Jim White

(trainee technician)

2002/92, 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 Moisture tests, cut 4 squares from reels and tested the % moisture in paper. Samples were also taken from the supercalendar. Paper tester did full tests. Tested paper under ultraviolet to check the pattern of the fibres.

041 Samples kept in sample folders. Following Dick in jobs. Mr White was in cutters. Dick in salle with George Orr 'Poke em'. Father's nickname was 'Dargie'. OAP sweep on who would die first. George clever man who organised qualitative and quantitative tests.

085 In salle watched girls overhaul. Practice of overhauling. Check why paper failed, it was sometimes difficult to tell.

107 Men in salle were barrow men collecting the broke to go back to the potchers. No women on shifts, they worked 8 till 4.45pm. Hours he worked, move to 5 day week.

140 Counting was a more senior job than overhauling. Colour coat depending on grade. Numbers in salle.

157 Analysis of paper rejected. Report on this. Holes caused by wood. Crushed and folded, rejection rate.

174 Disillusioned as to what to do, went back to paper testing. 12 hour shifts again. 2 paper testers, was only 17 years old.

186 Mill in crisis put on short time. Closed on Thursday. No orders, all made for stick. Paper tester could make ends meet working 12 hour shift 3 times a week. On weeks short time pay was still okay. Was made to go to Youth Employment Service to sign on. Galloways would run short time together so that employees could claim unemployment benefit.

257 Told off for not claiming benefit. Went in one day and tester had accident so had to take his position as paper tester. Got paid as if he was 21 years old. If you were not in a fixed job would be paid according to your age. Accident.

293 Got £20 take home pay, most of his friends who worked elsewhere were getting £5 a week. Carried on job until he left in 1968.

304 Started day release, Esk Valley College not built so went to Newbattle for a year and then 2 years at Dalkeith. Exam in 1968 and got certificate in 1969 by which time he was a wages clerk.

340 Exam, teacher said not to do calculation but he did. Other people in class: John Connor and Alec Ross from Woodhall and Jim Aitken and Jerry Farrell from Penicuik. Not many from Kinleith as many who worked at Kinleith were thought to be young.

364 Went to look at other mills through day release. Met people such as Bill Duncan who moved to Galloways after he had met him and became his boss.

383 Things learnt at work were confirmed at college. However, felt that qualification made no difference.

401 Problems with mill at the end. Coating machine. Asked at end of shift if could help with school party, ended up showing round Managing Directors son. Bill Duncan showed one party through and was shocked at their language. Party came round to look at the paper testing.

434 Galloways was still very low tech. Worry about the industry. Jim Lawson potcherman always predicting closure. Knew industry was on its way out.

460 50% of those who worked in the mill lived locally. Shift system of paper testers 7 – 2, 2 – 10, 10 – 7. Those who lived outside Balerno couldn't get in before 7am.

484 Brownings coached people in free of charge. Galloways looked to West Lothian for labour. Girls worked till they married or until they had children. Almost full employment.

500 Malleny Park. Football team of which 50% were pals of guys in the works. Trips were not organised by firm but Aggie Couts organised trips through Browning. Ten pin bowling and Christmas Party at Dunbar. Day trip to Girvan.

521 Trades week until last year he was at firm when they got the Glasgow Fair off. Popular because people could go the races. No holiday at Christmas but got three days at New year.

538 Trip to Blackpool for September holidays.

547 Some men would work the trades holiday as they had no money. Meant they had to work 52 weeks a year. Generally people got on, general distrust of management.

567 Union SOGAT, fairly ineffectual. People wouldn't go on strike. Incident when he thought he had been underpaid, was never resolved.

587 No serious accidents. Nurse at Galloways. Welfare capacity, health and advice. Office in the salle. Most accidents small and happened at night. Accident. Guards on guillotine but not in the machine area.

624 No smoking policy in a lot of the areas, not always observed. Cut finger in testing area. No one would sue if anything happened.

652 Work study man was the industrial engineer who were Ian Richardson and then George Scott. Friday evening discussion and training. In general good place to work. Locals in Galloways welcoming and felt part of the family.

700 Spare time on night shift one night so made up a horses game which gave a form guide on people in the works as a joke. The office types a copy and put it round the works, embarrassed

746 End

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