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Thursday, 1 May 2014

39. George Forrest tells a story about the men at the Lancing Railway Carriage Works

Whilst the Lancing railway carriage works was probably the largest employer in the area I personally did not have a lot to do with it, some of our friends and neighbours worked there and some of my school friends did on leaving school. It was said , tongue in cheek , that it was always possible to tell where a carriage worker lived because the house was painted green and cream, i.e. the colours of the old Southern Railway.

My only real contact with some of them came early in the morning when I worked for an hour in the paper shop now occupied by Garretts in North Road just above the railway station. At that time it was owned by a man named Briggs. Later sold to a Mr Forshaw.
Anyway the carriage workers had to clock in by 07.45 or they lost 15 minutes pay. I worked from 06.30 until 07.30 although I rarely got away before 07.45 because of the late workers. Usually all went smoothly until about 07.30, there was ample time to make up three paper rounds for the boys delivering them. The late running workers would throw their bicycles on to the pavement, run into the shop, almost throw their money onto the counter and became quite impatient if their paper and cigarettes were not immediately forthcoming. It was always the same ones, they never seemed to learn. I think this was when and where I learned to swear. The swearing was increased when it was realised that the railway level crossing gates were closed and they would have to carry their bicycles over the foot bridge. The situation was not helped by Mr Briggs and I being amused by this and showing it.
The shop was, or at least the back half of it was the main Lancing Post Office at that time and the sorting office was in a detached building to the rear of that.

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