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Winnie Bentley


Straight from school to Wigfalls, 1941

Black and white photograph of workers in the Wigfalls record office, 1962.
Winnie (second from left) at work in the records office of Wigfalls on Mowbray Street, taken around 1962. The boxes of card indexes were customers sales and repair records for televisions and radios. Every entry was handwritten. There were no computers in the office at that time. Image courtesy of Winnie Bentley


Winnie Bentley worked at Wigfall's for 28 years, starting in 1941. She was interviewed for the Burngreave Voices oral history archive. In the sound clip she describes her work at Wigfall's and what happened to her first pay packet.

This sound clip lasts for 2 minutes and 32 seconds.

But when I look at it I think it weren't a bad report, nah, and then I went to work at Wigfall's. I left school on Friday and went to work at Wigfall's on Monday.

What did you do at Wigfall's?

I went in to warehouse, like stores, and we used to get all orders ready for different shops. For when big van used to deliver them. And all the shops in Sheffield, there were seven shops in Sheffield, and that, and then there were Barnsley, Huddersfield, Dewsbury, Wakefield, Leeds. Used to go up, and York. That were North. And then there were Chesterfield, Mansfield, Worksop, Nottingham and Leicester.

So they employed at lot of people then at Wigfall's?

Oh yes, it was lovely to go to work.

Earn some money?

I don't know about earn money! I got ten shilling a week for forty hour week. [laughing] and me mother burnt first ten shilling note in me packet. She got hold of packet, thrown it on fire and it were a ten bob note that were in it [laughing]

Oh no! How sad.

Because wage was thrown on fire, went up in flames. But I worked at Wigfall's altogether because I went back after I'd had me family, I worked at Wigfall's twenty eight year.

Wow, you knew it well then. What were you doing at the end of it?

I worked at, in Rutland Road. Old man Wigfall, the one who started the company, he used to be one for all charities and things, and he used to bring all collection boxes and it were my job to go round all firms that were round and I used to go round selling these flags. [laughing] I did the selling, he got the glory! [laughing]

That was your job?

No it weren't me job, it were...

A part of it, he got you to do it?

He used to bring them and I used to...I finished up, all men went to war and so I were more or less left in charge of warehouse and things like that.

How old were you when you were doing that?

I were eighteen.

Extract from an interview with Winnie Bentley recorded by Gaby Spinks for the Burngreave Voices oral history archive, September 2006.