I SHOULD have started work at the Burneside Mill but I changed with another lad that was the same age – he should have started at Cowan Head but we changed and I went to Cowan Head.

I started as a 'Cutter Boy', the bottom rank. I carried shavings out as they came off when the cut the paper.

I was paid 13s 6d for a 48-hour week. We started at seven in a morning with half hour for breakfast, at eight until half-past, then an hour for lunch, 12 to 1pm and finished about half past five.

I was a Cutter Boy for about a year, then someone left and I moved up. You had about three places on the cutter and then you went on shifts on to the machines. By 1952 I was running a machine and that’s where I ended up.

We used to make things like Brooke Bond Tea packets and Registered Envelopes. The paper came to us as wood pulp and waste paper about 50/50.

Then when the war started the material used to dry up. They’d stop the machine down about tea-time and say “Go and cut rags.”

They had some big knives sticking in a bench and we used to pull the sacks in bits with them. You would put them in the boiler and boil them up with caustic soda and then it would be ready for next morning to start off again.

At Bowston they used to have a chopper there, which would chop rags, sacks and everything. It gradually faded out because it was too expensive.