Daphne Ancell

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11 Apr 1989
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[Side 1] [OI] The copyright of this recording is vested in the ACTT History Project. Daphne Ancell, honorary member of ACTT, ACTT activist, one time Chairman of the Technicolor Shop. Interviewer Alf Cooper. Recorded on the eleventh of April 1989 at her home in Shepperton. Side 0ne.

[OI] Daphne when and where were you born?

1926 in Battersea, as far as I‟m, yes, Battersea.

[OI] And where did you go to school?

Mm, where? Mm, in a school at Whitton, mm.

[OI] You’d moved there?

Oh yes, yes.

[OI] Yes. [Laughter]

We‟d moved. I think we moved when I was about five.

[OI] Ah, ha.

My parents bought a house.

[OI] Yes.

I think Mum had been saving up at a shilling a week to get the deposit [Laughter] on this house. [Laughter] And yes, I went to the local school.

[OI] Yes.


And so did my sister, eldest sister, the one Alf was talking about. And she was a so and so, she used to play up like mad. [Laughter]

She was a cracker.

Yes, but she used to play up.


And so I sort of got the overspill from it. So my Mum took us both away from there [Laughter] and she sent Barbara to a Roman Catholic School in Twickenham thinking thenuns might sort her out [Laughter] and me to a church school, St Mary‟s at Twickenham,so we finished up at, at different schools. And, mm, then I remember the headmistressonce saying to me that there was a scholarship from St Mary‟s School, it tied up with the church to I think it was Christ, the girls‟ part of Christ‟s Hospital.

[OI] Ah, ha.

And, and it was a boarding school and I was so terrified that I might pass I didn‟t take thenote home [Laughter] I just tore it up and never said anything. And one time my mothercame up to the school for a sort of, I don‟t know, a little end of term thing or somethingand the headmistress said „Mrs Le Brun [ph 023] we were very disappointed that you didn‟t reply to our note‟. And my mother sort of said „what note?‟ you know, [Laughter]so I was in trouble for that. But the thought of leaving my mother, I was terrible. The firsttime I went away from home I was fifteen and cried my, that was for a week‟s holidayand cried my eyes out. That was with Valerie.

Good God.

She thought I was mad. [Laughter] But there you are.


[OI] Mm, but did you, what, did you do any training at all after you left school? Did you...?

I went, no I got a job in a bank.

[OI] Ah, ha.

And they trained me there.

[OI] Yes.


[OI] What as then?

Mm, in the, well Ledger Department, I‟d say Accounts.

[OI] Yes.

They didn‟t call it Accounts.

[OI] Yes, yes.

They called it Ledger Department.

[OI] Ah, ha.

Whereas youngsters of sixteen or fifteen. No, I was fifteen, fifteen and a half when I went there and they had really rigid standards.


[OI] Yes.

If, you didn‟t have to use a rubber you just had to have one on your desk and you‟d be introuble. Nothing was rubbed out or altered. Everything had to be retyped because we did the ledgers on an accounting machine.

[OI] So you learnt, you had learnt to type had you or did they...?

Mm, no. They had a school. It was run, mm, by National Accounting Machines.

[OI] Ah, ha.

And they, they sort of had a training school in the bank.

[OI] Yes.

And we learnt, we were all trained there, you know.

What bank was it?

Glyn, Mills.

Oh Glyn, Mills?
[OI] Oh very up market.

Oh that’s strange, Rose had made their loose covers for William and Glyn at Bishop’sStortford.

[Laughter] Well, until I‟d, oh it was until I was [Pause] in my early twenties I‟d never been to a New Year‟s dance ever because I never left there till after midnight. I mean


there was a rigid code there, New Year‟s Eve you, you had to balance to the last penny, but not only that it didn‟t matter whether you‟d agreed your work you all stayed until thelast person had balanced, and this was in the Earl of Jersey‟s house in Osterley, in themiddle of Osterley Park.

[OI] Oh.

So there was a hell of a long, I mean that drive was about a mile and a half I think, they used to allow us an extra ten minutes in the morning to walk up it. [Laughter] And it wasa long way so we‟d all go at convoy at night because this was during the war. And yes, so they had to be [0:05:00 044] taken back to the station. [Laughter]. But it‟s, looking backnow it was very, very good training.

[OI] Where, where were you living at the time?


[OI] You were, oh you’re still in Whitton?


[OI] Yes, yes.

Still I was in Whitton sort of all, all the time.

And there was a house too [Inaudible 047] with your Mum.

Oh yes, [Laughter] yes.

[OI] Mm.


Yes. And then I left the bank to have my daughter.

[OI] This, mm, this was after the war is it?

Mm, yes.

[OI] Or is your daughter...?

Yes, yes. No, that was, mm, 1948.

[OI] Mm, mm.

Yes, 1948. And then I had ten months at home not sort of, well, looking after Hilary.

[OI] Yes.

Until I could sort of go back to work. And I went to a coal firm, Charringtons.

[OI] Oh yes, yes.

Mm, doing the same sort of ledger work, you know, in Twickenham. Loathed, I was there, I think I was there for about ten months and loathed it from the first day but it was handy.

[OI] Yes.

It was a penny or three halfpenny bus ride so it meant I could get home at the lunch hour and come back and, and, you know, sort of see to Hilary and, mm.

[OI] Did you, well, did you have a, mm, did you have a, well baby minder or something?


No, Mum looked after.

[OI] Oh I see, yes.

But even so I didn‟t like to leave her all day, you know.

[OI] No, mm, mm.

And, mm, this girl Valerie, the one I said I went away for a holiday with, she was also,she‟d had TB and she hadn‟t worked for some, all the time I wasn‟t working she hadn‟t.

She was also a member of ours at one time.

Yes, she was a union member as well.

A great union member.

And do you remember her coming round with this advertisement, she said „how about trying for this‟? She said „it‟s a firm called Technicolor‟, and it, do you know funnily enough it didn‟t dawn on me that, that it was Technicolor Films, she said „they want aNational Cash operator and a com... a comptometer operator‟. So I said „oh yes, let‟s, we‟ll try for it‟. Anyway so we decided in our wisdom that we wouldn‟t let them knowthat we were friends because you never know with companies, you know, one might sort of not like it so we didn‟t say anything. And we both got the job and after we‟d beenthere two or three...

What year was that do you know?

1950. That‟s when I started there June. And came up for our sort of three monthlyreview. Do you remember old Pulley the accountant?



Sarcastic perisher isn‟t he. He said to me „I‟m very pleased to see how you and Miss Reeve have got on so well‟. So I sort of grinned and I said „well, actually we did know each other before‟. So he said „well, why didn‟t you say so‟? And evidently the twowho‟d been in our jobs beforehand were absolutely at each other‟s throats [Laughter] andthe atmosphere in the office was terrible.


So it would have stood us in good stead, but on the other hand, and of course, we learned afterwards I mean Technicolor was very much a family.

[OI] Yes.

People had their relations working there didn‟t they?


But, mm, you never know so we kept it quiet but, mm...
[OI] Mm, but had, had you, in view of what’s happened since, mm, were you politically

active before you went?

No, I wasn‟t politically active but I‟d come from a...

Your father was.

My father was very, very union minded. Well, he was Father of the Chapel of The London Society of Compositors.


[OI] Oh yes, yes.

And my father, he was a very meek and mild man as far as personal things wereconcerned but he would go miles to sort out anybody who wasn‟t operating a union concern. I mean he really, and we were never allowed to, I think it was Bata‟s and Tesco‟s we weren‟t allowed to, to shop at. [Laughter]

Bata the shoe company, yes.

[Laughter] Yes, because he‟d got something against them, I never really knew what itwas.

[OI] Oh Bata’s, yes, I’ve...
But, mm...
[OI] No, I don’t think, it wouldn’t have been Tesco, I don’t think...No, it probably wasn‟t Tesco‟s.
[OI] No, no.

It was something else. I know they had, there were two places in Whitton and we weren‟t allowed to go. And invariably there was a pair of shoes in Bata‟s I fancied but I didn‟tdare ask for them until the day before the war broke out. And in the panic, because my grandmother wanted us to go and stay down in Hampshire with her, in the panic they sentme up with some money to get my own shoes. [Laughter] I remember dashing into Bata‟sand getting these shoes I wanted.



[Laughter] Well I never did I, presumably they had sweated labour I don‟t really know. But yes, I‟d been very much, mm, sort of, you know, guided, I mean all the things he toldme about the unions.

[OI] Yes, yes.
And, mm, well, the Labour Party too. [0:10:00 090]Because he was an active Labour man.

Yes, he was an active Labour Party. And Mum was, she started off as a member of The Primrose League I think she said she was. [Laughter]. She was died in the wool Tory herfamily were. But that sort of rubbed off on... And yet Barbara, I mean she‟s a member ofthe Conservative Party I think now.

Is she? You should kick her arse for her. Christ.

[Laughter] But Pauline isn‟t, she‟s very much a socialist.

[OI] So, so really you weren’t politicised or, you know, or trade unionised?

No, no, not really and...

[OI] Until you got to Technicolor?

Then, as I was saying I, this ten months I, I‟d never worked in a union firm but the, thebank had a...

[OI] Staff association?

Mm, a staff association.


[OI] Yes, yes.

And really, you know, didn‟t really sort of have much to do with it at all. But Charingtonsthings were so unfair there and they used to incense me. The minute I bumped into Alf and he sort of told me about the union. I couldn‟t wait to join it. [Laughter] And even, I mean at the time I know people have said to me when I‟ve talked to them about it, „yes, but Technicolor was so good they didn‟t really need a union‟, but by God they did, if they hadn‟t had a union...

