Jen Tucker

Insights from one of the people who worked at Riverview

The family of Lizzie and Sidney Tilley.
Back row : Dora, Lizzie Tilley (my gran), Elsie, Mabel.
Middle row : Jim, Grandfather Sidney Tilley with Eva on his knee, Bert.
Front row : left – Bessie (known as Ena), right – Ellen, (known as Nellie – my Mum)……All the girls in the family were glovers.

I came from a family of glovers, going back to my great, great grandmother, Ann Tilley (nee Doble), who was born in Kingsbury Episcopi in 1810. Gloving followed the female line of the family right through to the beginning of the 1990’s. All of them worked from their homes making leather gloves on pique machines.
Aunt Ena’s wedding to Jim Harris.
LtoR: Fred Harris ( grooms brother) Aunt Eva, Jim Harris ( groom) Aunt Ena, Sidney Tilley (my Grandfather ), Nellie (my Mum). Bridesmaid in front of Mum was my cousin Elsie Pounder, I don’t know the other bridesmaid.
They were all glovers.

There were just over 40 people working in the factory, mostly women, with many of Mill Reed’s nieces among them – which is why everyone who worked there called her “Aunt Mill”.
Sandra Male and June Worner working with the glove irons

In between booking work in and out, I also used to iron gloves. Working hours when I first left school were 8am – 5.45pm, with an hour for lunch, and to four o’clock on Fridays. Most of the jobs were piece work, where the women were paid by the amount of work they had stitched. There were also women employed in the factory who were very good at hand sewing, and these skills were used to sew decorations onto gloves. Each glove that went through the factory was 100% scrutinized by a team of examiners.

The link below with take you to a short film about the lives of a number of outstanding women – made by Somerset Films and media students, with funding from the National Lottery. It includes an interview with Jen Tucker and Sandra Male, talking about Aunt Mill and the impact she had on the life of people in Kingsbury Episcopi.

Aunt Mill : Women by Women, Somerset Films

Riverview & Threadneedle Close : a film made in Threadneedle Close – the site of the Riverview Green Hut and Glove Factory

Riverview 1980-2005 : Jen Tucker’s Photograph Album