Ewen Jardine

(Esk Mills, Robert Gordons teaching City and Guilds, Kinleith NZ)

2002/38, Ewen Jardine interviewed in his own home in Freuchie by Sarah Bromage on 6/8/2002

Mr Jardine started work at Esk Mills in 1957 as a management trainee. He then spent several years working at Kinleith Mill in New Zealand. When he returned to Britain he started to work in papermaking education at Bury College, Robert Gordons University and now works as a freelance advisor to the industry

000 Lived all his life next to a papermill, family in the business. Great grandfather was an engineer in the mill and became mill manager at Esk Mills and Lasswade.
023 Father worked at Esk Mills. Mr Jardine finished school in 1957 and started as a management trainee. Worked way through the processes.
042 Esparto grass from Tunisia; got hayfever so couldn't stay very long. Work shadowing, 1 person at a time who was a management trainee. Followed 2 people already on program.
068 Day release at Bristo Tech. Engineering, drawing, chemistry, physics. Evenings went to Heriot Watt to do City and Guilds. 2 parts to City and Guilds.
095 Firm sent him to Cornwall, Ontario to Howard Smith's Mill work shadowing. Visited throughout Eastern Canada. Canadians were way ahead technically and had invested in new machinery rather than upgrades.

129 Different set out of mills from Canada to Scotland. Machines longer and faster. British mills specialised in short order runs; whereas Canada went for commodity papers.

146 Able to implement innovations that he had learnt in Canada when coming back to Scotland. Back in mill responsible for Health and Safety and scheduling. Papermaking still a dangerous industry to go into but much better to go into than it was before. Impossible to run if completely guarded. When feeding paper through calendar man caught hand and lost it. People always take risks.

196 Education in safety was the main thing. Has had accident himself; inhaled chlorine gas and cut himself with a stanley knife.

215 In New Zealand everyone wore ear protectors. Went to Lothian chemicals at Canonmills. Made formaldehyde; no ear protectors.

231 Mills were noisy. In New Zealand had regular hearing tests. Safety responsible for education and safety committee.

255 Orders from sales office and would program them according to the machine that could make them and delivery dates promised.

260 5-600 employees. Many women in sorting particularly coated as it was coated on both sides. 3 shifts; mill closed Saturday lunchtime till Sunday evening. Mills abroad would work 4 or 5 shift system to stop and shutdown of the machines at all.

275 Salle worked day shift 8am – 5pm. People did socialise putting, bowls, tennis, angling, golf. Summer trip organised by the mill. 1920s went by train to places like Ayr.

296 Recreation rooms; watched the Coronation at TV there. Carpet bowls. Burns suppers, table tennis and snooker. Recreation grounds; bowls, tennis, putting or cricket.

320 Father was managing director at Esk 1957 – 1965. Mill unionised, union fairly strong. Mill in New Zealand had strike in 1974, was on strike for 3 shifts so missed 3 days pay. Strike didn't start from the papermaking industry.

346 Being management was not a member of a union. In New Zealand meeting with labour union rep. Had relatives in New Zealand; got itchy feet and decided to go. Stayed in New Zealand for 3 years until father became ill. Worked in production scheduling, offered staff hostel in Rosyth in Tokoroa. Names of streets reflected Edinburgh and the mills. Named by Sir David Henry who came from Kinleith on the Water of Leith.

386 6 machines in 1965. Mill in the middle of forest, would be bussed to factory. Running through the forest. Social activities organised by individuals. Electrician for operatic society. People made their own entertainment.

418 Back to Scotland, went to Inveresk at Musselburgh as project leader. Closed in 1971 and transferred to Carrongrove. Went back to Kinleith NZ. Working shifts was more knowledgeable as had done City and Guilds and had training. New Zealand worked on seniority. People had become less mobile and did not move.

436 2 years and came back and worked at chemical firm while getting qualifications to go to University.

441 Management science with technical studies degree at Stirling University. Summer jobs with the industry training board. Lecturer at Bury College. Worked as a lecturer at Robert Gordons in papermaking.

452 Went into mill training. Mills more productive per person now. People don't get day release. Did New Zealand trade certificate, did it 2 hours before or after shift. Papermaking is a community.

475 Salaries when he first started. Canteen at Esk also used when he had visitors, customers, trainees, printers, local groups and schools.

490 1964 / 65 mill put in coating plant. Paper machines not fast enough to cope with coating machine. Had to buy in paper from Scandinavia. Coating machine drained firm of money. Machine went to Sweden.

511 Musselburgh got 1 months notice, supervision broke down and operators operated the machine as they knew best. Made paper much better without interruption of production management. Developing new grades of paper as project manager, develop alkaline sizing, which is non acidic.

535 Some mills were protective of technology; man sacked for making crepe paper. Security conscious of coating recipes.

556 Chemists would have HNC or HND. Tended only to be the technical manager who had a degree. A lot of work went into developing new grades of paper; couldn't compete with overseas companies making large quantities of uniform paper. Had to have speciality. Different mills made speciality paper.

599 Shared export manager with Galloways on the Water of Leith. He would also go round factories abroad and sell paper and pens. Would come into lab and discuss developments and complaints. He passed away and Mr Jardine went abroad and did this job.

633 20% export. A lot went to Pillans and Wilsons, Nelsons; Edinburgh printers. London and Manchester sales office. Also sold to merchants.

651 Spent a year in the London office, Blackfriars Bridge. Had regular customers, sales people had customers which they would take with them when they moved. Father left mill in 1965, new board took over mill and also William Todd mill. Paper competition growing meant that mills had to specialise or go under.

715 Lowering of subsidies made in more difficult for mill to compete. Location of mill: mills had 2 lorries who would generally deliver locally; mostly by ship.

724 Shift to recycling didn't start till the 1980s. Esparto polluting; tried to improve effluent treatment. Smell of spent liquor. Tunisia built own pulp mill and to buy in esparto pulp rather than esparto grass.

750 Industry training board. 1980 – 1987 Bury College. Glenrothes and in-company training for City and Guilds. 1990 – 1995 When went to Robert Gordons thought that he would service Aberdeen Mills, but too much commuting and a lot of work locally. City and Guilds non existent at the moment, but is going to be revised and revived.

788 Single unit mills now with much larger machines. High productivity now; economies of scale tremendous. Leave big copy paper to foreign mills.

820 Railways by Cowans and James Brown. Esparto took up a large part of the mill. Potcher house broke up wood pulp and esparto. Which fed the esparto.

841 Compartmentalised, built over the river. Mills had many tied houses, meant that if you fell out with your manager you lost your house and your job.

863 Esk mill started monthly newsletter to educate people about safety. Auto club, football club, snooker. Esk Mill donated a quaich for the angling club. Played Cowans and some of the Water of Leith clubs at golf.

896 Families within the mills, knew everyone from childhood. But didn't know people at Cowans.

910 Film of Esk Mills: Bill Cairns lost hand in calendar accident. Made own bleach. Layout of the mill. Duster forking esparto. Recovery furnace and potchers. Bleaching towers and paper machine with dandy rolls. Supercalendars.

953 End

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