Yesterday in the factory. The girls, in their dirty and untidy clothes, their hair disorderly as though they had just got up, the expressions on their faces fixed by the unbroken noise of the transmission belts and by the individual machines, automatic ones, of course, but unpredictably breaking down. These girls aren’t people, you don’t greet them, you don’t apologise when you bump into them.
If you call them over to do something, they do it but return to their machine at once, with a nod of the head you show them what to do, they stand there in petticoats, they are at the mercy of the slightest power and haven’t enough calm understanding to recognise this power and satisfy it by a glance, a bow. But when six o’clock comes and we call it out to each other, when we untie the handkerchiefs from around our throats and our hair, dust ourselves with a brush that we pass around and is constantly called for by the impatient, when we pull our skirts on over our heads and clean our hands as well as we can-then at last we are women again.
Despite bad teeth most girls smile, shake their stiff bodies, you can no longer bump into them, stare at them, or overlook them, we are real people. Like I say we are real people who work extremely hard for our destitute pay, we average 22/6 a week, that’s insufficient to live on. Seeing as our holidays have just come to an end, most of the factory workers do not have a vast amount of money to spend on food or even to live. Primarily we need a pay rise! September, Wednesday 23rd 1910 My life might as well come to an end. I have no job, no money, and no prospects.
It’s not my fault I don’t have a job though, I stuck up for my rights along with all of the other girls and I have been sacked! Not that I liked the factory anyway, in truth I despised it. Actually in a manner of speaking I’m glad that I’ve had to leave, because I hated Mr Birling I hated him! For 22/6 a week that absurd man put us girls through pandemonium. How much is it to acquire an extra 2/6 a week! He is (presumably) a high earning business man I’m sure, so 2/6 would certainly not have put the man out of business would it? Anyhow I can easily find another job.
I will make a fresh start as from tomorrow, I will go and find a splendid job. Then I can have a nice home and eat luxurious food instead of loathsome slop, which is what I can merely pay for. January, Friday 3rd 1911 (A New Year hopefully a new start) Hold fast to the diary from today on! Write regularly! Don’t surrender! Even if no salvation should come, I want to be worthy of it at every moment ! A New Year, a new job and a new life! I’m so thrilled about my new life. I’m at Milwards now, which in my eyes has always been a very classy high street shop for wealthy people! I’m so joyous.
When I look back in my diary and read some of the days when I was at the factory I was having such a grave time. I have also started dancing class with one of my colleagues Ethel. I go every Wednesday from 8:30 till 9:15, which is plenty of time for me! I can also now afford suitable supper for myself. I feel as though I am living in a dream world, I will always write down my dreams now in high hopes that they will always come true! Today at work I had to arrange some magnificent gowns and take them to the shop floor. It made me think that possibly one day I could be wearing a magnificent dress, maybe with a man on my arm.
We would walk down the street; people would be turning heads looking at my magnificent dress and me. Oh it’s all a fantasy! February Monday 9th 1911 At least I know how to handle it now. It only took just over two months for me to ruin my life again. I thought I was doing really well, I was getting along with all the workers and I helped at every opportunity. What did I do wrong? Where do I go from here now? I have little money saved, simply because I was taking each day as it came and spent my money like water, because I loved the fact that my life was improving.
That’s no reason not to save your money though, I suppose its back to scum as food and the floor as my bed! You know I really thought that I was going somewhere, I felt that my life could not have got better and I deserved everything I got. Somebody somewhere obviously had a slightly different opinion on me though. I would like to know why I got sacked, maybe it was because I split milk on the floor in the stock room and it went slightly smelly after a week! But still that’s really no reason to sack someone?!