GCSE Creative Writing : Factory Work in 1911
August, Thursday 18th 1910
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!
This is a preview of the whole essay
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?!
February Thursday 15th 1911
When it looks as if I've made up my mind finally to stay at home for the evening, when I have put on my house jacket and sat down after what I call supper with candle light. I got bored with the game that usually precedes my going to bed, the weather outside is unpleasant so that staying indoors seems natural, and when I have already been sitting quietly at the table for so long, the stairs are in darkness and the front door locked and in spite of all that I have started up in a sudden fit of restlessness, changed my jacket, abruptly dressed myself for the street, explained that you must go out and with a few blunt words of leave-taking actually gone out, banging the 'flat' door more or less hastily according to the amount of displeasure I think I have left behind so I cut off the general discussion of my departure, and when I find myself once more in the street with limbs swinging extra freely in answer to the unexpected liberty I have procured for them, I often find myself at work.
March Tuesday 23rd 1911
I have actually found myself working below low-class workers. I have given up dancing, and have become a 'women of the town' an 'old tart' some people call it. I have also changed my name, I don’t want to be Eva, and she is better than this. I don’t know why I lower myself to such standards and entirely relinquish myself. I am capable of acquiring a bound position. I am just too idle to put myself about and waste time (I say waste time, not because I have better things to do, simply because I need the money from my work) you need effort for chasing people, being nice to those who end up refusing you as a person then give you no hope. I don’t blame other people for me not persuading myself to get a job, even an interview. I suppose I do see it as persuading I need, I want somebody behind me telling me that I am a good person and I am capable of a secure job. I just don’t have that 'somebody' around me to express that. Though it's almost as if I have no hope in myself. I need to be motivated.
March Wednesday 24th 1911
I'm depressed and I hate work, if that’s what you can call it. I'm really not looking forward to tomorrow, but nothing takes the past away like the future.
March Saturday 27th 1911
I had the most exciting night last night! I was at work as usual (which is not the most exciting part!) and fat carcass old Joe.M was harassing me like he would with anything wearing a skirt. Anyway I was clearly not after Joe's attention so this lovely chap called Gerald (I love that name) came over to the corner where (disgusting) Joe and I were and told him that he was needed at the reception! He told him he had a call or something to get him away from me. Well after Joe had left he said to me 'you'd better let me take you out of here' I melted I was so glad that somebody actually cared for me as to get me out of that dump! We went along to the County Hotel and had a few drinks; I had never been there. We had the most wonderful conversation, he is so friendly. I told him about me and he told me a little about himself. I told him my name was Daisy, I enjoyed being Daisy last night. Now I know that I can talk to people and not be so depressed all the time. I am proud of Daisy now; she has got me a very interesting and meaning friend. We ended the night on extremely good terms and arranged to meet again tomorrow, I cannot wait I am so excited!
March Sunday 28th 1911
Today I am going to meet Gerald again and I really looking forward to it. I will tell you about it when I get in! This man is a godsend he is my angel! He has given me a key to an extremely lovely flat its amazing I cannot describe how I feel, I'm ecstatic. Morgan Terrace is its name. They are lovely, beautiful, radiant, exquisite. I am so happy. I think that this diary is a miracle book because everything I ask for it grants me. It also gives me little extras that I am also extremely grateful for. Gerald has given me money so I can look after myself. I am quite sure that Gerald is not going to ask for anything in return because he knows that I cannot give it to him, but if I could I would give him the world for all this help.
I really don’t want to go back to the terrace bar now, I think that I have enough confidence to look for a work placement now with all Gerald's help.
September Saturday 2nd 1911
Gerald is going away for this week he leaves on Monday I have the feeling he will break off our affair because we have not spoken that much recently. He is the most important person in my life, nobody has ever cared for me like he does I have really appreciated it whilst it lasted but I will be extremely sad when he tells me it is over. I don’t think, in fact I know he doesn’t feel about me the way I feel about him. I have really enjoyed these months of my life. Gerald has given me such strength and hope in myself and loved me for who I am. I didn’t have to do anything for him like in the birling factory. I didn’t have to pretend, and lie to his face like I would have to in Milwards if somebody liked a dress I hated. I have always been myself around him and I am ever so grateful for him appreciating what I had to give which was minimal.
September Monday 4th 1911
I was right, as much as I didn’t want it to happen I knew it would happen. Gerald has left. Gerald has left me without a home, although through no fault of his own. He gave me money additionally to look after myself. I wish I could just grant people money for help. I can think of plenty of people I've met, primarily at the Palace Bar who I would take great pleasure in giving money to. Some of them are less fortunate then me.
I think I should leave Brumley, for as long as it takes me to comprehend what I want to do with life, if that is what it is anymore. I didn’t go into detail about leaving, with Gerald I want him to be left with as little memories of me as possible.
I saved some money during the summer so I have that plus the money that Gerald gave me. I always dreamed that he could have been the man on my arm walking down the street. Like I said before it's all a fantasy.
September Thursday 7th 1911
For two days I have noticed, whenever I choose to an inner coolness and indifference. Yesterday evening during my walk, every little street sound, every eye turned towards me, every picture in a showcase was more important to me. I really have to leave brumley. I'm going to pack what I call my possessions and leave immediately. I have nothing here to stay for.
November Monday 14th 1911
For the following reasons I have not written in here for so long:
I went to start a new life in a seaside resort but did not have the confidence to confer with anybody so I had a miserable few months by myself because I did not communicate with any one.
