round general office. Mistake in conversion of playing cards, led to large wastage. Assistant managing director John Haig.

627 Had daughters, son in law and nephew John Haig.

647 Hours worked in the office Monday to Saturday. Got in trouble with Robert Mowat as was going on holiday cycling. Worked till 1pm on Saturday. Got a fortnight off, mills ran through Christmas Day. Mill would be closed New Year, but staff would half be in at Christmas and New Year. New Years Day some nightwatchmen in mill and a couple of clerks and clerkesses.

718 Paid by cheque, most people paid by cash. Son paid by cash until recently. All pay in small envelopes, arrived from bank at 10am. Would pay at 2pm and 5pm. Box with wages in it.

767 Girls in salle worked office hours. Buildings at Galloways. Office building was a lovely building which went down to the machineroom. Beyond esparto and steam boilers. Finishing house a separate building.

796 Built to a certain size and then expanded. Office people not supposed to wander through building. Got on well with most people. Took round mill on first few days.

823 Staff and machinemen would mix as were family. Sandy Duncan had mill house, lots of mill houses. John Galloway lived in Corstorphine.

846 Traveled to work by bus, then began cycling. People in the office wore a suit.

870 Shared office with the girls. Sloping top desk. Desk had brass rail with round rulers and a papermakers rule made of bamboo. Must convert customers order to standard size. Names of different types of paper. Quarto 8 by 10. Foolscap 8 ½ by 11 ½

916 Different between areas. Acknowledgement went out. Variations.

934 Decimilisation in paper trade did not convert. Standardisation: British industry slow to convert.

952 End.

© Copyright -All rights reserved Sapphire 2013