Ref NoWIN/028
CollectionWinstanley Oral History Collection
TitleMr. J. Caesar interviewed by Michael Winstanley
Name of creatorWinstanley, Michael
Date03/02/1975
Duration1 hr. 24 min. 02 sec.
Extent1 sound tape reel
1 audio file Waveform Audio
DescriptionMr. J. Caesar, born 1897, interviewed in Canterbury. His father was a gas works foreman. Caesar worked as a gas works apprentice and stayed in business for all of his life.

Track 1 [1:21:02] [0:01:10] Introduction: interviewee is John Caesar [JC] of Nunnery Road, Canterbury. [0:01:26] JC was born on 7 March 1897. [0:01:49] JC’s father and grandfathers were millers, both born in Surrey. [0:02:56] JC describes what his grandfather did when he was retired – moved to Hampshire and describes his retirement life. [0:03:52] JC talks about his parents getting married. [0:04:39] Discusses the small amount that JC knows about where his parents met. [0:05:34] JC’s parents moved to London – his father became a gas fitter. [0:06:09] JC describes how his father got the job; through his sister-in-law, who married Tom Godwin, superintendent of the Wandsworth branch of the gas company. [0:06:49] JC discusses Tom’s brothers, Abraham and William and their working lives. [0:08:18] One of Tom’s brothers was connected to the Jones family. JC goes on to describe who they were and what the Jones’ did for the gas company. [0:11:24] The Jones’ sent JC’s father to Canterbury – briefly discusses his roles there. [0:12:09] JC discusses the reasons his father gave up milling and went into gas fitting. [0:14:53] Description of where the family lived when they moved to Canterbury. [0:16:01] Discusses the coal that was stored in the castle.[0:16:53] Description of his father’s roles as general foreman. [0:17:48] Detailed description of JC’s father’s hours and breaks. [0:18:52] JC talks about the stokers being the highest paid workers and their jobs in the company. [0:20:52] Continues on with detailed description of the hours, roles, and wages of the stokers. [0:23:01] Description of the hours the labourers had to work and their wages. [0:25:17] JC discusses the workers striking. Cheltenham was left without gas for 6 weeks. [0:26:59] Discusses the use of an arbitrator which led to the outcomes of the strike. [0:27:30] Cheltenham Gas Company was one of the best run companies in England. [0:29:16] JC gives an overview of his time in Cheltenham. [0:30:08] JC talks about whether there were the same troubles, such as strikes, at the Canterbury gas station. [0:31:51] JC the difficulties of obtaining a job before WWI. [0:33:35] Describes in detail the requirements his father would have looked out for when men were looking for work. [0:37:17] JC describes the holiday that his father got. [0:37:52] Holiday of the workers is discussed. [0:38:12] Small mention of the bean feast, but JC was too young to have taken part in it. [0:40:20] JC describes that living costs had increased by 100% by 1917. [0:41:23] JC discusses his father’s wages. [0:42:56] JC discusses his sister and her working life. [0:45:40] Describes the issues that his sister had whilst working at Hunts. [0:47:19] Mention of what Hunts was and comparison to Le Fevres [Debenhams]. [0:48:46] Talks about JC’s sister and mentions her change in job and pay rise. [0:51:58] Lending libraries and how they worked. [0:53:22] Detailed descript of the public library – the requirements and services. [0:58:35] Discussion of the type of people that would use the library. [1:01:08] Discussion about which newspapers JC’s father read. [1:01:59] Whether JC was allowed to read the newspaper. [1:03:16] Police Budget newspaper. [1:05:34] JC’s reading as a boy. [1:06:15] Discussion of JC’s parents encouraging him to read and when he was allowed to read. [1:07:45] Detailed discussion of JC’s father’s political views on the Labour and Conservative Party. [1:13:12] Discussion of the impact of his father’s political views why he did not share his views with his workers. [1:14:35] JC’s political beliefs and how they affected his work. [1:15:50] Detailed description of the unions and how they worked within the gas company.
NotesTranscript exists for this interview.
PhysicalDescription1 sound tape reel : analogue, 5 inch reel, 9,5 cm/sec, 2 track, mono
Waveform Audio
Related OrganisationUniversity of Kent
Related PlaceCanterbury, Kent
Access filenameWIN-028-001A-A.mp3
CategoryAudio recordings
Access conditionsAvailable for consultation at the University of Kent's Special Collections & Archives reading room, Templeman Library, University of Kent, Canterbury, CT2 7NU. Access is available via digital listening copies. The University of Kent acknowledges the intellectual property rights of those named as contributors in this recording and the rights of those not identified.
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