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Nostalgia: Bleak Christmas for factory staff

It was a month before Christmas and workers were receiving news that would put a dampener on their festive celebrations.

Management suddenly announced that a meeting of the entire workforce would be held on a Friday afternoon.

With trade union representatives also there, the workers at Hollingworth’s River Etherow Bleaching Company heard that the factory would close in the new year, 1970.

Around 150 employees - a huge chunk of the workforce - would lose their jobs.

An official told the Chronicle that 160 people worked at the factory and only 10 would be found jobs. 

Bosses, blaming increasing competition from across the world, said there had to make savings to remain competitive.

They regretted the move and thanked the workers for years of loyal service.

But savings had to be made.

The River Etherow Bleaching Company was once the main source of labour in Longdendale with 250 people working there.

It was said that decades earlier there were few families in Hollingworth that didn’t have someone working at the factory.

At the time of closure most of  the employees had worked there for a large number of years.

The UK’s textile industry was in trouble and would never be the same again.

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