Stevenage Broadhall Evening Townswomen's Guild

PUBLISHED: 12:45 22 May 2006 | UPDATED: 10:11 06 May 2010

The members were greeted by chairman Shirley Watts to the May meeting, when the April minutes were read and approved. The speaker for the evening Robert Lancaster talked on the history of Spirella with a great variety of slides from the archives. In 1909

The members were greeted by chairman Shirley Watts to the May meeting, when the April minutes were read and approved. The speaker for the evening Robert Lancaster talked on the history of Spirella with a great variety of slides from the archives. In 1909 the American Parent Company had wooden sheds erected in Letchworth where the machinists could work on the made-to-measure corsets, this led to a permanent factory in 1912 and in 1924 about 1500 people were employed there. They were well looked after - sick pay, a library and sports facilities were some of the perks. Bandoleers were made during the First World War and parachutes during the second. Swimwear was introduced in 1961, co-ordinated knitwear in 1963 and housecoats and nightdresses later on - but to no avail. The factory was closed down and sold off in 1989 and is now the offices of the Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation. Esme Cole gave the vote of thanks to Mr Lancaster for a talk which evoked many memories of days gone by. The next meeting at the Shephall Centre will be at 7.30pm on Thursday, June 1. The speaker will be Louise Reed in the guise of Victorian photographer Julia Margaret Cameron, the gardening group have a plant stall during the social half hour, all are welcome.

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