Just like I remembered their were 12 instead of 20 shillings to a pound (there were 12 pennies to a shilling), I obviously made a mistake on the pa y scale attributed to building one frame too. It is a bit of a stretch for m e trying to recall the details of a conversation I had in 1973. I do remembe r the "bob" in the conversation and being shocked how little a builder got. Perhaps it was a pound and bob per frame. While the details have escaped me, the central concept of low remuneration stays. I kept thinking, how could anyone live off of that? Of course the guy that was telling me this (I'm sure it wasn't Charles Hill) might have talking about an even earlier era or just had it wrong.
I also wonder how the pay scale of a framebuilder that worked piece rate (not selling them under his own name) would compare to other manual trades - say a bricklayer, electrician or plumber after the war. I'm guessing less. My impression from the comments I got was that this job was fairly low on the social ladder and got paid correspondingly. A shop owner that sold these frames under his own label had much higher social status. I don't know exactly how much the framebuilder made at Ellis Briggs when I was ther e in 1975 but I vaguely remember it being around 25£ a week.
When I told people in England I was already a teacher with several degrees learning to build frames, it made no sense to them. Of course it made no sense to my parents either but I figured the main reason what I was doing was illogical was because I was moving down - maybe way down - on the socia l status scale to follow my own interests.
Sill, I'm wondering about C.F. Hill and his frames. The one I bought was nice.
Doug Fattic Niles, Michigan USA
Ray Green wrote:
> Doug Fattic wrote:- <Does anyone know anything about C.F. Hill (C as in
> Charles) Frames? He had an establishment on 856 Old Kent Road, London S. E.15.
> In 1973 I visited that shop and bought a frame that had been hanging from the
> rafters for some time>
> What sticks in my mind was that they got paid per frame (not a salary
> or hourly wage) and that it took them on average just over a day to build each
> one. What shocked me was that he said they got paid a bob a frame. (A bo b
> meant shilling like a buck means dollar. Oh my, it's been awhile since I 've
> thought in these terms. There were 12 shilling to a pound and at that ti me a
> pound was worth $2.40 to $2.50.) His recollection of this wage scale mus t
> have been from the 50's and perhaps the 60's.
> I don't remember C.F. Hill but found Doug's tale most interesting but
> I'm not sure he is right about the pay rates. Nor was there twelve shilli ngs
> to one £. There were twelve pennies to a shilling and twenty shillings to
> £ (making 240 pennies to a £)- pay attention at the back! In the fifties a
> skilled manual worker would earn about £10 a week, maybe a little more in
> London. So to earn a typical wage at a "bob" a frame it would be necessar y to
> build 200 frames a week! I am sure Doug is right that the frame builders were
> paid by results (called piece work in the UK) as this was normal in
> manufacturing of all kinds (my mother worked in a firework factory on pie ce
> work, not really an occupation were you wanted to be cutting corners!) It
> hard to imagine that too much time was spent mitreing the tubes when "tim e was
> money" in the frame building shop.
> Ray Green, Harrow, Middlesex