Image: Typical Pouffe
Located in a large mill complex which has been extended multiple times over ninety years, Sherbourne Pouffes, Clayton, Bradford manufacturers of upholstered footstools.
The premises, protected by a Chubb alarm at the time, were constantly in need of alteration and extension, on one occasion I helped James to install a multi core cable in an underground trough between two buildings prior to covering and through the middle of the car park.
The fifty-core cable provided had been underestimated and ran out two thirds of the way between the buildings. It was urgent that the cable be completed quickly as the trough which contained pipes and other cables was to be covered soon.
James called the office to advise the situation, more cable was available at the stores, but all the service engineers, and the company delivery van were out. In addition, a waterproof joint box to connect the cable was now needed, not a stock item. It was agreed that I would go back to the stores on my motorbike to collect the cable, meanwhile James would go to City Electrical Factors nearby and buy a suitable joint box, also, both would work overtime until the cable was installed and connected.
I arrived at the stores to collect the cable, and unfortunately bumped into our favourite supervisor Gordon, he could not resist reminding me that even though I was carrying materials for a job, I could only claim bus fares as expenses.
He went on to say that I would only receive single time pay for overtime worked between Monday and Friday and asked me to advise James of this. He knew how to pick his times.
Arriving back at the mill, James and I completed the cable installation, James connected the cables and the contractors covered over the last few feet of the service trough.
We then had just to complete the connections at either end for the work to be complete. James had a piece of paper in his hand detailing the connections, it was normal when using multi core cables to leave a note for future engineers showing the colour conductors assignments.
However, James was incensed at being asked to work overtime at a moment's notice yet only receive single time pay.
Any engineer seeing a multi core cable used between two buildings would automatically assume it was a single length, or if it exceeded a hundred meters, that the joint box required would retain colour for colour the same through, i.e. red to red, black to black etc. However, James took the decision to change the colours randomly, he kept a note for his own aid and as we left late that evening, he waved it in front of me saying, let’s see how good those service engineers are in the future and threw the note in the bin.
In the 1970’s you could say that people were unaware of political correctness, the word gay meant you were happy, homosexuals suffered discrimination continuously and the name of the company was seen as fair game.
I had noticed that the mail arriving was somewhat interestingly addressed, the company was generally called Sherbourne, however Pouffes had taken on a whole new life force of its own, with substitutions such as puffs, dirt stabbers, sailor boys, knee tremblers, queers, benders to name just a few.
It is not too surprising to me that the company is now called Sherbourne Upholstery.
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