Thursday, 3 June 2010

Weddings and weapons

Following my last post, I am pleased to announce that Sylvia Brookes kindly forwarded copies of her wedding photos to me. If you remember, Sylvia and her friend Margaret worked for Chances and Margaret made Sylvia's wedding dress. As you can see, Sylvia looked beautiful on her special day and her dress is a symbol of the close bonds and friendships that were often forged at the works. During the course of this project I have enjoyed nothing more than meeting Chances' ex-employees. Their stories are so real and vivid and they have given me a much more rounded view of the company than just the records could ever provide on their own.

Having said that, I did have quite an exciting surprise looking through the records last week. Hidden amongst piles of papers and wrapped in a crinkled old paper bag was nothing more than a...knuckleduster! Tied to the knuckleduster with a piece of pink string was a very small note dated June 27 1867, which reads, 'This was found among Mr Henderson's papers - it was made for him at the works'. Not only was the knuckleduster itself a strange and unusual find, it was was made even more exciting by the confirmation that it belonged to the lighthouse draughtsmen who had been sacked by Chances for posting an unflattering notice about another colleague through the gatehouse door following a heated argument. I described this incident in more detail in an earlier post called 'Hell hath no fury like an employee scorned'. I hope that the pair never came to blows!

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