Peter Greig

(Group engineering)

2003/21 Peter Greig interviewed in his own home in Edinburgh by Sarah Bromage on 24/6/2003

Peter Greig served his apprenticeship at Bertrams of Sciennes. On returning from National Service he decided to change jobs and moved to Inveresk where he worked in Group Engineering. He subsequently moved to Caldwells in Inverkeithing

000 Schools attended. Left school at 15, could not start his apprenticeship until he was 16. Family in the mills

024 Father worked in the farms and then Kinleith. Water man checking water supply. Water turbine. Was at mill when younger. Father mentioned to chief engineer and he got a job.

062 Didn't have to pay for apprenticeship, was the first year not to have to. Vacancy in the drawing office. Bertrams of Sciennes 1951 - 1961/2 . On stock preparation design.

084 Dealing with mills all over the company. Had worked with many mills before he moved to Inveresk.

098 5 years apprenticeship and improver rate. Pay on apprenticeship. In drawing office for whole apprenticeship. 1 year tracing and simple drawing. Estimating and buying department separate.

125 Centenary book. Mr Greig in book. Celebrations, annual trips and picnics stopped in the 1950s. Bertrams had sports ground at Meggetland. Canteen at Bertrams.

153 Centenary struck a medal for all employees. Good firm. Firm should have amalgamated. James Bertram more advanced.

174 Always fully occupied, jobs were busy. Completed apprenticeship. No one asked to leave when finished apprenticeship. Back to drawing office at Bertrams. Decided to leave and found out about Group engineering by word of mouth.

204 Sandy Thomson a character, good conscientious man. Applied for group engineering. Interview in offices. Drury Lane group personnel office interview.

225 Not a big change in salary; £600 in 1962. Good wage at time. Group engineering disliked as only worked Monday to Friday 9 - 5 and office worked Saturday morning. Group engineering separate and 10 people at most worked there.

242 Would go to mill to do projects. First job in Henry Bruce's was changing a calendar from steam to electric.

272 Would go to mill to do projects. Father was still working there. 65 when mill shut, got redundancy

287 Investment into Kinleith. 2 machines running side by side and another one at right angles. Dangerous operations; changing power supply. Slow machines. 3 other mills making the same paper.

307 Didn't know the mill was going to change. Group engineering moved to Inveresk Musselburgh when Kinleith closed. Redistributed equipment.

320 Westfield closed, he retired out there. Group engineering 50% of time spent in England. 5 mills in Scotland.

337 Mistake at work, grading of cylinders. Thought they were all the same, delayed work by a month. Got in trouble.

350 Resentment at Group Engineering (GE). An installation squad was planned to completely centralise the operation but this never materialised. Jealousy between mills. Families who owned mills.

365 Some mills not welcoming at first, took a while. Older mills felt GE were interfering.

378 Trevor Sansom liased with mill manager / owner. Head office was at Drury Lane and many other venues. Only occasional contact with Head Office.

393 Budgets latterly. Mills had projects budgets. GE would use their budgets. Inveresk started in 1928.

407 Mills independent even though they were Inveresk. Accounts done independently.

417 GE had electrical side. Draughtsman. A lot of investment; the adding of new machines in mills.

434 No authority on what machines were used. Changeover of machines. 6 - 8 weeks to take out machine and put it in. Holiday shut was incorporated in the rebuild.

448 Holidays of mills was staggered but this was not intentional. Mills wouldn't change to suit. GE got 2 weeks and public holidays.

461 Did not get paid for overtime. Very few of GE at Kinleith office at one time, just the secretary and the receptionist.

471 No community aspects at Kinleith. Mill housing at Blinkbonny. Photos of grandfather in mill.

490 Health and Safety only important latterly. Uncle killed in Henry Bruce's and two other guys not in installation, just general workers. High accident rate then, but now improved.

513 Very labour intensive. 5 - 600 people in the mill. Girls sorting paper, began to be mechanised. Large overhauling department in all mills.

529 Production activities of mills. Witchhampton had similar production activities to Woodhall.

537 Installation work at Woodhall, weekend work. Conversion of Woodhall to board mill in 1950s.

546 Boiler installation. Woodhall, investment. Large scale investment in Donside. He felt at this time that Inveresk was expanding and bought shares. All the mills wanted the investment and only the strongest got it.

565 Mr Bruce would go into the mill at the weekend. Sine looked after Woodhall. Kinleith still very much a family mill. People would stay in mill all their working life.

578 People got jobs through word of mouth. Local people at Kinleith, pity when it closed. Site of Mill sold to Dalton with dwelling houses. Employees got first offer on houses. Managers houses. Mr Bruce's house is now the Glenburn Hotel.

602 No dealings with Galloways apart from buying machinery once it had closed.

611 Move to Caldwells, to work as project manager in 1965. They had 70 - 80 houses.

636 1000 employees at Caldwells, 5 machine mill. Produced printings and writings. Mill now. Project work that needed preparation. 20 people in project department. 2 painters employed to do mill housing.

677 Caldwells had outings. Intergroup golf. Woodhall had golfing section. Customer golf. Inter mill football. Jealousy between mills. Gradually petered out. North Fleet had own shooting range.

723 Bowlers in Inveresk. Magazine for Inveresk published intermittently. Gave info on profits, social side of mill.

743 Bertrams magazine every month, good magazine. Kinleith Mill in New Zealand. Engineer that went from Bertrams to Kinleith in New Zealand. Massive mill.

771 North Fleet largest Inveresk mill. Description of mill that was sold off by GP Inveresk.

791 Change in management style when GP Inveresk took over. Whiz kids who were professional managers took over.

807 Technology gradual. Any major development not available to Inveresk because of money concerns.

822 No standardisation as mills were independent. Variation of deckle. Closing of machines. Book on machines.

841 No particular machine manufacturer that Inveresk used. Bertrams and Walmsley used.

850 Raw materials were centralised after GP took over. GP gave cheaper supply of pulp.

861 Esparto used at Carrongrove, Caldwells and Bruces until 1960s. Father injured by esparto bale. No compensation.

875 Inequality in injury claims. Claims and tribunals latterly.

888 Claims. At Inverkeithing until 1993. Went to Westfield as chief engineer. Had fallen out with some of the whiz kids about getting an assistant and hours.

906 Adding more people to management but cutting down on the workforce.

911 End.

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