At Christmas, people tend to have more time to spend indulging their hobbies. Looking back through the stories that have been shared with us and through the December editions of the Consett Iron Company Magazines, a picture of a multi-talented workforce emerges.
Many workers enjoyed getting outdoors and into the countryside, possibly as an antidote to the heat, noise and dirt of the Works during their working week. This even went so far as scaling previously unclimbed peaks in Asia and what sounds like a gruelling, month long outward bound course in Devon for Leonard Bramley of Accounts in December 1958.
Always creative and artistic, iron company workers’ interests ranged from dancing and performance arts, such as metallurgist Kalyan Ram’s mastery of traditional Indian dance and Tom Douse and his mandoliner band who entertained Consett crowds in the 1950s and 60s, to magnificent examples of embroidery and needlework skills from Mrs Thomas in the telephone exchange. It is hoped that Tom Douse’s story will be detailed more fully on our Consett Stories page before Christmas. Other musical talents also abounded, with Mr W Tyson, a machinist in the engine sheds, being featured for his bellringing skills in 1966.
Artistic and craft endeavours were particularly impressive. The expert hand-skills of Mr John McEnaney are represented in his incredibly delicate and detailed models, including ships, cottages and even a scale replica of the CIC Sample Room, where he started in 1958. You can read more about his incredible work here.
In 1967 workers took their creative skills one step further and, thinking big, restored a small, sea-going fishing boat which they named Stirling Castle. This was launched at Amble and seems to have provided many leisure opportunities for friends and workers.
If anyone would like to share their story about the hobbies they enjoy please do get in touch, we’d love to hear from you.
My thanks to John Douse and Barbara McEnaney for providing such incredible images of their fathers’ work.