Making tartan rugs at Reid and Welsh by Ruth

Ruth’s first job was for Reid and Welsh Ltd, Lossiebank Mills based in Elgin. She chose the job because it was well-paid compared to Woolworths. Ruth had to take a colour blindness test. The working week was Monday to Friday from 8 a.m.- 5 p.m. with two weeks holiday. The work was piece work based on what you made but as mentioned earlier it was well paid if you worked hard. She gave her mother most of her earnings but had enough for herself to buy a new pair of shoes every Friday.

Each day they clocked in at 8 a.m. Their pay was docked if they were a few minutes late so they sometimes clocked each other in to avoid this. At about 10 they had a “fly cup” from their own flask. Lunch often came from Smiths the Bakers which were just up the road (where Decora framing Shop is now) which sold hot pies and sausage rolls.

Hattersley loom club source http://www.hattersleyloomclub.co.uk/Hattersley%20Domestic.htmShe started by working on two Hattersley looms. She had to clean and oil the loom. The tuners did the maintenance. She loved the job even though it was vry rough, dirty and noisy. She also learnt to swear there. There was very little protection there. Sometimes the shuttles flew out and there was some heavy lifting to do. On Fridays they got the looms going and then took turns watching each other’s machines while they washed their hair putting in rollers. All the weavers were women and all the men were warpers. The men were paid more for their job. Sometimes a nylon thread was put into the tweed to give a shiny thread through the tweed. if it broke then time was lost while the thread was repaired. As Ruth left in 1969 the mill was moving to Vicuna and Cashmere as well. Johnstons of Elgin took in German Looms in the late1960s/early 70s and they were state of the art and very efficient.

Formerly known as The Two Red Shoes Ballroom. The Beatles appeared there. © Copyright Ann Harrison and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

For recreation she went to the dances at the The Two Red Shoes on a Saturday night. On Tuesday nights teenagers went there. There was a cafe which sold coca cola. No alcohol was on sale as the nightclub had no liquor licence.

Additional information

“We’ll hae oor fly cup in the sitooter” – source of the phrase-Scottish Vernacular Dictionary
Hattersley Loom Club- Click here to read more information about the development of this loom

The Two Red Shoes ballroom and its place in History (1963) when the Beatles performed there.


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