Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Doreen’s Mill History Photo

booklet1A chance discussion about working in Belper’s mills has led to one Belper lady’s reunion with a 1940s booklet which has her photograph on the cover.

Doreen Norman (nee Hadcock) was just a teenager when she was chosen from the mill workforce, with Doreen Willotts and Joyce Gascoigne, to feature on the front of a booklet encouraging school-leavers to work at the mills after the Second World War.

She remembered: “We had our hair done especially for it.”

Of her time at the mill she said: “I worked there for quite a long time, hankwinding and putting the labels on bobbins before boxing and labelling them.

“I enjoyed it at the mill. I used to enjoy dancing – the quickstep and the foxtrot – with my mill friends at the pavilion in the River Gardens.”

Doreen, who now lives at the Ada Belfield Home in Field Lane, took part in one of the Part of the Fabric workshops run by Belper-based Fleet Arts. Part of the Fabric has culminated in an artists installation in Strutt’s North Mill, which can be seen until Sunday 10th July. So, because they were talking about Belper’s mills Doreen told Fleet Arts Director Sarah Laman about the booklet, and Sarah recognised the description, having seen a copy of the ‘Jobs for Girls ‘ leaflet in the collection of Belper historian Adrian Farmer.

He was able to copy the booklet so Doreen can enjoy revisiting her time at the mill whenever she likes in the future.

(Article submitted by Fleet Arts)

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