The life of a London draper's assistant before the First Wor...
Date 1969
Track ID 5280
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The life of a London draper's assistant before the First World War.

Robert Veitch reads extracts about his life in London, where he went aged twenty, in 1909, to learn the drapery business. For his first job in a West End store, he had to wear morning dress. He lived in, sharing a room with three others, on a salary of £25 a year with deductions for laundry, boot cleaning and library. They got their food in a windowless basement of the shop: he left after several staff got food poisoning from a bargain lot of meat. Then he spent a year in Lapland, helping a Swedish merchant with his English. Back in London, he got a job in a ladies' glove department with sixteen other young men, earning a salary plus commission. Ladies would buy two or three dozen pairs of kid gloves at once. Often they were worn once and then given to the ladies' maids. Details about royal customers, window-dressing, origins of fellow shop assistants, and custom-made gloves for those with deformed hands.

Mr Veitch caught measles in an epidemic and was taken to the fever hospital, the cost of which was deducted from his pay. A description is given of the first motor buses in London. Mr Veitch joined the London Scottish regiment. He had already served in the 6th Volunteer Battalion of the Royal Scots and was a first class signaller. Easter and Whitsun were spent with the Gordon Highlanders at Colchester. He was in the London Scottish 110 stone tug-of-war team and took part in the Royal Naval and Military Tournament at Olympia.

Item Notes

The 14th (County of London) Battalion, The London Regiment (London Scottish) was part of the Territorial Force, now the Territorial Army.

Item Subject/Person

Veitch, Robert