Mattie Ruddock. Lleisiau o Lawr y Ffatri

Polikoff's Ynyswen, Hirwaun Clothing Factory

Cyfwela: VSE004.2 Mattie Ruddock

Dyddiad: 13/11/2013

Cyfwelydd: Catrin Edwards ar ran Archif Menywod Cymru

Gadawodd Mattie yr ysgol yn 14 (1938), stopiodd ei mam hi rhag mynd yn forwyn breifat ('skivvy'), ac aeth i Polikoff's tan mynd yn feichiog (1946). Dychwelodd i wnïo â llaw ond roedd yn casáu hyn. Gwneud cotiau mawr i filwyr. Cafodd ei rhyddhau o fynd i'r fyddin dir neu ffatri ffrwydron oherwydd priododd o fewn chwe wythnos. Gweithiai ei chwaer yn adran grachaidd y ffatri - gwneud ffrogiau. Dawnsio a mynd i'r pictiwrs. Roedd ei thad yn strict iawn - capelwr, canwr da a mynd i Eisteddfodau. Seiclo I'r gwaith. Y weiarles arno amser cinio. Siarad Cymraeg. Pan oedd ei gŵr allan o waith gweithiodd yn ffatri ddillad Hirwaun - yn casáu yno. Gwisgo trowsus yn Polikoff's. Nodwydd trwy'r bys. Roedd y rhai yng ngofal o Lundain. Mynd ar wyliau i'r Barri - goleuo'r lampau. Bu Mattie a'i gŵr yn gofalu am sawl clwb wedyn. Yna gweithiodd mewn cantîn mewn llaethdy.

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Arcadian Harmonica Band 1939

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CE: So Mattie could you tell me your name and your address and date of birth please?
MR: Mattie Ruddock now of course. I’m the 19th of the first, 1924.
Tell me a little about your background, where were you born, your father and mother, what did they do and that kind of thing?
MR: Yeah – well I was born in Blaen Rhondda, live there un’til I got married of course, and we were brought up in a very religious household. My father was deacon of the chapel and leader of the singing; all involved with the chapel we were as we were brought up in chapel anyway. And we used to have dramas and that’s what we used... our life was then of course. My father was a miner - lovely singing voice he had – but he wasn’t a very.. he died at 58 - he wasn’t a very strong man either. But I lived in Blaen Rhondda then un’til I got married, then we moved to Ty Newydd then and we lived there for I think it was about eleven years.
CE: Did your mother work?
MR: Oh no. No never worked.
CE: And did you have brothers and sisters?
MR: I had one brother and one sister. My sister died now about two and a half years ago – she had dementia, for about 5 years. She used to spend such a lot of time with me after her husband died, she lived with us practically.
CE: Where they older or younger than you?
MR: I’m the middle one. My sister was the youngest, my brother’s s’till alive, he’s 92 now next week – Gwyn – lovely boy.
CE: Long living then.
MR: Well yes we are aren’t we! My mother’s mother lived un’til she was 96, my mother lived to 94. I had her for 24 years living with me.
CE: Tell me bout your education - primary and secondary?
MR: Well we went to Blaen Rhondda School. You know years and years ago there was nothing... we never had cookery or swimming anything like that like they do today, just lessons that's all. Different lessons as well, wasn't it then. Nothing so high like.
CE: Where was the secondary school then?
MR: That was in Pentre. In was going to go but I backed out the last minute for that. My brother went, cos he was the brainy one in the family mind, but I was pretTy good in school as well. But I was always quite and shy and I wouldn't try the exam in the end. I was sorry after of course.
CE: When did you leave school then?
MR: 14...
CE; You were 14?
MR: Well we had to finish then didn't we? Cos there was nothing else for us then, if you didn't go on to secondary see.
CE; So when did you.. you didn't want to go on....?
MR: I was sorry after mind, I never took it. I was too nervous. I was afraid of everything, at that time I was. And of course we never used to go far see. We never wandered far... I don’t think I’d ever been to PonTy before I finished school. We never went.