[OI] Yes.
Mm, you know, they really would have got away with...Murder.

Murder. In fact the company I‟m working for now has got, [Pause] I mean their rules and that you‟d think have been set up by a trade union. And they really, I mean there isn‟t onethere although they pay for all their engineers, they pay all the fees of the people to jointhe unions. But, mm, office staff, you know, it doesn‟t matter sort of thing. Mm, but theyare scrupulously fair and even so you get people moaning.

Oh yes.

And I say to them „by God you don‟t know what it‟s like, you want to sit negotiating for hours and hours and hours and you finish up you‟d moved half a per cent or something‟. Imean we get a rise every single year without asking for it and all they do is moan becausethey don‟t think they‟ve had enough. [Laughter] Honestly I‟m not joking Alf. They just don‟t know they‟re born some of them [Laughter] they really don‟t. But they suddenly doubled all the sick pay and I never heard one person say „isn‟t that good‟?


Good God.

[OI] You’re very lucky?

I know. [Laughter]

[OI] Yes, yes.

That’s why she’s still here.

I suppose that‟s why I‟m still working. [Laughter]

So she’s come here slagging the film industry.

[OI] Yes, yes, yes.


[OI] Yes.

Yes. So I find them quite amazing. But Technicolor when I first went there was about what, 630 I think in those days.

And then...

And then it got up to 1,300 didn‟t it?

Thirteen hundred and fifty is the highest number we’ve had.



[OI] Well I think, this is where I think I’m going to hand over to Alf so we’ll stop asecond. Are we going going.

You I mean, so you came to us in Fifty?

Yes, 1950.

And then who collared you for the ACTT, me?

You. [Laughter]

Yes, and it wasn’t well, all that organised in the clerical side was it, it was a voluntary bunch clerical side?

I don‟t think the clerical side was organised at all actually, it wasn‟t Alf.

No. We had, we hadn’t got rid of that stiff upper lip business, you know, blue collars and white collars?

It wasn‟t organised.


Until, mm, was it 1953 when we had this lockout?

When we had the lockout, Fifty-four wasn’t it?

Was it Fifty-four?

Fifty-three, Fifty-four, I’m not sure.


Yes, but it wasn‟t organised until then.

But right from the word go we got you active didn’t we and do you remember...?

And great antagonism from the boss at... Not Mr Allen.


I mean he was always very nice to me, but Pulley God.

Allen then was the Company Accountant wasn’t he at that time?

Mm, he was the Company Secretary.

Company Secretary, that’s right.

Pulley was the accountant, he was the one who was so anti.

Yes. He ultimately became the Managing Director of Champion Plugs didn’t he when heleft there?

Pulley, yes.

Pulley did, yes.

But, mm...

Which was a proper slave driving firm.

Yes, that would suit him.


Mm, but [Pause] and then you hadn’t been there very long before we started roping you in for, for union committee work didn’t we?

Yes, I was on the...

So you became our minutes secretary?

Yes, oh yes. [Laughter]

And then you, when did you first get going to the General Council, started going to the General Council?

I don‟t know Alf. So I was minutes secretary at Technicolor.

That’s right.

And I was minutes secretary on the Lab Committee.

That’s right.

For a long while.

When I became Chairman wasn’t it?

And it‟s from there on in you carried that job for years?
Mm, I can‟t remember. [Pause] I, I lose track of the dates, mm.
Anyway it wasn’t long after you got to Technicolor that we roped you in did we?


Oh no, no. I started sort of, you know, on the, I know when we, on that dispute, well the lockout. God I used to, I was there from about half past eight [Laughter] in the morning [0:15:00 138] until about six o‟clock at night doing the typing. Remember we had oursort of strike headquarters in the pub.

Yes, that’s right.

The Bricklayers Arms.

And in those days though Ray Sharpe was the sec... was the stores?

Ray Sharpe, Sharpe was convenor, yes.

Was convenor then and I was Chairman of the, the Lab Committee wasn’t I?


And, mm, you got, you got shut out didn’t you from Technicolor?

Yes, I was locked out then.

Then I had to go on strike because they didn’t, mm, they didn’t put the foreman on strikeor the assistant supervisor or whatever I was at that time?

They left about 400 in didn‟t they?

Yes, and, mm, and then you started. And then when did you start attending the GeneralCouncil because that’s when you started getting jobs for the union didn’t you because you got many jobs and I don’t remember the dates myself.

I can‟t remember.


You finished up, you finished up as a minutes secretary for the Lab branch for many, many years?

I know I was on the Executive for a long while. Yes, and then on the Lab Negotiating Committee.

And then you were on the Lab Negotiating Committee.

But, mm...

For the main union. And also you started being elected to represent, to represent ACTTat the Women’s TUC?

Oh then the Women‟s Labour Party ones, yes.

And the Women’s Labour Party, yes.

Yes, yes.

You also became, you also became the Chairman of The Equality Committee for many years as Chairperson.

Mm. I was trying to think of the other ones. Mm, Lab Committee. I think I was on the Training Committee or the Journal and I forget which one.

I don’t remember you on the Journal Committee. The Training Committee probably wasit?


Yes, I think there was another one and I, for the life of me I can‟t think. It was one of those you get in the back of the book, you know, and they don‟t meet too often sort ofthing.

[OI] It wouldn’t be the General, well the General Committee I think meets monthly?Yes. No, I don‟t think. No, I don‟t think it was the Journal. It was something else but


I think it must have been the Training. Did you go with Len Runcle [ph 157]?

I can‟t remember to be honest with you.



[OI] Can you, can you talk at all about the Equality Committee’s work?

Yes [Laughter] and...

[OI] Yes. I think it’s an interesting point.

Yes. I can‟t, I was trying to think when, mm, when it became, [Pause] mm, you know, sort of... I can‟t even remember. Oh I‟m hopeless on...


On dates. I know I was, well, Chairperson but, mm, I could never really get, I felt this Equality was sort of a bit, [Pause] mm, I could never get involved and enthusiastic.


Is extreme the word?

Well, I often felt that the balance was in the wrong place. I mean I could never get enthusiastic about burning bras, and I mean to me it seemed so stupid to me and this, mm...

[OI] It’s the aggressive side wasn’t it, yes that seemed...Yes.
Yes, but I couldn‟t even see the point of it.
It was to...

And this sort of not saying „chairman‟. I mean to my mind a chairman didn‟t, has always meant to me whoever‟s in the chair. Never mind it was nothing to do with the fact that itwas a man or a woman and, and so...

And you got the same impression I did. You remember me telling them one day and upsetting them all by saying there’s a lot of difference between scratching your arse andtearing the skin off?

[Laughter] That actually sounds right.

But that, that is typical. As my old man used to say when you have, they were always overstating the problems?

[OI] Yes.

Yes, this is it I think.


They never accepted the fact that we were the first union that had the same rates for women as men.

[OI] Yes. And...

[OI] Then actually your, your attitude is exactly the same as Kay, Kay Mander. She, that was her complaint.

Yes. It‟s, mm...

[OI] You know, she said a person is a person. It doesn’t matter if they’re a man or a woman they’re a person?

Yes. I mean I think, [Pause] well when I used to go to the Women‟s TUC and the Women‟s, Women‟s Labour Party.

[OI] Yes.

I mean the Equal Pay had been a thing on the agenda for years and years and years, and I,I don‟t think it‟s properly in now.

[OI] No.

It certainly isn‟t.

[OI] Yes.

And it needed pushing and Equal Opportunities.


But you’d always had it since you’d been in the industry.

Yes, I had Alf.


What I, what I certainly never had had was equal opportunity with the men.


Because you cannot counteract people‟s personal, mm, and I‟d worked for somebodywho was a real chauvinist pig and that‟s Malcolm Wenham. Yes.

And A:- he was dead against unions and dead against women, so if you got the twotogether. I think he‟s even come out of The Conservative Party since Margaret Thatchercame in he was so against women.

Good God.

So if she could do that to him. [Laughter] But, mm, and yet other things that I felt so strongly about, I mean the way the Income Tax people used to treat women used to send me round the bend. [0:20:00 189] I remember coming back from a meeting once and it was quite late about midnight. Bob was in bed and I opened this tax thing and I sort ofread it all the way through and after I‟d sort of looked at all the questions and the answers and that I got to the bottom and it had the audacity to say „if you are married and livingwith your husband ignore this and pretend it was written to him‟. I woke, went upstairs and I woke Bob up I was leading on about this, [Laughter] „bloody sauce‟ I said. I meanto my mind that was absolute...

Denigration of being a woman.


You know I could have got speechless about things like that but over some of the other things. And the other, I noticed because a lot of them on the committee were very, well, sort of very up-market from me if you know what I mean.


Job wise and, mm, you know, they‟d got all these glamorous jobs and that and I couldnever use, get used to these lovely voices suddenly effing and blinding in the middle of it.They never swore ordinarily. I mean if I sort of I‟d say „bugger it‟ [Laughter] orsomething they never heard them say anything like that but these lovely voices used to go„oh‟ and that‟s a word I can‟t stand, and I used to try not to notice because I thought „oh God I don‟t want to show them, you know, sort of draw attention to it.

Can you imagine being a man on that committee?


I’ll tell you...

Oh yes, I thought Alf was very brave. [Laughter]

I’ll tell you then. I sat on that committee for years and they used to make me vomit.


