Jim White

(trainee technician) 

2002/91, Jim White interviewed in his home in Penicuik by Sarah Bromage on 10/10/2002

Mr White worked at John Galloways between March 1965 and September 1968 as a Trainee Technician. He spent about a month in each department following the natural progression of the processes through the mill. While at Galloways he was granted day release and gained the London City and Guilds Institute Certificate in Paper and Board Making

000 Pay number 2B, joke with pay clerk. Forrester in Edinburgh. Left in 1965, didn't like school and wanted to leave at 15. Youth Employment Agency. Pay at this stage on average. Papermill paid well so interested in that job.

063 Training in position, but only interested in money. Went to see industrial engineer. George Scott at Galloways 'When can you start son?' interview. Restarting training scheme.

095 Worked in scheme, firm may have got grant to support scheme. Started in March and then 2nd trainee started a month later. 4 people on training scheme. Day release for City and Guilds from August onwards.

124 Moved from department to department. Grass boilers for month, all moved to one. Followed each other round the mill.

140 Boilers 4 men per shift. Mill worked 3 shift system. Trainees worked Sunday to Saturday 8am – 4.30pm 4 days a week. 8am – 4.45pm Monday. 8-11am Saturday. 45 minute lunch break. 42 hour week. Worked Christmas Day.

171 Boilerman in charge, no need for supervision. Foreman but he spent most of his time at the end of the process. Wouldn't see mill manager. 3 shift foreman. Mill manager had house in mill grounds.

196 Mill housing, a street called society. Houses not that nice.

204 Boilerman and 3 assistants. Shift he on had the 4 Willies, most people did not retire at 65. People had worked there for years on shifts. On boiler would pitch fork esparto in. Found lizard in the esparto grass. Conveyor esparto down chute. Caustic soda put in and left to boil. Boilers 20ft tall, 8ft wide.

263 Opened boiler, a pipe and jet stream of water forced stuff in boiler to the potchers. Loved washing all the stuff away.

292 Mix the broke into the potchers. Broke came from the paper machine, from the cutting stage and from the salle. Came down chute into barrow. Broke boys. 1 man on the potchers Jimmy Lawson a character, chased management round. Stuff was bleached and woodchip added.

347 Went to towers where it would settle, very little to know in that dept. 3 men were towermen. Ian Bowman known as 'Willie Bald' as he went on about the footballer. Nicknames, his nickname was 'Fearless'. It was an honour for someone who did not live in Balerno to get a nickname.

375 The press base where foreign bodies were shook out across a metal shaker. 1 man operating per shift. Tiny Rankin, Tam McNeil and Willie Stoddard. Tea drunk from large tins of Lyle's Golden Syrup. Asked to make tea and spilled it everywhere.

413 Beaters, 2 men per shift. Beatermen well paid as it was an important job. Beaten to a soft pulp so it would flow. Training in all departments then went to periphery depts. Caustic soda area, tanks making soda. Willie Paul spent life working out bets, still unclear as to what they did.

453 Gundy house, where they slaked the lime. 1 man on each shift, but only 2 shift job. White dust from lime. Rest in those departments. Coating plant where 2 men made coating to give paper high quality coating. Galloways Galitho and Galart.

474 2 paper machine. 1 made paper for George Newtons who made Country Life and also John Lewars who made the Littlewoods catalogue. Board machine made laminated Galitho paper for covers for magazines.

490 The faster machine was the senior machine. Pecking order machine on No2 machine was considered senior to No 1 machineman. Number of people on each machine. Broke boys would jump into pit to get paper running again and clear up broke.

518 Stuff would flow onto wire and drain. No 1 machine a twin wire. Wires come from company in Granton. Felts would last a couple of weeks and then be changed. Felt would become carpet underlay in people's houses, queue to take old felts.

540 Paper would go onto hot rolls where it was in danger of breaking. Average reel would weigh a tonne. Scale to weigh paper. Broke boys would have game to see who could carry the most. Stand on scales and weigh the load. The record was held by 'muscles / wee craw'. 2 families in Balerno the Swans and the Martins. Process to being paper had ended.

584 Did not go to water treatment. Home from home, didn't seem to do much there. 1 person per shift. Finished in the machine house and went into paper testing.

602 2 people per shift. Lab in separate block with Jack Jones and David Donald and 4 technicians. Paper testing lab in mill and was ongoing process. Full test on 1st reel of order. Roll came off No2 every 40 minutes. No 1 every hour. Testing processes. Manufacturers weight of paper.

679 Weight meaning how it was worked out. Test taken over full reel. Machine to measure bulk that would draw a graph of paper coming out. Calendar test. Burst test to see at what level it would break. Loading test meant you took a gram of paper, burnt it and weigh ash to find % china clay and loading. 24% norm.

735 Wax test to find out at what stage does the surface rip when you pull something off.

765 Oil test how long it took paper to absorb oil. IGT test a printing test to find out at what stage paper would rip when under pressure. Levels which paper had to achieve.

795 No1 machine on a Friday night made index boards. This was because they could run colours and then the machine would be washed up on Saturday. Meant he got a couple of hours rest when they were trying to colour match. The broke boys would have to work doubly hard.

815 Paper tester not involved in colour matching. Assistant doing moistures. After paper came off machine it went to the dampers First stage of 'spit and polish' before it went to one of the 3 supercalendars. 2 men on calendar and 1 on the damper.

848 Conditioner; paper run round old fashioned rollers; not a major job. Giving paper an airing involved in the winder to tighten up reels. 2 cutters, paper cut to sizes. Width of paper was known as the deckle. Processes in the cutters. Then shipped to the salle. Departments he worked in. Paper testing job came up for an assistant paper tester.

895 The qualification took 3 years but no one said how long training was. People had gone round before and didn't get a good position. Fear that you needed to grab a job if it was offered. On scheme for a year, shift payment more money.

924 Back on scheme after summer.

932 End.

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