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tv   We Are England  BBC News  March 31, 2022 1:30am-2:01am BST

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we will have the headlines and all the main news stories for you at the top of the hour, straight after this programme. when i came in this factory, i was absolutely gobsmacked at what everyone was doing, how loud it was, crazy. it's nice when you see the finished product coming off the line. you see celebrities in them and you think we've made them. i've been here about nearly 41 years. probably spent more time here than at home. me sister only works down the bottom of the line. she puts your pockets
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on, me sister. me niece danielle works in the warehouse. daughter georgia works over there. people say, why don't you go to london? and i said i wouldn't give up my geordie girls, i really wouldn't. they are fantastic. you know now that the clothing trade has gone in this area, and it's not like it was years and years ago. it's something that'll disappear and you'll not be able to get it back. i've definitely got the hardestjob. well, i wouldn't say that.
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are you coming for tea tonight? yes, i think i am, yes. yeah, we'll walk the dog, won't we? i'm going to text dad and tell him to get me washing line or even grab it for us. i get a text message every day at like seven minutes past seven saying that she's on the bridge and she'll be like literally in me street. she's just me best friend. she's always at my house, i'm always at her house, constantly together, even when we're at work, can't get away from her. do i have to say
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this on camera? no, georgia's lovely, she's a good worker, a hard worker. she is she's a lovely girl and i'm notjust saying it cos she's me daughter, she's me best friend as well. when i came in this factory, i was absolutely gobsmacked at what everyone was doing, how loud it was, crazy. i didn't expect it and i didn't expect to be in here either. i was in college doing beauty therapy, totally different. until me mam started and she told us there was an apprentice going and i went upstairs straightaway, i've got thejob. me mam had an old singer machine at home and we used to play on that, used to sit and sew on that when we were young, but we always got wrong in case we got out fingers caught in the machine. i left school when i was 15. at one time, it was the thing to do.
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it was like men going into the shipyards when you left school cos there was that many machining factories. but i think now, i think we are the only one left. that is john barbour�*s family. that'sjohn. that is malcolm. actually, my husband looked exactly like him and my daughter looks exactly like him. john came from cercopershire from a middle—class family,
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and he wanted to go into trade. he came to newcastle because he thought that was far away from kirkkudbrightshire. and he started in a very modest way in victorian england. he made wonderful oilskin coats. he found a location in south shields in the marketplace. he was going to sell to the fisherman, farmers, a whole range of people. well, that's the oilskin clothing. 1908, this is the first one he did. sylkoil. beacon.
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the beacon is the on shore lighthouse. the beacon was on grandma barbour�*s very first jacket here. there's the beacon. i was brought up in north yorkshire. and i went down to london to do my degree, and i taught in london. and my friend was having a party in kew and who should come along after a twickenham rugby match butjohn barbour? and that's how i met him and we fell in love and got engaged and came back north. i'd never been to south shields before. i wondered when i came where i was coming. i consider i had five
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lovely years with him. and two years after we were married i had my lovely daughter helen. and then sadly we were on holiday where we spent our honeymoon in majorca and he had a brain haemorrhage and died. i was absolutely devastated. i was told immediately that he'd left his shares in barbours to me. i didn't have a second thought aboutjoining the business. he was desperately proud of it, and i had to continue that because he had loved it so much. i continue to love it. i still love it 50 years later. i was given this great, great challenge and that helped me.
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i'm not going to say it's easy — it is hard, until you get to know what you're doing. i quite like the little jobs better than the big jobs with like big jackets like what me mam sort of does down there. i've definitely got the hardestjob. she probably
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says her, does she? well, i wouldn't say that. she will! she probably will. hers is only a bit of nylon across the bottom — it's nothing. i've never been taught herjob so i cannot do herjob like if she was to sit on here she wouldn't know where to start with this one. always been close to me mam, i wouldn't know what to do without me mam. best friends. see rod or michelle, going to bring you some more work over. morning, kelly, how did your birthday go, hun? all right. did you have a drink?
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we make 600 jackets a day and a total of 2,400 jackets a week. it's a lot of responsibility because you're the control of making sure this jacket comes out the way we want it to come out — in perfect condition. when we first started working for the company, we were all taught quality first, your speed later. when they were trained, your quality always came first. this is the loading bay and this is the start of the process. the raw materials that come into the factory already waxed. this is your outerjacket, this is what your outer jacket is made of. that's your waxed cotton, this is what we're famous for.
