Kate Milne

(company nurse)

2003/4, Kate Milne interviewed in her own home in Edinburgh by Sarah Bromage on 26/11/2002

Kate Milne was the first nurse to work at John Galloways at Balerno. She started work in Balerno in 1965 and was in charge of medical and welfare care at the mill.

000 Trained at the Royal Infirmary in Edinburgh, worked in midwifery and then went into industrial nursing. Found midwifery too stressful and was getting married.

017 When applied for the job found that she knew Fred Ainslie. Starting a new welfare facility for those who worked at the mill. 1958-1959 started work and left in 1965.

030 List of employees. Medicals when started firm. Hospital appointments; would accompany people and try and hurry on the process. Aware that they were losing money. Medical boards.

059 Got car from firm and a petrol allowance. At work would see the other side of the patient and their working and home environment. Welfare course while at Galloways. Went into schools and gave talks about work in the industry.

084 Started to look further afield for the workforce. East and West Calders there was a lot of labour. Difficult to get to so ran buses. Rural people more loyal. Firm good to workforce.

104 Joiner was 92 and wanted to leave, no pension. Mr Galloway gave him a pension. Was no malingering, would go and visit people who were unwell.

120 If people died, 2 did. She would be the one to tell the family. Girl who was terminally ill, visited the family. Visited those who were sick, would see their home life. Would help with housing, if felt that this was needed. Mill houses have now been taken over by the town. There were 4 in a block. People who lived in houses close to the mill. Mill workers were at Bavelaw. A lot of people were in local authority housing. Lots of families. Functions; dance held in Charlotte Street in January was run by and paid for by the firm. Mr Galloway looked after workers but when it was taken over by Mr Haig and Mr Walton it was less personal.

177 Mr Galloway would come in mill every morning. Took keen interest in mill. Chauffeur lived in town. Old fashioned management.

195 Tennis courts and bowling. Balerno was Galloways and had a real community atmosphere. Machine shop, lab. Main building had admin, papermaking, finishing, esparto shed. Garages. 3 lorries which transported. Types of paper produced. Showed the workers the end product.

222 Shown around and shown process. Esparto imported from Algeria. Found hand grenade in grass. Woodpulp crated high and a bale fell and killed someone. Fascinated to see paper being made and how it worked. Accident committee. Gordon Russell, Walter Smith, Fred Ainslie were also on committee and would spot any dangerous problems that would arise.

256 Guillotine a dangerous area. Accidents often due to carelessness. Boy who could not read or write, large problem.. Tried to persuade him to learn. Had hidden the fact that he could not read and write. Mill quite safety conscious.

286 Office was in finishing house, couch for those who were ill. Blood pressure equipment but not much else. Any big problems went to the hospital. Local doctor would give medical checks. Would check ability to see, speak and general physique. Would keep an eye on him and encourage exercise.

307 Knew all medics, could cut red tape. People were willing to come to her.

319 Christmas parcels to those who were retired. Cake, drink, tins of ham. Those who were retired or ill got parcels. If there were any invitations to be sent you would all get invited.

336 Sick pay; pension scheme. If people were in trouble would take the wages off them and some would go to their debtors and the rest would go directly to their wives. Nurse was told all the problems, some employees were not keen at first.

366 Women in the finishing house. Women could talk and work. Tried to get men to do it and they could not concentrate on more than one thing at a time. Training in the finishing house. Generations of the same family coming through.

386 Canteen in the mill. Advise on nutritional value. Hot meals; Mrs Anderson ran the canteen. 3 helpers and herself. Canteen was on the first floor. 2 sittings for the canteen; staggered sittings. Open all day and the quality was good.

421 Fire brigade. Equipment gradually disappeared; helmets used for plants and axes used in gardens. Fire engine and volunteers. Ability of combustion for esparto grass. Annual shut was 2 weeks.

439 Routinely would check machines for safety issues. Would play golf every Saturday. Start work at 9 and would undertake medicals, schools and home visits. Checking up on people. Safety meetings, blood transfusion units, annual x-ray

475 3-400 people worked at Galloways. Seeing to everyone's basic welfare. Eye test. In charge of the canteen during the shut. Skeleton staff during the shut. 3-4 weeks holiday a year. Did not bring in replacement. Did not work Christmas or New Year.

500 At talks gave information about papermaking. Would interview some of the girls. Finishing was a boring job and girls from in the town did not last long. Saw them after they were employed, sent them to a doctor. The job was not dependant on a medical.

525 No repetitive injury in the salle. Would not check how they sat. If they needed a break they would take it. Would check how to lift things.

546 First aiders in the machine shop and shop floor. Already trained when she arrived. 2 first aid kits round the mill. Injuries either minor or major. Lots of guards on the machine. Goggles if there was metal work going on. Mill was noisy. There were no earphones and this did not seem to lead to any problems.

584 Weddings not particularly marked. 21st birthday party and all the community was invited. Families in the mill. People tended to marry within the community. When people retired the celebration was within the department. Would see Mr Galloway when they retired.

629 Galloways moved from Guardbridge. Died in 1961/1962 and his funeral thinks his funeral was outwith Edinburgh. Mr Haig and Fred Ainslie took over. A managing director Walton was brought in and looked into the possibility of diversifying into toilet and facial tissues. Paper could be produced cheaper from abroad.

674 People within the mill were quite aware that there were problems. General manager in charge, not a family run firm. More commercialised. European Free Trade Association. Firm started to change mid 1960s.

702 Would all know, news goes around quickly. Local people did not leave, nothing to leave for. Where people would find jobs. No industry in Balerno now, very much an extension of Edinburgh. Mill was now housing.

729 Left mill to have a family, another nurse took over. Not aware of an annual trip. Wore a uniform so that they knew who she was.

756 When setting up went to Thynes to see what their setup was. No budget, got what she wanted. Created own job. Went round mill to see basic workings and met people

802 Prior to nurse people would go to the doctors. Difficult to get in and out of Balerno so for hospital it was easier to have someone on hand to assist/

830 Would go and see pensioners. Doctor would go and check in on people if he felt that they were not doing well. It was a village and they looked after the community.

853 End

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