CE: So what did you do then after you finished school?
MR: Well.. I remember this time my mother sent me down to the minister's wife's house, to take a message. And a friend was there, and she comes from Trealaw, I can't remember her name now. And she was looking for a lady, they used to take them to live in to clean the houses then didn’t they? And I wasn't very big, I've never been very big - I've lost two stone since I've had this accident anyway. And this lady was there saying that she was looking for a place and I said "Oh - I'm looking for a job," cos I'd just finished school now. So I arranged it with this lady now - I was going to go there, do this job and live in and every thing. So I went home and I was telling my mum. "I said I've got a job mam". "What have you got?" she said. My mother was pret Ty sharp youknow. I said I was going to go and live in this house. She said "You're not going as a skivvy for nobody" she said. She wouldn't let me go would she! So after that then, I worked in the penny bazaar, my cousin was the manageress and she wanted help so I worked there for a while. Then I went to the centre in Ynyswen. We used to have a centre then you could... well I took shorthand and Typing you know, but this Polikoff’s was next door. Course anytime there was anybody finishing in the collegeand they wanted somebody in the factory, they'd come over to the centre to offer them a job. Course, me like a fool took it didn't I? Cos I gave the Typing, which I'm sorry for again. So I worked in Polikoff’s then un’til I went pregnant really.
CE: So how old were you then when you went to Polikoff’s?
MR: I was about 15 I should say to 16. And I was there then un’til I was... when I had our David I was 22. So I finished then. They used to finish then of course. They didn't used to work like they do today did they? If you was pregnant you couldn't work. I did go part time for a long while, hand sewing then which I hated, but that's what I done.
CE: So tell me about your first day at Polikoff’s. Can you remember anything about that? Describe the place to me for a start and if you remember the smells and the sounds?
MR: It was a very big place. It was a little bit noisy, with the machines of course isn't it, cos on clothing see I was. But it was alright, hard work mind cos we were doing overcoats for the soldiers and that. It was heavy and I wasn't a very big person of course.
CE: Tell me were you trained now then? You went to Polikoff’s - did they train you?
MR: Not really. They just showed you what to do, taught you how to use the machine and what you had to do - your job init. That's all. And that's where I was then un’til, ‘til I went part time as I say.
(There are sounds of the stair lifft going up and down in the background)
CE: Tell me then, what were you making?
MR: I was on overcoats for the army. That's what I was on.
CE: And this was what year?
MR: She works out what year it was.
CE: 1939?
MR: Yes it could be around there that's right. Cos I got married in 1943. I was in the factory for about 4 or 5 years before I got married.
CE: So the war had just started then?
MR: Really yes, cos I was called up. That's how I got married really. I was called up to either go to the land army or ammunitions factory. Or you could get married. But you had to be married in 6 weeks. So of course I did another silly thing see. (she laughs) I decided to get married didn't I, so I remember going home cos my father was very strict and you couldn't get married un’til you were 21, and I wasn't quite 20 then. So I went home and I told him, 'I'm getting married dad." Oh - hullabaloo in the house. But I did eventually get married. Twas a rush wedding cos 6 weeks you had, no coupons for anything see. But I had a nice little white wedding. There was lace in Treherbert in one of the shops. No Coupons. I remember running home and saying "Lace in Treherbert Ma!" I always wanted a white wedding didn't I. So I (??) my mother.... she was a bit tight, she never gave a lot you know, but she did buy the lace for me, and her sister made me a dress cos she was sewing. There's my photo up there.
CE: So you went to work in Polikoff’s - was there anyone else from the family....?
MR: My sister - she worked there but she was in the dress division. My sister was a bit more hoighTy than me, always was all her life you know, different Type to me. And she was in the snobby part as we used to say - in the dress division she worked.
CE: What kind of dresses did they used to make?
