Thallon Veitch

(head finisher)

2003/14, Thallon Veitch interviewed in his own home in Edinburgh by Sarah Bromage on 26/3/2003

Thallon Veitch began work in John Galloways, Balerno in 1942. He continued working in Galloways until the closure of the mill He worked in the machine house, but after an accident he was transferred to the Salle. He worked in various capacities within the Salle and his last position was Head Finisher

000 Father worked in mill so there was a good chance he would get a job. Mill moved from Portobello to Balerno.

014 Began work at 15, everyone wanted to work in the mill. Move from Portobello, father left work as too much travelling. Galloways gave father mill house to get him to come back.

048 Mill house; description of house. Good housing

064 First job was on rewinder. Man he worked for had a temper. Moved on to machine cleaner. Machine man was the pinnacle job. Description of cleaning machine.

105 Second assistant; cutting for going to the calenders. Accident, badly hurt

147 When returned to work offered promotion; description of job. Off work for three years in total. Back after 18 months but his first weekend back he fell and was off work.

167 Pay while off work. When returned sent to the salle. Wanted to get back to machine house as machine man was the top job.

185 Tom Elliot and John Anderson papermakers.

194 Put onto packing, description of head finishers. Tommy Ferguson was meticulous, tie had to be straight. Willie Arthur came from Inveresk. Mr Veitch was transferred to the guillotine.

221 Always conscientious, not fast but consistent. Transferred to the guillotine. Mr Strachan was the papermaker. On guillotine had basic wage and bonus.

242 Time and Motion. London firm who would time you on every process of the job. Used to study Mr Veitch as his work was consistent. 3 or 4 Time and Study men went round different departments in the mill.

268 Report on Time and Study cam out and points per ream for bonus were drastically cut. Complained and asked for an appointment with Mr Galloway. Argument with Mr Galloway, came to compromise.

295 Mr Galloway very aloof, people did not speak to him.

309 Offered job as Assistant Head Finisher. Took job but never told anyone until he started. 2 sections of the salle.

337 Big sheets more difficult to make bonus on. Gave everyone the difficult jobs that they used to like to leave till last.

354 Blotting paper made by bales of rags. Esparto grass. Lack of raw materials during the war. As long as some esparto was used it could be called esparto paper.

364 The rag merchant, location of his firm. Girls had to sort through rags. 6 girls working on rags. Put down chute and ground up into a pulp.

400 Fire in esparto shed. Move from buying esparto grass to esparto pulp. Bale fell on guy who died. No Health and Safety. Fatality on belts, gets hit by pole. Accident on machine, pulled in by belt. Lots of small accidents. When feeding the calender roll got fingers caught.

441 First aid at the mill, latterly employed a nurse.

447 Mill always running, no short time. Mill closed, lots of orders. Produced 150 tonnes a week production. When the mill closed had 500 tonnes of work on the order book.

464 No training, Archie taught him about finishes. When Archie retired he was asked to take his job. Mr Haig was the Managing Director after Mr Galloway and brought in another man.

478 On machine coating; description of the process. New machine did off machine coating. New plant cost too much, banks wanted their money back.

498 Mr Walton was disliked. Asked to be Head Finisher, took on job.

509 Changes he made to improve production. Customers were Vogue, Country Life. Trial run which he did not want going out. Away for a break; told everyone trial was not to go out. It went out, he solved problem.

544 Walton went mad. Told him off and then he was demoted to export without being told. Reduction in salary. Ian Napier was mill manager at the time, asked him for a meeting with Walton. Never got his meeting.

571 East Lancs came in to help firm, would send up paper. Mr Walton was dismissed and Mr Veitch was reinstated.

599 Galloways could not get to grips with the new machine. Description of the processes of the new machine. 3 men on the Eck and 2 on the rewinders.

639 2 machines in Galloways. No1 had a single wire. No2 a twin wire which made thick card. Pulp board made on No2 machine and exported all over the world.

672 People would work on either machine. Export; would go up to office and go through mail with the head clerk and work out orders. Description of packing.

702 London office; visited office when travelling round looking for guillotines. Ran out of money so had to go to Galloways Head office in London to get more money.

741 Manchester office opened latterly. Sold offices to get more money for the firm.

753 Salle discarded paper and reduced productivity, but wanted a perfect sheet. 128 girls working in the salle. 3 supervisors and Jean Haig the senior supervisor. Working hours and breaks.

778 People went home for lunch. Canteen latterly in the stockroom. But before people would put a jug of water by the pipe and turn steam on it.

800 Community spirit, one big family. Everybody tried to get in the mill. Families in the mill. Nicknames which passed through generations.

840 Many different trades in the mill. 20 – 30 people in the engineers shop. 6 in the electricians shop. Would wait until something happened, would work weekends.

856 Father was a brass finisher. When he was 21 he was earning more than his father. First family to have TV in street, all the children in the neighbourhood would come in and watch TV.

874 End

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