Joan Parker popped into the North Mill recently. She started work at the English Sewing Cotton Company when she was 14, in 1944. She left in 1952, a young married woman.
Like many of the workforce, she travelled by specially chartered bus from Clay Cross, where she still lives.
There were 12 buses a day to ferry workers from Clay Cross to Belper.
It cost 3/9d a week in fares. Joan earned £1.3s.5d. That's less than £1.20p.
One of our volunteers has been to interview Joan about her memories of working at the Mill. I hope to share some of those stories with you in weeks to come.
E S C Co. didn't close down until 1986. We often have visitors who share their memories of working there, and many of our volunteers have connections. Chucklebutties was the mill canteen. There were beautiful maple wood floors on the top floors of the East Mill.
Our new gallery display includes news film of the day the Mill closed, friends in tears, leaving work together for the last time.
I think you will spot Joan, second from the right as you look at the photo. Sadly her companions are no longer with us. Imagine entering the world of full time mill work at 14. Like teenagers everywhere, they got up to high jinks. More to follow!