Richard Duddy

(sheds and pulper)

2002/84 Richard Duddy interviewed in his house in Edinburgh by Sarah Bromage on 19/9/2002

000 Shed was where they emptied the lorries. Made sure there was no tarry paper. Mix of stuff going into mix. Cigarettes, nylons, perfumes etc. Overhead crane that you hooked bales on and stacked them.

029 Progressed onto the crane, very dangerous. Hooked onto bales that were not secured. Bales would often snap. A lot of people injured. People crushed.

054 Path between bales, they would often snap. Bales would fall. Court to get compensation, didn't get anything.

077 Moved onto pulper. Shifts 6 - 2, 2 - 10. 10 - 6. Sometimes have to work double shift if someone did not turn up.

089 Worked 3 shifts in a row, at night could sleep after you filled the pulper. Machine house would help if there was a break, go into pits under rollers. Red-hot would lift paper and put it back into the pulper.

117 Hopeless managers; alcoholics. Paper would go to Bathgate to be cut until they built cutters. Dangerous place where people would lose fingers. Accidents when machine jammed.

155 Got foot caught in moving slats of pulper, was nearly dragged in. No one was there to see the potential accident. Most dangerous place he ever worked.

212 Lorries coming in. Bales not balanced.

225 4 people per shift and 3 shifts in the shed and pulper. Young guy when he worked there, men over 60 all sleeping while at work. Once pulper was full and paper was running you were okay.

241 No protective clothing. Manager drunk. Started 1956, came from the army. Father worked at Kinleith, worked with caustic soda. Fell into a vat and got badly burnt. Went and asked if there were any positions.

274 In machine house mechanics and engineers were quite separate from the machine house, different departments. Mill hopeless at making paper, bad ingredients.

297 No extra money for working on the pulpers as well. Always worked extra hours.

313 Didn't play mill football. People liked to drink. Pub was 5 minutes away; all went to Kinleith Arms.

329 A lot of drink in the cutting house.

338 Not sure of holidays. No trades week in mill and not sure if it ever closed. Gathering paper from the rollers.

358 Made ordinary cardboard. Balerno used esparto grass. Kinleith used good quality raw materials. Woodhall used rubbish.

367 First day had suit on. Taught on job. Good crowd. Manager of shed, not so keen on him. Cutters and accidents. People collapsing with heat. New people employed in the cutter house. Engineers worked days. No females in mill.

420 Not members of a union. Managers hopeless. 99% lived locally with furthest away two miles.

437 Two Ukrainian men worked in the mill, very much bosses men.

449 Breaks; could take as many as you wanted. If the machines were running well it would take 10 minutes to fill to fill a pulper which would last for hours.

460 Comics would come off lorries and would read them and go for walks. Bales falling over.

471 No organisation to try and make it safe. Health and Safety would have closed it down. Layout of shed. Would have to climb up bales to hook crane on.

493 10 bales would fit into pulper that would take 3 or 4 hours. Not hard work, got plenty of peace as long as machine shop was running.

501 One colour board, brown. Not sure what it was used for. Accidents in cutting house, would not work there.

513 Pit was 4ft deep. Hard work to lift pulp. Machine would keep going when there was a break. Feed paper back through.

530 Never on short time, always busy. Fire in machine shop. Stuff lying around. Allowed to smoke in mill.

545 No fire officer, all labourers in shed. Machinemen were trained. All ages in shed; by time you were older you were placed on the crane. Crane and activities of crane. Wire snapping and difficulty of moving broken bales.

570 When bales broke could see what was in them. Some people would break bales on purpose to get cigarettes.

578 Inveresk not good, drunk managers. Did not socialise; went home. No annual trip, it was all men and no organisation to do that.

600 No strikes; did shop steward at ski slopes but not while at mill. Friend was manager at the ski slopes. Met a lot of people in that job. Two girls tried to commit suicide.

640 Enjoyed mill for a while but saw too many accidents so wanted to leave. Hours were too long.

657 Paid per shift that you worked and not a weekly salary. All worked full time.

673 Revolving shift times on three-shift system.

704 Job not safe, nobody to supervise. Fatality in mill. Drive JCB without training and tipped it. It went through wall and into burn. Got into trouble.

736 Location and accessibility of mills. Lorries used were Bryce lorries. His job was to take everything off lorry.

760 Bales stacked 40ft high. No uniform size of bale. Combustion caused bale to collapse.

778 Had to retire at 65. Left at 24. Most people would stay in mill all their working lives. Father worked in pits till they closed and then went to work in the mills.

800 End.

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