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Oral history recordings of Mrs E. Smith and Mrs E Norton. Interviewed by Karen Fielder (Sainsbury's Archives) with students from South Bank University at Sainsbury's Archives, Wakefield House, London.

Mrs Smith (born 1920) - 1968 started work at Sainsbury's as a personnel officer, recruited new staff at new self-service stores.
Mrs Norton (born 1919) - 1935 first started at Sainsbury's in Retail Sales/Accounts and then the Mechanised Department. Sent to 73 Croydon store at start of Second World War.

Topics include work at Sainsbury's (include about personnel), the Second World War, work after Sainsbury's, childhood, adult life, family, leisure activities, motherhood.

Summary of content:
1_A: Mrs Smith grew up in Tottenham. Mrs Norton grew up in West Norwood and went to one of the first mixed schools in 1931. Behaviour of pupils and punishments. Mrs Norton didn't pass the scholarship exam. Lessons included bookkeeping and housewifery. Mixed cricket teams. Both women are 1 of 4 daughters. Mrs Norton's father bus driver; mother housewife. Mrs Smith father master builder, mother housewife. Mrs Norton's father kept chickens in the back garden. Impact of First World War on Mrs Smith's sisters' school experiences and subsequent work opportunities. Mrs Smith aged 31 had a child. Left school at 15 and went to Tottenham Technical College business course for 2 years. Mother wanted her to take a secretarial course, 2 years. Did telephonist course at Post Office but left after six weeks due to travelling and long hours. Salary 14 and 6pence a week. Mrs Norton left school age 15 and a half. One reason of joining Sainsbury's Mrs Norton's sister worked at Sainsbury's. Jobs were not easy to find in the early 1930s. Father's advice on job. Sister left soon after. Didn't know much about Sainsbury's. Household chores. Mrs Smith describes her mother's aspirations for her. Retired from Sainsbury aged 60. Mrs Smith: Personnel Manager for Sainsbury; Practice Manager at Doctor's surgery after retirement in Palmers Green. Childhood reading habits; library user. Mother encouraged her to read. Father a reader but distant. Raised her husband's 2 nieces. Mrs Norton describes meal times when they were young. Radio and gramophone. Mrs Smith discussed her relationship with her father.

1_B: Mrs Norton describes her father. Mrs Smith recalls parlour furnishings and decoration. Alexandra Palace race track. Crystal Palace. Mrs Norton was off work from Sainsbury's for 6 weeks due to sunburn. Witness to young woman being sacked at other company. Discipline at home and in school. Discussion of women's employment after marriage. War work. Mrs Norton's job at Sainsbury's prevented her being called up for war work. 1935 first started at Sainsbury's in Retail Sales/Accounts and then the Mechanised Department. Powell's(?) school in Holborn to learn hand machine. No specific training. 3 departments all male, so when called up women filled the vacant jobs. Was sent to 73 Croydon at start of Second World War. Christmas to report to Yullis (?) Surrey branch. Harsh winter so travelling to work was difficult. Laid on lorries to get people to work. Air raid shelter. Mechanisation of accounts department and impact on staff levels. Mrs Smith's first job at furniture factory switched to aircraft production during the Second World War. Left 1951 when son was born. Returned to work part-time in a school in 1956. Experience of motherhood in the early 1950s.

2_A: Experiences and advice of becoming new mothers in the 1940s and 1950s. Mrs Smith religious belief, father participated in a Baptist Church. Mrs Norton attended Sunday School from 4 years of age. Church activities for children and evening events for parents. Leisure time as young girls aged 13-16 years of age on Sundays. Didn't have a lot of money, no car. Mrs Smith's work history: secretarial work; part-time 11 years Chemist lab; heating and ventilation company; after 4.5 years applied to Sainsburys. Started on 4.5 days at Sainsbury's in 1968 self-service stores; recruitment 10am - 4pm including medical; Women Personnel Officers; worked in new Tottenham Shop with 9 checkouts. First visited the Mare Street Hackney shop and recalls the smell of bacon. Was concerned about her decision to take the job. Was earning £1100 salary at ventilation company. Sainsbury offered £1200. Mrs Norton recalls a wage differentiation in the offices. Girls received a rise on birthday until 23 years old 2 shillings 10 pence a week while the boys earned more. Personnel officers were all women. Mrs Smith details the qualities required of a personnel officer. Wage grading system. Mrs Norton considered leaving Sainsbury when computerisation of the salaries happened. Opportunities for promotion. Head Office certain areas were typically female such as the typing pool and in manual shops chief clerks tended to be female. Rates of pay. Branch versus head office.