|From an interview with Rae Drage on 23.3.2009. Transcribed by Jacky Lawrence
Janet Holloway - memories of Tecnic
I started work in 1974, in the April, to be secretary and personal assistant to Mr. Ernest Newell, who was then Managing Director. There was also Christopher Spencer, who was a grandson of Walter Tarry who originally started the factory up. There was other people there in the offices, the accountant was David, I’ve forgotten what his name was now, and he had an assistant called Ruth Totterdale. I used to do all the letters and extra things like that and keeping quantities of shoes and leather factors going in and out of the shoes, of the shoe factory, and I worked there until 1986. There were various other girls upstairs in the office and they used to do quite a lot of the accountancy work as well as answering the telephone and various other small jobs for them.
We had different types of shoes which were mostly men’s, we didn’t make many ladies shoes. I do have a pair at home which I had my own lasts for, and used to make brogues and send them out to Scandinavia and various other parts of the world. Ernest used to be head salesman at the time and he used to go out to Trinidad and Tobago. We had various agents in Scandinavia they used to come over at times and look at the samples etc. and we always made very big sizes for the Scandinavian countries, they used to take size ten and eleven shoes, much bigger sizes than we do in England. They were always all made of leather, and always very well made, welted shoes they were too. Brogues and casuals, various types but mainly men’s and as I say very few ladies. I always used to keep the quantities that we used to send away in a book, as well, so that people knew how many we had made that month for them.
Keunen's used to do a lot of the leather we had from them, yes, that’s true, yes, we used to have Keunen's and Factors. We used to have all the insoles made by another small firm in Rushden, so that we’d got insoles and leather, so, as I say, they were all leather and welted shoes mainly.
We didn’t have many factory trips, not in Tecnic really. Well, no, we used to have dinners amongst the staff and we always used to go out at Christmas times. Staff always used to go together and go out for a meal at Christmas time. Really, you know, so that was nice. David Eagles was the accountant but yes, at the time I was there and as I say his assistant was Ruth Totterdale. And there was a girl on the switchboard and also one or two others that done various office work up there. Jack Griffin used to be costing clerk there at the time I was there.
Can you remember how many worked in the factory?
One hundred and fifty three I think we had in the factory at the time, yes, about that many I think, yes.
So quite a good few then.
Yes, there was quite a number, quite a good number.
Yes and what happened when you left, when did you leave?
Well, I left in 198 . . . did I say 1974, I think it was 1982, no, wait a minute, I worked there, yes, 1982. A certain number of redundancies were being made. And they offered one or two people a voluntary redundancy so that they had to slim the, you know people down, so I took redundancy at that time yes, 1982.
Did you work anywhere else after that?
No, I didn’t go to anywhere else really, no, I’d got my husband poorly at the time so I didn’t really do very much outside the house then, really. No, I previously worked in Rushden, actually I used to work for Roberts & Co. the accountants when I first came into Rushden and that was above Boots in the High Street. And I also worked for Mr. Norman Groome, who was a solicitor, farther down the High Street, you know, before that, yes.
So you’ve always done typing and . . .
Always been secretarial work and typing, yes.
So how long were you at Mr. Groome’s, with Mr. Groome?
Oh, well, I was there quite a number of years, but I can’t remember the years at all really when I come to think of it. I haven’t thought about that but I was there quite a number of years I know, five or ten years. And I went back to him to do part-time work when I’d had my children, you know, so I worked quite a number of years there.
Well, thank you very much then Janet.
That’s quite all right, just a little, the booklet, as I say, I can get my son to look it out, my son who’s visiting me all the time.
Probably have a look at it, then you can see what else went on, you know, in Tecnic .
OK, thank you then Janet.
Thank you very much.