Both my husband, Eric, and I worked in the factory. My husband came down to the factory in 1936. he then went to Zlin for a year to do an instructors course. He came back and was put on a conveyor, later on he was called up to go into the services. We had a house on the Estate .
I worked in the Shoe Shop for some time and I used to go over to the factory gates on a Friday evening to sell very cheap shoes but I soon got fed up with that when I heard the other girls were earning lots of money, so I opted to work in the factory.
I trained as a checker in the sewing section, I stayed there for 2 years until I was expecting my daughter. My daughter was born and when she was 5 years old I went back to work again and I went to work as a guide. We used to have parties of Women’s Institute and whole coachloads of people and I and one other person used to take them around the factory. We also used to have to show the West Ham Football team and their boys around, I used to love walking around the factory with them. We used to take visitors into the Bata Hotel and entertain them with tea before they got back on their coaches and we waved them goodbye. They would have a wonderful time. We had quite a few visitors to the factory.
I then thought maybe I would like to do something else so we started a school for sewing and they asked me if I would go as a sewing instructress. We set up a school on the top floor of the hotel, put all the machines up there and at that time the staff manager and I went around with a tape recording and cine film to show school leavers what a wonderful place Bata’s was and why they should come to work there. We had this on tape and we told the girls that there were jobs there and good money. We eventually set it up and had an intake of 1 dozen girls with Mrs Taylor and myself, there was also a supervisor. Then we took them and introduced them to the factory. They did a six week course.
Then I was expecting my son so I stayed home for another 3 years then I went back as an instructress and worked there for a number of years until I retired. They asked me to stay on for a while after I retired and they also asked me if I would go to Nigeria, we negotiated a Passport and Visas etc but at that time there was a lot of unrest out there so I couldn’t get a Visa and I didn’t go.