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Human thread gives ex-factory workers a voice

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A unique song celebrating a factory at the heart of Preston’s industrial past has been hailed as a success.

A Human Thread was written by ex-Courtaulds textile factory workers and North West singer-songwriter Clare Mooney.

The song reflects the intensity, brutality and lasting impact of the Courtaulds factory that was established in 1939 in Red Scar Mill, a site that is now part of the Red Scar industrial estate in Ribbleton, Preston.

The large rayon production facility was closed in 1980 but at its height, the textile factory employed more than 4,000 people and exported goods across the globe.

The factory changed the face of Preston and the song is part of a larger Heritage Lottery Fund project, Colours of the World: Made in Preston, a series of events in Fishwick and St Matthews that aims to collect memories and celebrate the heritage of the workers.

It was performed for the first time at St Matthew’s Mission, Acregate, Preston, last weekend.

And Dan Jarvis, project manager for Made in Preston, believes the song has made a huge impact.

He said: “The whole response to this project has been fantastic and just shows how important these personal histories and relationships formed through work are to northern industrial towns like Preston.

“The aim of this project was to celebrate the vibrant, resourceful and dedicated workers at the Courtaulds factory, and after what we saw on Saturday, I think we can say mission accomplished.

“Former teacher and filmmaker Gary Cunliffe’s documentary on Courtaulds featuring interviews and footage with some of the ex-workers was both moving and informative, and the reactions to A Human Thread were just fantastic.

“This project has been part of Dovetail’s extensive work in Preston over the years and hopefully paving the way for even bigger projects.”

Human Thread lyrics

There’s a human thread

Spinning round, round this town

From the Red Scar works

Memories are unwound

There’s a human thread

And with friends by your side

From all across the world

Gathered here from far and wide

The work was hard, the hours long

What didn’t kill you made you strong

The factory that never went to sleep

Three shifts every day

Non- stop grind for your pay

The factory that never went to sleep

There’s a human thread winding through all our lives

Time affects us all - daughters, sons, husbands, wives

There’s a human thread colours all that’s 
done or said

Bordeaux or spinning green, glory gold or PO red.

The work was hard, the hours long

What didn’t kill you made you strong

The factory that never went to sleep

Three shifts every day

Non- stop grind for your pay

The factory that never went to sleep

It was the factory that never went to sleep

It was the factory that never went to sleep

There’s a human thread, there’s a human thread, there’s a human thread …

This song was created by: Himat Dabhi, Bob 
Fletcher, Clare Garside, Enid Harrison, Dan Jarvis, Pat McGahon, Chhabildas Parmar, Jordi Steppat, Marlene Sykes, June Ward and Pauline

 

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