MR: They were just ordinary dresses that they used to wear then. Yeah.
CE: Do you know where the dresses were sold?
MR: Oh I don't know what happened to them. No I don't.
CE: But the stuff you made went straight to the army?
MR: Oh yeah must have, yes.
CE: So were there other from Blaen Rhondda working there?
MR: O yeah there was a few people working there. Few of us working there cos we used to catch a bus right outside the front door. Yes - couple of the girls there.
CE: So was it a public transport bus or dod they put on buses?
MR: Oh public transport... yes. No they never give you nothing do they?
CE: And how long did it take you to get to work in the morning?
MR: Oh well Blaen Rhondda to Ynyswen... it was about 20 mins, half an hour say perhaps. We used to work 8 ‘til 6 then see. Yeah, long hours...
CE: 5 days a week or...?
MR: 5 days a week - we didnt work on Saturdays or Sundays of course. Well I wouldn't have been allowed to work on Sunday anyway. That's how we used to live see init?
CE: So do you remember what your pay packet was when you first started?
MR: Oh my goodness. No I can't. I can't remember that. I don't know. I think it was about 15/- a week or something. I used to give all my money to my mother of course. And she used to give us a couple of bob back. But she used to clothe us of course.
CE: So she bought your clothes?
MR: Just pocket money we had. Couple of bob you know, 4 or 5 shillings that's all.
CE: So what did you do with that money then do you remember?
MR: Well, I used to like to go dancing I did see. I used to love dancing. I went dancing now un’til I had this accident. And... my father... if it was a church dance he'd say yes you can go, but otherwise it wasn't allowed of course. The same people used to go to the dances mind, but I used to go on the sly mind. 11:40 (can't understand) 11:42 well I don't know, used to go to pictures a lot see. That was most of the main thing then - pictures. And dancing when I could go.
CE: So where did you go dancing and where did you go to the pictures?
MR: Oh pictures we went up in Ty Newydd, What do you call it now? We used to go to the one in Treherbert and the one in Ty Newydd. Those are the ones we used to go... we used to go to the Abergorki Hall as well in Treorchy. I was friendly with a boy there and that's where we always went to Abergorki.
CE: Was that dancing or the pictures?
MR: Oh pictures that was.
CE: Where did you go dancing then?
MR: Well I started dancing in the Lido, this would be the Treherbert Labour now, called it the Lido then and they started dancing classes. I was about 13 then I think. And I had to beg my father now to go dancing. Oh he was dead against it wasn't he? But he let me go and I used to go on a Saturday afternoon the a couple of us, and they used to teach us to dance of course. Well then we used to have a church dance on a Monday night then - that was after we'd started work, shouldn't go then ‘til after we'd started work (?). And any dances going, I used to go of course. But the church, we used to go and oh.... we got a photo up by there and there's a band mouth organ and piano accordian band, and they used to run the dances see, so we used to go up Glyn Rhondda then, up Blaen Cwm dancing on a Wednesday always..
CE: And they were the band that...
MR: That's the band that was up there on a Wednesday always. And they used to do... well we used to go round doing concerts and that you know. It was good yeah. And they had singers and everything - it was lovely. The good old days they were - for us then.
CE: How did you get their photograph then?
MR: Oh they had that taken with their photographer.. the band see.
CE: So how did you feel about working in the factory? Did you enjoy it?
MR: Well I was the Type of person hat wherever I went, I'd sort of settle you know. You know, I didn't mind it at all there. I sort of settled wherever I went - I was that kind of person. But... I can't say I disliked it. We never knew any different did we? Used to get tired mind cos it was long hours and that. But no it was OK. (We had?) laughs there and there was plenty of company.
CE: What about your friend in the factory? Did you have lots of friends?
MR: Oh yes. I always had lots... we used to go about in gangs then. Lots of us had spikes... and we used to cycle to work, for a long.. a couple of years. I was always glad to get off mind.
CE: Did you use to cycle down from Blaen Rhondda?
