File AUD 19/2/5 - Interview of Gordon Berry by unnamed interviewer, part 2 of 2

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Reference code

AUD 19/2/5


Interview of Gordon Berry by unnamed interviewer, part 2 of 2


  • 8 Aug 2002 (Creation)

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Extent and medium

1 audio CD (TDK CD-R)

Context area

Name of creator

(? 1814-?)

Administrative history

This silk manufacturing company was begun at Norwich in the opening years of the 19th century by the brothers George and Joseph Grout, the inventors of 'Norwich crape'. About 1814 the Yarmouth factory was established. 1,100 hands were employed there in 1838 and about 1,000 in 1907. At various times during the 19th century the Company possessed, besides the Norwich and Yarmouth factories and a London warehouse, plant at North Walsham and Ditchingham in Norfolk, Bungay and Mildenhall in Suffolk, Saffron Walden, Bocking and Sible Hedingham in Essex, Ponders End, Enfield, Middlesex, and at Manchester, Glasgow and Paisley. In 1819-1820 a reeling establishment was set up at Bhartiparra near Calcutta. Following a financial crisis in 1890 the Company was concentrated at Yarmouth and the other factories were closed. At the same time a Limited Company was formed. In 1923-1924 a Subsidiary was established at St Catharine's, Ontario, and duplicates of its minutes and other records are preserved with those of the parent company (see Y/D 50/248-377). From the 1920s onwards the company concentrated on the manufacture of crepe bandages.

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Content and structure area

Scope and content

Subjects covered include: First World War, Industry, Second World War, Women's History and Working Life. Places mentioned include Yarmouth, Norwich and Leek.

00:00-05:00 - Gordon Berry (hereafter GB) describes his job role for Grouts while evacuated in Leek. He mentions other firms, including the GQ Parachute company, Littlewoods, Irving Air Chutes and Pack Parachute. He describes the effect of Japan joining the war on silk supply and the appearance of nylon.

05:01-10:00 - GB describes the difficulties of transitioning to nylon for parachute manufacture and the production process. He mentions complaining to the director about using nylon, mentioning the Spirella corset company.

10:01-15:00 - GB describes inspecting the fabric. The interviewer asks about MB's working week during the war, and GB describes his work at Leek, mentioning where Grout's parachute fabric was sent. He mentions the accommodation for mill employees in Cheddleton. The interviewer suggests a break.

15:01-20:00 - The interviewer asks GB to carry on. GB starts listing the clients Grouts supplied, mentioning Palgrave Brown, Princess Alexandra and Charles Richard Hammond of Barclays Bank. He explains that the company no longer exists, mentioning Johnson and Johnson, Smith and Nephew and the changes to the company closing in 1996.

20:01-25:00 - GB explains why the mill was opened in Yarmouth, mentioning a government enquiry in 1832 at which Joseph Grout gave evidence, encouraging child labour. He describes the partnership with the Hall family, describing the location of their house in Yarmouth and mentioning their disagreements on the ideal age for child labourers. GB and the interviewer discuss child labour.

25:01-30:00 - GB describes the Grout brothers' family, mentioning their descendents, their living in Norwich and Yarmouth, the mill in Magdalen Street and their children, including Joseph's illegitimate son Francis Williams.

30:01-35:00 - GB continues describing the Grout brothers' family, mentioning the wedding of George's daughter into the Springfield family. He mentions a letter from a student enquiring about Grouts, and his refusal. He describes how he obtained a picture.

35:01-40:00 - GB and the Interviewer discuss who the picture would be of interest to. They discuss some papers. GB talks about the closure of Grouts in 1996, mentioning his invite to take any historical documents and listing what people took, mentioning Paul Rutledge.

40:01-45:00 - GB continues describing who took what when the company closed. The interviewer thanks GB. They discuss the importance of recording the history of Grouts. GB explains how important the company was to Yarmouth, mentioning women's employment. He reminisces about his experiences at Grouts. He begins to tell an anecdote about the carpentry shop at the mill.

45:01-50:00 - GB continues telling an anecdote about George Turrell and his father delivering coffins to the workhouse, and the origin of a phrase his father would say. He mentions his father's carpentry and like of coffins, recalling attending funerals with his father as a child and begins an anecdote about a coffin his father made for John Balls' sister.

50:01-55:00 - GB continues telling an anecdote about the last coffin his father made, and how the dead body scared his father's friend. He mentions his father making aeroplane propellers in Norwich during the First World War, and describes the process.

55:01-end - The interviewer thanks GB, and they discuss related paperwork. GB mentions postcards from prisoners of war thanking Grouts for their bandages.

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Conditions governing access

Conditions governing reproduction

Restrictions apply, contact Norfolk Record Office staff for details. The Norfolk Record Office acknowledges the intellectual property rights of those named as contributors to this/these recordings and the rights of those not identified.

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Physical characteristics and technical requirements

ECopyDuration: 57 minutes 59 seconds

Finding aids

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Part of Great Yarmouth Museums MD 3, tracks 1-9 (disc mode - MD (ATRAC); recording mode - LP 4; number of channels - stereo).

Existence and location of copies

Ecopy: scop_001-000678T001V003.wma. SCOP 1/678; SCOP 2/678; SCOP 3/125; SCOP 4/678

Related units of description

For part 1 of interview, see AUD 19/2/4.

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Dates of creation revision deletion

Created 07/10/2008 by Drojd. Modified 15/10/2018 by Droip.


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