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A collection of interviews and photographs recorded by Women's Archive of Wales in 2013-14

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VSE029 Patricia Howard, Harwin's Electronics Factory, Treorchy;Ray-O-Vac battery factory, Treorchy;Winchester Sausage Factory, Treorchy;Sobells, Aberdare;EMI, Treorchy;Polikoff's, Treorchy

Patricia’s father worked as collier for 51 years. She left school at 15 (1958) and started in Polikoff’s but hated sewing. After a week (went back there later) moved to Sobell’s. ‘Your life is ruled by a bell.’ Making televisions- putting glass fibre on sleeving, then soldering. Found canteen forbidding. Smoking at workplace. Factory work calls for self-discipline. Women did conveyor belt work. Stayed 2 years, and then to EMI – working with a needle and gold wire. No conveyor belt. Strike because of cold. Bonus because of the Beatles. Made different parts of record players. Night out in Shack, live music. After this she and her sister went away to Winchester. Returned fairly quickly to Ray-o-vacs. Dirty because of carbon. Making batteries. Then pregnant and returned after 2 years to EMI (same firm) She was 21 now. She lived on pocket money until 29. She stayed 9 years in EMI. Suspended because of Xmas revelry but factory went on strike. Then reinstated. EMI social club. Good-natured teasing. Later she worked for Harwin’s for 11 years, Made redundant at 53 (1996). Harwin’s made intricate components – again soldering. No union but well-treated. Still working in caring at 71 years old. She played for EMI football team against Polikoff’s – for Cambrian disaster fund (1965). They won – ructions.

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