Peoples Collection: “Meals to make Steel!” Working in Shotton Steel’s huge catering operation
“Meals to make Steel!” a short film to document a personal recollection of working in what was one of the UK’s largest industrial catering operations has been published by the Wales National Archive, Peoples Collection.
Produced by volunteer, heritage community filmmaker, John Butler, it features the voice of veteran industrial caterer, Kath Tellett who, at 21 commenced her long career at John Summers works in Shotton.
In the film, Kath recounts her early years and subsequent time building a team of 200+ catering staff. Her story tells of restaurants, canteens and mobile catering vans which, every-day, prepared and delivered a variety of on-site meals to suit the needs and appetites of thousands of hungry steelworkers.
The 1960s-80s era at Shotton marked, not only a high-point in the development of the UKs only fully-integrated steel manufacturing facility, but also it promoted and gave opportunity for the development and advancement for women working in a heavy-industry environment.
The Peoples Collection entry states: “From the time in 1896 when the innovative Summers brothers came to the banks of the river Dee in North Wales, steelmaking at Shotton has been part of a tradition that reached back through the generations.”
“The work at John Summers & Sons was demanding. In the main, it was hot, grimy, noisy -and very exhausting.”
“The men who pushed the coke, handed the furnaces, rolled the slabs and coiled the sheets were hard-working and tough -and justly proud of efforts that made for a top-quality product, frequently in record-breaking tonnages.”
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