The girls and I work in different parts of the factory so we split
up at the factory gate. Eliza works in the silk folding room. They
cut the finished net to size, check it carefully for faults and
wind it on to card. Then its ticketed and sent to the packing room.
in the wheel winding room where they wind the silk onto the small
flat bobbins that fit into the lace machines. Some of the bobbins
are only 1/14th of an inch thick and they hold up to 640 yards of
thread. You need nimble fingers for that. They wind up to 200,000
wheels a day.
are 5384 bobbins and carriages in each of the machines I work and
10,000 silk threads. I have to keep my eyes open every minute of
the day in case any of these threads break. That damages the net
and I get paid by the piece. I usually get about 15 shillings in
a good week. It's a complicated business this lace making. There's
about a 1000 people work in the factory and nearly as many youngsters
go to the school.
get up about 5.00am to clean out the range and light it as I do
every day, so there's a nice cup of tea for my John when he gets
Bread and butter for breakfast and Eliza and Ellen go to the factory
with their Dad just before 6.00am now they're working full time.
goes off to school a bit later and then it's just me and Edwin at
home. I give the downstairs a thorough clean. I sweep the floors
every day if I can, but today I mop the kitchen floor and take up
the rugs to beat outside. Then I dust and polish in the parlour
and if there's time I polish the brass and copper pipes. It's such
a help having a water tap in the kitchen.
About 12 o'clock I take John and the girls their dinner, bread
and butter for them to eat and maybe a bit of fish for John. I do
that every day. It saves them time. After I've cleared up I do the
mending and patching and darn the socks and stockings. Alice minds
Edwin and she'll help make stew for supper.