Wool mills in Dursley and Cam

Anything from the town's earliest industry.

Wool mills in Dursley and Cam

Postby dursleyglos » Sat Feb 19, 2005 7:04 pm

I'd be interested to hear anything regarding the old mills in Dursley and Cam. Where were they located? What were they called? What did they turn out? Any information welcome.
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Re: Wool mills in Dursley and Cam

Postby angarhad » Mon Jul 07, 2008 2:06 pm

I worked in Cam Mills in 1957. It was really in a state of delapidation in those days, in fact terrible working conditions. I was a weaver and wove West of England Woollen Cloth. The loom I used was made in America in 1901 and there were no spare parts left so if anything broke the the loom setter had to make the part himself.
We were paid for how much cloth we wove each week and if your loom broke down then that was your bad luck. If it rained then you had to keep a look out for the flood water rising and find a stick and un-plug the holes in the floor so the water could run down into the stream below.
The company brought out a lot of Italians to work in the mill as they couldn't get the locals to work there. The trouble was, they had no translators so if there was a problem with the Italians no one knew what they were saying. I taught some of the women English in the lunch times using women's magazines to teach them the food names so they could shop. It was a hard time for all.
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Re: Wool mills in Dursley and Cam

Postby dursleyglos » Fri Jul 11, 2008 8:18 am

Thanks very much for the information, it sounds like the place had some character in those days!
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Re: Wool mills in Dursley and Cam

Postby angarhad » Fri Jul 11, 2008 8:21 am

Believe me, there were many characters there, you didn't mess with the weavers. Some weavers came from generations of weavers there and could run 6-8 looms at a time.
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Re: Wool mills in Dursley and Cam

Postby dursleyglos » Fri Jul 11, 2008 8:23 am

That was a quick reply! Can you remember any names from your time there?
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Re: Wool mills in Dursley and Cam

Postby angarhad » Fri Jul 11, 2008 8:40 am

I will try but it was so long ago. I do remember two women, they fought like hell then I found out they were sisters and imagine my surprise when I learnt they were TWIN sisters, they didn't even look related!
There was a weaving school which was a shed outside the main weaving shed. It had 8 looms and we were taught the rudiments of operating the looms before we were let loose on the real things. One time when my loom was badly broken down I worked in the quilling room winding bobbins. Upstairs was the mending room where all the lengths went to be checked for faults, if there were too many in the cloth then the weaver was called up to explain. If you had to pass through the washing room then you stepped carefully as the floor was very slippery and the washing pits were just holes in the floor containing boiling water.
Most of the cloth when finished was shipped overseas, Egypt was a big buyer and the other Arabic countries of the time.
There was no health and safety, no guards and there were women who got killed but it was never reported to the public and there was no uproar.
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Re: Wool mills in Dursley and Cam

Postby dursleyglos » Fri Jul 11, 2008 10:21 pm

Thanks for that, really interesting. How times have changed!
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Re: Wool mills in Dursley and Cam

Postby Patricia » Tue Nov 25, 2008 5:09 pm

My Mum, Evelyn Maggs worked at Cam Mills from around 1948 to 1973.

It was grim

In the summer it was very hot and in the winter they froze. Mum's fingers were eventually curled into the shape she used for tying the wool when it broke. She was left with severe arthritis in her fingers and in later years could hardly hold a cup.

A lot of the "girls" she worked with came from Berkeley on a coach.

We had an Italian girl living with us for a while, as an evacuee

Mum made a lot of good friends there.

They always had a good Christmas party on Christmas Eve, lot of food and drink. I don't know whether the machines were turned off on the afternoon of the party, there was no Health and Safety in those days

My grandfather, Bert Brothers also worked there all his life.

We used to accommodate any visitors to the factory and my grandparents remained friends with visitors from From and Yorkshire.

On the plus side Winterbotham (as they were known) had 12 houses built for their employees at the Croft. My grandfather bought one of these houses where we all lived. My mother lived there until her death in 2004.

There was large water tanks just inside The Croft. The boys and probably some brave girls used to swim in there during the summer.

They made the best cloth, which was red for hunting and green for snooker tables.
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Re: Wool mills in Dursley and Cam

Postby dursleyglos » Thu Nov 27, 2008 9:13 pm

Thanks for leaving this Patrica - I can tell that a working life in the mill was a hard one.
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Re: Wool mills in Dursley and Cam

Postby samdauncey » Mon Jul 26, 2010 8:34 pm

I've a very specific interest and am sadly short of information, beyond what can be found in Alan Babbington's excellent book "A history of Uley Gloucestershire" and a little from the Mill Archive in Reading.

I'm looking for anything relating the Dauncey and, to a lesser extent, Jobbins families to the mill industry in the Uley/Dursley/Ewelme river area (the Dauncey's may even have had interests as far out as Kingswood) in the period from about 1790 to 1845.

I know of Dauncey's Mill and Dauncey's Manufactory in Uley but not enough about their actual ownership and who operated them, nor if the Dauncey's or Jobbins were involved with any of the other mills. I'd also like to know if millwrights (such as Joseph Jobbins) worked at several mills or were associated with just one.
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Re: Wool mills in Dursley and Cam

Postby steepletom » Tue May 15, 2012 6:58 pm

I worked as a contractor at Cam Mills in the early/mid 80s, plus 2 other mills owned by Winterbothom, Strachan and Playne at Stroud and Nailsworth. I worked for H. Tatham and Son, steeplejacks of Rochdale, obviously we looked after the chimneys, my old gaffer Pete Tatham had been doing work there since the late 60s. I've been trying to remember some of the names of the joiners and fitters who worked there, Roy Palser (not sure on the spelling) was the joinery foreman, a guy called Aubrey was a joiner and the 2 fitters were Bill and John. We had some good nights out with the workers at the bowling club, the Railway pub and the Kingshill pub ...
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