Search the collections
Working Life at Simpson's Gloves Factory
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.
The University of Melbourne Archives holds business records relating to the company, including ledgers, journals, wages books, time books and catalogues.
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 51 - 60) 398 items
Samples of leather shoe uppers made in Stafford, England, 1933. Used at Simpson's Glove Pty Ltd and found in box in a shed above the air raid shelter. Amos Simpson had fiends in the boo ...Images: 1
Framed Crossing the Equator Certificate issued to Mr. Amos Simpson on the S.S.Monterey on 26 October 1933. This certificate hung in Amos' office at the Simpson's Gloves factory. Amos S ...Images: 1
Alternative Name(s): Mannequin Adjustable tailor's dummy used in coat, jacket and vest making at Simpson's Glove Factory, circa 1926. It was probably used for male garments as there ar ...Images: 1
Alternative Name(s): Mannequin Non-adjustable tailor's dummy used in coat, jacket and vest making at Simpson's Glove Factory, circa 1926. It was probably used for male garments as ther ...Images: 3
Round gold label which reads 'Genuine Leather, Simpson's, Traditional Quality' made for Simpson's Gloves Pty Ltd, circa 1930s. It was found in the large downstairs storeroom. Simpson's ...Images: 1
Three oval brown labels made for Simpson's Gloves Pty Ltd, circa 1930s. They were found in the large downstairs storeroom. Simpson's Gloves was formed in 1924 and produced leather glov ...Images: 1
Brown leather wallet manufactured by Simpson's Gloves Pty Ltd, circa 1930s. It was found in the small storeroom downstairs. Simpson's Gloves was formed in 1924 and produced leather glo ...Images: 1
Gold Gosgrain purse manufactured by Simpson's Gloves Pty Ltd, circa 1960s. It was found in the storeroom behind the salesman's office. Simpson's Gloves was formed in 1924 and produced ...Images: 1
Roll of labels which read 'Made by Simpson's Gloves P/L, Victoria', they were made for Simpson's Gloves Pty Ltd, circa 1930s-1970s. They were found Found in upstairs in the handbag sect ...Images: 1
Black suede purse manufactured by Simpson's Gloves Pty Ltd, circa 1960s. It was found in the storeroom behind the salesman's office. Simpson's Gloves was formed in 1924 and produced le ...Images: 1