They never gave an ounce of credit to AC2 as a union right from the word go. Had demanded a rate for a job whether they put a woman on it or a school kid, if he did the job he got the rate for the job.



That was all ignored and then they said that they wouldn’t have a, they were going tohave an annual conference or something or a conference of all women and they didn’t even want a male photographer there representing ‘The Journal’.

That‟s right. Yes, I remember getting into trouble for that one as well. [Laughter]

And I turned round and ‘for Christ’s sake if you can’t stand a man there how do you expect to work in a bloody man’s world’?

Yes. I mean Roy used to organise that committee.


And I naturally expected Roy to be in attendance, and I got into trouble because I‟dautomatically assumed that he was going to be there. You know they said „we don‟t want men here‟. And that‟s, I don‟t know whether it was that one but it was, it was someworkshop or seminar at, they held down at The National Film School and I was chairing that and suddenly I got up and said, referred to them as „ladies‟, and I didn‟t half get intotrouble afterwards I was being patronising. One, she said it very nicely, I forget whichone told me, she said „you have upset them‟ she said. I said „oh dear, why‟? She said„well, it sounded, you‟ve been so patronising calling them “ladies”‟. So I said „well, I‟m sorry I must be out of a different time‟ sort of thing. But I mean my mother I can remember her telling me how rude it was to call people „women‟ and not „ladies‟. [Laughter] So I didn‟t make that mistake again but...

Can you remember any sort of things like those...?

They‟re the sort of things that...

They’re the sort of things we like to hear about.


I couldn‟t sort of, couldn‟t get excited about anyway, you know, sort of...

[OI] Can I ask you. On, on chairmanship did you read Citrine’s book?

Well, I used to try. But I didn‟t, I never liked being chair.

[OI] No?

No. No, I didn‟t, [Laughter].

[OI} Why was that?

I just, I suppose I was nervous to start with. I got on with it better than I‟d expected but I was always worried I wouldn‟t have the, mm, I wouldn‟t be firm enough if they got allrough.

Yes, you know Daphne...

And sort of, you know, too much to say. [Laughter]

[OI] Yes.

There was a bloke whose name I can’t remember, now they reckoned I was a reasonable chairman so I’ve been told and I could never stomach chairmen’s interpretation ofchairmanship, I preferred a bloke that was, that wrote an article on chairmanship. He belonged to the AEU I believe and I can’t think of his name and he had a little tomeabout that.

[OI] No, that was, that was Citrine book?No, it wasn’t.


[OI] No, not Citrine’s book.

No, no, Citrine’s, Citrine had a...

[OI] That’s the classic.

Yes, I know the classic, that was the classic one Citrine‟s but...

Citrine it was a load of codswallop. Have you ever seen Citrine in action at a big conference?

[OI] No, no.

A load of secretaries and a load of filing cabinets behind him.

[OI] Oh right.

It’s easy enough to chair meetings like that isn’t it?

[OI} [Laughter] No I think...

And I was always worried if, I thought if they all got stroppy would I have the presence to sort of tell them to...

[OI] Shut up?

Sit down and shut up. [Laughter]

[OI] Anyway sorry I interrupted and interrupted...


And then you probably remember this occasion Alf. Remember the Lab Committeewhere they all turned up because they‟d got together to get you and I off it.

Oh yes. That was Micky, that was Mick, what was his name?

And that was the funniest thing out. There was this whole committee. I mean we hadmore people attending that meeting than we‟d ever seen didn‟t we?

That’s right. [0:25:00 245]

And Alf as Chairman was so pleased.

Thank God for that.

[Laughter] And he got up and he gave a speech and he said, you know, how welcome, mm, how delighted he was to see so many representatives and all the rest of it.


This was the beginning of the meeting. Well, it obviously, it became patently obvious during the meeting [Laughter] that the whole idea...

[OI] Was to attack the...?

Was to get Alf off the chair and me out of the secretary‟s thing.

And that was, that was the...

So then they had some voting didn‟t they?

Jim Novak wasn’t it that did that and he’d even brought his sister along?


That was Kim, mm, Micky, Ricky Novak, yes.

Ricky Novak, that’s right.

And his sister was there and somebody else and I think Harry Cursham [ph 252] was in on it as well.

And they put Harry, they...

They put him up as Chairman, that‟s right.

Appeared, it appeared on the Sunday General Council, we had our meeting on the Tuesday did we or was it Tuesday or Monday night?

It was Monday we always had them.

Oh Monday night. And on the Sunday they’d had a get together at the Annual, at theGeneral Council and they’d organised this and they brought it in mob handed.

[OI] Yes.
It was the first meeting of the new year.
So anyway we did this voting and Alf and I got slung off.Yes.

So I‟m doing my usual English act and wouldn‟t dream of letting anybody know that it bothered me at all, you know, I‟d sort of said „oh congratulations‟ to the one who‟d got it, had got my place. And Alf got up and he said „well, thank you very much, I know when


I‟ve been dropped in the bloody shit [Laughter] „and thank you very much for it‟.[Laughter] Well I thought it was lovely.

But I did promise them to give all the help I could.

Yes, you did and gosh didn‟t he need it too Alf? [Laughter]

Yes, the, and the sequel to this was do you know, Harry when he got up and accepted this business after the vote and when he agreed to take the chair he says - this is the bit thatgot me going, it made me... And apparently and then I subsequently found out that theyhad a big get together on the Sunday you see, something that we’d never ever indulged inhad we?

No. [Laughter]

Although I got elected Chairman year after year, year after year. [OI] Yes, yes.

They worked there... And then he comes up to me after all this would I please remain Chairman of the Lab Negotiating Committee.

Well, I don‟t think he could have coped could he because he was a very ineffectual aschair.

But anyway the next year there wasn’t anybody against me, we went back in didn’t we,both of us?


But, mm, [Laughter] oh I didn’t go like that surely.


But you did. And it just, I thought it was the funniest thing me doing this stiff upper lipand pretending I didn‟t care. [Laughter]

Well, you know, I told them, I remember telling them I, I would help all I could and thought that was it but wished them well but I thought it was a stinking way of going out.

[OI] No, that wasn’t there, I was thinking of, if it was around about the time when, mm,Winifred, Winifred Crum Ewing and, mm, oh dear he was a newsreel cameraman?

Ben Gordon.

[OI] No, no, no. Oh no, no very right wing, mm. Oh Harold, Harold, mm...
Not Harold Lanscombe [ph 278].
[OI] No, no, no, you knew him?

No, he was Common Cause wasn’t he?


[OI] New, new, mm, no, newsreel. Anyway it doesn’t really matter but, mm...John George what was he?

[OI] No, no, this was when they, they tried to pack a General Council, mm, an Annual General Meeting. Yes. [Laughter]


That was great that year.

[OI] Yes.

But there don‟t seem to be the characters around that there used to be at the AGMs.

[OI] No. No, no.

Also I suppose the government has so tied the unions.

[OI] Yes.

Tied them down, yes.

They seem to have knocked the stuffing out of them somehow.

Can you remember any of the episodes that took place when you were representing us atthe various Trade Union Conferences and Women’s Conferences?

My God, yes [Laughter]. Usually with Monica. [Laughter]

[OI] Yes.

You, you attended quite a few of those didn’t you?

Yes, they‟ve usually been outside the conference, [Laughter] sort of coming back afterhaving been out somewhere and, mm...

But you got some, you got some various resolutions passed at different times which were good.


Oh yes, I got those through and, mm, I‟m trying to think what, mm. [Pause]. I didn‟t leteven this cervical cancer, I got it on there as well because Alan had asked me to.


I think he‟d because Helen had obviously, you know, it was just at the time when they...


Sort of trying to get it through so they were pushing it on all avenues. Mm, yes, we got that through and...

[OI] How about, how effective do you think the Women’s TUC was?

It got a lot, I don‟t think it was terribly good in the beginning when I first started goingthere but it got a lot... I know there‟s always been this argument, mm, that it wasn‟teffective. But any, the things that were passed by law had to then go to the main TUC so at least they were heard.

[OI] Yes.

And the point was that particularly as our, we had a small union, I mean we never had that much representation, mm, on the TUC Main Committee, at least it gave another platform. Mm, you know, what did we...? We were entitled to [0:30:00 304] about four or...

I’m not sure the, the numbers.

But not a great, and less still at the Labour Party.


Well we had three, we had three official visitors and we had three representatives didn’twe?

[OI] Yes, that’s right.
Because I remember, mm, I used to go with George Elvin and Ralph Bond. [OI] Yes.
And Sid Morrison. We got to four, that’s right.
Yes, and I think you had the same at the Women‟s TUC or maybe two.[OI] Yes.
Mm, mm.

I don‟t know. Two of us used to go but whether there was more than, whether three couldhave done. So at least it was another platform. Mm, alright, so I know they couldn‟tactually take the decisions to implement them.

[OI] That’s right.

It had to go then to the main thing but I, I personally think it was worth, worthwhile, I always did.

[OI} Mm, when you, when you went as a delegate, mm, did you have any difficulty in getting leave from Technicolor or did...?

Not, not really, no, mm, they were quite...


[OI} You didn’t have to take it as holiday?

Oh no, no. Mm, I‟d started off by doing so and, [Pause] or unpaid leave and then George, I remember George Elvin writing to Mr Allen and saying I was the only one on theexecutive who didn‟t get paid for doing union business, so they altered that I got it then. The only time I, I didn‟t, I didn‟t expect this but, mm, I was delegate to East Germany, and that was for three and a half weeks and I took five days I think it was of my own, of some time that was owing to me.

