April 1960, and my first job on leaving school at the age of 15 being sent to VIK SUPPLIES Sandon Road and having my interview in the morning with Mr Arthur Clarke for the job title “Clicker” in the Shoe Trade and starting in the afternoon. In them days jobs were plentiful
My job as a “Clicker” was on a press cutting out TOE PUFFS and STIFFENERS for the “Shoe Trade” and we had an association with “LOTUS SHOES” across the road as well as EVODE. I was, as everyone in the Shoe Trade were, on PIECEWORK and my wages were linked to how fast you worked in those days and I think my first wage packet was about £8 which was good money, this helped to a good standard of living and helped towards my board to my parents and coming from a family of 9 helped towards the rental of our 1st television from “REDIFFUSION” (now not trading).
I also remember our rations of “DOVE POLISHES” that we were issued with, and our annual Christmas Dances at the Borough Hall and Trentham a “FAMILY FIRM” who were most generous and looked after its employees, a joy to work for with names that I remember as follows Mr Preece, Mr Geoff Matthews, Mr Jack Skellern, Roy Eccleston and wife Ellen, Alan Smith and lots of others (Vik Supplies, Sandon Road).
I also remember that while I was at “VIK SUPPLIES” Sandon Road of the fire to the WAREHOUSE AND OFFICES end of the factory and having to move up to Common Road where a new building was being put up and me being the first person to move into it. My clicking press being the only machine in the new building and me being on my own. I was too shy to go to the canteen as I didn’t know anyone at Evode and I used to stay in the shop for my tea-breaks and dinner (The canteen in those days was where the LABS are now) and tea was free anyway, as time passed and some other people were transferred up from Sandon Road, I gradually started to go to the canteen and met people and made friends with lots of people. After a while worked dropped off and I was summoned by Mr Preece to his office who explained about the loss of work, and with me the only single man out of the “Clickers” the others being married and with families and he gave me the choice of 6 weeks notice or job in the “Paint Shop” with Jack Pelling I decided to give it a go in the Paint Shop but the fumes and smell didn’t agree with me and I left to work for a short while (approx. a year) at the “English Electric” it was all right but I got stuck on nights, and with being single, it didn’t suit, and then I got a message from “VIK SUPPLIES” that a job (sheet cutting) had arisen and would I like it. I returned in 1966 to VIK SUPPLIES which was still supplying the “Shoe Industry” (I remember Mr Knowles the Personnel Manager) which I had to report to on my return. The following years were going to be the start of my life at “EVODE” (some HAPPY some SAD) meeting lots of nice people, a feeling of being part of a Family Tie.
On returning to VIK SUPPLIES I was stile on PIECEWORK and my wages were still well paid and everyone associated from the “SHEET-CUTTER” to the “CLICKER” to the “SKIVERS” who were mostly girls to the PACKER the last line of the Production Belt were well paid. This went on for many years until the decline set in and work was transferred to “Louis Holt” of Enderby LEICESTER although the raw material (TOE-PUFF MATERIAL) was still produced at “VIK SUPPLIES” other work was acquired like “SILVASEAM” (a carpet tape for joining CARPETS) “TWINSTIK” (a Double Sided Sticky TAPE) which was already being made anyway, but was now done on one of the machines, also many CUSTOMERS OWN MATERIALS (like BRITISH LEYLANDS products that required a transfer coating) “ROK-RAP” a cement in a bandage used for lagging and numerous other products. Even some of these products are no longer done.
It was in these years (mid 60’s early 70’s) that I was associated with my first love (FOOTBALL) and played in one of the finest teams (EVODE F.C.) Around here (Lionel Wilcox, and old ex-bobby was the manager ably assisted by Bob Studinski, in the early years followed by John Ferneyhough, assisted by Bob Stud (again) Arthur Lewis, Craig Ferguson Pat Johnson and it was this team that went onto win many honours in the STAFFORD AMATEUR LEAGUE notably winning the “Pageant Cup” 3 years on the run, possible a record in the leagues history. I went on to help Graham Turner in the mid 80’s with the EVODE SUNDAY LEAGUE when my playing career was over.
I know that DR SIMON and John Forman took an interest in the football team as John Ferneyhough often told us that he’d often ask on a Monday how we’d got on and I remember the DOCTOR presenting us with our cups at the “Staffordshire Yeoman” (now the West Way) at the end of Season Dinner & Dance he looked a proud man, also if we got to a final which was often played at STAFFORD RANGERS ground we would be let off work ½ hour early so to prepare ourselves.
Evode was also where I met my wife (Clare) and its on this note and with her permission that I finish on this final story. It was on a Friday (The Day the DOCTOR usually walked round) that Clare and her friend Jenny were coming back from the canteen and Clare decided to run on and hide behind the Fire Door in the Stores from Jenny and then jump out on her just a childish prank, at that moment the Doctor came through and saw Clare and said to her “What are you doing” nothing else Clare's reply was “HIDING DOCTOR” no more was said but on passing Clare's friend Jenny she said that the Doctor was laughing to himself (how nice) it was this moment that Clare came to have the deepest respect for the Doctor to know that he was only human like everyone else and joined in the fun by laughing to himself (Plenty of BIG smiles in them days by everyone).
Different Days now but life will go on as it must.
(But For Those Years Memories To Treasure.)
18 August 2000