MR: Blaen Rhondda - yes. Every day and back home. When I worked in the Penny Bazaar it was in Pentre, I used to cycle there and home. Yes it's a long way. lots of us used to do it see. Together.
CE: You were fit then were you?
MR: Oh yes always. Very good. Thin as a lath.
CE: Did Polikoff’s, did they put any entertainment on for you, dances or things like that?
MR: No. Never had nothing going. They used to put something on... what used to be on the wireless lunchtime? They used to put that on for us..... I can't remember names see. That shows the old age doesn't it coming out.
CE: But the wireless used to be on in the factory...?
MR: Every lunchtime... there was a certain programme on... they used to have all theses singers and that - they used to put that on for us. No - we never had no trips or anything.. nothing run for us at all. They were Londoners they were mostly see, who were in charge of the factory like.
CE; So do you remember - what did they play on the radio then?
MR: Don't know
CE: ....popular songs of the day...?
MR: Popular what they were then yeah.. the favourite songs.... whichever they were. I should remember because I've always... I used to sing once.... ‘til I lost my voice mind.
CE: Did you use to sing along in the factory...?
MR: Oh yes.. When we were younger my father... we used go to Eisteddfods and that you know. Yes we used to always sing... my father was always a singer.. and my mother was a good singer as well. Just in the family sort of thing. And my brother has a good voice.
CE: Did you sing in English or Welsh?
MR; Well we used to sing both cos our chapel was all Welsh, we used to talk Welsh then see. Cos I lost all that Welsh see. I can understand people and I can read it all now, but as for speaking, I can't just speak it fluent. And we used to be fluent. But it was the teacher Mr Haddock - I was looking at his photo the other day - cos if he heard me talk English he'd give me a clip across the ear. Cos we were all welsh see, we were all welsh.
CE: Was that in Primary school or Ysgol Sul?
MR; Well same school we were all through see. And my grandmother, well she couldn't speak only broken English really. She came from outside Swansea she did. What's that place outside Swansea now?
CE: Up the valley.. or which way?
MR: O yeah up... not up towards our way. Llansamlet - that's where she come from. Llansamlet. And she was all 17:36 (can't understand) well she couldn't hardly (?) speak... not properly you know. Broken English she was. She was my godson (?) she was... she always used to stick up for me cos I was always in trouble for something and my sister was always so good see. (She laughs) And of course my brother went away when he was 16. He went for a holiday, and he was supposed to come back to try his 18:00 (can't understand this) as they called it then, like they try the GCE now isn't it. But he never come back - he stayed up in Northampton. He still living there now. And he had a job and he got in the steel works and he come under manager. He had a good.. and that's where he stayed. And he got married there of course and he lodged then with er... who is his wife now Dorothy.. with her mother. And of course they got together and they got married eventually. We were married the same year. They got married in February and I got married in October. But as I say, I got married quicker than I though like really.
CE: Can you describe what a working day was like for me?
MR: Well I don't know. You just went in and you had to go to your machine straight away and you had to work ‘til break time then have a break.
CE; When did you have a break and how long was it?
MR: Oh about 15 - 20 mins. You'd always have a break in the morning and in the afternoon as well. About 11 I think it was. Back to your work then again. That's how it was - all work.
CE: Did they have a canteen?
MR: Yes yes we had a canteen.
CE; Did you use to eat in the Canteen?
MR: Yes we always used to go in the canteen - oh yes. Sometimes you'd take your own food and sometimes have it in the canteen you know. Oh yes there was a good canteen, big canteen there.
CE: Was the food OK?
MR: Yes - as I can remember I think it was alright you know.
CE; Did you change jobs at all when you were at the factory?
MR: No. No once I was in Polikoff’s they just changed me from the army what you call... they used to have post machines then, they were tall machines like that and you used to do all these seams on them or something. I just changed my job in that factory that's all. I never went anywhere else.
CE: No, that's what I meant - within the factory.
