Industry: water, steel & energy

Mate, Derek (1 of 9) National Life Story Collection: Lives in Steel

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  • Recording date

    1991-11-1; 1991-11-11

  • Recording locations

    Interviewee's home, Cleveland

  • Interviewees

    Mate, Derek, 1926- (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Dein, Alan (speaker, male)

  • Abstract

    Part 1: Born 9 Dec. 1926, Stocksbridge urban district (Deepcar) Mother died when 11 months old. Father was a 'carrier', and earlier worked in a ganister pit. Brought up four children. 1935, he started in the steelworks. Determined and ambitious for children. Remarried and had 3 more children. Evelyn Forster, her father was local blacksmith. Home - 2 up, 2 down with a cellar. Oil lamps, gas put in while at school. Grandfather - day foreman in ganister pit, sacked - 6 months later he was asked back but wouldn't go. Remained a labourer at 'Foxes Yard'. Mother's grandfather in boilerworks in steelplant, Samuel Fox's'. Father James Thomas, Mother Harriet (never knew her). Stocksbridge Church School, passed County minor and started 1937 at Peniston Grammar School. School certificate 1942. Took it twice because failed English language. Applied for United Steels Apprenticeship (schools). Eldest brother was on apprenticeship, local works, fancied life in steel. Guaranteed nothing. Three years in each dept., last year going around United Steels - but never applied due to going into the Navy. Father had started as a chipper, then sawman, then chargehand. Billet finishing dept. Practical person. Met father at works after nightshift. Works was 'everything', a wonderful place, inspiring, very big. Brought up to work. Open hearth melting shop, 'black art men', real characters. Conditions. Managing group of labourers to clean up floor of melting shop. (1950, Asst. Traffic Manager) WW2 - Blackout, blinds on windows, bombs in Stocksbridge (Discusses management in steelworks) War effort - overmanned. "Continue to search for improvement and efficiency". High price on people. Look to the future. People - well managed dept., good comradeship, 'keep em busy, keep em happy'. Cricket for local works team, midweek and Sats. Stocksbridge Works, big rivals were Old Cricket Club

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