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that's your check lining. this is your classic check lining, made for your classic jackets. that's your ancient check lining. this particular lining we've been using since 1998. they all get spread out on these spreaders and then further down it's the guys that's cutting them out the pieces of yourjacket. we have a lot of supervisors, a lot of training first before they do it because they tend to, you know, work in bands you know, one will put on a button hole and then it'll be passed on to the next person to do the collar, that sort of thing, and they've got to work along together and if there's anybody who slows down a bit then she's in trouble because she's, you know, it affects everybody else along the line.
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these guys are really highly skilled. them knives are really sharp. right from the start, we've always cut by hand. because it was in the hands of three women, we didn't take loads out of the company, we didn't have yachts, we didn't have rolls royces, we lived fairly modestly. and i used that money for expansion for the factory. we became computerised, one of the first around here. and i did recruit good
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people, i invested in people at that time. all those things were funded by the fact that three women kept a lot of money in the business. i really think part of our success was that. i remember going to one particular exhibition in ciselle in paris and i looked around, just to see what everyone else was doing, and i came back with three new ideas. you could be here for a week, going through all these. which one's this? the burghley. the bedale. there's the bedale that i designed. it's the horsey one, that one. then we became a high street
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supplier and, you know, princess diana and all that period of the �*70s started wearing ourjacket. this is your prep section, this is where your work gets prepped to go onto the production lines. right, this is georgia, georiga's making a breast pocket that goes on the inside of the jacket. 0h, georgia's good, georgia's good, she does a good job. little angel. like her mam, just gets on with it and works well. you don't realise how many parts of the job there actually is to the jacket. it's hard, because you've always got to keep focused, make sure there's no faults, make sure you're doing what you're doing right because if it gets all the way down there and it's a full jacket it'll end up coming
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all the way back up and it's not the best. all done. been here for seven years. i was an apprentice upstairs for two years, and then i came down here for like five year now. everyone on here's just like family and friends now, i know everybody. they're a bit older than me, so i call them aunties. you are with these people nine hours a day, four days a week, you do feel like family, and when one of them's hurting and one of them, you know, it does get you. i mean, i came back after losing me mam and it was so nice to be back with them. i didn't know any of these girls here when i came here and i've made a lot of friends. the atmosphere is great. i mean, we work as a team together. some of the girls are going out weekends and we've made
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a lot of friends here. you knew you were doing something and especially for the nurses, the doctors and the nurses, who were on the front line, it was lovely. it had the proper cuffs on, it was the proper fabric, it was all bound, it had tartan binding on it, there wasn't a raw edge in sight, we took some pride in doing it, it was absolutely fantastic. i was at the hospital a couple of weeks ago and the nurse asked what we did for a living. and she went, did you make the ppe? and we were like, yes, and she went, oh, we fought over yours, she says, thank you so much. especially when you seen them on the telly and you thought, we made those.
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and they made thousands in the end, about 50,000, the first 1,500 went to the rvi here in newcastle and then they continued to do them relentlessly. a geordie girl is a very special person. they have they've got great loyalty, and sustainability they're tough and dependable. and we were just so proud of doing things, it was our way of giving something back.
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so now we're going to move on from your prep section and we're going to move on to the line. the jacket gets put onto the table in all your different components and then it works down the line into like a u—shape and then your finished jacket comes off at the end of the line. maria's a good worker, reliable. janice is a good listener. you can see by the speed and the experience she's got there how quick she's putting them nylons on. i've been here eight year now.
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i work on the two backs and the fronts. this is your nylon that goes on the bottom of yourjacket. and this is your top half of your front, so when you put this end up with that. and then i turn around and i do the collar tabs, making and attaching the collar tabs, and i make the small wing cuffs. i've got to do 162 a day, so this i do 162 of these, 162 of them, and 162 of them. it is a lot, it is a lot, yeah. it's nice when you see the finished product come off the line or you see them hanging up and you see celebrities in them and you think, we've made them, we've done them, we are proud.
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too many people throw things away. but if you love yourjacket, like, obviously this jacket has had a lot of love over its a0 odd years. they don't want to throw them away, they want them back. so these are just the jackets that's we've had sent in by our customers. they're sent in for various of reasons, it
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could be for a reproof, a clean, repairs. i would say, ooh, we've probably got about, i would say, about 700 jackets here at the moment. then when they're paid for they get released and put through to our prep section.
