Andrew Pender

(Esk Mills, Penicuik)

2007/34/1 Andrew Pender interviewed in his home in Penicuik by Sarah Bromage on 9th March 2007

Mr Pender worked at Esk Mills, Penicuik from 1936 – 1968. He was head finisher at Esk Mills. When the mill closed in 1968 he went to work at Inveresk Mill in Musselburgh till 1971. He then went to work at mill in Inverkeithing. He latterly worked at Dalmore Mill, Penicuik and retired at 65. Mr Pender remembers recreational facilities offered to the employees by the mills that he worked in.

0000 Born 4/2/1922. Born in Kirkhill, Penicuik. Penicuik was three villages, Penicuik, Shottston and Kirkhill . Villages belonged to individual mills.
0100 Went to Kirkhill School. Went to Penicuik Secondary School. Left School in 1936. Started in mill at 14. Mr Edward Jardine the Manager, went to see him. Sent word with father telling you when to start.
0200 Bowling green in 1926, tennis court and recreation facilities supplied for employees at the mill.
0322 Started in 1936 and worked until 1940 when he went to the air force for 6 years during the war. Came back a married man and went back t o mill.
0350 Started carrying shavings or assisting on the cutters. No apprenticeship. When came back from air force went on courses and moved to management.
0440 Was head finisher before mill closed in 1968. When the mill closed in 1968 he went to work at Inveresk Mill in Musselburgh. Worked there for 3 years until they closed up.
0517 Finishing side different outlook to papermaking. Finishing more interested in the customer and what quality was expected.
0600 Main customers at Esk Mill, fine paper mill and made book paper. Edinburgh a publishing place with many printers, most of paper used in Edinburgh alone. As printing declined had to look to different markets.
0708 Dalmore did a lot of specialty paper. A lot of paper went to Nigeria to be printed
0820 Esk mill was a cotton mill. Carlops had many mills. Everything changed completely. Machines started to go faster, fourdrinier machines Bertrams of Sciennes were involved in many mills round here. Last mill machine went to Thailand.
1000 Improvements to machines and would use plastic felt rather than wire. Advanced a great deal.
1034 Mill housing, owned all of Kirkhill
1134 Lived in a mill house when he came back from the air force. Mill manager would keep a note of who needed houses.
1300 Money was taken off your wages for the mill house. All sold off when the mill went defunct. Mill housing was quite basic.
1425 Never thought of going into mining. His maternal grandfather was an iron stone miner. Other grandfather went into the mills. Seemed to be that the mill was there
1500 People worked together, socialized together and shopped together. Did not have to travel
1600 Now people do these things where they work. The whole concept of industry is now gone, taken the heart out of Penicuik.
1700 Paid a small fee. But now the bowling club is rented to the YMCA and you lease it off them. Valleyfield had an indoor carpet bowls.
1800 Married women's club that his mother attended. Played tennis into her seventies. Mr Pender played tennis and bowls
1940 Other sports that were played; tennis, bowls, football, putting green.
2000 Snooker tennis, carpet bowling. The bowling green opened April to September and other social things.
2040 Car Club. Married women's club ran by Mrs Jardine, whose husband ran the mill.
2215 Car club had treasure hunts and rallies. Would take the pensioners out for a run and then back to the recreation rooms for tea. Strathesk Car Club after one of the papers they produced in the mill.
2318 The pensioners played bowls in the afternoons
2400 Retirement Dinner for Mr Pender. When Esk Mill closed he started the next Monday at Musselburgh. Confusion with the tax man.
2540 Member of union until he went on staff. No union for staff. When he went to Fife he formed a staff section of union.
2600 When mill closed went to work in Inverkeithing. Did not move but worked for three years and then went to Dalmore Mill until he finished. Member of SOGAT.
2800 SOGAT were quite strong in the mills. Not closed shop; were not as strong as printing trade.
2900 The unions were good because they were keeping fighting for the worker. Could get out of hand like the unions now. Never had any problem, never got much money.
3000 When war started got idle time and after war trade went through shortage of time. Had a guaranteed week where mill would pay you a bit extra which stopped him having to sign on the dole.
3100 Convalescent home in Ayr. Mr Pender's mother and father stayed there when they retired when his dad was unwell
