Duration 1 minute 45 seconds


Q. You went to the Technical College in Leicester...

A. Yes.

Q. Were there other choices of places you could have gone to, to have learnt all this?

A. Not really knitting. I mean, Leicester was the place for technology knitting. Now it goes back a long way Leicester, because there was a firm called Rowlett and Rowley.  They were in King Street and they subsequently changed and became Benjamin Russells, but Rowlett and Rowley were quite a substantial firm at the end of the 1800s and Rowlett was particularly keen on training when in Britain in the industrial revolution training wasn't really a thing, you know you just went in and learnt it as an apprentice.  He got the idea that you ought to have more organised and systematic training.  And he'd been to Germany and seen what was going on in Germany and he thought we ought to do the same thing in England.  So he was instrumental with other manufacturers in setting up the knitting school in Leicester at The Gateway.  And he translated the German textbook into English and I've got a copy of that textbook.  I haven't got a copy of the German unfortunately, but I have got the English one.  That was really the first textbook that was used.

But the school Rowlett started, or he was one of the starters of the school, it grew in, in Leicester and it was the leading knitting school in the country. Well, it was one of the best in the world and we used to get international students over, and there were a lot of international students, overseas students when I was there, coming from Greece, Turkey, Cyprus, America, Hong Kong.

Source: East Midlands Oral History Archive (Ref: R Kempton)