Reminiscence and Resource Centre












Grandmother, mother and daughters. - 1948
With the arrival of 69 years old Mrs Celia Smith to work in Community House Canteen, there are now three generations of one family working for the Bata organisation at East Tilbury. Leaving her job as a cook in Leigh-on-Sea cafe to be closer to her daughter and grand-daughters at East Tilbury, Mrs Smith, looking many years younger than her age, started work in the canteen last week.

There Bata Record found her busily cutting up mountains of vegetables with an energy worthy of a much younger woman.

One of seven children herself - five of whom are still living, Mrs Smith has six children, fourteen grand-children and two great-grandchildren. Until recently she was living in Benfleet, but about a month ago, on that very snowy Saturday, she moved to Tilbury to live with her daughter, Mrs M Wainford.

Asked why, at her age, she was still working, she replied, “Everyone is only as sold as they feel. I do not think work harms anybody, and anyway if I were not working I should not know what to do with my time. I am as fit as I was twenty years ago

First of the family to come to work for Bata’s was Doris Wainford, now aged 24, grand-daughter of Mrs Smith, who started here in 1938, but left in 1941 to join the A.T.S.

While serving she was married to a Merchant Navy man, and now as Mrs Jackson, finds looking after two boys a full time job, although she would like to be back at East Tilbury.

Next to join Bata was Doris’ mother, Mrs Maud Wainford, who you see here, who came to work in Dept 321 repairing wellingtons in October 1946.

With her children more or less grown up, she preferred to be at work, doing a useful job - helping the nation’s recovery plan so Bata was her obvious choice.
She was followed a month later by another daughter, Daphne, aged 16 now, who stitches plimsoll backs in the rubber factory, closing room. When she left school Daphne first worked in a laundry, but when she heard from her mother about the interesting work at East Tilbury, she left that, and is now happily stitching away in Depot 383. You see her here.

Daphne’s eighteen year old sister Iris, who is a heel presser in Dept 322, came here in February, 1947, and she too found the work more interesting than any other work, and was happy to be working in the same factory as her sister and mother. Unfortunately she suffers from rheumatism, and has been away for some weeks, but Foreman E J Ralph hopes she will soon be back.


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