Stanley Mill 1964

I left Perth Academy in 1964 (in Stanley terms I was an Academy Ashbucket – i.e. working class but managed to pass the eleven plus) and saw an advert in the paper for a Junior Shorthand Typist/Secretary at Stanley Mills.  I got the job and living in Store Street it was great as I could run up the brae for my dinner and was home by 5 or so every night.  It also meant no bus fares into Perth to work!!

At the start of each day, I had to run around the mill.   I was terrified (I was only 15).  The noise and bustle….  I had to pick up all the “Time Sheets” from the different parts of the mill, from the Weaving sheds where the wifies would shout at me (most of them were really deaf) to the clattering, dusty “Winding” and “Carding” sheds.  Last I would go to the warehouse where all the raw bales of cotton came in weekly from Winstanley in Liverpool.  The cotton was really soft and I couldn’t help but touch the stuff as I passed.

There were real characters in Stanley Mills office and reflecting back I can remember them vividly.  I really liked the disabled man Roy Macgregor who did the accounts and processing with Mr Dudgeon who came over the Tullybackart Road to Stanley every day from Dundee.  Roy was a really kind man who supported me in those days and kept saying “you should get out of this place”.  Mr Stott was the General Manager and eventually I did all his shorthand typing.  Mr Stott chewed/smoked his pipe all day long.  One of my favourite tasks was counting out the cash to put in the pay packets at the end of the week with the “clerkess”.

I remember going to Mr Stott’s one New Year with some pals – and he said to me, “Fiona, you should go into further education – why don’t you go and train to do something!!”  I laughed and never thought about it but when I was 18 and saw all my Perth Academy friends going off to University I decided that I maybe could do something too.  I looked through the Edinburgh phone directory and didn’t get far – “The Astley Ainslie School of Occupational Therapy”  - I phoned up and by the end of the week I had had my interview and been accepted on the next course.  (By this time I had left Stanley Mills and moved to a job in Perth where they encouraged me to do “Highers”).

Fiona McConnell - November 2006