Reminiscence and Resource Centre

Man with a pressing engagement. - 1948
After sailing the seas for many yeawrs in the Merchant Navy, James Clarke decided in 1934 that he wanted to settle down to married life ashore, and as he lived in this district, the newly opened Bata factory at East Tilbury was the obvious choice. James started as a mixer in the rubber factory and until the beginning of the war he worked in the same department, knowing all there was to know about the mixing of the various compounds that go into the final rubber mixture used for making wellingtons and soles and heels.
At the beginning of the war, while the rubber reclaim plant was working overtime, James worked on the night shift for a considerable time, but soon the manufacture of rubber footwear had to stoop so James went to another war factory for a time, until he could return to his old job.
Coming back in 1942, he worked in various sections of the rubber factory but for the last five or six years he has been a sole presser in Dept 302.
Regarding his work, Foreman Reg Clear told Bata Record that Clarke was not only one of the oldest workers in the department but also one of the most reliable. “He knows his job thoroughly, and being on shift work, can always be relied on to be punctual and to work conscientiously.”
Living on Bata Estate, James’ favourite pastime, more important to him even than gardening, is a game of darts at which he is an expert.
Not only did he win the Bata Recreation Club’s individual darts championship this year, but he is also vice-captain of the East Tilbury “Ship” darts team who are proud possessors of the Grays and District Championship Cup.
At present he is waiting to play off the finals of the Grays and district individual championships and he has great hopes of carrying that trophy off too.