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Hubert Dickens 2006
Shoe Trade - Starting Work

In the 1990's it was converted into flats
Co-op Shoe Factory in Rectory Road

I started work at the Co-op Shoe Factory when I was 14 – in 1937 at a wage of 8/9d a week. There were over 100 men in the clicking room where I worked and another 100 people in the closing department. Learning was “on the job” by watching the men; the Boot & Shoe School was only used by those wanting to go on to higher positions like foreman or managers. In 1941 I went to B. Denton’s and although I had 4½ years out doing service in the Navy, I worked almost 50 years there. After Cave’s fire in 1901 all the fire stations in the area were put on standby as soon as any fire was reported in Rushden. So much work was done in the yards near the houses and the factories were small and numerous; close together and so fire was likely to spread quickly once it caught hold.

With the Navy I was posted to a signal station in Iceland for 12months, another year in America to pick………………………….. and then another year based at Pearl Harbour in the Indian ocean.

I lived on the Tollbar estate and could watch workers catching buses from the window. Each morning 3 double deckers and four single deckers would pick up workers at the Tollbar stop. Workers came from as far a field as Kettering to work in Rushden. At lunch time three buses ran from Higham to Oval Road taking local workers home for dinner.

A Mrs Mantle used to walk to work in Rushden from Riseley, coming field way.

My father came from Pertenhall and his sister lived in Rushden; she told him there was work at Cave’s and so that’s how he came to work in Rushden. He did 50 years there. He played his first bowls game in 1924 and his last when he was 104 years old.

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