James, Dorothy & Stanley (b.1917)

Dorothy and Stanley James were both born and educated in Castle Cary. Stanley’s father wanted him to become a farmer but Stanley hated animals and he became a builder instead. Dorothy talks about the textile factories in Castle Cary, Boyd's, and T S Donne and Son.


Dorothy worked in Boyd’s factory where horsehair was processed and used in upholstery and padding. They both served in the army during the Second World War and were married after it ended. Dorothy and Stanley James lived in Castle Cary all their lives.

T.S. Donne & Sons Ltd. advert, 1947. T.S. Donne & Sons Ltd. advert, 1947.
Sound File
Listen to Dorothy and Stanley James - 1.35MB Duration 3:21 min.

AH: And what were you weaving?


DJ: The, the stuff for the American, South African railways, or tailors’ padding or any, anything, you know, whatever they said, you done. They said ‘Well you do so-and -o on this loom’ and then it was set up and you done it.

SJ: Oh, you haven’t seen any furniture covers with it?

DJ: Yeah, we did.

AH: That’s what we’ve seen today, in the, we’ve seen the, the upholstery.

DJ: Yeah.

AH: I was just wondering why you, were you doing upholstery when you worked there?

DJ: Well, well it, well they done the, the padding, the tailors’ padding. They don’t do now there, but they, we done that, we done grey material, you, with the grey hair, we done it with the black hair, we done it with the green hair for the South African railways and they all had their different sizes.

SJ: The blinds that you used to make, blinds, yes.

DJ: Window blinds and things like that.

SJ: Wind, sun resistant and all that.

DJ: But when you, you have a finished article with horsehair seats, I don’t think they ever wear out, do they?

SJ: No, they say they don’t, no.

DJ: They is really, you know, nice.

We used to also have the fair come here, didn’t we?

SJ: Oh yeah, travelling fairs.

AH: When was that?

DJ: The travelling fairs.

SJ: Oh, that was entertainment then, before television, wasn’t it?

DJ: Yeah, we …

SJ: We used to have plays at the Town Hall, travelling shows used to come round to the Town Hall.

DJ: Magic lanterns and things like that.

AH: How often?

SJ: That broke it up a bit, I suppose, that sort of, travelling shows used to go to the Town Hall, Freddie Faye and his Frolics, wasn’t it, his acting companies?

DJ: And then I tell you what they used to do in Cary was produce their own pantomimes and things like that.

SJ: Things like that, the old [], well I say there’s something now isn’t there? Bit of choirs and that, isn’t there?

DJ: Well, well, there’s C’, Cary choir, yeah, that’s very good. There’s lots of things go on in Cary today because there’s Scouts and Guides and Brownies, and Cary scout and guide band and they have these, still like the WI and the Mothers’ Union and wives and contact and all sorts of things, you know. And the churches do a lot of things together now and run youth clubs, whatever they call them, different things. They don’t call them youth clubs, do they? And they have classes at schools, you know, like they do in most towns.

AH: For adults, you mean?

DJ: Yeah, they do majorettes, things for, you know, children and all sorts of things, you know. You can do, go to the school and do classes in the daytime, you know, different things, like I expect they do round your way.

Copyright Information
Copyright. This recording was made by Ann Heeley in December 1993. Photograph ©SRLM. For access to full interview please contact the Somerset Heritage Centre.