National Bank of Australasia Shorthand Secretary by Angela Wallis

II had to type the monthly wool letter- six carbon copies. It was sent all across Europe. Our office in Princes Street (London) had a lift operated by a man who pulled a cable up and down. I worked in the basement. We had 1/2 hour for lunch. 3 /- luncheon vouchers. I gave Mum £2 per week and kept nothing for myself. The working day began at 9 a.m. and finished at 5 p.m. There was 10 minutes in the morning and afternoon for a break. I often joined my Dad at a sandwich bar in Woolworths, Cheapside. On Saturday the working hours were 9-1 p.m. I was asked to type but didn’t use my shorthand very much. I also did the post. I liked all my fellow workers. There was no talking in the office and it was quite cold. The Steam trams made my clothes dirty. There was a “sit up and beg” typewriter. A gestetner for making copies. It was very messy. In my time off I went to the cinema, dancing, traditional jazz concerts, tennis and the proms. I stayed 5 years. They asked me to leave when I got married. In 1953 the new West End Office opened in time for the Royal Wedding. We organised seats for visiting ozzies to watch. I became Secretary to the Manager. On June 30 and 31st December we had to stay and help until the Teller/ Cashier had balanced the books. Sometimes this took until midnight.

I spent 20 years in Africa with my husband, John who was an engineer, Met Office in Lusaka. I worked for the Kaunda Government with 51% takeovers of commerce. John was Chair of the Zambia Tennis. We played with and watched Arthur Ashe and Stan Smith.  We entertained other International Tennis Stars. We spent all our holidays in game parks, walking with elephants etc… travelled the world on our long leaves. I sang for the Queen in Lusaka Cathedral in the 70s by which time I had forgotten verses 2 and 3 of our National Anthem! We sponsored our garden boy, Paul Mwansa for GCE and accountancy training and by the time we left he was the Financial Controller of the Government owned Zambia Hotel Corporation!  We were very proud.”

Angela earned £3 12/- 6d. The uniform cost 12 /- 6 d. The season ticket cost £1 from Surrey. Angela worked in the City of London in 1952 and at the new West End office from 1953-7. Her holidays were two weeks per annum and one Saturday off in 8.

Angela Mary Wallis submitted her memory on a printed memory submission form and sent it into Elgin Library


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