Bowyers pie man

Sam passportSam was born in Jamaica in 1935 and came to live in the UK in 1960. He started working at Bowyers in 1966 in the killing department but found the cold in the room didn't suit him. He was moved to a job in the baking room where large ovens were used to bake pies and the atmosphere was hot. He continued to work at Bowyers for 34 years until his retirement.

 

 

 


Transcript:

 And the pie department and the ovens is nice and hot and that is just right for me because up in the killing department it is cold, and that was lovely for me.

And I worked there for about, maybe five years or more and the job that I were doing, is only the the manual jobs and you got a group of men who operates the oven, do the baking, a group of white men, who do the oven, and they, believe that nobody else can do that job.

So after maybe five years or more I ask that if I could learn to do the oven, to operate the oven, that it was difficult, because those days you had to use the gas tap, you got to turn it on and you got a poker to light the vent, you had, the oven was massive long, you had twenty eight burners on each side of the oven and you got to know which one to light, which one to turn up and so on...

And they said the the management, the manager and the supervisor he said no you can't do it 'cause its hard, I said I want to try and do how I know.

And after months and months they decided to shut me up, and I giving, I'm telling you the truth, they want to shut me up.

And they said alright they were going to put me on there for a week and if I pass then, and they want, I was then sixty two that week, they said they'd put me on the oven with some sort of trainer to operate the oven and after the week, oh maybe two weeks, maybe two weeks, after that now I gotta do it on me own and I pass that test with flying colours, so to speak. I done it and they were surprised, they were really surprised they hadn't even though I, there were other black men there, before me, older men and they wouldn't get a chance to do it, all they do is do the hard bits and I done that.

And after, after well let's see, after another three years later after I done it and I do it timely when my turn come to operate the oven, you know? And the manager, one of these head manager, call me in the office and I don't, he never even know my own name or whatever and he said son I want you to train the people to operate the oven!

Those days we used to have a lot of students, umm they call them temps these days right? and I said, I said to him, I can't train them, the people them, I can't train the white people because they won't listen to me! And he said you will do it and if any problem come and see me. That manager was a South African manager, you know? And I do that, I do it for six years, training people to do it.

 

 

Our video

video

Watch our video...

...about the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre

Commemorating World War 1

Sal Plain web2

Click here for guidance and activities