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Working Life at Simpson's Gloves Factory

Sign - Travellers Interviewed Between ...

Image: Sign - Travellers Interviewed Between ...

Source: Museum Victoria

Hours worked at Simpson's Gloves were normally 7.45am to 5.15pm, with half an hour for lunch. In the 1930s at peak periods, workers worked a 48 hour week, which was later reduced to 44 hours. There was 10 minutes for morning tea and no afternoon tea.

Workers typically ate their lunch at their work benches, and some would take their lunch into Studley Park via the footbridge across the Yarra. After workers complained, a lunch room was provided in the 1950s, but after a few weeks they reportedly went back to eating at their benches.

Workers provided their own tools of trade, and wore their own aprons, which they took home to wash weekly. Amos Simpson objected to women wearing trousers, so they all were required to wear dresses. This could pose its own challenge. One married office worker later recalled that one of the foremen would chase the young women up the stairs, trying to put his hand up their skirts. She would advise them: 'Well, you know what to do, just kick backwards when you get to the top'.

Apart from a pre-Christmas lunch, which the workers provided, there were no special outings or picnics organised by the managers. Amos Simpson evidently hated spending money on anything that did not result directly in greater production.

There was a social life, inside and outside the factory. The radio would be played at least part of the day through the intercom, and workers would sometimes sing along. In 1935 Hazel Morgan, a young handbag assembler, was selected to represent Simpson's in a charity fundraising competition among local business. She was crowned Queen of Richmond in an event at Richmond Town Hall. Amos Simpson and his wife attended the event, and he announced the award on the intercom the next morning.

Amos Simpson and his partner Henry Atkins typically took off an afternoon every second week during the 1930s to play golf at the Heidelberg Golf Club, where both were members.

Archives:

The University of Melbourne Archives holds business records relating to the company, including ledgers, journals, wages books, time books and catalogues.

References:

Frances, Raelene (1986).'No More Amazons: Gender and Work in the Victorian Clothing Trades, 1880-1939', Labour History, no 50: 95-112.

Interviews with former managers and workers: Arthur Atkins (1989), Ernie Jordan (1989), Nell Marks (1989), Hazel Eddy & Gwen Simons (1990).

Items per page: 10 50 (showing 31 - 40) 400 items

  • Leaflet - J Hewit & Sons Ltd, circa 1950s-1970s Document

    Leaflet - J Hewit & Sons Ltd, circa 1950s-1970s

    Leaflet issued by J. Hewit & Sons Ltd, Tanners and Leather Dressers. City Tan Works, Edinburgh, circa 1950s-1970s. It would have been used by Simpson's Gloves Pty Ltd in sourcing materi ...

    Images: 1
  • Shade Card - Gazelda Ltd, 1936 Object

    Shade Card - Gazelda Ltd, 1936

    Shade Card issued by Gazelda Ltd., Watford, England in 1936. Simpson's Gloves Pty. Ltd., Melbourne were the Sole Agents for Australia for Gazelda products. Simpson's Gloves Pty Ltd was ...

    Images: 2
  • Sample Card - J Hewit & Sons Ltd, circa 1950s-1970s Object

    Sample Card - J Hewit & Sons Ltd, circa 1950s-1970s

    Leather Sample Card from J. Hewit & Sons Ltd, Tanners and Leather Dressers. City Tan Works, Edinburgh, circa 1950s-1970s. It would have been used by Simpson's Gloves Pty Ltd in sourcing ...

    Images: 2
  • Shade Card - Gazelda Ltd, 1937 Object

    Shade Card - Gazelda Ltd, 1937

    Shade Card issued by Gazelda Ltd., Watford, England in 1937. Simpson's Gloves Pty. Ltd., Melbourne were the Sole Agents for Australia for Gazelda products. Simpson's Gloves Pty Ltd was ...

    Images: 2
  • Shade Card - Gazelda Ltd, 1937 Object

    Shade Card - Gazelda Ltd, 1937

    Shade Card issued by Gazelda Ltd., Watford, England in 1937. Simpson's Gloves Pty. Ltd., Melbourne were the Sole Agents for Australia for Gazelda products. Simpson's Gloves Pty Ltd was ...

    Images: 2
  • Handbag Frame - Metal, circa 1930s-1970s Object

    Handbag Frame - Metal, circa 1930s-1970s

    Metal handbag frame from the Simpson's Glove Factory, Richmond, Victoria, Australia. Leather handbags were introduced as a new production line at Simpson's Gloves Pty Ltd in 1930, they ...

    Images: 1
  • Handbag Frame - Brass, Turquoise Clasp, circa 1930s-1970s Object

    Handbag Frame - Brass, Turquoise Clasp, circa 1930s-1970s

    Brass handbag frame from the Simpson's Glove Factory, Richmond, Victoria, Australia. Leather handbags were introduced as a new production line at Simpson's Gloves Pty Ltd in 1930, they ...

    Images: 1
  • Handbag Frame - Metal, Oval Clasp, circa 1930s-1970s Object

    Handbag Frame - Metal, Oval Clasp, circa 1930s-1970s

    Metal handbag frame from the Simpson's Glove Factory, Richmond, Victoria, Australia. Leather handbags were introduced as a new production line at Simpson's Gloves Pty Ltd in 1930, they ...

    Images: 1
  • Handbag Frame - Metal & Diamentes, circa 1930s-1970s Object

    Handbag Frame - Metal & Diamentes, circa 1930s-1970s

    Metal handbag frame from the Simpson's Glove Factory, Richmond, Victoria, Australia. Leather handbags were introduced as a new production line at Simpson's Gloves Pty Ltd in 1930, they ...

    Images: 1
  • Glove Pattern - Simpson's Gloves, No. 7, 1950s-1960s Object

    Glove Pattern - Simpson's Gloves, No. 7, 1950s-1960s

    Single flat tin glove pattern, removed from a bundle of iron glove cutters and paper and tin patterns. It is one of a number of glove patterns and cutters used at Simpson's Gloves Pty L ...

    Images: 1
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