Mollie Tweedie


2003/11, Mollie Tweedie interviewed in her own home in Edinburgh by Sarah Bromage on 27/2/2003

Mollie Tweedie worked in Kinleith Mill as a shorthand typist between 1933 and 1939. Her husband worked in Kinleith for over 30 years and held the position of head finisher at the mill.

000 Craiglockhart and Boroughmuir School. Left school at 18. Shorthand typing and business procedure course. Left school and got letter from the Chamber of Commerce telling her about the job. Did not know where Henry Bruce's was but went out to inquire about the job

043 Typist job, interviewed by Mr Munro. Always felt she was meant to go to Currie. 2 shorthand typists and 5 men in the office. Typists had room to themselves.

061 Mill office was a house. Mr Patrick the previous manager used to live there and their office had previously been a bedroom

084 When war started was moved to be an office clerk. Duties of an invoice clerk. A lot of maths, always been a man's job. Women do lots of different roles when there is a war on.

112 People in the office. Mr Munro the secretary. Mr Bruce the general manager. Archie McCall the Head Clerk. Bobbie Robertson who was the invoice clerk. Matt Scobhill the wages clerk.

134 Wages had to be worked out. Tommy Nisbet office boy. Men who went to the war. Mr Bruce in London a lot. Mill owned by Inveresk so at their main office a lot. Shooting season would not be in much. Used to send birds to people through the mill office.

179 Paper sent to the printers, supplied Hodder and Stoughton. A lot went to English printers

191 Featherweight paper was Bruce's paper. Made light books. Made with esparto grass.

201 Esparto would come in from Leith by Lorry firm Smarts. Mr McGhee station master who organised goods out of Kinleith. Had a line going directly into the mill.

230 Mill had 2 lorries, 2 drivers Mr Glendinning and Mr Connell.

242 Worked 9 – 4, hour off for lunch. Saturday morning no set hours. Would get train from Juniper Green to Merchiston. Started to get bus and got off at the mill steps. Would cross the burn and go into work.

267 Would not have to clock in. At first came in through the timekeepers door. Later revolving door and once got coat stuck and got caught in the door.

284 Layout of offices. Auditors office. Mr Bruce always used Miss Clark and they would just do everyone else's work between them.

323 Would type letters and would also go to the finishing house. Description of work in the finishing house. Work of overhaulers; wages had to be worked out by productivity.

343 Work of cutter house, you would start in the cutter house. Accident, boy lost his fingers in the cutterhouse.

365 2 accidents in the first 6 weeks. 2 men were killed. Finishing house, man on the guillotine, his role. Layout and numbers of people on each role in the salle. Women had to lift the paper to their own section.

405 Finishing house office. Not sure what they did. Head finisher, clerkess and office boy. Office boy would be 14 / 15 and would stay in that job until a man's job was available. Starting work; many different jobs in the mill.

441 Very seldomly in the machine house. Taken round the mill by the wages clerk. No smoking in the office apart from auditors. Smokers from office would go outside the mill.

463 No fires in the mill. No fire prevention that she remembers. Shifts and hours worked in the mill. Closed on Saturday and the mill started up at 10pm on Sunday.

493 Office got two weeks holiday, no holiday for mill workers. Mill shut at New Year for two days. First Christmas had to work Christmas Day but got a half day, but that was normal. Not many people got Christmas Day off in Scotland. Got bonus of a few shillings at Christmas

513 Quite a lot of women in the finishing house, they stood to work facing the windows. They wore pinnies of their own. No official uniform.

533 Men wore suits, women wore dresses, no strict rules. Mr Munro wore a brown suit. Customers did not visit the mill office. Mr Munro lived in Blinkbonny in mill house. Woodhall sister mill. Description of houses owned by mill and quarry.

565 Most people lived locally. Galloways and other mills on the Water of Leith. Great blow when the mills shut.

575 Annual trip before she went to mill, never went on trip. Mill did not shut for trades week, not sure when paid holiday for the mill was. She could take her holidays when she wanted

603 Pay received. 2 stamps taken off for unemployment and sickness. Welfare and Infirmary fund.

637 Welfare fund, mill workers were not paid if they were off ill, staff were. But all paid into fund.

653 Pay not much and had to pay bus fare. Paid weekly, but paid a week in arrears. Difficult when first started.

686 Pay rises, then went to nursing and pay dropped. Food difficult during the war. No canteen, brought piece in and would have break in office and talk to the cleaner or in summer sit in the mill gardens.

739 Most people lived locally and were quite friendly. Many families in the mill, not many married women working. Always a place for everyone, remembers a boy who was epileptic and when he had a fit they would lie him on top of the paper to recover. Boy who could not read. Grandchildren.

820 Mill a good place to work, good to employees. Mr Hanson over 80 and still working. But there was a directive from Inveresk that you had to leave at 65. Pension not too good, so if could manage people had worked on.

849 Met husband while at mill who was eventually made head of the finishing house. Family background. After marriage never went back to the mill as became pregnant.

896 War years, air raid shelter in the grounds. Difficult to get esparto and woodpulp. Mill continued full time.

922 Husband stayed on for a year after the mill had closed as had to get rid of stock.

932 Shock when mill closed. Most people found jobs elsewhere.

950 No commemoration of the mill closing. Husband in empty mill with watchmen clearing stock. He got a job with Inveresk label company at MacDonald Road and stayed there until he retired. Sad time when the mill closed. All the other mills closed too. Henry Bruce and Sons was the biggest

972 End

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