Mm, did you get paid then?


Oh I thought I got it covered for everybody because I always got paid.


And Alan went with you.


That year you went with Alan didn’t you?


Because I didn’t go that year.

I got five days that I had holidays so I used that and I got the other unpaid with a note tosay, mm, don‟t take this as a precedent, sort of you‟ve gone once you ain‟t going to getthat. [Laughter]


I had no idea. I thought you got paid automatically.

No, no.

You never told me.

[Pause] I never expected to Alf so I wouldn‟t have, mm, queried it, you know.

Well, blimey I assumed that you all, I was surprised when you said that...

Oh no, [Pause] no Technicolor never paid me over and above anything they had to.

Well, how the hell is it I didn’t know that, you never ever said that, told me that did you?

Oh yes, yes.

I assumed you always got paid the same as I did.


[Pause] That’s the first time I’ve realised that.

Oh no. Quite, I don‟t even know that I always got paid.

I can assure you, Christ if it had been anybody else they would have been up my back quicker than that and you were living next door sort of business and never said anything.

Well, [Laughter], well...

[OI] He’ll probably go back and get it for you. [Laughter]


[Laughter] As I say looking back now on Technicolor thirty years there, about thirteen operations and never once did they send me a flower.

[OI] Really?

No. I think that really is...

Didn’t they really?

No, ever. The union did.

Even, even after I retired when I had that heart, that heart attack old Littlejohn sent me it right down to Devon?

I mean this last time I was only in hospital two or three days and I had a big basket offlowers from Photoscan, and every time I‟ve been ill I‟ve had flowers from them. Whenmy mother died I had a letter from the directors saying how sorry they were. [Laughter]

In the old days they ought to be in our union don’t it?

It really should Alf. If you read the book you‟d think it had been set up by a trade union. It‟s got all the jargon in it, you know, all the calculations [Laughter] of how to do their wages and this sort of thing. It really is, mm, just like a, mm...

No, I say it sounds as though by their name you would have thought it was part of theindustry wouldn’t you - Photoscan?

Oh well, it‟s closed circuit television you see and security.

Yes, yes.


Mm, not entertainment.

Do you remember any of the exciting times within the activities in the Labs?

[Pause]. What you mean sort of, mm, meetings and stuff like that?

Can you recall any of the punch-ups we’ve had in the past?


I could never recall them.

[OI] Yes, I mean...

But I was hoping you...

Though I can remember, this wasn‟t Labs particularly, I can remember the conference atBeaver Hall where Common Cause had us on the go there.

Well, that was proscribed wasn’t it?

And that was Howard Hanscombe [ph 363].


[OI] Yes.

And we were on the proscribed list not to be voted for as Communists, and I was quiteflattered because I‟d never thought I was anything less like a Communist.



[OI] That’s right. It was Common Cause, you’re right.

Yes, it was.

Yes, Common Cause.
[OI] It was Harold Hanscombe [ph367].
Harold Hanscombe [ph 367].
I know he lived at Richmond because I bumped into him there one day.[OI] Mm, yes, yes.
I suppose he‟s dead now because he was quite old then wasn‟t he?[OI] Yes, yes, yes, he used to get very flushed.
That was with, that was with, mm, Crum Ewing wasn’t it ?
[OI] Cavechin [ph 370].
Cavechin [ph 370]. Oh Christ yes, that’s right.
I don‟t remember.
[OI] Cavechin [ph 371].


He was a newsreel cameraman was he? [0:35:00 371] [OI] Yes, yes, Paramount, yes.
Yes, Ken Gordon was newsreel as well wasn‟t he?[OI] Yes, that’s right, yes, Pathé.


[OI] Yes.

Is Winifred still alive by the way?

[OI] No.

She isn‟t, oh.

Oh. So she’s gone has she? At least the air gets a bit pure with them people going don’tit?

Mm. Oh Alf you are rotten, [Laughter] I quite liked Winifred.

Oh she was a detestable cow.


She tried to, she tried to woo me you know. Oh.



How the hell she ever thought she was going to get me on her side [Laughter] I never did know.

[OI] Mm, what, what in the, you know, what are the highlights, you know, the highlightsas far as you’re concerned in your union activities?

[Pause] Mm, [Pause] probably the negotiations in, you know, the national ones.


Yes, I think they probably stand out. [Pause] And also of course, with having got the negotiations over had the mass meetings.


At the cinema to try and put it over to them.

Sell it that was the word. [Laughter]

Sell it was the word, yes. [Laughter]

[Laughter] We’ll have to sell this to them.

I remember one, the only time I can remember that we ever got it slung out was the yearthat we recommended that they, I don‟t know whether we, yes I think we did recommendacceptance of it but it was when there was the proposal to scrap the cost of living.

No, no. Denham was fighting for that. I was against it, always been against it.


Yes, but they, they did.

They forced the issue didn’t they?

Yes, but it was, but I mean the point was it was there.

Yes, and we had to fight it at the mass meeting.

And the mass meeting slung it out.


Yes, and they wouldn‟t have it. We, we were sent back to re-negotiate it.

Yes, I never did want it.

But, mm, because they were very, very... No, I mean I don‟t think I would have done.


I mean that cost of living bonus was, I think they‟ve still got it have they?

They gave it up. I think they’ve got it back again, they’ve done something about it.

I know they‟d froze it.


I read that but, mm, yes, they were quite exciting.



If a bit worrying.

So oh yes.

[OI] Can you remember, you know, any of the particular antagonists if you like on the other side?

Mm, what? Sort of on the union side or on the...?

[OI] No, no. On the management side?

Well, Technicolor several. [Laughter]. Pulley was my earliest one.

Yes, he was, he was...

And then Malcolm Wenham, I think it must be a sort of a...

That was departmental wise, they, they were the...
[OI] Oh no, no.
Yes, that was, mm...
[OI] No, on the Negotiating Committee I was thinking of.Mm.[Pause]

There was a bloke from one of the smaller Labs was a bit of a bastard wasn’t he?



Now what was his name?

Was it.

What Lab was it, I can’t remember the Lab?[OI] Not Colour Film Services was it?
No. Case never turned up, he was a horrible...And...

Roland Case. No, this chap came from... [OI] National Screen?
Was it National Screen?
Do you know I can‟t remember Alf now.

He was a little fellow and he was against everybody having anything always wasn’t he?Did you come on the team, on the, on the team when we had Harcourt as Chairman before Oliver?

No, no.



[OI] And at that time...

No, I didn‟t have a lot to do with Oliver really.



[OI] Harcourt worked at Denham? Yes.
[OI] Yes, mm.

Bill Harcourt. Actually I, I got to respect the bloke in the end. Although he was tough hehad a job to do. Mm, he didn’t go out of his way to lie to you, which is a big thing, but,mm...

I‟m trying to think who that...

That little bloke, I can’t think of his name.

It wasn‟t, no, it‟s somebody from Technicolor who was a so and so on the Negotiating Committee.

What, when we were on?

Oh I know Ingram.

Oh Ingram. Oh yes, well, that was in the latter part when he...


He, oh well, it was later, yes because, mm...

He was just an ignorant pig that didn’t even know the A, B, C.

Yes, that‟s true.

[OI] [Laughter]

Yes, he was but, mm...

He only had, he only had one English word to his name, it began with F. [OI] Oh. [Laughter]
He was a pig.
He was, and, and he hadn’t got a clue.

And the other one I remember who was on our Negotiating, on the Management Negotiating Committee for Technicolor before Ron Wingrove and that was Millis.

Oh yes, he was another one.

And overall I liked him. I mean he was a real gentleman.

Oh yes.

I was the only one who did like him, nobody else did. And I remember...

I think this was a sexual attraction was it, [Laughter] more than anything?


No, it wasn‟t. No, he was very courteous Alf.


And he was the only person who ever actually called me over as a union representative and told me when new staff was coming in and this sort of thing and...

[OI] That’s something.

And, you know, I thought that is rather nice.

Oh that was at work?

At work.


And he was on that Negotiating Committee. And I don‟t know whether you rememberthis. Something Paddy was talking about and he and Paddy were arguing [0:40:00 444] and it was holding up the whole of the negotiation. So Millet said well, oh Paddy said„I‟ve got it in writing‟ from his predecessor. So Millis turned round then and heapologised to the meeting. [Laughter] He said „in that case gentlemen and ladies‟, he said „I‟m very, very sorry, I‟m taking up your time, I‟ve been given wrong information and I do apologise‟. And I knew that it had never been agreed and I said to Paddy „Paddy where have you got it? Well, what are you going to do, you haven‟t got anything‟? „You‟, he said „you type it I‟ll sign it‟. [Laughter] And I never knew to this day how Paddy gotout of it. I mean he just bluffed his way but Millis after this real climb-down and apologyI thought „how is Paddy going to get out of it?‟ and I never heard another word about it. So whether Paddy did get a bit of paper and write something on it I don‟t know.[Laughter] No I think Paddy was a match for, too much of a match for Millis. He was


really put in wasn‟t he to sort of break the union to a certain extent or to make, to standup to the union.

He was a security wallah wasn’t he?


He was a security bloke wasn’t he?

No, no. Millis was, mm, Mr Wray‟s assistant, personal assistant and doing that, doing,assisting the Company Secretary and Personnel work before Wingrove took over.

