Oral History collection: Robert John Comley (born 27 Dec. 1896) interviewed by B.C. Fagg about Grandfather's work at Cyfarthfa iron works, Merthyr and Morriston Brick Co.; father's work on railway at Neath and Landore; Waun Wen in early 1900s; Swansea before 1914; school at Waun Wen and Mun. Sec.; work experience on railway et al.; work at Mannesmann Tube Works, Landore - extensive description of works and its processes. .

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 216 TH 44A-B
  • Dates of Creation
      c. 1976
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      1 audio recording

Scope and Content

Track 1. [00:00:03] Community: Barry Fagg introduces Robert Cornelly, interviewed 3rd Feb 1977, straight into Mr Cornelly's Grandfathers life. [00:03:33] Transport: Mr Cornelly recalls his Fathers work on the railways. [00:04:43] Community: Childhood memories of Waun Wen. [00:06:15] Transport: Recalling the South Wales Daily Post cars 'Jingling Jenny' and 'Whizzing Winny'. Also the Foden Steam wagons. [00:08:17] Transport: Seeing the big traction engines at Victoria Park fairground, around 1905. [00:09:14] Community: Recalling William 'Buffalo Bill' Cody's Wild West Show visiting Victoria Park. [00:10:32] Community: Memories of Swansea before First World War, including buying a .22 rifle at Ben Evans department shop. [00:14:12] Education: Attending school in Waun Wen, including barefoot pupils. [00:15:29] Community: Mr Cornelly recalls his families economic situation. [00:16:38] Community: Recalling the occupations of the citizens of Waun Wen. [00:17:34] Community: Describing the centre of Swansea, and enforcement of law and order by both police and church / chapel. [00:20:19] Community: Perception of relations between Anglicans and non-conformists in the area. [00:21:50] Education: Leaving Waun Wen and starting secondary school and academic achievements. [00:24:50] Education: Mr Cornelly recalls being encouraged academically, winning entry to Grammar school but family income prevented it. [00:26:57] Industry: Mr Cornelly recalls leaving school in 1912, aged 16, and joining the railways (GWR) as a shorthand typist. [00:31:45] Community: Recallling the Swansea docks, opening of the Kings Docks in 1904. [00:32:33] Industry: Mr Cornelly recalls BP establishing themselves in Llandarcy in 1918. [00:33:55] Transport: The various rail companies that served the Swansea docks and competition between them, including a rail accident there. [00:38:40] Industry: Leaving GWR and starting work with the shipping company E. W. Cook. [00:41:22] First World War: Leaving E.W. Cook and joining Vickers in Kent in 1918 (being unfit for military service). Includes doing war work in lieu of military service. [00:43:58] Industry: Describing the piece-work system and wages paid at Vickers during First World War, plus women in the workforce and industrial accidents. [00:46:49] First World War: Mr Cornelly recalls German Zeppelin air-raids. [00:47:34] Industry: At the war's end, leaving Vickers and returning to Swansea and starting work at the Mannesman tubing factory. [00:48:51] Industry: Difficulties that Baldwin's had with the Mannesman manufacturing system and a detailed description of the process. [00:59:31] Industry: Levels of production and a description of the Mannesman factory (till recording ends 63m 42s).

Track 2. [00:00:03] Industry: Mr Cornelly continues his description of the production process in the Mannesman factory. [00:01:25] Industry: Describing some of the purposes that the products of the Mannesman factory were put to. [00:02:54] Transport: Difficulties in transporting the large products of the Mannesman factory and road and rail links to the factory. [00:06:28] Industry: Discussion of stock levels kept in the factory and anti-corrosion techniques used. [00:08:39] Second World War: Describing the switch to munitions work during Second World War and the process involved. [00:13:35] Second World War: The increase in women workers during Second World War and the range of munition products made. [00:15:24] Industry: Discussion of the management changes in the Mannesman works since the First World War, including changes of ownership. [00:17:24] Industry: Memories of Herr Lowtenschlager. [00:21:16] Second World War: Memories of Herr Wellman and Dr Albert, a "gentleman" who, it transpired, supported Hitler and appeared to be spying. [00:28:53] Second World War: The factories contribution to Operation PLUTO (Pipeline Under The Ocean) between Britain and France. [00:31:54] Industry: What happened to the factory after World War II (till recording ends at 37m 38s).