3200 Not really social outings with the chapel. Had all started to buy cars and were doing own socializing. Never went on outing at Esk but went on mill outing at Inverkeithing mill.
3305 Went to Rothesay, took a train. Took on weekend work.
3430 Penicuik mill trips that his parents went on, would get the train from the mill
3520 All mills on the river had railway sidings. All raw materials came by rail. Esparto came from Leith down as did caustic soda and pulp.
3600 Finished product went by rail. When closed railways took a lot away from Esk Valley. Built mill at Pomethorne the Peebles line ran past it.
3700 Everything originally went by rail but then it went by road. Did away with esparto grass processing after the war. Had to be boiled by caustic soda. Built mills to convert and mills went back to using wood pulp such as eucalyptus and birch
3823 Eucalyptus good because it re-grows and would last 14 years. In War Years tried straw, but it was not a good yield and the paper was soft. Esparto made good paper.
3940 Esparto caused a lot of sludge. Land slide on river now which polluted river. Mills dumped waste
4034 Settling ponds but would not get all the stuff out. Had five or six mills on river which was used as a sewer.
4113 Mill at Musselburgh and they had idea of boiling grass at Musselburgh and sending up to Valleyfield to save the river. Never worked.
4155 Not aware of Paper controller. Control production, mills used river water as a carrying agent. Would build enclosed systems after War to reuse water again and again.
4330 Cost of sewers to mills. Salmon coming up river now
4430 Gala Day at Penicuik run by Penicuik Gardeners and Forresters and Jacobites. Gala Queen was Ducks girl at High School. Procession of Gala
4600 Sports at Gala day. Events at Gala day. Children's parties at Recreation Rooms.
4700 Hunter and Lass parade with fancy dress. To do with horses and hose riding. Now the Gala does not involve the children any more.
4800 Holidays. If you were on day work you worked twenty past six in the morning until five at night for ten shillings a week. 12 hour shifts
4840 Hours worked
5000 Christmas day a normal working day. New Year was a holiday. Did not like to shut the mill for a holiday as it would cost them money.
5110 Only saw his children on a Christmas if he was on night shift and just got in.
5200 One weeks holiday. Had to have different holidays than Edinburgh or Valleyfield Mill as maintenance needed to be done. Bertrams trades men came to mill and stayed on at mill after they had come to work for Bertrams
5430 Would go to Dunbar camping with the boys, never went very far. Never went to England until the Government took him. People did not tend to travel.
5536 When daughter born he took his wife to his relatives in the North. Took a holiday to pick her up. Had to work holidays. Was very upset that he had to work. Once you went on the staff it was easier
5700 Became calendar foreman after previous man retired. Moved to finishing side in salle. Building coating factory and he was in charge of it and the salle.
5822 100 in salle, 50 women and guillotine cutters and dispatch. Esk Mill was close proximity, all mills had different roles. Liked all three, still go and sees friends in Fife. Did not like traveling to Fife. Turned down two houses as did not want to move, took away traveling expenses after this.
6115 Like all mills, mills only places, it is the people. Guy in mill who was crabbit at Cowans.
6220 People who took over mill were interested in the land and sold it and made a profit
6300 A lot of the mills had a department who produced for HMSO, cheap paper. Picture of machine at Valleyfield. Picture of rag pickers.
6440 Cotton waste used to make paper. A lot of mills started because there was a cotton trade. Part of Penicuik called the nunnery, where the flats for the single rag pickers were.
6550 Picture of Valleyfield papermill employees in 1910 where they were ready for mill dance. Did not have a mill dance when he was there. Picture of mill trips.
6641 Railway came right to the mill. Mills could have still been going. Leith port and imports coming in. Latterly things came into Montrose as Leith declined. Ship left at 5pm every night to go to London and a lot of paper went to London warehouses. Took longer to go by train at that point and boat was better.
6900 Callie Station at West end in Edinburgh had a big railway yard and you used to send stuff by fast train so you could deliver next day. Mostly A4 not a big load.
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