MR; Yes - I went on different machines that's all then, different kind of machines.
CE: And what did that machine do?
MR: It was doing all the seaming I think, if I remember. They're very tall machines they were. And I used to sit up on this high stool you know. I used to love it.
CE: And you were still doing coats with that?
MR; Oh yes - still all army work we were doing then. Yes yes.
CE: Were there a lot of women working in the factory?
MR: O most women. Yeah.
CE: Do you know how many of you were there?
MR: O I don't know I haven't got a clue, but most women yes.
CE: Were there men working there as well?
MR: Well I don't know... mechanics you know and that, but I can't remember men on the machines. No I can't remember men on the machines - it was all women I think.
CE: What did they do then - the men?
MR: Well mend the machines see.
CE: Mend the machines...
MR: Yes they were always around if your machine conked out or anything happened you know, they'd be there to see to it for you. Yes ... and they had a nurse there with... if anybody went ill on anything wrong, there'd be a nurse there for you.
CE: Were there any injuries and things when you were there?
MR: No.. well no. The only injury you had was when the needle went in your finger. That was bad enough. I think most of us had that once 21:32 (?) again. Yeah.
CE: Were there married working there as well?
MR; Oh yes. Quite a lot of married women. Lot of young ones too mind init. Yes there were married women there.
CE: And working mothers as well? O did they tend to leave when they had children?
MR: Yeah we used to leave... We had to leave I think then when you was pregnant you know.. when you had a bout three months to go before you had your baby. You used to finish then. It's the sort of thing you'd done... you know.
CE: You had to leave then did you?
MR: Well... they never made you leave, but it was a thing that you'd done, you know.
CE: So there were no crèches or childcare?
MR: Oh gosh no! Nothing like that. Well I never worked then once I had the children. Two boys and a girl I had. I never worked after. I did go to work once because Bert was prone to accidents - he worked at the colliery then. He had this accident and he was out for about three months I think. And his sister worked in Hirwaun in a factory there and it was all clothing there. And you had cutting out things, clothing and cutting out... but anyway, I said I don't see why I can't go to work now cos our Kim was a little tot, toddler.... the other two were in school I think.... and I said I can't see why I can't go to work now that your out of work. So anyway he said "oh go on then!" cos his two sisters were working of course. So his sister had a job for me up in Hirwaun, where she was working. Oh I hated it, I hated it! But I stayed there but of course once he finished and had to go back to work, I had to finish.
CE: Do you know what factory that was?
MR; No I don't. It was over Hirwaun.
CE: Why did you hate it then?
MR: Well I didn't like that kind of work. It wasn't my type. You know all of my sister was marvellous at it, but of course she was a sewer see.
CE: Your sister who worked in Polikoff’s was there as well was she?
MR: She was in the dress division...
CE: But did she go to Hirwaun?
MR: Oh no. Mona always stayed in the factory. Yes.
CE: Can you remember how much you were paid?
MR: I think it was 15/-. I remember Bert - that's all he was having was 15/- when he was working.. But he passed for fireman then they called it.. official... and then he had a little bit more money. Oh we thought we were god's pocket (?). He tried this exam and we never thought he'd pass but he did. So he was lucky and he was an official then for years and he always had extra money and if he was out of work, he was getting paid for it. Well he wasn't if he was a common collier see. So that was all big benefits to it. And we moved to Beddau after.
CE: Did you have any perks from working in the factory?
MR: No
CE: Could you buy cheap clothes?
MR: No nothing.. well we were on the army thing weren't we..?
CE: Even from the other departments?
MR; No.
CE: Were there trade unions in the factory?
MR: Not that I know of. I can't remember... no I don't think so.
CE: Did you have to wear a uniform?
MR: No you could wear what you liked. We used to wear a lot of all in one trousers, what did they used to call them?
CE; Oh.. boiler suits...
MR: Like boiler suits... that was a fashion for a long time. Nearly everybody used to wear them then. But no we didn't have to wear uniform. You could wear what you wanted to really.
