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My dad was a heel stacker at Wolverhampton firm

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: April 23, 2014

My parents Alf and Hilda Redhead at The Molineux Hotel

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WITH reference to your articles on James Baker shoe factory, Wolverhampton in The Bugle (February 27, March 13 and March 20 editions).

I have been most interested in these stories as my late father worked there. He started there at the age of 14, straight from school in 1930.

Dad was a heel stacker, making heels. These days heels are made in one piece, but in those days they were made by stacking heel-shaped pieces of wood on top of each other and nailing them together very precisely.

Dad would often talk about it. Every time I bought a new pair of shoes, he would inspect them thoroughly, paying particular attention to the heels.

Although Mr Taylor does not mention my Dad in his letter, I feel certain that they would have known each other. My Dad knew Joe Leach, uncle of the late film star Cary Grant.

The names Ben Roden, Ronnie Smith, Bill Davies and Harry Tibbetts ring bells as do Don Bentley and Norman Collins as well as the names of the two foremen, Mr Lea and Mr Allen.

My Dad's name was Alfred Galileo Redhead, he was known as Alf or Alfie, some people also called him Galil, as Alfred is a popular name.

My Dad also loved ballroom dancing, old time dancing was his favourite. He had a similar pair of shoes to those described by Mr Taylor in his letter. They were still in existence and in beautiful condition. My mother gave them to my younger son following my Dad's death in 2003. Sadly Kristover, my younger son, did not want them, so he threw them away, which upset both my elder son and I, we would have liked to have kept them in memory of Dad. My Dad met my mother at a dancing class after the war, it was on Victoria Street above the Scala picture house (now demolished). It was run by a Mr Loveday, his son Dennis played the piano when he wasn't assisting his father with the teaching.

My parents went dancing at many venues in Wolverhampton, as well as the Civic Hall and Saint Paul's Hall. They went to The Queen's Ballroom (now Lloyds Bank), The Molineux Hotel, The Wulfrun Hall, Saint John's Church Hall (now demolished) and the Star and Garter.

I thought seeing the picture of my parents, Alf and Hilda, might spark a few happy memories for a few people.

I thank you as ever for producing such an interesting and informative paper. It is a joy to read every week.

Mrs Alison Russon,

2 Teme Road, Cradley,

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