Holmes Hosiery Factory
Joyce Higgins describes working in a hosiery factory in Wigston in the 1940s.
East Midland Oral History Archive
Photograph courtesy of Wigston Civic Society. To use seek permission from http://www.wigstoncivicsociety.org.uk/
You may use this item in accordance with the licence http://creativecommons.org/licences/by-nc-nd/2.0/uk/
Oh yes it’s well known for the hosiery in Wigston…when I went to work at Holmes’… you had to start at 8 o’clock, half past twelve it was dinner time and then we worked until 6 o’clock at night… when I first started I shall always remember my mum sent me to work in my gym tunic and my black stockings from school and I got to work and there was me in this gym tunic, my black stockings and my school shoes and they’d all got their frocks on and I felt really, you know, really out of it…anyway, ever so nice the foreman and he took me round and told me who all the people were like and what I’d be doing. He says ‘you’ll be doing this for the first six months then when you’re not doing the errands’, he says, ‘we’ll give you a bit of splicing to do.’ They used to make ladies’ stockings with Cuban heels, not tights or stockings and the Cuban heels had like pieces of nylon thread going across and you had to cut this thread as near to the seam on the Cuban heel as possible without cutting the stocking. That’s what you did in between fetching, doing errands and fetching cottons and things. You had to do that for six months. ‘After six months’, he said, ‘we ask you what machine you’d like to go on’ and he took me round and showed me the machines. There was toe stitching, overlocking, welting, seaming and linking, you see and then ‘after you’ve been there a bit’ he said, ‘we’ll ask you which machine you’d like to learn.’