CE: So why did you wear a boiler suit then?
MR: Oh I liked the trousers.
CE: Did you?
MR: Yes... a lot of us wore them. Yeah we used to like the boiler suits.
CE: Great for protection isn’t it?
MR: Yes and comfortable see they were too.
CE: And great for cycling! Were there any rules and regulations.. you know safety rules and regulations in the factory?
MR: Not a lot really.. no not really. You just had to watch how you were using your machines, that's all.
CE: And you can't remember any accidents or anything? just the needle through the finger?
MR: A couple of us used to have that now and again! No.
CE: Do you remember what it was like? Was it cold in the factory, or hot? Do you remember if it was heated or too hot or too cold?
MR: I don't think we got really cold cos we were using the machines. We used to get warm see, using the machines didn't it? It wasn't really cold. I suppose in the winter it wasn't so warm mind, I don't think.
CE: What were the facilities like - toilets and things like that.
MR: Oh they were ok. Yeah they were all right. We used to go up there to have a smoke then didn't we. I used to smoke then.
CE: So did a lot of the women used to smoke?
MR: Yes, yes.
CE: Were the employers ok about that?
MR: They didn't know really did they? They were upstairs. You weren't allowed to smoke in the factory itself of course, cos of the clothing see init?
CE: Do you think you've suffered any long-term effects from working there?
MR: No.. I've always suffered with my back mind. But I suffered with my back anyway but that couldn't have helped it. Always suffered with my back. Course you was over the machine for hours wasn't it? Yeah.
CE: How did the women treat the fellow male workers in the factory?
MR: Oh we used to get on great with them - yes all right. I used to like the men mun... then.
CE: So what did you and your gang do... you say you went to dances. Did you used to go with women from the factory?
MR: Well.. yes.. some of the women used to go. There was one girl Sybil her name was, she was from Ystrad, and there were three of us we used to like dancing - we used to come down to the library in Pandy then. I used to go home in the dinner hour and change and I'd send a note and say I was going to the pictures. My father wouldn't let me go. So we used to go down to Sybil's for tea then, then we'd go top the library and I remember this one night, we went to the library and Beryl and I came out and we'd lost the last bus home. Oh my god - I was in a panic cos I knew I was in for it, although my father was quiet and never touched us or anything. Anyway we walked up to Llwynypia hospital and caught the last bus from there, Course I had to walk from the new bridge up to my house to Blaen Rhondda. Beryl could go all the way on the bus to Blaen Cwm and she was alright, it was only her and her mother it was and she was alright with her mother. I remember passing my father on the road. It was autumn wasn't it and he had this lamp - we used to carry lamps then see. I run like anything up and my mother said 'For God's sake - get to bed!' she said 'Your father's on the prowl!" Course before I could get to bed, my father come in didn't he. Oh! Like I said he never hit me but he caught my arm. Oh he was.... when he had a temper... he was quiet, but when he had a temper you could look out and I had bruises where he caught my arm so I didn't talk to him for a fortnight. I was going to leave home then - I remember that! (she laughs) But he was very strict mind, but yet I used to go around mind - bless us. (?)
CE: You said you went to the Library in Pandy - was there a dance hall...?
MR: Dance Hall.. yes.
CE: Was it above the Library or was that what it was called...?
MR: It was called The Library...
CE: So it wasn’t a library...?
MR; Oh no - they used to call it The Library - I don't know why. I don't know. Cos it was out of our vicinity really - we were from Blaen Rhondda see. But we used to enjoy ourselves in our way see. We didn't know any different as they say. You know.
CE: Was there any shift work or was it just...?
MR: Oh no. 8 - 6 , no shifts.
CE: That's a long day.
MR: Oh it was a long day. But of course as I say that's how it was?
CE: Did you have to clock in?
MR: Oh yes - we used to clock in and out.
CE: And could you earn overtime?
