EBB AND FLOW

"Ebb and flow" which is centred around the Charley Clays Clothing Factory during the early sixties. The story focuses on different kinds of life in North Shields at that time - There's Helen Smith the young woman who dreams of a better life for herself, she wants to live like the rich people. When she marries Thomas Lattimer who is a wealthy banker she discovers that the life that she wanted is not all it was made up to be. Jimmy Mulligan who works for Hoults the butchers, lives over the road with his parents he has been in love with Helen since they were at school together. He tells her of his love and that he will wait for her no matter how long it takes. Allan Forster has been in and out of Borstal for petty crimes he dreams of one big job that will net him enough money to live the high life - He gets involved with Paddy Leonard a notorious hardman. A power struggle takes place in North Shields for supremacy. Paddy Devlin another bouncer, come gangster is running a protection racket

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To begin with they did stuff by the Shadows, Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, and some early Bob Dylan tracks as the folk scene was making a revival. His songs were a protest against government oppression in a changing society, the lyrics to his song talked about racism, sexism, and elitism.

Later they progressed to playing stuff from “The Kinks and the Rolling Stones.

People’s attitudes to music and the new sense of freedom that came about with it were changing. Acceptance and equality for women was still some way off though. There was always going to be the purists who thought a woman’s place was still in the home and that women should have no voice to speak out against oppression. In their eyes Rock music should be banned and have no place in Clubland. They lobbied at the committee meetings in the clubs and some clubs even boycotted rock bands; but it would be at their own detriment because the younger generation followed the rock bands around and they were the future of Clubland.

 

 

“The hooter went to start the Monday morning shift at Charley Clay’s clothing factory. Charley was interviewing someone for the post as the new cook in the canteen. The rounded faced middle aged man wore a three piece suit and still carried a pocket watch on an Albert chain. He walked through the factory inspecting everything, making sure that every garment made was to the highest standard.

There was no room in his factory for shoddy workmanship. They who were found wanting were either moved on to another department or sacked. All the workers were called into canteen where a table had been set up and microphone. The foremen and the boss himself sat on the seats as the workforce gathered to listen to what Mr Charles Clay had to say.

He stood up and walked to the microphone, he tapped the top of it to see if it was switched on before addressing the workers.

“Good morning, I have asked you all to come here today because this factory is in trouble. “ We are not producing enough goods to sustain the workforce.’ Some of the quality has dropped below the standards that Marks and Spencer demand and they have cut orders by nearly half.’ This means that if we carry on as we are at present the factory would have to close. “I have had to take some drastic measures in order to keep the factory open. Some of you will not like what I have done but I assure you it was done for the good of this business.’ “From today you will be on peace work; which means that you will only be paid by the quota that you make. The more garments that you produce the higher your pay will be.’

A woman called Frances Hogarth, who represented the girls shouted from the crowd. “Does that men that there will be no basic pay?’

Yes, you will only earn from the quota that you produce.’

“With respect sir said Frances Hogarth; we women work a forty five hour week; we get a ten minute break at ten o’clock and half an hour for lunch.’ “For that you pay us; which is thirteen pounds seven shillings a week. We work hard Mr Clay and the money that you pay us is not enough; “I have to feed and clothe my six kids and pay the rent and other bills and there is not enough to do this on what you pay us here.’ “Now we’ve just heard that we are going to be paid on what we make.’ “Does that mean that you are going to pay us at a higher rate or are we going to get less?’

The women all clapped as Frances finished speaking and Charley Clay called for silence by lifting up his arms.

“Excuse me madam could I please ask your name?’

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