Ah, ha.

And, mm, when it came to the crunch instead of the management backing Millis theydidn‟t. Although they‟d put him there to sort of do a cut-throat job on the unions becausehe‟d failed they left him standing there and he was out as quick as that. [Laughter] Whichthat I always felt was rather a shame, I felt sorry for him.

Did you, were you, were you with us in the days when Charlie Chaplin was made an honorary member?

[OI] No, I wasn’t there then.



Yes, that was one of those personal sort of things [Laughter] wasn‟t it.

Yes, that was...


Too much to drink.

Ah. You can’t actually, you can’t remember any of the incidents. I can’t, you know, thatwas the trouble with me.

Well, I can remember sort of incidents with Monica that have been funny but sort of really probably would have happened anyway. I mean invariably we finished up atBlackpool for the Women‟s TUC or Labour Party or something and I remember wefinished up there in the most terrible storm one night, we were literally blown from oneplace to another. I couldn‟t stand up in it, mm, and we sort of got blown into this like a, Idon‟t know, sort of music hall I suppose. And then we got back to the hotel and Monicaalways had her double gins and I had my cup of tea or coffee, [Laughter] this was about midnight. Went upstairs, I put the key in the door and it snapped in the lock and I had to get this poor old thing out of bed.


[Laughter] And another occasion Monica, she was funny to go away with, we were standing on, and this again was Blackpool, Blackpool station. The train had just pulled in, Monica leant down to get something and kicked my heel. My shoe fell off under the train and they had to back the train out of the station [Laughter] while a porter went up and got my shoe with Monica nearly wetting her knickers laughing [Laughter] on the platform.You know we‟ve had some... As I say in those days, I mean they say women didn‟t getan equal chance but I think whether from a novelty aspect or not, I mean I think if youstood for a committee in those days you‟d got a ninety per cent chance of getting in.

[OI] Getting in?

Don‟t you think so Alf? Really I mean I, I would have thought that...


I don’t know. Very often I stood for a committee I wanted to get on and didn’t get in.

Yes, but I would have thought the voting really went in women‟s favour.

Oh yes, it did a lot at one period, yes.

Because, you know, as I say it was a novelty thing because unfortunately there weren‟tvery many women that did...

Active, no.

Which you can understand because, mm, I mean it takes up a lot of time and women do then have to get back and get meals and this sort of thing, you know.

[OI] I remember...
Tell me...
[Side 2]
[OI] Right, you were saying women have to, you know, get back and get meals?

Well, yes, you know, I mean when Bob and I got married I mean I was well established in my union procedure and so it was clearly understood I went on doing union work andwe worked like that, you know, he didn‟t expect me to come back and get him a meal if Iwas going to a meeting.

[OI] Mm, mm..

But if you‟d married on a different basis, mm, you know, I don‟t suppose some of themfound it very easy coping with home. Monica had a, I mean...


She, he, he was very good.

Yes, very good.

Troy was very good to her.


He, he used to take her and one thing and another, he was very, very good.

Yes, he was very understanding.

Incidentally going back there. When you went to, when you went to Germany what, what was the reason you went and what was it, was it FISTA [ph 016]?

Yes. Mm, well no, it was before FISTA [ph 016] time.

Where did you...?

But we were actually guests of these...

These what, Chemical Workers Union?

German Chemical Workers Union, yes.

Oh you went out there on an exchange visit?


You used to, that’s right, you went out there.


Yes, we had a few days in Berlin.


And then we went to this place.

Where did you go – Halle, Halle or Saale?

No. We went to somewhere in the Oberhof mountains. And it was, well I suppose it had been a sort of schloss or something like that before and then they‟d turned it into this workers‟ sort of thing. There were delegates from all over the world there. It was verynice, it was a lovely time.

Mm. That’s, that’s what I went.

And Alan crawling round...

First time I went was an exchange with the Chemical Workers Union and I went to Halle and ultimately we went, I wonder if you went out on the FISTAFF [ph 023]?

No, no.

I went to different parts of Europe..

[OI] You were saying about what was crawling around.

Alan. [Laughter] He used to get up in the morning and crawl from one table to, from onetable to another saying mass break out six o‟clock tonight. [Laughter]



[OI] [Laughter]

Oh dear. And there was one woman I remember there. She was from the, I don‟t know some union up north, and it didn‟t matter what form of transport it was it seemed to as though she‟d got a clockwork that sort of started itself off, as soon as the engine startinggoing she would sing. And she was telling us this tale about how she had to choose between being an opera singer and being a trade union official. [Laughter] I thought„God‟! And the minute that she started, and she‟d got an awful voice and it was usuallyabout Polaris submarines or something, Alan, Alan used to sit sort of lowered himself in the seat and do these clucking noises [Laughter] like a hen. And she said to meafterwards she said „when I get back I‟m going to write and say, write to your union andsay what a very nice person you are, what a shame it is they‟re labeled with that shit as a General Secretary‟. [Laughter]


[OI] [Laughter]

God he did take the rise out of her though, mind you she needed it. [Laughter] But it was really funny. It was a, it really was a nice holiday. It was a holiday, you know, I mean you had one day organised and one day you could do what you like so it was very nice.

Did you attend any meetings with, serious meetings?

Not meetings but we went to different factories and, mm, different things like that, you know.

No discussion groups on industrial conditions, et cetera?

No, no, no, it was purely and simply really a holiday.


Oh Christ when I went out there as a Chemical Workers’ guest we went through an awfullot, especially our business if you remember, you remember we got, mm, the north of England...

Yes, and that, that and...

Health thing going for a long term, mm, a long term study on the toxic chemicals we were using. Well, we used to discuss all that sort of thing when we were out there with the industries. And I sat in, I sat in. They were building a new project out there in Halle in the chemical, [0:05:00 044] one of the, in one of the factories and I sat in on a discussion group, they were, then they stopped a multi million Mark project going ahead.

What did they do, sort of...?

Because it wasn’t, they weren’t satisfied the conditions.

Have interpreters?

Oh yes.


Oh yes, there were interpreters. And the staff wouldn’t let this project go along until theunion committee were satisfied that all the, that all the natural, natural safeguards for theworkers’ health was au fait, you know, and I found that very interesting and, mm...

Yes. No, this was a long time before FISTA [ph 049]. Why I went, I‟d been off work for a long time. I‟d just sort of, the year I had my rib out and I‟d just gone back to work. I‟dbeen on the Monday and I think it was the Executive on the Wednesday and there was an invitation to go to Cuba, an invitation from Castro to go to Cuba.


And Jules went.

And I was nominated and I absolutely panicked. I thought „oh God I daren‟t go back to Technicolor and say I want time off‟. A fool I said „no‟. [Laughter] And George Elvin said to me afterwards „you never say “no”‟. He said „if you say “yes” and you can‟t gothere‟s always half a dozen people waiting‟. And do you know who went in my place?Sid Bremson [ph 056] was it?

[OI] Yes.
George said „and look what we‟re stuck with now‟.[Laughter]

Oh dear. [Laughter] And I, when I thought what I‟d missed I thought „I‟ll never say no again‟. And about two weeks later the East German thing came up and I thought „oh to hell with Technicolor‟, I said „yes please‟. [Laughter] But I still would have liked to havegone to Cuba.

George Light [ph 059] said to me ‘you never resign’. Do you know that?[OI] Never resign?
[Laughter]. I don‟t know...


And when there was talk about me becoming Personnel Manager George Elvin said tome ‘Alf if you take that job I’ll never speak to you again’.


[OI] [Laughter]

Well, you would have had to have resigned then wouldn‟t you? [Laughter] You couldn‟treally be on two sides but, mm...

I could have kept my membership going, I wouldn’t have been able to be active?

Oh no, no. You couldn‟t...

That’s why I never became supervisor though it was offered.

And that‟s silly really because I mean the directors and...

Yes, the bosses, some of the bosses are members, yes.

The bosses are still in the union aren‟t they so...

They didn’t go down well in Laboratories did it really? [OI] No.
There wasn’t the same thing in there.


[OI] But wasn’t that, wasn’t that often because, mm, a lot of the, mm, Lab bosses in facthad come up through the ranks?

Right through, yes.

[OI] And wasn’t it...
The first Chairman of Laboratories...
Well, most of them had hadn‟t they?
The first Chairman of Laboratories actually became the Managing Director of Pathé? [OI] Yes, Phillips.
Phillips wasn’t it?
[OI] Phillips, yes, yes.
That was before my time. Well, it couldn’t have been before my time.
[OI] No.
Because the union was only three years old when I first joined.
[OI] Yes that’s right.
When did you start Alf?


I joined in Thirty-six and the union was actually Thirty-three. [OI] Thirty-two.
Was it Thirty-two?
[OI] Yes, I think so.

I thought it was Thirty-three? [OI] Yes.
When did you join?
[OI] Then.

Oh did you?

[OI] Yes, [Laughter] yes.


[OI] Yes.
You joined in Thirty-two ACTT? George Elvin wasn’t there.[OI] No, no.
Oh wasn‟t he?
[OI] No.



[OI] No.

They had Captain?

[OI] Cope.


[OI] Matthew [ph 073] Cope.


[OI] That’s another story.


I was hoping Daph that you were going to be able to remember some of our meetings and what took place and the reasons why.

Oh gosh.

Any more than I could. I said lots of them I can’t remember about and lots of the specialoccasions that we had. Some, some of the things we pulled off were fantastic, you know. We got the forty hour week which took us ten years to get.