MR: Yes - we used to work overtime sometimes, if there were extra orders come in I suppose. Yes we used to work overtime, not all the time but sometimes we did.
CE: Do you know how long Polikoff’s had been there before you started? Had it been there a while?
MR: Well - not very long I don't think. Not very long - perhaps about a 12 month. Yes - not very long before we went, because I was getting on for 16 I think, when I went there, if I remember rightly.
CE; So were they good employers do you think?
MR: Oh yes they were Ok. One of them - Helen her name was - oh she was lovely.. from London, but Doris then, the one that was on when I was on the coats, she was not very big but you know.... a bit of a bully. But she was nice... yeah she was alright.... I got on with her pretty good. Yeah all of them... cos they were Londoners see.
CE: Did you have an annual holiday? Did you have a holiday with pay?
MR: Yes I did think we did had a holiday with... we had a holiday I know. I can't remember...
CE: Could you choose when to go on holiday?
MR: No I think we had to go when we were told if I remember rightly. I'm not sure but I think it was the miner's holiday that we used to have.
CE: Did the factory shut down?
MR: Yes it must have. I’m sure... yes... I'm sure. Yes we used to have miner's holiday didn't we.... that's right. I think the fact that they .... they used to go home then see if I remember rightly.... the supervisors, you know.
CE: So did you go anywhere on holiday?
MR: No we never went far did we? I can remember the first holiday I ever had, I was working in the penny bazaar the, so I must have been 15. And my.. first time the miners had the pay... holiday pay. And they went to Barry, that's right - my mother and father and friends of theirs, and my sister and I went with them. And they stayed in this lady's house they did. There were no hotels or anything then. And there used the lamplighter cos we used to go out every night to light the lamps. And I remember I had to come home then, before... Mona wasn't working then cos she was 3 years younger than me, my sister, nearly anyway. So I had to come home then to go back to work on the Monday, so I only stayed the weekend. That was the first week holiday my parents ever had - when they were paid first.
CE: And were you working then...?
MR; I was working then in Polikoff’s. I had to go back there on Monday see.
CE: Do you remember what you did in Barry on Holiday?
MR: We used to go down the beach a lot - yes I remember it well. We used to go down the beach a lot cos there was about 6 or 8 of them you know, from chapel people of course. And we used to meet every day then, well they never used to do much else really - go down the beach and then in the night we used to go out with the lamplighter, me and my sister, to light the lamps with him. And that was it really.
CE: Was that the first time you saw the sea.
MR: Yes... oh we used to go with the chapel see when we were younger. Always had a chapel run out didn't we. That was about the only thing we had then when we were young.
CE; And where did you go with chapel?
MR: Porthcawl or Barry... that's as far.
CE: Do you remember how many days you had a year? That was a fortnight wasn't it the miner's....
MR; Oh I can't see that we had a fortnight... I don't know. I expect we had a week.. I can’t remember really.
CE; And what about Christmas then?
MR: Yeah we used to have Christmas day and Boxing day... like so many days off. Yeah we used to have that.
I'll make us a drink now in a minute. O
CE: Ok we've nearly finished. When you went to Barry, were there other people from work there when you went there?
MR: No - not from work. Mind ....(?) my mother and father then see.
CE: Yeah, but you didn't bump into anybody?
MR: No. I don't know - we might have bumped into somebody we knew of course. Cos we used to know everybody nearly then didn't we, wherever we went.
CE: Were you allowed days off for personal reasons.. like if someone died - did that happen to you?
MR: No - if you were ill you just had to send in to say you were sick that's all.
CE: Did you get sick pay?
MR: No I don't thinks so. We never used to lose work if we could help it.
CE; Did you enjoy working in the factory?
MR: Yes - I didn't mind it, as I said. That's the only job I knew really. It was good company like. we were all in the same boat weren't we? You know.
CE: And then you got married - how long was it before you had children then?
MR: Two and a half years. I got married - I was nearly 20 and I was 22... that’s right - the week before I was 22 I had David. Just over 2 years.
