Working in the Office at Fred Hawkes (Refrigeration) Ltd.
I started work at Fred Hawkes when I left school in 1962. I started in the usual way as office junior for the princely wage of £3 15s 6d per week. We started work at 8.30a.m. and finished at 5 p.m. with an hour for lunch.
My duties included the all important job of making the tea, doing the filing, some shorthand and typing, and working the switchboard. Having never even used a telephone before, the switchboard terrified me, and for the first couple of weeks I hated it, but it soon became one of my favourite jobs. Filing being the most tedious.
At that time Mr. Robinson was the Managing Director, Mr. Clark was the Sales Director and Mr. Poole was the Service Manager. They sold and serviced domestic refrigerators as well as commercial, the main make, I think, was Kelvinator. They did a lot of work for the Breweries, insulating the cellars etc., and for the supermarkets.
The engineers and salesmen were based in their own areas, and only came to Rushden when it was necessary: the engineers if something had to be repaired in the workshop, and the salesmen for meetings. The sales meetings with Mr. Clark always involved a lot of shouting (and swearing) and were best avoided if at all possible.
Jim Thompson was in charge of the stores, and Don Gregg was workshop foreman. When I started there were five of us working in the main office - Eric Tompkins (who at one time had played football for Northampton), Louis Coleman, Molly Clark, Maureen (Warner?) and me. Mr. Robinson and Mr. Clark had their own offices off the main office. Mr. Poole's office was in the workshop. When Maureen left I was promoted from office junior and received an extra £1 a week. I was then working mostly for Mr. Poole, typing orders and invoices. Ann Sharp then started as office junior. We also had an Office Manager, Mr. Porter, and when he left Eric Roe took over the job.
Eventually, the flat which adjoined the building was converted into offices. Mr. Robinson, Mr. Clark and Mr. Poole had the new offices, the Office Manager had what had previously been Mr. Clark's office, and the switchboard and filing cabinets were moved into what had been Mr. Robinson's office. Mary Boyfield started as Mr. Clark's Assistant, and we also had another man, Mr. Ward, working in the main office.
When Molly left I took over her job and was then doing shorthand and typing for Mr. Robinson and Mr. Clark, which involved specifications for all the brewery work and other installations. By the time I left, at the beginning of November 1968, I was earning about £11 a week.
Not long before I left, Fred Hawkes was taken over by Cox and Wright but still carried on trading under the same name. Gill Hollis, 2008