BMT Story, Chapter 5 - Bob & Lucas
This article was published May 17, 2012.
Sarah´s father Bob Mackay, had a hard time after they left. But later when they heard that sir Thomas had married Sarah in one of the biggest churches in Paris and also that they got a son who they named Edward, the wind did turn for Bob. He got more respect than ever before, since he now got even closer to the Borkums. Sir Thomas was no longer a renegade. Instead many did respect him more. But the thoughts were not totally positive. Lady Amelia got weaken a bit by hearing that she got a new grandson and that they named him Edward, but she still did not approve about them living on the Estate. The common Sunday lunches were also out of the question. Among the local gossip, they tried to spread the rumour that Sarah was pregnant before they married. But that was simple mathematics which didn´t work out. They did marry as soon as they arrived in Paris and Edward junior was born more than a year later.
Bob was a very proud man. Sarah wanted him to stop working and move with them to there new home. Sir Thomas had bought a little house a few miles away with only about 20 rooms and a small garden around. But Bob couldn´t accept welfare, not even from his own daughter. Sir Thomas suggested that he did start to work for him at the brewery so he could give him better pay, but he couldn´t accept that either. Finally he agreed to accept a better house, so he didn´t have to freeze during winters. It was still a cabin, but in much better shape and he also didn´t need to walk throw the forest about an hour each time to get to work. Now he lived just above the school house a bit away. He also agreed to free firewood through the school house supply, but that was it. He wanted to earn his pay, but he really wanted to get home to a warm bed.
Sarah was glad that he at least did accept this. She got better control on how he were, and she also knew her father would not freeze. Previously during winters he sometimes did sleep with her in the schoolhouse but when she lost that job, he again had to walk through complete darkness in snow and mud. He had only a small hand-light to show his way and the path through the forest had many roots and rocks to stumble on.
Bob was one of the first employees on the match factory. He first worked with sir Riff in his little private workshop on the manor and was involved in almost everything related to the machines. He did also help Riff with his many machines like the ´complete´ machine which was one of sir Riffs biggest inventions. Sir Riff made the drawings and lead the construction, but Bob was in charge of most of the first trials when it was time to put it into work. Sir Riff valued his thoughts a lot and many of the improvements were done after his ideas. Bob was also very good at taking people who had problems and acted as a big brother for many of the employees. For this he was well respected. It was easier to go to one of there own and ask for advice. Sometimes they asked him to ask sir Riff about things, since they know he was close to him. It could be simple things like they wanted some buildings to be repaired, but they also asked him about wages which was a different matter altogether.
It was cultural land which was in the middle of industrial change. At first most of the workers were children to the farmers in the area, but soon when the population did grew, new workers huts had to be built to care for them all. It was a small building enough for two family´s or 8 workers. It had only three windows, two in front and one in the side. This made it possible to make sleeping quarters in the back against the wall and still get light in from the front. Each building also had a little spot in the back there they could grow vegetables and dry clothes. This type of building was built several of along two main streets on a field a bit away. Sir Riff did support the maintenance of the outside of the houses, but they had to pay for the rest themselves. One new thing which was not common these days, was that the buildings were built with double walls, floors and inside roof. In between they had sawdust from the sawmill. This made them much warmer during winters, and colder in the summer. Also much less firewood were needed.
A common bathhouse was also built a bit upstream between the factory and the schoolhouse. Sir Riff thought it to be very important to stay clean, so he paid for both soap and firewood to the baths. He did see this as an investment in both workers health and overall climate in the factories.
All workers were divided in work groups named by letters and numbers. For example the match factory had 7 groups with about 12 men in each. They were named M-01 to M-07. They had a very strict schedule on who and when a group could bath, specially during big holidays like Xmas etc.
The General Store
The local general store had been there long before the factory started. It was not controlled by the Borkums either. They had just about everything, even distributed food from the local farmers. They also did sell seed for most vegetables and flour. About the only thing they didn´t sell were milk, butter and other fresh food which were hard to store. The owner of the shop, mr Lucas McBay, was the third in his generation running this shop. He was a quite man and a bit grunchy, but very polite and correct when he opened his mouth. He just wasn´t much for small talks. Lucas was a big man with shoulders like an ox and hands like a farmer. Both hair and beard were white and very curly. He always used a peaked cap and a waist apron made of brown leather. The shop was two buildings built together, half like a ordinary shop with peek windows and second was a storage building with a big attic and broken roof. On second floor on the shop he had his private rooms there he and his wife lived. Mrs McBay had found her own business in baking. She did do both bread and different kinds of cakes and biscuits. She even did deliver to the castle. There two sons were grown up and one of them had his own family on a farm close by. Second was a sailor and had been to every port on the globe. He didn´t come home often, but when he did he always staid a month each time and helped his parents in the shop. He was big like his father and everybody thought he would take over the shop after his parents. It was a big surprise to all to see him disappear and enlist on a boat. He was a very restless soul and had to see the world before he could settle down.
Bob and Lucas had been friends since childhood and still spent a lot of time together. Each Saturday in the summer they use to go fishing. Since both were of a very quite nature, not much would have scared the fish.. they were also famous for getting more fish then most. Bob always did refer to the tobacco they had in there pipes as a reason, but no one really know for sure.
In this early years it still existed a way of ´us´ and ´them´. What they referred to was people being there up to when the match factory was built and the ones who came later. The people who came later were often very poor people with no really home to speak of. They come from all of the country and used to move from place to place where there was a job to get. Since this was a small community, the newcomers didn´t have it easy to get new friends. Both sides of the far most part of the field (there all the workers houses were built), were mostly inhabited by them. There were no fights, not even on Saturday evenings when the men got drunk, but they always did keep them for themselves. All the children didn´t seem to bother, at least not around the school when there parents didn´t see...