Colin Rose was an Engineer at Normalair-Garrett and remembers the Westland canteen

In the day, I mean that was one of the highlights of the working day. Obviously, we enjoyed our jobs, it was then an ever so fun place, but one of the highlights would be to go off to the canteen, at the extreme cost of about 10 pence, or it might have even been a whole shilling!  And then you could enjoy a good selection of hot cooked food and then a good banter and a chat with the chaps around you.  Yeah that hour in the middle of the day was a social feature that just about everybody enjoyed.  There would be four or six people sat on the tables, again the canteen went through the arrival of a new building and uplift later in life, but back then a very traditional, what we would call now very old fashioned kitchen and serving hatch and you queued up with your plate and the appropriate food was placed on it.  It was a feature of the day and a very enjoyable feature.

Interviewer: And then you had the Westland Social Club, did you go there at lunchtime, or could you go there?

You could go there.  I didn’t go there very often, I’m not aware, really went there much during the lunchtime we went to the canteen to provide time, cos whilst it was located in the airfield, it was a good 15 minute trek, certainly from Normalair if you walked round.  It would take you 15 minutes to drive.  Back then the situation, different to today,  at 12 o’clock when the hooter blew, those that went home to lunch meant that, we think Yeovil’s gridlocked now with the set of traffic lights in Sherborne Road, you ought to have tried it then when the push bikes haemorrhage onto the highways.  And whether it was at midday for lunch or between 4.30 or 5.30 where the shop floor and the staff staggered finishes at the end of the day, you know, when those pushbikes erupted onto the highways, the cars came out of the car parks, with the very numbers we were talking about previous, Yeovil stopped.  So going to the Sports Club, short of walking there, you know, it didn’t happen very often

 

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