Yes, I was going to say some of them took an awful...

An awful long time.


Excuse me.

We got, we got the sickness payments and all that thing. Mind your cat?

Oh God. [Laughter] Sammy sorry darling. [Laughter]. Silly old girl aren‟t you? She‟ll beback in a minute.

[Inaudible 079]

Yes, I don‟t know whether I made a note of any of those Alf because I scribbled all this down last night. [Pause] We‟ve got, mm, [Pause] yes, what else did we...? [Pause] Imean holidays was a terribly slow issue wasn‟t it?

Yes, it was.

I don‟t know what they finished up with now but I mean we used to...

Do you remember, do you remember when we got the one week off for not having any sickness?

Yes, that was before my...

That was before your time was it?

Before your, before my time.

You see that was something which the union got at Technicolor. I tried to get four weeks holiday.

[OI] Ah, ha.


And I couldn’t get it because it was too much. And I accepted a condition which wasn’t,which went against the grain for me personally, I had a job to convince my colleages but I thought it was the thin end of the wedge. People were taking liberties with sick pay, [0:10:00 090] we got sick pay very good.

[OI] Yes, yes.

Anybody that hadn’t had any sickness. Mm, and, and somebody, and the people were actually phoning down and this is what I got through.


And they were phoning down to the Wages Office and how much more sickness they’d gotto come.


And was faking it. Right?

[OI] I see.

Now I had to uphold their right to know what they were worth of all that. At the time I... And, mm, in the finish we did a deal with the management that anybody that hadn’t had any sickness got an extra week’s holiday. Now they were the people that didn’t need anextra week.

[OI] [Laughter], no.
The people that really needed it were the people that were sick.


[OI] Yes, yes.

But I thought to myself in my stupid way well, this is the thin end of the wedge, why should I get them into the habit of having four weeks holiday or something like that. Do you remember it, we got that through?

Because in actual fact it, I mean the holidays for a long time was only two weeks wasn‟tit?

Yes. Well, surprising we got it, and I remember that and that was a, that I can’tremember the date when we got that.

I mean I don‟t know what it is now.

I had a hell of a fight on. I was battling with the management and with, and with my own members over that. But two years of that and we got our extra, you know, we got...

[OI] Yes.

Well, even that you had to sort of done so many years and you got an extra two days or something like that.

Oh yes, you had to have, you had to have so many years. The first twelve months you only got so much and after that you got into it.

[OI] Mm.
But it was the thin end of the wedge of getting acclimatised, it was a long struggle.But it was a long, it was a long, mm, a long haul to sort of push them up on holidays.


Yes, and they’re the things that are...

Mind you often they‟d have given up a lot if we‟d had given that cost of living.

Oh yes.

Bonus. That was the sticking point.

But it paid dividends didn’t it?

It certainly did, gosh yes. [Pause ] I mean and some of the redundancies at Technicolor were stupid weren‟t they?

[OI] In what way?
Well, they‟d, I think because America dictated how many have got to go regardless of...Whether we could manage.
Whether we could do it or not.
[OI] I see. You mean, yes, in relation to output?
Yes. I mean they‟d just say, you know, so many and they were just numbers.
Get rid of so many.
And on two or three I can remember where by the time the people actually went...


[OI] Yes.

They were leaving on the Friday and re-employed again on the Monday and they weredriving in with new cars weren‟t they? Well Paddy negotiated a loyalty payment oftwelve and six a week and I still had it to the very, up to the time I left. The ones whodidn‟t volunteer for redundancy got this twelve and six a week, and from then on it was always extra when I was working anything out on the wages that twelve and six...

It went on the clock.

Was always put aside because you never, you never got something on it or it didn‟t countwhen you were having a rise or something like that.

[OI] Yes, yes, yes.

But, mm, I mean twelve and six is sort of paltry now, but it was, well not bad. [Laughter] Always a bit, I mean...

Twelve and six was a lot of money in those days wasn’t it?

Money is so different. Yes, I was going to say money is so different now isn‟t it? Yes.

Do you remember the American that was the Managing Director there?

Which one? [Laughter]

Well, We only had one American director didn’t we?

Oh actually there?


Yes. He used to go away. He had that girl what was her name? He used to have the mink toilet seat. [Laughter]


What was her name? I can’t remember her name now.

Mm, Kay Harrison.

Kay Harrison, that’s it.

Kay Harrison.

[OI] Kay Harrison, yes.
[OI] Yes.
And Melvy Wood wasn‟t it.
Oh yes, Melvy, that’s it, Melvy Wood.
Yes, I did see him two or three times because Arthur Thornley was his...Ah, ha. He was, he wasn’t a bad guy at all - even as an American.

Mm, he was his sec... no, chauffeur wasn‟t he?

When the, when the firm started it was a bloke named Oates and Kay Harrison who were the joint Managing Directors. Harrison was the guy that bought all the land andeverything and got the, got the franchise because he was a Canadian actually wasn’t he?


I don‟t know. As I really didn‟t know a lot about him.

Anyway he and his wife got, came over to England [OI] Ah, ha.

And, mm, when the war broke out Oates run back to America a bit smartish but Kay stayed on. And then, and then he used to do twenty-five, what was it? Twenty-five weeks in this country and twenty-five weeks somewhere els,e you know, [Laughter] you see because of the...

[OI] Right, the tax, yes. The tax, yes.
[OI] The tax, yes.
And, mm, and that’s right and Melvy Wood was his secretary wasn’t she?Mm.

And the driver once come back to me laughing his head off and told me that he used hertoilet and he came out laughing and she wanted to know why. He said ‘well’, and she said ‘well, because she’s got a mink toilet seat’. [Laughter]

[OI] [Laughter]

[Laughter] And she said ‘well, it’s cold sometimes’. Because I thought of a dirty thingstraight away you could imagine. [Laughter]

You would Alf. [Laughter] What, mm. What was I going to say?


Who was the other woman we had there, a tall thin woman?

Kay Francis.

No, no, not Kay. He married her didn’t he? [0:15:00 138]


Mm, no, no. A tall thin woman with Barbara Wilcox?

Oh Alison? [Pause] Was it Alison her name.


Grey hair?


Yes, I know...

She had a daughter working there as well.

Yes, I know who you mean but, mm...

Mm. Do you know she was a strange thing. It was about the time, I remember we had a canteen on top of the roof, do you remember outside by the backside of N4?


And we had a canteen down there.


That was before my time too.

And, mm, and, mm, oh yes it would be because we’re talking about the Forties, Forty- seven when the Labour Party got in. And this woman, she was very, very, very, very rightwing and she said ‘oh my God I hope if the Labour Party gets in I die’. And God blimeythey got in and she died.

[Laughter] And she did?


Oh I don‟t know who that was.

I’ll never forget that.


[OI] [Laughter]

Oh dear.

[OI] Tell me Daphne what, what’s, mm, what kind of, mm, ACTT activity has given you the most satisfaction?

Mm. [Pause]

[OI] Really a highlight for you?

[Pause] Probably the Executive I think.


[OI] Okay.


[OI] And how long did you serve on that?

Oh must have been about [Pause] eight or nine years I would think.

[OI] Really?

I think so. [Pause] Yes. I wonder whether I was still on it when I, [Pause] because I volunteered for redundancy in the end. I thought having survived it and it had got such a,oh, it just wasn‟t like Technicolor in those days, [Laughter] I was really, I just suddenlydecided that‟s it, I‟ve had it and...

It went down as a place to work.

Yes, it just. Every, everyone said the same, you know.

[OI] Why do, why do you think that was, what was the reason?


Leadership we’d got...?

Oh definitely, yes. I‟m trying to sort of pinpoint it to any one in, in particular.


Yes, but I mean it was after Ingram. I don‟t know, there was just... [Pause]


[OI] Was it anything to do with the, mm...?

It might have been the computerisation of everything or it all got so impersonal somehow.

[OI] Was it anything to do with the, if you like, the advent of, mm, videos and this kind of thing?

Well, I don‟t know that they, there was all that much. Well, they certainly weren‟t sort ofin general use when I was there, and not unless we‟re catching up with the, sort of weusually are a few years behind everybody else. But, mm, I mean we had an Audio Visual Department.

[OI] Yes.

But, mm...


Yes, Vidtronix.

[OI] That’s right, yes, yes. But that had nothing to do with it?

Not really, no. I mean that was a very nice department.

[OI] Really.

[Laughter] A very nice man who ran that. Mm, I don‟t know it all got so terriblyimpersonal and it was so different.

It kept being taken over didn’t it with other people?


Yes, I think that‟s probably it. There was no continuity of...


Of ownership. And [Pause] everybody was, or when I say „everybody‟ I mean themanagement and supervisors, they all seemed to be so frightened of America. Probably with need, I mean they probably had every reason to because where the ordinary people had got the unions to back them up I mean if the supervisor or anything got the sack they were off and there was nothing really that anybody could do about it. I mean they were,look at Littlejohns, he was off so quickly wasn‟t he?

And he was Managing Director wasn’t he?

He was Managing Director.

[OI] Yes, yes.

And, you know, once they‟d got the push...

And he’d been a member at one time. [OI] Yes.
But they were just gone, yes.
[OI] Yes, yes.

And, mm, I think it probably does stem from America, it was, mm...

Mm, the takeover. You see we had such a lot in reserve and first of all they went public.


[OI] Yes.

And, mm, they, they sold their... The shares were owned by about five people which werepeople like Kalmus who, who’d created the process.

