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KBGS Old Boys' Forum
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Employment

In the 50s and 60s there were many large scale employers in Keighley. Where did your parents go to work? Who are the main employers in Keighley nowadays?

Re: Employment

When I saw the title of this thread I thought, for one terrible moment, that you were suggesting that we all get jobs again, Allan. Thankfully that's not the case so I'll start.
My first memory of my father's workplace was of the Co-op Ironworks at the bottom of Golbn Street (as it was known) opposite the King's Head. He had been there since before WW2 and, during the war, they made parts for tanks. I don't know what the building is used for nowadays. Later he moved to Slingsby's near the Hope and Anchor. The site is now a bus garage. There's not a lot of foundries left in the town now. Most of my uncles worked in the towns mills (though there was a shopkeeper and another foundry worker amongst them). All my aunts who worked were in mills and my mother did mending at home for a couple of the mills.
I guess that this was typical of a large section of the population of the town in the 1940s/50s.
Can't help you regarding current occupations in the town though, Allan. Maybe one of our number who still lives there can help.

Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) 1958-65

Current location (optional) Leeds

Re: Employment

My father worked at Dean, Smith and Grace from his apprenticeship 1936 to his retirement in 1984 (passed away this year at age 97). He assembled lathes. One uncle was Manager of Gents tailoring at Keighley Coop, before finishing as branch Manager at Cross Roads Coop. Other Uncle was with the Gas Board for many years.

Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) 58-64

Current location (optional) Wirral

Re: Employment

My father was a Sergeant in the Police Force as it was then called and as it should be now . He was in the motor patrol covering from Cross Hills to Yeadon .Most neighbours worked in the mills , one in Woolworths . Some commuted to Bradford which was to the other side of the planet to us . One was a Comptometer operator in a office in Bradford which we thought was a very high position

Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) 43-46

Current location (optional) Tasmania

Re: Employment

Yes Mike - a comptometer operator. My sister did that for a while. I never knew what it was.

Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) 1958-65

Current location (optional) Leeds

Re: Employment

I’d forgotten about Dean, Smith and Grace! Am I right in remembering the following mills/factories? Stell’s, Hattersley’s, Slingsby’s, Peter Black’s. The latter made slippers and bags (and was often referred to by its pre-war name of Bagcraft).

Re: Employment

Here’s a tour of Dean Smith and Grace: http://www.lathes.co.uk/dsgfactory001/

Re: Employment

Thanks for that Allan, though Ive had a good scan and cant see Dad anywhere !

I should have added that my Grandfather, also worked at DSG in the Foundry, he retired late 40's. Also his father for a time when the family first moved to Keighley (from East Yorks)about 1900 or so, he died 1913. In 1901 census he is a 'carter for iron foundry'. Grandads entry says 'Iron Moulder'. His younger sisters were however 'Worsted Spinners'

Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) 58-64

Current location (optional) Wirral

Re: Employment

An interesting thread to have started - for posterity, as well as for us - so thanks, Allan.

During the War, my mother worked at Steeton Dump (Ordnance Factory) making shells and aero machine-gun bullet cases. Then after the War, she had quite a long spell as a weaver (eventually working eight looms) at Lister and Moss's, down't'mill fields, near the top end of Aireworth Road. During my early years at KBGS she worked at Bottomley's Mint Rock, just across Bradford Road from where we lived. Subsequently, she worked for a very long time, until retirement, at'Trico, as a sprayer. To the best of my knowledge, not one of these firms is now still in operation.

After being demobbed, early in 1946, my dad was unemployed for a while because his status as a qualified joiner (accelerated apprenticeship as a soldier) was disputed by certain members (including his own cousin) of the local union. The union eventually voted in his favour, and his first job was with Ernest Slater and son, joiners and builders (can't remember where they were based), then after a couple of years, and for several years, he worked for a similar outfit, Alf Pickles & son, at Utley. I have a photograph of him and workmates from those years (late forties-early fifties), taken by a local newspaper (possibly the Keighley News), when they were re-roofing Addingham Church. Sometime in the early fifties, he joined my mother at the Trico, as the Maintenance Joiner. During the last three or four years of his short life (he was in his 57th year, in 1971, when he died) he worked for Magnet Joinery, near Cox's Garage, knocking window-frames together - piece work, so the possibility of more brass, took him there. Again, I think all but Magnet (now at Crossflatts, I believe) long since ceased to exist.

I must also add my own employment record in Keighley, before and during my years at university. I had a paper round for most of the years I was at KBGS (Barwick's Newspapers & Tobacconist, near the junction between Aireworth and Bradford Roads). I also worked for the Post Office at Christmas for five consecutive years (great fun!). I had a short spell one summer digging graves at Keighley Cemetery, but gave that up (too much like hard work) when the opportunity of working with my dad at the Trico came up (end of first year at uni). At the end of my second year, I worked as a bus conductor for West Yorkshire, after qualifying (at Clippies College, Harrogate) for a PSV badge), then in my final year at uni I worked on the railway, most of the time as crossing-keeper at the already closed Damems station. Of all of these places of work, I think only the Cemetery is still in business - but a dead-end job, with few prospects.

Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) 1951-58

Current location (optional) Keswick, Cumbria

Re: Employment

Trico made wiper blades, didn’t they? Or have I got the wrong Trico? There’s a Wikipedia article about the company, but it doesn’t mention the Keighley plant. They were subject to controversy in 1976 for refusing to pay women workers the same as men. There was a strike, following which the company relented. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trico#History

Re: Employment

Just remembered some more employers: Keighley Lifts, BDA (Bradford Dyers’ Association), and YEB (the electricity board). Brian Exley used to tell of a summer job he has with YEB. The pay in 1964 was fifteen quid a week. The guy who worked in the pay office was missing both arms following an electrical accident. His prostheses has pincers for hands, and his party trick was to get someone to flick their cigarette ash onto the counter top and he would pick it up with his pincers and deposit it in the ashtray.

Re: Employment

Yes Allan, you got the wrong Trico. The Keighley Company, which derived its name from 'The Rustless Iron Company' is apparently still in existence at Crossflatts. See http://www.trico-ve.co.uk/

Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) 1937-1944

Current location (optional) Huntingdon

Re: Employment

Thanks David! Yes, I had forgotten it stood for The Rustless Iron Co!