Stedman, Ronald (21 of 32). Food: From Source to Salespoint
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1999-09-08, 1999-09-30, 1999-10-28, 1999-11-17, 2000-04-20
Interviewee's home and Butchers' Hall, London
Stedman, Ronald, 1917-2009 (speaker, male)
Courtney, Cathy (speaker, female)
Part 21: Tape 11 Side A: If dishonesty proved or shop losing money, RS sacked staff; easier to sack people in the past. RS became cynical as soon as had responsibility and knew the problems and that he couldn’t do much about them. Bill Knapman would say “ they’re leaving me sufficient behind,” and shut his eyes to the dishonesty. he larger the business, the greater the dishonesty; only proprietors running own businesses could check on honesty; could afford to pay staff better because made better profits. David Grieg had approx 300-400 shops. No attempt to encourage staff loyalty, only cared about profits. After War firms began to hold Christmas parties for shop managers but not for staff. RS’s employment at Bon Marche, approx two and a half years, 1937-40. Left because of the War. Worked in soft furnishing dept, was ‘the counter jumper’, serving the public. Dressed like a bank clerk. Bought work clothes at Burtons and Fifty Shilling Tailors. Details of work at Bon Marche. WW2. RS’s childhood kidney illness meant he wasn’t fit for the forces but also had Pacifist feelings. Had met future wife, Win, whose father was a deacon. Appeared before a Court, was sent white feathers and worked on land during War. Fed pigs in Norfolk for six months, details. Had to leave Norfolk at time of Dunkirk as there was ill-feeling that RS wasn’t in active service. Sent to work on farms in Southport. By now engaged to Win, who worked for Ministry of Labour and had been evacuated to Southport. Win’s personality. RS and W shared religious outlook, RS had known her family since childhood. W’s looks and qualities. Courtship. Proposal, Christmas 1939. Wedding, March 1942. Didn’t sleep with one another before marriage; early sexual relationship after marriage was difficult. Tee- total reception. Attitude of RS and W’s families to their marriage. RS’s ambition re business prospects. RS’s financial position had changed by 1945 when he was earning £1,000 a year. Development of RS’s relationship with W’s family. Honeymoon in Brighton.