[OI] Yes.

And there was people like Harrison and two or three film stars.

[OI] Mm.

Or big shots, male and female, and The Prudential had some money in it.


And, mm, and they’d built up a terrific reserve. Anyway they suddenly went public andthey turned all their one pound shares into ten bob shares and they sold half the shares.

[OI] Yes.
And the ten bob shares went to the staff for ten and nine pence wasn’t it?

Yes, I was just going to say. It‟s just sparked a memory off Alf you saying that.

Yes, and they sold the shares for ten and, ten and nine pence to the staff, [0:20:00 189] and you were allowed so many but you had to have spot cash on a given morning to do it,that’s what made it difficult.

Yes. Well, I had a hundred and twenty.



Mm, well, half were my Mum‟s and half were mine.

Anyway, mm, and, mm, I didn’t buy any on principle because I deplored the thing they were up to. And I said to the people there will come the right time when the time was to sell it. But the fact was you see they halved their shares originally were a pound and turned them into ten bob they still kept control of the company.

[OI] Yes, yes.

And these people were buying their shares and then somebody wrote an article in thecommercial world and the shares went ‘woof’, and I said to the people that had got them ‘now’s the time to sell them’ because they went down again afterwards didn’t they? Andthose that sold them then made a bob or two.

Yes, I can remember that.

But from there on in there was always these people looking to takeover, takeover.


And then that drunken, and them drunken Irish git from the Schick razor blades wasn’tit?

Oh yes, yes.

And then he bought the lot up and from there on in... [OI] Yes.


It was sell this bit and sell that and do something else. And then, and then, mm, Saltzmanand, mm, Cubby Broccoli got it didn’t they?

Yes, but they didn‟t do, do us any favours did they?

And he ripped, he stripped the company, he was real stripping it out wasn’t he?


Mm, mm, mm, Saltzsman. And from there on in it was no longer where you never felt safe.

[OI] What were you going to say?

Sorry, that reminds me. I hadn‟t long had the shares when we had the trouble with the, wehad the lockout and that.


Because I went to...

You went to the board meeting, the members meeting at The Waldorf Hotel?

I went to the board meeting at The Waldorf Astoria with, mm, Ken Woollens.


And George Elvin, because the union had four shares I think.



And I remember Pulley my boss, accountant, he was on the door and he said to me, I was done up in a hat and sort of because I thought, you know, I had to sort of dress up to kill[Laughter] and he said „name‟? So I said „Daphne Le Brun [ph 210]‟. „How many shares‟? He just looked through me as though I„d never existed, you know. So I said „a hundred and twenty‟. And he said to George „name, how many shares‟? So he said „four‟.[Laughter] Anyway we got in there and Mr Allen was on the platform and he kept winking at me all through the meeting. And there was another man on the platform whojust kept grinning at me, he wasn‟t winking. And I, I kept waiting for them to bring something to eat and drink round. [Laughter]


I kept looking round and I thought „when are they going to do it‟? Anyway they, theyasked for votes to adopt, you know, to adopt the accounts. Oh they gave this terrificspeech about the future and how much profit they‟d make because they had made an enormous profit, how much profit they‟d made..

The more the less they were going to give us.

And it was the best one they‟d ever had and the next year was going to be even better, and nobody mentioned the fact that the place was practically closed down. So it came toadopt the report so George, Ken and I voted against it. So Pulley came round again, „how many shares?‟ you know and went through this rigmarole. Of course, we didn‟t win Imean, you know. And outside the, there were demonstrators.

All the banners, yes.

With banners, banners up there. [Laughter] But that was quite good, it made it worthwhile.



You know, it was sort of a laugh. And this man came up to me afterwards who‟d been grinning at me, he said „do you always go in for lost causes‟? I said „it isn‟t a lost cause‟, I said „I‟m surprised that none of you ask why you‟ve got so many people been locked out and some on strike‟. And whether he knew anything about it, he didn‟t sort of make[Laughter] any comments, you know.

I thought George would have said something, I thought...

No, I don‟t think you could actually say. Well, I suppose you could have caused adisturbance and shouted it out or something but there wasn‟t the facility on the agenda to ask. All you were really doing there was to vote passing the Chairman‟s, adopting the Chairman‟s account, report.

Nobody got up and queried anything?

No, [Laughter] we just voted against.

Oh good, good job I wasn’t there.

Yes. We, we voted against, against it but...

Because, you know, I mean it was arbitration I got told to shut up, you know, on one occasion.

Oh dear. [Laughter]

Because I, I wasn’t cobbling out a load of lies and butting in and got told to shut up.

Oh. Excuse me.


It’s surprising the people we, you know these things are all fixed up before you go aren’tthey?

Oh yes, I‟m sure they are. But, mm, yes, I think you‟re right really Alf, I think it wascoming from America.


And they were, everybody was cutting each others‟ throats.

They still tell me the same thing there now, you know, they’re all very unhappy as a...

Are they?

Well when I rung you up this morning.

I haven‟t been up there for ages and ages.



You just wouldn’t know it now that’s for sure.

One of the girls came in to see me the other, well, about a month, a couple of months ago and, mm, I think the ones who are still there are earning fantastic salaries but, you know,it‟s not everything is it?



[OI] So anyway I want to come back and can you, can you think of anything that really gave you great satisfaction? [0:25:00 245]

[Pause] I suppose the biggest satisfaction was concluding a decent agreement, mm.

The company we got all the girls more or less involved and got...[OI] That’s at, that was at Technicolor?


[OI] At Technicolor. So that’s...

Mm, was sort of getting a good agreement.

[OI] Yes.
People recognised.
And they recognised and all...
Yes. Mm, and committee. As I say I used to enjoy the Executive meetings.[OI] Yes, you said that.


I must say. I liked that and...

[OI] Yes, yes. Any other highlights? You’ve got the Executive and you’ve got youragreements?

[Pause] Oh various conferences.

[OI] Yes.

But, you know, they were very sort of individual, mm, sort of things. But it was reallyjust a way of life wasn‟t it Alf? [Laughter] I know it was for you, [Laughter] but it wasfor me too.

Oh we used to spend an awful lot of time I know.

We certainly did.

But I was hoping that you could remember some of the significant things, and looking back you sometimes think of them and then they...

I know probably think of them afterwards.

And that.

But it‟s so difficult to...

Some of the, some of the fights we’ve had to get different things through at, I mean atsome of the meetings, some of the public meetings, there were the mass meetings that we held for the Laboratories.

[OI] Yes, yes.


When the knives were out and people were...

Yes, and there have been some occasions.

I’d forgotten that incident, I’ve forgotten that incident over, over Cow, Coucha [ph262]?

Oh had you? [Laughter]

Yes. And then there was another thing you see everybody, eve, well, this is something you know. If you remember some of us old lags, you included, we started building Ricky Novak up to take over from me when I went out.

I know.

You see we knew that I was getting old.
And was going out and we wanted somebody that was going to be the union.
[OI] Yes.
We built Paddy O’Gorman up to take over didn’t we at Technicolor because I was...?[OI] Yes, yes.

You know I’d had a, and, mm, and then we decided that we ought to build up RickyNovak because he looked the most likeliest piece of meat to take over sort of business,


you know. God blimey and then he worked that flanker on to Mixing and he’s up the governor’s backside isn’t he?

Well, mm...

And, you know, it’s such a mistake God blimey.

So inevitably I mean here again it‟s a personality thing. I remember when Valerie and Ifirst joined the union it was when Frank Kingollings [ph 273] was treasurer.

Oh Christ, yes.

And he was very dishy and Valerie and I used to sit there, gaze at him and...

There you are sex again. [Laughter]

We thought, I know we thought „God he‟s dishy‟. And he‟s sat there, he delivered a speech, I don‟t know whether it was at the AGM but the whole theme of it was hispersonal integrity.


And Val said „if he‟s got that much personal integrity [Laughter] we might as well forget it‟, you know, „he‟s married‟.


And his personal integrity wasn‟t much cop later on was it when he was leaking secrets?

[Laughter] I’d forgotten the existence of Gollings [ph 280]. Do you remember Gollings [ph 280] there?


[OI] No, no.
Don’t you?
[OI] No.
Oh you should have done. Blimey you’ve been in the union longer than me.[OI] No, no.

You know sometimes, some of my idols have had very...

Feet of clay?

John von Kotze he was another one.

What about Paddy?

Paddy Who?

[Pause] The guy that pushed you around at Chapmindu [ph 283].

Oh Paddy Leach.

Oh yes.
But John von Kotze, do you remember? He was a cameraman at Technicolor.



John von Kotze. I mean they were always...

[OI] John von Kotze.

I don’t remember him.

But the camera section were always dead scruffy but a very glamorous sort of dead scruffy.

[OI] How extraordinary.

And he was blonde. He was of German origin, origin.

[OI] South African. Wasn’t he South African?
Now when was this?
[OI] Kotze was South African.
Was he South African? Oh I don‟t know. Well, one or the other.In Technicolor?

Yes, he was a Technicolor cameraman.

What after I retired?

No, no. This was going back quite a long time.


I don’t think I remember the guy?

When Ray Parslow and Hugh Salisbury were cameramen.

Christ I don’t remember, I don’t remember that long ago.

But anyway a little girl in our office, Pat, she had an absolute crush on him, she thought he was absolutely wonderful, she used to go red when he came in. And I always thought„yes‟, you know, „he is rather nice‟. And he, I can remember reading in the Journal, and itcame up I think on the Appeals Committee, he had gone on to be a director or something like that and had got a camera crew somewhere abroad and left them stranded, no hotel bills paid and no wages. [Laughter]

[OI] Yes.

