David Angulo was a Management Accountant at Westland and remembers his early days working at the Yeovil factory
There were a huge number of people in a big open plan office, quite noisy. One thing I do remember is that the floor wasn’t carpeted, like these days it’s all carpet tiles. That made it quite noisy, people walking up and down on an old-fashioned tiled floor. The calculating machines that were by hand were very clatter, clatter, noisy things. People used to smoke, of course. There hasn’t been smoking in offices for some years now but in those days it was allowed, it was everywhere, there was no escaping it and I remember that bit of it.
It took a whole month to get your monthly figures out
The time it took to produce a set of figures, a set of accounts – it took you a month, probably took you a whole month to get your monthly figures out. These reports all went off to the great and the good, as they still do now I’m sure, but instead of being produced on a computer in very little time, everything took a long time, so there were a lot of people, so you knew a lot of people. I think that’s the difference now. The department was huge. You had financial accounts on one side of a big open plan with a corridor going up through, but open – open corridor – and on the other side cost accounts, which was my team and we did mix and meet and all that. So that’s why you had a more social aspect out of work because the department was huge and you knew so many people.
We used to sit in rows of three or four like a school classroom
There were quite a lot of women working in that sort of environment, possibly still do. We used to sit in rows of three or four and almost, like a school classroom really, with only the managers tucked away in an office that was an actual office with walls. Some of the junior management would sit in the more open plan and face on the side of the office. A strange environment when you think about it because it was quite distracting really. You had people smoking, you had people talking, the only meetings, proper meeting rooms, were the boss’s actual office. You didn’t have specifically created meeting rooms, or at least not many as you have today in office environments and it was quite old-fashioned and quaint but at the time it was what we all knew, it was what we expected.