Charlie tells us very little about his early employment and absolutely nothing about his education. However, he occasionally refers to working in a foundry as a labourer and of an apprenticeship, so that we can surmise that he left school at the age of 14.
Charlie spent all of his working life as a foundry man, working in many foundries as employment opportunities arose, (including the new foundry at Ford’s in Dagenham in 1933) and travelling daily to AEI (Associated Electrical Industries) in Trafford Park, Manchester for his last 30 years.
It would appear that in the period after the first World War employment was somewhat haphazard for lots of people and Charlie writes about the frustrations of looking for work in times of unemployment more than once.
At one period he travelled by tram every day from Bolton to either Bury or Radcliffe to work, and on another occasion took ‘digs’ on the Wirral whilst employed in a foundry near Birkenhead.
Suffice to say that he stayed with foundry work and certainly moved from employer to employer on many occasions. He also picked up several work related injuries, including burning his foot by spilling molten metal onto his boot and on another occasion getting a hot spark in his eye, all necessitating time away from his beloved bike.
Later, after a further prolonged spell of unemployment of some 18 months he was chosen by the Labour Exchange to travel for interview to the new Ford factory and foundry being built at Dagenham in 1933 (See link to his short story ‘The Dole’). He was successful in gaining employment there and in the year he spent in the South he utilised every spare minute touring round the countryside, in the summer evenings and every weekend. His bike was never still.
There was still an irritation though, for by now he was engaged to Jo, and she was still ‘up North’. Early in 1934, as the recession began to fade behind, Metropolitan Vickers were investing in a massive factory development in Trafford Park, Manchester, and Charlie managed to get a job in the non-ferrous foundry. This position he kept for 30 years, ending his days there as the Foreman Ratefixer, a very important job indeed.