We’re delighted to share the first conversation as part of The Kathleen Project – collecting stories about Manchester’s industrial past, in the words of those who lived it.

The Kathleen Project, episode 1: in conversation with Joan (excerpt)

In this episode, Jo speaks to Joan Hibberd, who worked as a dressmaking apprentice at ‘Dewsburys and Veeries’* (*our best guess at spelling!) on Deansgate between 1936-1940.

She started her apprenticeship in 1936 at the age of 14

When the Manchester Blitz occurred in December 1940, power to all the businesses along Deansgate was cut so Joan had to leave her employment and sign-on.

In signing-on, Joan was directed to war work and got a job at the Ford factory in Trafford Park, working on the Merlin engines which would go into Spitfire planes, used during WW2.

Born in Gorse Hill in 1922, she has lived in Stretford for most of her life.

Listen to the full episode below.


The Kathleen Project, episode 1: In Conversation with Joan

The Kathleen Project, episode 1: in conversation with Joan (full episode)

Thanks so much to Joan for sharing her story with us! If you know anyone who worked in Greater Manchester’s textile industry and would like to take part in the project, please do ask them to contact us.

Listen to all of The Kathleen Project Conversations

The Kathleen Project is led by Stitched Up and supported by Historic England.