My dad started ganging in about 1956. There were only about five gangmasters then and each had 10 to 15 Boston workers. They knew all their workers by name.
In about 1968 I then had my own gang. I want to speak up for the landworkers of then – these men, women and children who worked from Monday to Friday in all weathers. They would be picked up from their homes at about 7.30am, and work until 3.30pm, then be dropped back home, where they would get their children from school, prepare tea, clean up and do the house work. During the summer they’d be picked up again at 5pm and work until 8pm. They would be doing anything from hoeing sugarbeet to picking potatoes by hand. It was a back-breaking job, as we had no machines then. The brussels had to be put into bags and carried about 20 yards, before the workers waited for them to be weighed and graded and they returnedto start again. Some days there would pull 20 or 30 bags a day. All the workers tried to outdo one another by pulling the most, each earning just 50 pence a bag. What I am trying to say is that we had lots of good Bostonian land workers – Dixie, Roysten, Codgey, Albert, Brian, Gavin, Mary, Pat, June, Betty Joyce and Sylve, to name just a few. They were all looked after by their boss. Many more have passed away. I still see some of them around town and we have a chat about the olden days on the land. I think, to myself, that we did not need outside workers then.