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A Day in the Life of...

...An Outworker

A Day in the Life of...

One lady outworker painted this picture of a young couple’s lifestyle during the years between the two wars.

‘You see before the way when we was young… nearly every house had a cellar with a bench and every man in the household could repair shoes because that was the in thing in Northampton, it was the shoe industry… they used to deliver. I think it was every day, round about lunch time they used to bring me a big box of all the pieces of the shoes that needed… and they used to supply to cotton… and everything and I used to do as much as I can and the next day they’d collect and deliver… you’d get paid so much per dozen… and included in that price for the outdoor was your electricity that you were using… they always used to send you the work that them indoors didn’t like to do… early in the morning when my husband had gone to work (in a shoe factory) I thought right I’ll give this an hour, then I used to for up and do an hour perhaps two then I used to come down and get the lunch and the dinner and then in the afternoon I used to take me boy out and then I’d be up there nearly all evening until it was time for him to go to bed and if there was any work that needed sorting out or colouring out I used to do that when held gone to bed…’

(Anonymous Outworker b.1923 NBC T1/19)

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