Reminiscence and Resource Centre

25 Years in the Closing Room

Closing Room Supervisor Marie Reeves completed 25 years service with the Bata organisation on Monday, and the first to congratulate her was Mr J Tusa, managing director, who did so in his office on Tuesday evening. He handed her a letter.
In this letter Mr Tusa wrote that hers was “a very fine achievement,” and expressed the hope that she would be able to add many more years to her service.
Mrs Reeves came to East Tilbury in December 1933, before the rubber factory was in production. the factory was then a small building opposite the leather stockroom. She has been in charge of the closing rooms since the beginning.

When the rubber factory was closed following Government directions during the war, she was for four years in charge of the sewing sections in the leather factory. In 1942, she married a young man in the Royal Artillery, whom she had met previously at a dance, and who subsequently became leather buyer Fred Reeves, a position he held for 11 years; three months ago, he was appointed chemical buyer.
“East Tilbury is a kingdom now compared with what it was when I started,” Mrs Reeves told Bata Record. “I had worked in Zlin since 1929. When I arrived here, I expected to see a busy town. Instead, there were only a few small buildings in open country.
“I did not even need to clock in or out of work, because I lived in a house which was then inside the factory area.
“The first closing room staff in the rubber factory consisted of 12 girls straight from school. They worked well, and I believe some of them are still h ere, including Forewoman Kathleen Hutton and Dorothy Dodkins. I remember that the first rubber footwear uppers sewn at East Tilbury were for plimsolls.”
Teaching Walter Bryan.