September 25th, 2016

Needle industry remembered in history event

Updated: 11:08 am, Aug 19, 2016

IN an age of zero hours contracts, the Studley Local History Group brought back a bygone era on Saturday at a special ‘show and tell’ in the village hall.

The aim was to collect memories of those who had worked in the village’s needle industries, to hear of the characters, tall tales and carry-ons of an industry which dominated the area for centuries.

One visitor, Margaret Burton, who worked at ‘The Needles’ for 30 years recalled the camaraderie and good times when, if someone was getting married, their co-workers would celebrate by holding a mock wedding to wish the couple well.

“They were good employers,” she said. “They used to run an evening shift for people with children or family commitments, they ran a coach to collect people and when the kids went to school you could transfer to the day shift, and in the holidays go back to the twilight shift.

“They were a very kind, caring company and if you had problems they would pull out all the stops.”

Another visitor, Dennis Weaver, told how one man, who had lost his fingers in an industrial accident at another factory, was found work so he could go on providing for his family.

“They weren’t the best payers but they definitely looked after you,” said another visitor.

The aim of the Lottery-funded project is to create a permanent display in the village hall explaining the rise and fall of the needle industry.

This will be complemented by a mobile exhibition and the collection of recorded reminiscences. It’s also hoped a collection of exhibits can be created and precious photographs copied and a directory of needle workers made.

“If we didn’t do this it would all be forgotten and whoever came here would have no idea why Studley exists how it grew,” said Karen Cording of the Local History Group.

If you worked in Studley’s needle industries or half an old photo or momento of those times, contact Karen on 01527 69150.