Our Century

Working at Corngreaves Hall

Edith Tranter, Kinver Born 1911

Edith Tranter

"I was a domestic servant at Corngreaves Hall in Cradley Heath in 1926, just after the General Strike. I left Lomey Town Girls' School as we broke up for the Christmas Holidays and I was heartbroken, for I loved school, but as my father was killed while working at Holt and Willetts in the previous January, I had to start work as soon as possible.

"Mrs Lowe lived at a house in the grounds of Corngreaves Hall. She knew my mother who did the laundry at home, and Mrs Lowe sent her laundry to her. I remember Mrs Lowe saying to me 'you are out of work, how would you like to come and work for me?' "Knowing that my mother was struggling for money, I agreed.

"I was not yet 15 years old and I found the work very hard as I was never without a job. Every day every grate had to be blackleaded, every carpet brushed on hands and knees with a dust pan, and every room dusted.

"About once a month, a charwoman came to do some extra cleaning. Eventually this woman was the means of my leaving my job. It came about this way.

"My mother was out doing her shopping and on going into Downs, Butchers, in Cradley Heath, came face to face with the aforementioned charwoman who said 'I wouldn't let a cat of mine werk weir yowr daughter is workin'.

When I arrived home on the following Saturday afternoon, my mother greeted me with 'sit down, my girl, I want to talk to you. Why didn't you tell me how you are being worked to death. You give your notice in in the morning'."