Memories of Calderdale



Beverley Peel

In February 1965, when I just under 17, I came from Canada to live in England with my family. My mother had been born and raised in Halifax and had married a Canadian serviceman at the end of the war.

My first job was at Oddy & Sykes, Architects of Wards End Chambers.

In about September 1965, I left Oddy and Sykes and got a job in the office at the nearby Collinson's warehouse. My pay, as near as I can recall, was £6 per week. I was on £5.7.6d at Oddy & Sykes, and when you went to another job in those days they usually offered you more when you moved.

I did mainly typing and taking orders over the telephone, but I also had to go out on errands, to the post office, and on Fridays I would be sent to the market to buy all the fish for the canteen. We ate very well in the canteen, as the meals had to be big enough for the men who were driving the delivery lorries.

I really enjoyed being sent to the actual warehouse. People who visited always remarked on the wonderful coffee smell, but I think, because we worked with it every day, we didn't really appreciate it. The thing I always remember was the men starting up the large machine which packaged tea. It could actually turn the wonderful neat folded ends to the old-fashioned tea packets, though as I recall it was large, noisy and rather clunky!

The location of the warehouse was where the Halifax Building Society headquarters were built in the 1970s. I know that the nearby brewery was also pulled down to make way for the Halifax.

I remember that at Christmas I went with my brother to Bradford to do some Christmas shopping and we actually visited one of the Collinson's restaurants, which were renowned for having a resident violinist.

Collinson's was renowned for Beecham's (I am not sure of the spelling) chocolates.

One of the directors, Mr Beecham, was an elderly man at the time, with white hair, though I suppose that, as I was very young, he could have been younger than I thought! I recall that once or twice while I worked there I was given the job of preparing the tea tray for Directors' meetings, though as a lowly junior typist I did not take it into the meeting. I always remember that the cup handles had to be all pointing in the same diagonal direction.

When I left Collinson's, because the whole family was returning to Canada, I was called to the office for a little farewell speech from Mr Beecham on my last day in the office. I do recall that I was presented with a box of Beecham's chocolates

© Malcolm Bull 2021
Revised 10:26 / 30th May 2021 / 4317

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