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joyce is going to check the jacket up for us at the end of the line before it finally gets put into a bag and we get it shipped out the door. i've been here about nearly 41 years, but if i included when i come here when i was 16, had the children, it would have been 45 years nearly. probably spent more time here than at home. it's a nice family business, all the girls and that are friendly and that, we're all a team. i've been around here since i was born, literally, grown up in shields, love the place. people from south shields are a really proud bunch. it's a really enjoyable place to live and the vast majority of people who work here are from shields. you know, now that the clothing trade has gone in this area, it's not like it was years and years ago. it's a big manufacturing firm, it's a good firm to work for. i mean, it's the bread and butter for everybody as well, isn't it? we employ so many people.
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people say, why don't you go to london? and i said, i wouldn't give up my geordie girls, i really wouldn't, they are fantastic. 25 years, 30 years, a0 years. i can't tell you how many people have worked that number of, you know, for a long, long long, long time because they love it. we wouldn't work anywhere else. dame margaret! it started here and it's very important that it stays here.
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this is your finaljacket. it's been through all your processes, it's now been labelled and folded and ready to go to the warehouse. it's made in south shields and can be sent anywhere over the world. and it's quite satisfying, seeing the end product when it's come from just rolls of fabric into a made—up jacket. great feeling. pride. on a night—time, we come out, me and me sister come out wait for georgia, walk home and georgia goes her way and we go ours. off we go home, and they get raging because i leave them first and they've got further to walk.
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we clear our air, have a good chat, have a laugh or if we're feeling down we'll have a cry or we'll have a moan and it's just us three being us three going to work and coming home. music
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hello there. spring is on hold as we edge towards the end of march. cold air has been sweeping southwards. some of us have seen some sleet and some snow. and through thursday, the day starts off with a widespread frost and some ice. it's going to turn into a day of sunny spells and wintry showers. this cold front has been ushering in the cold air. along the line of this weather front, a band of cloud, rain, sleet and snow. behind it, speckled shower clouds in cold air. that's where we have some wintry showers feeding in from the north. so the very first part of the morning, we'll tend to clear that rain, sleet and snow away from the far south. some of those wintry showers continuing to push in the especially eastern scotland and northeast england, but there will be one or two elsewhere. temperatures widely falling below freezing, “4 or —5 to start the day across some rural northern areas, and ice a potential difficulty across parts of eastern scotland and northeast england. through the day, it's a mix of sunny spells and wintry showers, the showers a mixture
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of rain, sleet, hail and snow, most accumulating snow, i think, confined to the hills. could be a few more showers just easing into southeast england at times, where it will be windy. around some of these eastern coasts, could see gusts of 40—50 miles per hour, just adding to that cold feel. temperatures for most between 5 and 8 degrees, maybe 10 in parts of south wales and southwest england. through thursday night, we will see further wintry showers streaming in from the northeast, potentially some more persistent rain, sleet and hill snow clipping the far southeast of england, and temperatures again widely below freezing. a widespread frost for friday morning. could well be some icy stretches here and there. for friday, for most, it's a similar day, a cold day, a bright day, with plenty of sunshine but some further wintry showers. we will see some slightly more widespread rain, sleet and snow pushing into western scotland, maybe getting into parts of northern ireland as we go through the afternoon. temperatures, well, maybe just a notch higher, but still disappointing for what will be the
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1st of april, 6 to 10 degrees. and those temperatures don't climb an awful lot through the weekend. they may climb a little. there's quite a lot of dry weather on the way, but there will be some showers as well. but as we head into next week, signs of a more significant change. the winds turn to westerlies, and that will bring milder air from the atlantic. with that, though, some rain at times.
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so soi welcome to so i bbc news - i'm nuala mcgovern. our top stories. ukraine's military warns russia is regrouping its forces — we've a special report from the south of the country. shells land in these fields periodically and the next village, down the road, is occupied by russian troops and civilians have been killed in these villages. us intelligence suggests president putin feels misled by his armed forces, resulting in tensions with top generals. one of hollywood's biggest stars, bruce willis, is retiring from acting due to a brain condition. and a distant sun — we'll tell you about the newly—discovered star that dates back almost to the dawn of time.


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