"All in it together" - Memories of Ford up to the end

Laurie Gresty came along to the second session at the Round About café to share her memories of life and times working at the Ford Plant and made us laugh and almost cry with her stories.  It seems Laurie holds the record of being the first person in Europe to suffer an industrial scalping!  Yes really - apparently some of her hair got caught in a machine and a great clump was pulled out by the roots.  Laurie insists it was her own fault for not following safety guidelines - and she was back at work on the assembly line after only one day.

We learnt of the great camaraderie amongst the workers with the “all in it together” feeling and how good it was that you were left alone to get on with the job without anyone breathing down your neck - and of the cheers that went up when the assembly line broke down which meant that everyone could knock off until it was fixed!

Laurie gave a really moving account of how the workforce felt when they learnt the factory was to close.  For most it was a very sad time, with confusion and shock and although they had nine months to get used to the idea, the time soon passed.

Laurie’s description of how the very last van came rolling around the assembly line really was enough to make you cry.  First of all they cleaned everything down in readiness for finishing and then, there came the last van, rolling along all by itself.

It took two whole days to go around the plant with everyone along the line doing their bit to finish it off.

We’re hoping to be able to borrow this extra special vehicle as an exhibit for our ‘pop-up’ museum at the end of the project.

Written by Barbara Reed

Laurie Gresty sharing her memories at the
Round About cafe, Swaythling on 22 April 2017.

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