Dave Calway worked in the blade department at Westland and remembers how good the meals were in the works canteen
We used to have a tea break and a support worker, who did the general work in the shop, would come round with his trolley and you could buy cheese rolls from him and they were very nice, very nice indeed and the cheese that you got was about a half a pound. Great big slab of cheese. He would come round every morning and you’d have that cheese roll every morning, you know. You didn’t realise what possible harm could come of it but it was very nice.
The canteen, which was on the site but obviously away from the manufacturing departments, you used to have a plate and a tray and you’d go up and have a dolllop here and a dollop there of whatever you wanted, you know, and it was a cheap price. It was heavily subsidised by the company and you’d pay pence for a good meal, sort of thing. A lot of chips and mashed potato and sausages, that sort of stuff.
One group of people would be twelve o’clock to one o’clock and that would fill it up and then the next lot would come in, from the staff, would come in from one o’clock to two o’clock and then it would be filled up then so, yes, it was a thriving business. At the end of the day I think the company got to the stage where they couldn’t afford to subsidise it and, of course, then back in those days the company used to subsidise groups of people going out down the club, down the Westlands Sports Club, and they would have a night out down there and the company would foot the bill for all the drinks.
A lot of people came away from there a lot the worse for wear!