Betty White

cutter house at Kinleith, salle at Galloways

2003/16, Betty White interviewed in her home in Edinburgh by Sarah Bromage on 1/4/2003

Betty White worked in the cutter house in Kinleith Mill between 1933 –1934. She moved John Galloways to work in the salle between 1934 –1939. She then left the papermills to work in the sawmills in the war years.

000 Went to Balerno Primary and then Currie High School. Left school at 14, it was expected that she would go into the papermill. Went to Mr Cargill and asked for a job. No formal interview.

024 In Cutter House, boys and girls started bagging shavings. Worked for a year, one person to each of the three machines.

056 Felt that it was better at Balerno so left Kinleith and earned a bit more. At Kinleith pay day got money out of tin. Balerno got money in packet. 1p off for the Infirmary.

077 Black cross over overall at Kinleith which you bought yourself. Dusty and dangerous crawling under machine. No pits at Balerno, broke and shavings came out sides. No girls bagging shavings in cutter house at Balerno.

110 In Kinleith would work up to overhauling. Men that run cutters were in charge. You went into cutter house at Galloways. Moved into stamping with stencils or sweeping floor.

137 Went into overhauling, 40 in overhauling in long rows. Process of overhauling. Allocation each day. No canteen, place to sit.

166 Bakers in Balerno would buy roll and take it with you. Worked 7am – 5.15pm. Break at lunch. Talk to people either side. Put to work, knew more or less.

187 Satin finished paper for magazines. Harlaw bond and boards of various colours. Quality paper made at Galloways.

202 Glazed paper difficult as sticky. Various ages in the salle. People still worked after they married.

217 Paid fortnightly and then weekly. Basic wage and bonus if you had done extra. Everyone usually got bonus.

233 John Galloway good to work for. Hire a train and take you on the family outing. All got a bag with eats. Everyone went from Balerno Station. Mil dance in the Charlotte Rooms.

257 No holidays. Not off unless you were ill. Not paid if you were sick, sick pay through national health.

275 Everyone knew each other in the mill. If you lived in Currie and Juniper Green you worked in Kinleith. Those in Balerno worked in Galloways as well as those who had been in Portobello.

291 Asked for job at Galloways. Mr Ferguson manager of the salle. Mrs Jarvis was in charge of women and would discipline them.

307 Rubber hose on finger. Method of overhauling. Waste paper, had to separate shades. Paper had to be perfect and the overseer would check. Carrying paper very heavy.

333 Felt apron which protected overall. Men carried paper on trolley and distribution paper. 4 or 5 tyers, 1 for each table.

356 Countries Galloways exported to; stamping destinations. Chinese writing. Paper went all over the world.

372 Storeroom with rows of paper ready for export. Road and railway, station at Balerno. Galloways had own lorry drivers, 3 in her own time.

391 Esparto grass, pulp and coal shipped in by lorry. 200 employees in the mill roughly, different departments. Never shown round mill. Men worked up to being machinemen.

416 Mill worked 24 hours. Salle worked Monday to Saturday 7am – 5.15pm and Saturday 7 – 12. Saw Mr Galloway but had no contact.

430 Started a union at end of time at mill.

441 Wore overall in the salle. Sports day, tennis courts and putting green owned by Galloways, did not have to pay. 2 sisters that worked in the overhauling at the mill. Father worked in sawmill.

465 Left papermill to work in the sawmill, either that or go to the forces. Mill houses for employees, not a great number. Mostly management and key workers got houses.

488 No nurse in mill. Paper cuts in the salle and put sticky tape round fingers. Stacking esparto grass fatalities.

503 Closure had big effect on village. Couldn't hear mills, smell of esparto grass. Local dances, whist drives and dominoes. Safe to walk to dances and back.

530 Most people who worked in mill lived locally. Would cycle to work. The hooter would sound in the morning and night. Only worked in the mill till the wartime. No choice but to go into mill. Pay was quite good, but all the mills paid about the same.

560 Method of overhauling. Counters paid a little bit more and slightly easier. Guillotine.

581 Managers desk, high up above the salle. Offices. Salle was on the top floor. Layout of the mill.

607 A canteen came later. Nephew who was a painter who decorated the mill houses. Most worked on houses as contractors were employed to come and paint the mill. Nephew worked on John Galloways house in Corstorphine. Mr Galloway had family that worked in the mill.

643 Only stayed in one section. Ladies worked only in the salle and the office.

657 Blackout of salle. Salle had sloping glass roof. Hot in summer. Hot pipes in the salle, always warm.

684 End.

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