Doris Talbot

Insights from one of the women who worked at Riverview

Doris Talbot, seated far right, receiving her Long Service Certificate in 1981.

Doris Talbot was born in 1921 and worked in the local gloving industry from leaving school at the age of 14. She began work at A.Thorns in Martock, officially retiring in 1991 when she was 70 and working at J.M.Reed in Kingsbury Episcopi. However, she continued to help out in busy periods, especially those leading up to Christmas, for another 10 years.

As a young child, Doris lived in a cottage in the village of Coat, and from there would walk to school in Martock; then, from the age of seven, she attended school in Bower Hinton – the school was just up from The Rose & Crown pub. Doris recalls the long walks to and from school, leaving and returning in the dark in the winter months. Mr Neville would be lighting the gas lamps and she would always run from what was The Railway Hotel to make use of the gaslight; but once she started towards Coat the road was in complete darkness from the end of Martock to her home.

The many glove factories situated in the area opened up different employment to being in service or shop work. Doris worked at Thorns in Martock until the birth of her first daughter, Heather, when she was 22. Doris and her husband Walter then moved to Kings Stag in Dorset, where he worked in the bakery – having been in the Catering Corps during the Second World War.
Doris worked on a gloving machine at home. She would catch the bus into Yeovil on a Friday to deliver the work she had completed and collect the materials for the following week. Her specialist work was pique, a complex multi-piece process which involved highly-skilled top-stitching around the fingers of the glove.

The Glove Factory at Riverview, Kingsbury Episcopi

When Doris and Walter moved to Kingsbury Episcopi, in 1956, she continued to work from home for Burfields. Then, in 1976, Doris went into the gloving factory in Kingsbury Episcopi, which was then owned by Southcombe’s, and eventually became an examiner for the quality of the gloves being produced by the team.

Doris’s work was varied. Amongst other tasks there was hand-stitching and making bows, as well as examining for quality control; buttons to be sewn onto gloves and lining leather gloves. The latter involved a metal hand onto which a lining was pulled. The tips of the fingers were then dabbed with glue and the completed leather glove was pulled over the lining, which then stuck itself to the lining.

When Southcombe’s bought Reeds in 1961 they had already been supplying the company with leather to make gloves. As well as leather gloves, the factory in Kingsbury made fabric gloves in cotton, mainly for the MoD, and nylon simplex, mainly for the fashion industry.