Unexamined Lives

The story of the 20th century as lived by residents in the Derbyshire village of Borrowash


A Family Affair – Christine Wallwork

Christine Wallwork contacted Unexamined Lives in response to our request (published in The Derby Telegraph) for information about working conditions at the former Barron’s Nurseries.

Barron’s was special to Christine for reasons beyond the usual parameters of job and income because it marked the beginning and in a different way, the conclusion, of her father’s working life.

Veteran Barron’s employee, Mr Cooper, was to feature at the outset and the ending, discharging responsibilities that were initially professional and finally, poignant.

Christine’s father, Frank Murfin went straight to Barron’s on leaving school; remaining with the Borrowash firm until his 1931 marriage to Sally Burley necessitated a more lucrative move to British Celanese.

He was to be employed by Celanese as an artificial silk warper for over 20 years:

You have a great big beam at one end and what you’re going to do is to have all the colours in the right order so that when it goes on the weaving machine, it comes out as a pattern

But the new job and subsequent employment at the railway did not lessen his enthusiasm for gardening.

Frank kept allotments:

He had allotments on the bypass – we’ve always had an allotment at the back of the house on Kimberley Road; but he managed to get about four over there in the end, and he was growing his own roses.


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