Reminiscence and Resource Centre












Now she wants to stay down South. - 1947
Three days after Jeanette Walters, whom you see here, and her family were evacuated from bomb shattered Hull their house was hit and destroyed. It meant for Jeanette the end of her old life and the beginning of a new. But she did not welcome the change. Not at any rate for the first four years. In August, 1942, she went to live at Workington. She went to do war work in a woollen mill at Maryport, weaving materials for Army and Royal Air Force uniforms. The work was hard and poorly paid, and Jeanette wanted to be a dress designer. She had hoped to make dress designing her career, starting off by learning dressmaking she had already begun a designer’s course at the College of Art, Hull, when war and bombs tore her ambitions to shreds.
Two and a half years in the woollen mills with the consolation of knowing that even though she did not like the work it was essential and vital to the war effort. Then came a spell in a grocer’s shop. This did not appeal to Jeanette at ll.
What was more she did not like living in Cumberland. When she heard about the Bata factory and the chance to train offered to local girls she immediately jumped at the chance.
She confesses now, “It was not so much that I was interested in the work at that time but it seemed a great opportunity to get away from work I did not like”.
So she came to East Tilbury and started on the conveyor in Dept 322. She has not changed her department but after two weeks went on the top-cutting machine where she still is.
At first East Tilbury did not appeal very much to her. She says, “The people seemed stand -offish and they seemed to resent us coming at all. But maybe I only imagined that.”
As time went on she became interested in the work, and in the people, or at least some of them. She always was keen on football, now she became a prominent supporter of the Bata “A” team. She also began to take an interest in motor cycling, which was new to her.
She told Bata Record, “I thought I would go back to dress designing after the war, but now I feel I want to live down here always.”
Her other interests are dancing and good music, especially Mozart.

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