I like old buildings and hate to see them fall into disrepair. I have blogged about a few of them in the past:
As with all old buildings I like to stand and visualize them in their heyday with large groups of people working away. I see in my minds eye the machinery and hear the clangs and clatters as it is used. I hear the voices of instruction, correction, encouragement, banter and also the laughter. I feel the heat, the cold or the dampness. I remember that children of a young age, often only into double figures, worked long hours for a pittance.
Life back then was very ‘local’. Without our modern means of transport and communication, life revolved around the mill or factory. Romances blossomed over or behind the machinery. One generation followed another into the factory.
I think of the offices with the high desks where the clerks sat on high stools or chairs. These staff dressed and indeed addressed each other formally. There was no going to work in sports wear or looking like you had slept in your clothes for a week and forgotten to brush your hair!
The furniture was heavy and there were no castors to aid with moving it. Decoration and paintwork were dark and the windows were high and small. Lighting was poor, and coffee machines unheard of. In fact eating at work would be frowned on.
All records of the work were hand written into large ledgers using dip pens. Any mistake, misspelling or ink blot was permanent. The accounts involved long and cross tots; mental arithmetic, a pencil and eraser the only aids. Orders, invoices and receipts were hand written ready to be delivered by messenger boys. Wages were paid weekly by cash counted into the hand of each employee. The cost of breakages or for time lost was often deducted. Holidays were few. In these parts the annual holiday was a day out to Portrush on 13th July.
So today on Ada Lovelace Day* an international celebration of women in technology that centres around the use of blogs. I am pleased the workplace has advanced to the stage that it is, wherever we are, user friendly bright and warm.
Three cheers to our women in Technology today. On behalf of future generations we thank you!
* Ada Lovelace was born in 1815, and is recognised as one of the first computer programmers. She wrote programs for Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine, along with the very first description of a computer and software.