Battery girls' good old seaside day out

Earlier this year the POST published an old photograph of a group of smartly dressed women gathered in front of a coach. Although initially little was known about who these ladies were, the mystery was solved when former Eveready Battery employees got in

Earlier this year the POST published an old photograph of a group of smartly dressed women gathered in front of a coach.

Although initially little was known about who these ladies were, the mystery was solved when former Eveready Battery employees got in touch to explain that the picture was taken about 54 years ago on an Eveready outing to Margate.

One of those who recognised herself was 94-year-old former Eveready worker Ivy Pracy. Ivy, (standing furthest to the left) was employed at the battery factory in Dagenham for almost 30 years and was actually the one who organised many of the day trips, including the one in the photo.

Ivy explained that once a year each department in the factory would have an outing, which in those days was called a beano.


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It would usually take place on a Saturday and would often involve a trip to a seaside town, such as Margate or Ramsgate.

She said "As the manager of my department I was responsible for collecting the money for our beano.

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"This would cover the coach to take us to our destination and maybe some straw hats for everyone.

"There would usually be some coppers left over, so I would get some envelopes and put three pennies into each and then hand them out to the girls. This would pay for the toilets, which cost one penny back then."

Also in the photo is Ivy's niece, 71-year-old Sheila Martin (standing 11 from the left) and Sheila's mum and Ivy's sister Anne Brown (kneeling below Sheila) who has now passed away.

Sheila, who started at the factory when she was just 15-years-old and stayed for 20 years, would give her dad 1p a week to save up for the annual beano.

She said the factory workers had very little money, so the beano was something to look forward to all year.

Sheila said: "I have such fond memories from those outings. The day would begin with a stop off half-way to Margate at the Half Way House, where we'd have a few beers and a knees-up.

"We'd then continue on to Margate, where we'd use the amusements, have lunch somewhere and then maybe go to some pubs."

And it seems like the fun did not stop there. The partying, Ivy recalls, went on until late at night.

"On the way home we'd stop off at the Half Way House again. Someone would get on the piano and we'd all sing and dance.

"We'd stay until about 10 o'clock, then get back on the coach and on the way home we all sang and danced in the aisles.

"We usually had a few beers on the coach too. We wouldn't be home until 12."

According to Sheila, however, none of the girls were ever any trouble.

Ivy and Sheila have lost touch with the other women in the photo, but Ivy believes at least five have since passed away.

Both women say that their years working at the Eveready were fantastic. Sheila only left because her marriage took her out of the borough, and Ivy stayed until the factory closed in 1970.

"It was such a lovely place to work" Sheila tells the POST. "We were one great big family."

Ivy agrees: "I loved my time at Eveready. Seeing that photo in the paper brought back so many wonderful memories. It really was marvellous time in my life.

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