Kingston Aviation
Stella Taylor
Transcript: 7
Working hours during the war

Working hours were long for all Hawker staff during the war years and the company was not particularly amenable to outside activities which did not contribute to the war effort – as Stella here relates.

What sort of hours did you work when you were there?

Quite long, I think we started at eight, I mean longer than youngsters work now. We started at eight and I think we probably finished about six. And we worked Saturdays and we worked Sundays. You’ve got one day a week off. Think we got a whole day off, I’m not sure, I can’t remember now but I do know that my friends who were still at school were saying that ‘you don’t you even get a Saturday off’.

And I do remember that once at Easter, I said – I used to go to the three hour service on Easter Good Friday. And I said to Maisey [Stella’s boss] that I always went to this Service, could I have my day off then. And she said no you can’t but I’ll give you an hour off. You can get on your bike shoot up to the Church and have an hour. And that was it, you know.

And I also, when I joined, the week I joined, I was in the Girls Brigade, the Girls Life Brigade. And we were doing a, we were on a, it was the Lord Mayor’s show day that Saturday and we were actually doing, on a lorry, you know, doing a – whatever you do, you know – we were foreign, we were representing all the countries of the Commonwealth. And I had a grass skirt to wear and things, you know, and we had been practising this dance we had to do on the back of this lorry.

And then I got this job and they said you start on Monday. So I said, ‘ Well I can’t start on Monday’ – ‘Why not’?  And I said, ‘because on Friday I am in the Lord Mayor’s show’ and my goodness that was the worst thing I ever said -short shrift. ‘Lord Mayor’s show – what on earth has that got to do with the war’?  You don’t go that’s all there is to it, you don’t go. But I’m letting everybody down, you know; I’m dancing in this group. You either do that or if you do it, you don’t take the job. It was as easy as that, so I didn’t – so I never went to the Lord Mayor’s show. But that was one thing I always remember. It was, you know, nowadays they would say, ‘Of course you can have the day off’, you know. But we didn’t get a lot of time off.

I went home from work, had my meal, went straight down to the ‘Poly’ and I did that at least four evenings a week. And sometimes, if I had a Saturday off I went to the … anyway.

The Technical College?

Not the Technical College, the Commercial, Day Commercial.

Ah, OK.

And I went to this day commercial course whenever I had a weekend off. I didn’t have much time for anything else. And I joined the junior, the Women’s Junior Air Core which I went to once a week. I don’t think my mum saw a lot of me, not really.