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16 October 2014
Social Change: Employment 1945 to 1979

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The Workers

The making of carpets employed thousands of workers in central Scotland. After World War Two James Templeton and Company had six factories in Glasgow, as well as two spinning mills producing thread or yarn, one of them in Glasgow and the other in Stirling. These factories employed both skilled and unskilled workers, male and female, making carpets for British and international customers.

In common with most textile factories, the machinery in carpet factories was very noisy and workers would breathe in fibres from the threads as they passed through the machinery. Health and safety standards for workers were much lower than for workers today and ear protection against the noisy machinery was not common. Workers complained about the factories being cold and unheated in winter, and hot and unventilated in summer. There were frequent strikes, more often over working conditions than wage rates. Many workers in carpet factories were paid according to how much work they did (piece work), rather than being paid an hourly rate. The introduction of new manufacturing methods, or new materials, often led to strikes if changes meant less pay for workers.

Carpet manufacturers such as Templeton gained a reputation for taking an interest in the welfare of their workers. Before the National Health Service was set up in the 1940's, workers had access to company doctors and dentists. And employees were offered a full range of social events and activities.


Robert Biggin

Templeton - the old factory

Templeton a family firm

Robert Docherty

Wages

Strikes

Carpets QuizCarpets Evaluation QuestionStorytellers


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