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Alice Ingham


A working lifetime with Bachelors, 1930s to 1970s

Black and white photograph of Alice Ingham receiving a gift from staff at Bachelors Peas.
Alice receiving a gift for her years of service from Bachelors. © Sheffield Newspapers Ltd

My first job when I left school in 1930, aged 14, was sorting peas at the Bachelor's factory down on The Wicker. I stayed with the firm until my retirement, over 50 years later, one job for life. When I started, it was doing piece work, going through sacks of dried peas and taking out the bad ones, all done by hand and paid by the weight of peas discarded. But you had to earn eight shillings worth each week, otherwise they took it off the next week's wages! During the summer, before the new crop of peas came in, we were laid off and sent to labour school, where we did sewing and reading and country dancing.

Then the new Bachelor's cannery was opened at Wadsley Bridge and I moved there. This time I was working the 'rumbling' machine, a device that removed the skins from vegetables and fruit before canning. It was quite heavy work, lifting sacks of fruit and vegetables up into the machine. Finally I graduated to become a supervisor.

The company was really good to me. After 15 years of service, I got a gold watch and after 40, they gave me a bedroom suite. Even now that I am 90, they send me a Christmas card and invite me out for a meal every year.

Extract from an interview with Alice Ingham, by Nikky Wilson, for an article in the Burngreave Messenger, September 2005.