And I thought there must be something in me that seems to pick on the wrong ones. [Laughter]

[OI] [Laughter]

Because I thought he was sort of everything, you know.

Is this mucking that up? [OI] But anyway.
Good Lord.

Yes, at one time he used to evidently used to ride into Technicolor with George Gunn, when George Gunn, before my time.



When he used to ride his horse in and John von Kotze used to exercise his horse for him in the lunch hour. [Laughter]

What did we call him?

I don‟t know what you called him. [Laughter]

His name don’t even ring a bell to me, I don’t remember.

I don‟t think I ever actually spoke to him. I felt he was so glamorous I never actually saidanything to him. [Laughter]

[OI] [Laughter]

No, mm, funny.

Mm. [0:30:00 305]
[OI] Have you any regrets at all Daphne?No, not, I, I miss the union.
[OI] Yes.

But when I have come back to the AGM [Pause] I think „oh God however did I sit through so many meetings‟? Do you ever, you still like meetings do you Alf? I must saythe less I go to the less inclined I am. Unless it is that to me the AGM seems so dull compared with what it was.


It hasn’t got the, it’s not the same as it used to be is it, no?

I found it, mm...

Everybody’s got, the people now Daphne in my view, the people that are at the helms now, and I’m not talking about the paid staff, the people that are elected into positionsthey’ve never had to fight for what they’ve got.

No, probably, that‟s probably true.

They came in, they came into...

When it was already, yes.

They came in when it virtually had a gold mine as a union agreement didn’t it?
[OI] Well, I mean this is, you know, this is the label of a successful union isn’t it really?Yes.
[OI] Mm, so it’s very difficult. [Laughter]
Yes, but the...
[OI] As long as they can maintain it, that’s the important...
As I say I don‟t know whether it‟s that or...

These people that have broken away don’t know what the people - that’s the people, earlypeople - had to go through to get what they’ve got.



[OI] What, what were you going to say?

As I say I don‟t know whether it‟s that or is it because the legislation has so cut the legsfrom under the unions.

[OI] Yes, probably.

But there just didn‟t seem to be any fire in...

It had gone out before that came about though.

In them, in anything. And I‟d forgotten that it was going to be a biennial thing, I was sort of trying to get the dates sorted out with my holiday and suddenly realised of course,there isn‟t an AGM this year. I mean I still go to it every time but I have beendisappointed with the last couple. But, mm, the whole structure of the union is sodifferent now isn‟t it? I haven‟t really got, I couldn‟t honestly tell you, I mean at one timeI used to know which committees fed into which ones and like a whole tree of it.


But, mm, I really don‟t know how, mm...

[OI] Well, I think this is, I think this is as it were you’ve kind of reverted back now tobeing an ordinary, an ordinary member do you think?

I suppose so.

[OI] And I think the ordinary membership probably...


Probably never did really sort of know.

[OI] No, no, no. It’s them up there?

Yes But, mm...

[OI] Was, was the, was your honorary membership a, a pleasure for you?

Oh that was lovely, yes.

[OI] Yes.

Yes, I have the, it on the wall.

[OI] Yes, yes.

Yes, yes that was very, very nice. How did Stan Warbeys [ph 338] go.

Very well.

I just saw it in the paper when I got the Journal.

Yes, it went very well, very well.

Did you give him my... ?


Message? Good..

Yes, I did. I actually got at him as soon as he arrived on your behalf.


Oh good, yes.

Yes, he went down very well, and he was very, very pleased wasn’t he? You see there’s afellow that had done a lot for the union.

Yes, gosh, yes.

[OI] Yes.
And not many people knew about it did they?

[OI] Mm, is there anything that you would have liked to have done that you haven’tdone?

Mm, [Pause] yes, I always tossed up because I was nominated several times for Vice President and I always felt that, mm, I felt it was such an important job that I‟ve felt...This was in, sort of some time ago.

[OI] Yes, yes.

Mm, I feel that really it should go to the most experienced people so I never stood for it,but when I‟ve subsequently seen the people that stand for it...


Who to my knowledge have never been on the Executive...

[OI] Yes, mm.


Never mind... I mean that to me is sort of out of all proportion, you know, I feel well, you‟ve got to do your sort of apprenticeship before you then go on to a, stand for anoffice like that.

You’d have always been very welcome.

So I suppose wish. I, in a way I wish that I had stood for it one year.

[OI] Yes.

I mightn‟t have got in. But, mm, yes I think Monica made a very good Vice President when she was in. But now it‟s such a weird set up, there is only one isn‟t there? It‟s not, you haven‟t got a Vice President for the various sections.

Mm, they elect, they elect in, they now elect their own [Inaudible 362] don’t they?

Like it‟s one President and...

[OI] Yes.

One President and one Vice President. So it‟s still Lynn Lloyd as Vice President.

Mm, and now they elect their, their F and G people from the Executive don’t they?

Oh do they?

[OI] I think so yes, yes.



The membership have no, the membership as direct from their representatives at annualconference don’t elect their F and G people.

Oh. We seem to be having an awful lot of staff. I always seem to be reading about somebody new.

[OI] Well, there are these...

These regional sort of, mm, people. And yet I would have thought in numbers the union was getting smaller. No? [0:35:00 371]

[OI] I don’t think so.

Well, I was thinking, I suppose thinking really about in terms of Labs.

A lot of the membership...

Thinking about how many have turned...

The Lab membership is shrinking.


[OI] But you see it’s outside. Mm, you see in the regions there’s more and more.

Yes, because there are a lot in the...

[OI] This is why they want the people in the regions?



[OI] They want somebody there rather than...

But they‟ve still got somebody in here as well sort of thing.

[OI] Well, yes but that’s, but that’s over, in overall in that section isn’t it?

Mm. [Pause] What, I, I saw also from the Journal Jack‟s ill again.


Is he sort of very ill or...?

Well, he’s just being paid now isn’t he and not working at all is he?

[OI] No.

No, I could see because they‟d appointed somebody in his place you see.


Just said that he was, mm, no, but I wondered sort of, you know, I mean it isn‟t, don‟tthey expect him to come back or...?

[OI] No, no.

Oh. [Pause]

[OI] Well, I think...


Oh darling don‟t you pull the wires out. [Laughter]

[OI] I, I think we’ve, we’ve covered a lot of ground.

You do.

[OI] Yes.

I‟m sorry I can‟t remember any more.

[OI] Would you like to have changed your life at all?

No, I don‟t think so.

[OI] Yes.

Looking back now I think why didn‟t I get out of, out of office work and try and get intosome other part of the...

[OI] The business?


[OI] What...

Because I mean the reason I stayed at Technicolor all those years wasn‟t really forTechnicolor it was for the union.

[OI] Yes.


Because, mm, I‟ve always done office work and office work in, it was only in the Labsthat office work was covered by our union.

[OI] Yes.

Been, if I‟d of gone to a television company...

[OI] Yes.

Or, mm, film company it would have been NATKE or something like that.

[OI] What, what, what perhaps would you have liked to have tried in the film business?

I don‟t know really because I don‟t know that much about it. [Laughter].

[OI] Yes.

So, you know, it would have all been new to me because I mean I really didn‟t knowmuch about, mm, what Technicolor did. I never, I always had such a full-time job that I never had time to do the rounds.

Of the Labs there?

And sort of see. No, I never did. You know I was always working up to the last minute and probably overtime as well and, mm, so I never sort of got a tour of the place to see what all the departments did, which I would liked to have done but...

I know one thing she did the Lab branch a lot of good because she was, she was the Lab, the Minutes Secretary for goddamn years.

[OI] Yes. Well...


And she did us a lot of good with organising the girls in Technicolor. So you don’t recallthat at all do you? All that organising and getting the girls in?

Well, sort of. I mean it just was part of...

Part of the job, yes?

Just doing it, yes and sort of...

I know.
And... [Pause]
[OI] Well, you know, I, I think we’ve covered our ground have we?
I can‟t think of any. As I say probably when you‟ve gone I‟ll start thinking of things.[OI] Well, we can always come back.
It‟s funny how one thing...
[OI] Yes.
Will suddenly jog a memory.
We can always return.
[OI] We can always come back Daphne, always come back.


But, well if I think of things I‟ll jot them down on a piece of paper [Laughter] which is what I was doing there just to remind me because I‟d sort of forgotten. I‟d completelyforgotten about the share episode and going to that shareholders‟ meeting.

When you think sometimes Daphne of the worries we used to have going to a massed meeting and coming back what we were going to say.


What we could do, and the things we had to do to make sure we got something throughbecause we considered that what we’d negotiated was in the best interest.

And having people in the right place in the audience and telling them when to speak.

And, and I can’t, I can’t remember. I can only remember are things like, like KenWilliams used to say to me. Oh yes he always believed in, in, in a democracy, ’this is a democracy, democracy, shut up and sit down’. [Laughter]


[OI] Yes.

And that sort of business at different meetings that were...


And I can never remember these incidents now, I remember my time... You’re switched that off aren’t you?

[OI] No, no, no, not yet.


Oh, I’m sorry. This is your tape and not mine.

[OI] [Laughter] Well, I think...

I hope you’d switched off.

[OI] No, I haven’t switched off yet. But I think, I think what we’ll do Daphne is if you’llstart thinking.


[OI] Thank you very much.