Thursday, August 4, 2011

We Met On the Bus… Part Four Recognition and onwards…

We Met On the Bus… Part Four
Recognition and onwards…

Things were going swimmingly, at least as regards work, home life was something different. Living in a bedsit lacks privacy. Sharing the bathroom with the rest of the family could be frustrating. Moreover my husband was at night classes most evenings and studying much of the time too. We still went to the cinema on Fridays and often visited his parents in Derbyshire on Sundays. With my mother washing for us, I did all of the household’s weekly ironing, which I did over three evenings. Cleaning didn’t take long and so I stitched and read books. No television in those days but we had a radio to listen to — but not when my hubby was studying.

It was great being the only designer for the firm. I enjoyed going places with the traveller and meeting our buyers. Also meeting the various reps, who brought me samples of buttons and trimmings to look at, and order as appropriate. I was a vital cog in a well-oiled wheel. The orders came steadily in and no one was ever laid off. Most of the smooth working was down to the traveller — Freddie — even though the boss, who lived in Manchester, visited the factory several times a week. I have no idea what he did in the office on the ground floor but he had no influence upstairs in the huge workroom. There was also a sleeping partner — a smart-suited dapper man with neat facial hair — who dropped in a few times while I was there. I was once given the job of producing a certain garment worn at his ‘lodge’. I cut the pattern from one he brought with him. But the boss also had garments made, including pyjamas!

Then the blow came. Our Manchester boss, a heavy drinker, became seriously ill. The business was sold out to the busy lingerie firm who had the top floor just above us. With a glowing testimonial from Freddie, I wrote to my first firm to see if they were in need of a designer. I was taken on with a rise in salary. Not only that, but my sample hand and half the workforce were taken on with me.

So I was back to the firm where my career began, but no longer as a junior member of the team. At twenty-one I was regarded as a fully-fledged designer and, with the departure of one of the other designers, I had a decent office to work in. I had responsibility for designing for the younger end of the market. Freddie was travelling for the lingerie firm, and it was through him that I eventually became involved with them too.

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