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Kate Horner's Story

This is a copy of the text written by Kate Horner who worked at Packers Chocolate Factory, Carlyle Road, Greenbank, Bristol. Kate started working for the firm in 1890. The article was published in the Packers Staff Magazine, H.J.P., Issue: June-July, 1925, page 167. It appears to be number five in a series of articles entitled 'Memories of Other Days'.

Memories of Other Days

Miss Kate Horner

Being asked to give a short account of the history of H.J. Packer and Company Limited since being with them, I may say that most of my experiences have already been mentioned by those who have written before.
I started with them in January, 1890, at a house situated in St Paul's, and for my wages I received the large sum of 4s. 6d. per week, which was considered a high wage then, our hours being from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m.
My first work (as far as I can remember) was hand covering creams in a small room fitted with two tables and domes for heating our chocolate. In one corner of the room we had a small copper to keep the chocolate in, and outside the window we had a lift, and when we wanted work sent up we shook the ropes and called out for what we wanted.
Trade was not too brisk in those days. I remember quite well the incident which Miss brown mentioned, viz., going for a walk while we were waiting for work. But trade gradually improved, and we sometimes worked from 6 a.m. until 6 p.m. I often think of the many happy days I spent in the old factory, and I am sure the late Mr. Bruce Cole did all he could for us. Then Mr. Mansfield came into the Firm, also Mr. Horace Cole, who, I am sorry to say, was only with us for a short period.
The business still improved, and we had one machine installed for coating Packer's two-ounces-a-penny chocolates. Mr. Bruce Cole and Mr. Rockett instructed me how to work the machine. It was placed in one corner of the room and I well remember the speed of it (how irregular it was), but what a wonderful machine it was to us! The girls from the other rooms, knowing when Mr. Cole was gone to lunch, would come down to see one line of work coated. This machine, being successful, others were soon added, and from that time I have superintended in the machine rooms. I think we had about thirty-eight of those coating machines before we left St. Paul's. I was sent to Greenbank with a few girls and machines in 1902.
What a change it was for us after such small rooms to go into large and lofty ones! We found it terribly cold and had to return to St. Paul's until the factory was properly heated.
It must have been in 1903 when we really started work in the new factory. I am still in the same room, which has fifty coating machines, superintended by Miss Barrett and myself. Some of the girls in this room have been with us for a number of years, I have always found them reliable and good at their work. Needless to say, working with one Firm for so many years, I have seen many changes and improvements. The conditions under which we work to-day are far in advance of what they were when I first started.