CE; And apart from this.. you worked at Hirwaun... what did you do - did you work again after your children had grown up?
MR: No - no I never went back to work. Because we kept the club see after. We moved from Ty Newydd, well we lived at Blaen Cwm Terrace.. that was the next place to Blaen Rhondda, and Bert worked in the cwm colliery and he travelled a few years and he got fed up of travelling all the way down to Cwm colliery, he said we'll try for a house - colliery house - so that's what we done. We moved to Beddau. So we lived there for 5 years, we lived our in Pencoitre for a while, then we had a house down in the village, and then he found out he had dust, so we decided to get out of the colliery cos he had this dust. He finished in the colliery and they changed the cinema in Beddau into a club, a workmen's club there - Cwm Colliery club it was. So Bert said I think we'll 38:04 (can't understand) but we'd never run a club or anything! I wasn't willing to go cos I could feel my father on my shoulders you know. Silly - I was married then wasn't I. But that's how we were see. So... any way we tried for the club eventually, and we had the interview and we had the club, cos of course he was (?) in the collieries cos he had a bit of a pull didn't he. The people who kept another club in Beddau showed us the ropes - we worked with them for a while to find out how it was going, so we were in Beddau then for 2 years I think we were in the club Well then the Lewis Merthyr went to Porth, and we didn't have no living quarters in Beddau see - we had to have a house separate, and I was always worried cos I had two boys and a girls and I had to leave them in the nights which I'd never done. So we decided then to try for the one in Porth, cos we had a flat on the premises, so that's what we done. And that's how we come to Porth. An we were in there 5 years, in what you call and the.. trouble... or something over the electric.. it was some trouble with the committee over the electric... oh that's right - they wanted us to pay half the electric - when you go in you sign a form. They pay the electric and rent and everything is free for you, but they wanted us to pay half the electric and we refused, so we finished. But I wanted Bert to take.. he could have taken that to court see. But he wouldn't of course. So that's how we came to live... we lived in the bungalow then up here. And then we done one or two clubs reliefs you know but eventually Bert had a job in the dairy then. He was with the milk in the dairy - pasteurizer. And I had a job in the canteen. And that's where we were - I had a job in the canteen for 15 years I think and Bert was there a little bit longer. So that's.. the dairy shut down then didn't it - the canteen was taken over by private people - we had to finish, and Bert finished 2 years before his time I think. That was it then - so we never worked after that. well it was Bert's time to finish anyway.
CE: Looking back at those early years in Polikoff’s, would you say you enjoyed your time there? Tell me how you feel about when you look back?
MR: Yes - I quite enjoyed it. The hours were long which we all moaned about a bit - always used to get tired didn't we. But yes I did enjoy it - I used to like to go to work. I've always liked working. I always like to be in company you know.
CE: And when you left, did you keep in touch with people from work?
MR: Well for a while, but most of us we're local you see from up Blaen Rhondda and Blaen Cwm and that, we all knew each other sort of thing you know. So we went all together dancing and pictures and that then. We all had different boyfriends init and started parting of the ways then.
CE: Are you in touch with anybody now?
MR: All my old friends that I had up there, everyone has died, except one and she's living up north and I've lost touch with Phyllis. But every one of them have gone. And a funny thing, the crowd that we were with down here, every one of them have died, so we went with a different crowd again then. Yes - the old ones when we went to Polikoff’s and dancing and that, everyone of them have gone. I'm the only one left, unless Phyllis is alive, I lost touch with Phyllis.
CE: She went North of England?
MR: Yeah up England.. right at the top... what's the name of the place now? She used to live right opposite me. We were good friends but I used to be friends with everybody. I never quarrelled with anybody... then. I quarrel quicker now than I did then... quiet see I was. But no I never quarrelled with nobody.
CE: Thank you very much Mattie. Diolch yn fawr.
MR: Oh.. diolch.

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