The Long and the Short of it.

“When my father first moved to Creekmouth, in about 1878, he worked as a boatman for John Bennet Lawes, who owned the row of cottages where we lived.  Most of our neighbours were also employed at Lawes Factory and at each end of the row lived the manager and the under – manager, who were unrelated, but both named Wilson.  They were called, Long Wilson and Short Wilson by the common herd. In those days you touched your cap to the boss and his wife, and quite a few villagers attended church on a Sunday evening, not because they were better then their fellows, but because Long and Short were there”

Creekmouth village and Lawes

Ariel view of Lawes Chemical Factory and the village


Starting Work

“I started work in ‘the firm’ in 1913 and retired just over 51 years later.  It was 5 shilling per week as a messenger – sixpence for me, and four and sixpence for mum.  Each year one asked for a raise and got put on another job carrying a little more money,  I got to eighteen shillings for seven shifts per week.  When I joined the navy, I then got ten shillings per week. When I started work it was a ramshackle old place, now sixty years later it’s still the same, but I liked it…I was free.  I believe I would have done any job anywhere, and liked it, if I was free!  I was so disappointed when my father would not let me join him and my brother on the river, as a Lighterman, but I worked it out in my own fashion”.