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Audio recordings of Sainsbury's staff relating to distribution operations from the 1930s to 1960s including Buntingford and Hoddesden depots. Interviewed by Bridget Williams (Sainsbury's Archives) probably as research for her book "The Best Butter in the World: A History of Sainsbury's".

Interviewees: Keith Curtis, Fred McManus, Ron Topp and Henry Hall.

Summary of content:
20_A Blackfriars depot busy. Fleet of 100 plus drivers pre 1939 for 250 branches. Working day officially 8am until 5.30pm but overtime was common. Orders from separate departments, handled individually. Warehouse at Stamford House. Cheese in basement, packed grocery, eggs on ground floor, first floor grocery packing department, catering packs for branches, third floor proprietary grocery and poultry. Offices upstairs. Individual departments estimated delivery weights. Delivery routes. Overnight deliveries perishable goods. Sales office and commodity contact clerk for each commodity generated the order for the branch. Larger shops 2 deliveries per day. Packing of lorry. Transport department first branch delivery c.7.30am. Single journeys except north of Kettering. Leyland lorries 1930s and post 1945 - comparison to articulated lorries, introduction of Bedford lorries in 1952. Goods sent by rail c.1934/1935 and still happened in the early 1950s. Reputation and service. Story about lighting firewood in engines to warm diesel engines during winter. Severe winter 1950s East Anglia goods not delivered. Loading procedure Blackfriars, Union Street, kitchens. Polish eggs. New Zealand cheese and cheese clutch. Crates brought from docks. Hoist down to basement. Eggs and biscuits in cardboard 1950s. Sinew pullers. Congestion at Blackfriars. Decentralised during the Second World War to mitigate risk. Peter Ruff work study 1957. Story of finding distribution warehouse outside London at Buntingford A10, Ware 1959. Max speed 30 miles/hour in countryside, 18 miles/hour in town. Trade Union representation. First meeting above cafe. Factory problems in 1963/1964 and introduction of bonus in 1970s. Keith: Buntingford, original staff moved out from Blackfriars. Company provided interest free loans for staff to buy housing. Change from independent departments to warehouse. Branches received weekly loads as opposed to daily loads. Teething problems. Importance of staff from Blackfriars staffing the new depot in Buntingford.

20_B: Trade Union working to rule. Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire perishable produce depot. Lea Valley area largest area of fresh vegetable producers. Freddy Fry. Power cuts and failures late 1960s 1970s. Tomatoes freezing and heaters needed.

21_A: Housing in Buntingford. Sainsbury's rental housing scheme. Sainsbury took Buntingford Post Office employees. Staff moving from Blackfriars. Working hours varied throughout the week. Fred: trussing Christmas turkeys 3 nights and 3 days, delivering turkeys on Christmas morning by bicycle. Fun. Butcher. Tuberculosis. Transferred to Blackfriars to transport office. Canadian Home Guard Christmas party at Sainsbury's. Playing cricket at Dulwich after work. Social atmosphere, Sainsbury family atmosphere gone. Fred McManus's wife cash problems, Mr R.J. Sainsbury provided cash advance of £5. Graduates joined. Branch employees on management training programme: Bob Wallace, Futter (meat supervisor), Lewis (departmental director), Ernie Wright (Branch Assistant Manager). Keith Curtis, Bob Ingham, Mike Yeates, Keith Marriott or Keith Fordyce. At Cambridge University and saw Sainsbury's advert for Management Trainees. First 8 months in different parts of the company. Keith Curtis enjoyed transport and depots due to developments in processes. Steve Cody. Dismissal procedure authorised by Sainsbury family. Keith Curtis' job offer was Assistant to Warehouse and Transport Manager.