I was one of the ‘Mill Girls’

I so enjoyed seeing the photographs of the factory workers returning to work after the war which you presented to your readers two weeks ago, and your feature (Matlock Mercury, August 25) on the history of Patons and Baldwins, which was particularly educational, especially to the younger generation who have now become accustomed to modern day living.

All manufacturing in this area began to diminish when goods were being shipped in from abroad, Tor hosiery, Lea Mills, Drabbles Mill, it was a hive of industry until then.

During my younger days, Mason Mill, which was known as the English sewing cotton company, contributed to the survival of may families, hundreds of people worked there, including myself, when as a young lass straight from school. Like many others we had to start earning a living and I can tell you it was tough, we were still on wartime rations and we had to tip most of our wages up to help to support our families, there was no alternative because idleness would not be tolerated in those days.

It was a time for sharing with each other, and just as the workers at Paton and Baldwins all those years ago pictured in your same edition, our motto was the same “Workers Stick Together”.

The genuine friendships and the laughter, those were the days of merriment and mirth, and no one ever considered themselves to be better than anyone else. We would queue up together outside the old picture palace so excited by the thought of watching the antics of “Old Mother Riley” and her daughter Kitty, and oh yes, George Formby was not to be missed accompanied by his ukulele singing “I’m leaning on a lamp post at the corner of the street, in case a certain little lady passes by”.

They are memories to wonderful to forget as I continue to tread the twists and turns of all my yesterdays and during my moments of reverie, along the way having stepped into my red shoes and making sure not to forget Toto.

I will leave the dark clouds behind me and follow the yellow brick road in search of a peaceful land ‘somewhere over the rainbow’.

What could be beyond our unpredictable world? But then I guess that is a secret which the bluebirds will never reveal. One thing I am sure of is that I will walk proud of the fact that I was one of the local hardworking ‘mill girls’.

I wonder, did that certain little lady pass by?

Dorothy Corker

The shortlands