One of the best known personalities at East Tilbury, Mr Purkiss made steady progress during his service, which began as a laster. He was soon a lasting instructor, and then a checker - he has an inscribed wristwatch, won for being top checker (in Dept 421) in 1939.
After returning from service in the Royal Air Force and the Fleet Air Arm, he took over the leather factory’s first sample conveyor, and was first foreman of the workshop making women’s high-heel shoes. Then he was successively foreman of Depts 421 and 451.
“I have always been interested in my work,” he told Bata Record, “ and have found that no matter how many years one has been doing a job, there is always something to learn.
“When I first came to British Bata the factory as considerably smaller than it is now, and so was Bata Estate generally.
“There were no buses, and no East Tilbury station. I lived at Laindon, and had to cycle 15 miles to get to work. I have lived on the Estate for seventeen years, and I am still same house, in King George VI avenue, as I was then. I do not know how many garages there are now at the top of that road, but I remember the first of them being built, because I used one of the first of them.”
Motoring - which he has been doing for 32 years - is his chief off-work interest. He is also interested in young people’s welfare, and looks after the 1st East Tilbury Life Boys’ football. While at work, he met the girl who was later to become his wife. Now Mrs Purkiss again works for the Company, and is a forewoman in the leather factory. They have a son, who goes to Bata Estate Primary School, and a daughter.
Mr Purkiss has never regretted the day when, while traveling between Laindon and the City, where he worked in an office, he applied (successfully) to British Bata, because he wanted a more active job, nearer home, and with better prospects.
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