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Post by Stanley » 16 Nov 2018, 07:20


There has never been a truer saying than 'Time Flies!'. In common with many of my generation I have spent my life working to the clock. Even when I had the relative freedom of the road as a wagon driver before the days of cell phones my mind was constantly on the clock. When I was tanking bulk milk for West Marton Dairies we had timed deliveries, often 3 hours down the country, Lincoln and Carleton Dairy was always a 05:30 timing, essential to give them enough time to pasteurise and bottle that milk ready for delivery the same morning. The amazing thing is that on most mornings we were within five minutes of that time. I could give many more examples but I think I have made my point. Good timekeeping made the world go round.
Anyone who worked in one of Barlick's mills knew all about being punctual because in the early days of the century and right up to the Second World War if they weren't stood at their looms when the engine started their tackler set on one of the tramp weavers stood waiting in the warehouse and the errant weaver lost at least a day's pay. This was why many mills had steam whistles that sounded to give warning that starting time was approaching in case the weaver's clock was wrong. This was quite common in the days when the only source of accurate time was the public clock on the Post Office which was set by a time signal sent out on the new telegraph. The other telegraphic time was the clock on the station platform and the problem was that there could be as much as five minutes variation between them. As the engine house clock was set to agree with the Manchester Man's time (the man who attended the Manchester exchange and took orders) and he worked to Railway Time the engine could be starting earlier than the weavers expected. We have an instance in the Calf Hall Shed Company minute books where the engineer was instructed to work to Post Office time as this was what the weavers set their watches and clocks by.
Today of course it is totally different. Every smart phone displays accurate time, almost every household appliance has a clock on the display and we have wall to wall media reminding us of the time at least every half an hour. The question is, does this universal access to accurate time mean that punctuality has improved?
I think you know the answer.... At one time we were taught a rhyme; "Punctuality is the politeness of princes and the courtesy of kings". I suspect that most youngsters today would give you a blank stare if you quoted that to them. Time discipline as I understand it seems to have died, it isn't seen as important any more. At the same time some of the best brains in the country puzzle over the fall in productivity of the workforce. It might be a no-brainer!


Adjusting the weaving shed clock at Bancroft Shed.
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

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