Who Made your Clothes? - Edith
Meet your Maker - Edith
'I started training as a machinist 42 years ago in an old school in Warkworth. The company was called Ultimate Equipment. They made outdoor clothing and expedition tents.
I trained on the tent line which included training on an overlock machine, a flat machine, and a bartack machine. I loved working there! I even made a tent for an Everest Expedition and received a letter from Chris Bonnington saying my tent was amazing and kept him dry.
The company moved to Alnwick and after a few years they eventually moved their manufacturing abroad.
Two of the guys that worked there started a new company called Phoenix Mountaineering, which also made outdoor clothing and tents. I joined them as a machinist we started the business in two small rooms and a corridor with a cutting table in one room and me in the corridor with the machines.
The company grew quickly and we moved into bigger premises and soon it was one of the biggest employers in the area.
After many years, the company was taken over by Karrimor and we were soon made redundant as they sent all of the work abroad again. A lot of skills were lost when the factory closed. A lot of people went into care work as that was the only job left in the area.
The two guys that started Phoenix started a new company once again. Like the time before, I followed them over, only this time I had learned many new skills, and became a supervisor and trainer.
I loved working there, but unfortunately, the company was taken over by someone else, a Scottish Company called Weather Mac. This time, however, I decided to work for them, travelling up to their factory in Scotland to train up machinists.
After all of the machinists were trained up, they closed the Amble factory down and after awhile the Scottish factory also closed, and things were once again sent abroad to be made.
I began Working for Shark Sports after that, but again, they were taken over and all the manufacturing was sent abroad.
That was when I met Kate. She had just started The All-in-One Company and was trying to set up a factory.
We met up, along with three other girls from Shark Sports, and since then we have gone from strength to strength with everyone learning new skills and working as a team. We make a good team and support British manufacturing. I hope to be there until I retire.
As you can see my working life has consisted of a lot of ups and downs and factory closures but i've always loved me job as a machinist and working in British Manufacturing. It was just a shame that some of the companies decided to send work abroad to be made cheaply as possible, putting a lot of British skilled workers out of a job and loosing a lot of skills along the way.'