Reminiscence and Resource Centre












Alf Taylor recalls a moment of pride on his Fiftieth birthday. - 1963
Wish many happy returns to Mr Alfred Taylor, closing room supervisor, on his fiftieth birthday, which he is celebrating today.
He has worked for British Bata for more than half his life, for he started in October, 1934, when the factory was in its second year of production.
“It consisted of two one-storey buildings then,” he said, “and there were two conveyors in the leather factory. Like everyone else who started in those early days, I saw rapid progress.
I remember my first job was seat-lasting women’s shoes on console machines, and I can recall going to the continent in 1935, mainly to learn stitching Cavalier slippers - now out of production. But I cannot remember all the operations I did before I became a foreman. I helped to open up the conveyor - at that time, in Dept 424 - for making monoliths, and I was in charge of several departments which turned out many different designs of shoes - mainly women’s. Then, at one time, I was responsible for the production of Goodyear welted shoes.”
Mr Taylor’s experience in the leather factory is reflected by his record, which shows that he worked in eight workshops, he was three times in one of them, Dept 422, and twice in two others.
From 1943 to 1945, he was a stoker in the Royal Navy, on home stations.
“I had an uninspiring sort of job before I came to British Bata,” said Mr Taylor, “but did not want to stay there long. Everyone was talking about the new Shoe Factory, and I took an early opportunity to see what I could do about getting work there , as I felt sure - in fact I was told - that prospects for young people who were prepared to work - and learn - were more than good. We all learned as we worked in those days. “Jumping ahead, I was a proud man when Mr Tusa announced my promotion at the Staff Dinner in 1962,” he told Bata Record, “and I was determined to do all I could to justify his confidence in me.”
While in charge of this floor, he say a change during the factory rearrangement to accommodate the closing sections of the factory, similar to the change which had taken place a few years previously in the rubber factory. Further re-organisations were made at the beginning of this year, when Mr F Mucha became a quality manager, and Mr Taylor, closing room supervisor.
“In my 28 years with the Company,” he said, “ I have seen many changes, particularly in the addition of modern machinery and the modernisation of method and organisation, which is always admired so much by visitors for overseas, who regard East Tilbury as the leader and an example to follow in Bata enterprise.”
Mr Taylor has lived on Bata Estate since 1935, and has two sons and a daughter. His main interest outside the factory is motoring. He has covered many thousands of miles in East Anglia and farther afield when holidays allow.
A popular figure everywhere at East Tilbury, he has always been a keen, hard worker in every position he has held with the Company and the fact that he has been successful in so many jobs, in many workshops and on so many different designs of shoes, shows that he is readily adaptable.
Read more about Alf Taylor's early years by clicking here.

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