I did not want to speak to any body, and would never want to remind myself of the drear times I had by writing in this book.
November Wednesday 16th 1911
I am still not in the mood to write at all. I have gone back to Eva Smith before she worked as a 'towns women' at the Palace Bar. As much as I don’t want to become her again I cannot stop myself from falling. I'm too pessimistic about the future; I hope that I come upon an individual like Gerald again, but I know if I carry on thinking like that I will never change or move on. I clearly have not moved on since Gerald because I am still reflective about him. I suppose I came back to Brumley so I could encounter Gerald again and he would say 'I'm sorry for leaving you Daisy, please take me back?' I know it will never happen. I also know that my day walking down the street with my man on my arm will never come. I'm going to keep waiting though.
November Friday 18th 1911
I have started retreating to the Palace Bar not for work though to meet up with an old friend. Also I wanted to see what variety of people still attend the 'bar', and if that includes fat Mr.M! I'm glad that I know people like him who can make me laugh from time to time. I would rather a companion though. I interact more with people since I have been bound to the Palace Bar. I really enjoy conversations; I often make them talk about themselves though. I listen a lot to people its often the best thing to do at the Palace Bar, considering the amount of gin or beer people at the palace have consumed you let them say what they want! There is a crowd of working men, who I would like to chat to because they often seem to be in the Palace of a weekend. They seem like a very lively bunch who enjoy their time in the bar, they also appear rich, and they are wealthy men.
November Monday 21st 1911
Well I said that I wanted to talk to the group of men, well I did. I started talking to this man called Charlie and I didn’t find him very stimulating and he made me do all the talking! So I moved on, I started talking to this man called Eric. Eric and I didn't talk much and we were both slightly squiffy, he was more than I. Eric and I became friends that night and he insisted he came back here. I didn’t want him to come in because I have nothing to show, because I said that was far wealthier than I am. We were both drunk so I let him in. We were both slightly drunk like I say, he got a bit nasty and violent. We had sex but I didn’t want to, I couldn’t stop him though so I just went along with it. I feel really bad now.
November Wednesday 23rd 1911
I have not thought much about the other night with Eric, maybe I should have done though, maybe I still should? No I don’t need to because I will never speak to him again. Hopefully. Today I was talking to the girls at the Palace and they were telling me about a committee of Brumley organisation charity of women. If you go to the ladies at the committee they help you with money if they feel you are in a state and need money for help. I think I should go there if I worsen, I don’t feel I need to yet but the girls at palace say that they are lovely people who work there.
December Sunday 4th 1911
O I'm thrilled its nearly Christmas, all the decorations are up around the town. I don’t like the weather though! It's far too chilly for my fondness. I have started seeing Eric again. I met him at the P.Bar again one night, we had some drinks but we talked more this time. He has a sister called Sheila who is engaged. I wish I were. He still lives with his parents somewhere?! We had sex again. I'm not keen on the way our relationship 'works' but there is not much I can do about it. I like him but I would have to know him a bit better to decide otherwise.
December Wednesday 23rd 1911
Three days till Christmas!! I had to inform Eric that I was pregnant well as far as I know I am. I 'd rather not bring a child into this world. I would hate for anyone to have a worse life than mine, even though I have splendid memories. I don’t have the money for a baby, what am I to do? I have no one to go to for support either.
December Thursday 24th 1911
Eric has parted with fifty pounds for me because I insisted he didn’t stay with me. We are not devoted to one another. I say he has parted with fifty pounds, he does not work so he has stolen it off his father. I am not going to accept stolen money. It's not loyal. I told him to keep the money. He probably spent it on drink at the Palace and abused some poor other girl, in his drunken aggressive state. I also don’t want to be involved with that behaviour. I don’t want to see him again. He just makes me angry and I feel stupid for what he did to me.
February Monday 3rd 1912
Once again a New Year. Though this time no new start or new life. I really need guidance and money if I am thinking of bringing up this baby. How can I say bringing up this baby, I cannot bring up a baby. I have no money, no man, and no suitable living conditions for the baby. I am so low at the moment. I was perceived as an 'old tart' I hate that, it makes me so upset. I'm not an old tart. When Eva was working at Milwards she would look down on 'women of the town' now Daisy, a woman of the town, pregnant, would love to be Eva now. Eva complained so much when she had to get up in the morning to go to work, how selfish of her. Now Daisy has no reason to even get up nor go out. What is the need for me 'Daisy Renton' to go out? Nobody knows whom I am, except the revolting upper class scum businessmen who come to the bar, because they need somebody to talk to, somebody who does not know them by day. They are probably 'Mr Birlings' by day, nobody likes them. Upper class snobs who would not give 2/6 to the low class because they do not want to ruin their reputations, they don’t want people to know they give workers what they want. They only give 'women of the town' what they want. Why can't more men be 'Gerald's' he didn't class me. He never knew what I did for work; he kept Daisy safe and warm, with nothing in return. Why do 'Mr Birlings' always have to have something in return, there the selfish ones. They also don’t know what consequences are. Take Eric, he is canaille in my eyes, who drinks his sorrows away because he has nobody to talk to and never thinks about anybody else apart from himself. I feel like being an Eric for once, I only care about myself not the baby or Eric or Gerald only me. I am thinking about all these people now and I probably never appear into these people's heads. Do I ever appear into anybody's? I don’t think I do.