Reminiscence and Resource Centre

Lifelong experience sewing leather - 1948
“Her willingness and keenness stand out as a fine example to other workers. I wish I had a whole floor full of workers like her.” That was Floormanager F Newman’s comment about Mrs M E Murphy, who is a machinist on floor 420. Coming to Bata as a full time worker in October 1942, Mrs Murphy was not the first member of her family to work at East Tilbury, for her daughter Irene, now Mrs Clark, had started in Dept 421 straight away after leaving school in 1939.
Working in Dept 423 a a machinist was no strange experience for Mrs Murphy for, for ten years before she married, she worked as a machinist at a handbag factory in London and it was there that she got her experience at sewing leather and became so efficient at operating all the various types of sewing machines.
In September 1945, Mrs Murphy had to stop working for a time, for her husband was gravely ill, and she had to devote her time and energy to looking after him. In February 1946, however, she returned to the 420 department as a part timer, working from 9a.m. until 3.30p.m., doing her shopping in the mornings before she arrived at work, finishing her housework in the evening after completing her work at the factory. This makes a very full day for her, but in her work in the evenings she is helped by her daughter, Irene, and generally Mrs Murphy finds time to go and relax at the pictures once a week.
Asked about her favourite pastime, Mrs Murphy told Bata Record that she was fond of knitting, but unfortunately had far too little time for that nowadays.