Thursday, August 16, 2012
Polish of Empire
The first factory in Pelaw opened in 1902, and expanded to make a massive range of goods. Not just polishes. Bedding, clothing, furniture, drysaltery, leather goods and saddles, packing, preserves, printing, quilts, scales, shirts and vinegar. That's a big workforce. Long gone now.
I well remember the black shoe polish. It came in a red tin with a picture of a seal on it, that's the animal that swims in the cold seas. Many years later I visited to Newcastle and heard the correct pronunciation of Pelaw not how we'd been saying it for years. Sounds like Pilau as in the rice dish.
Back to the Empire days. Polishing was a big activity. You had to have shiny shoes, a shiny floor, gleaming brass work, spotless cutlery. Everything got dirty from the coal fired domestic life and industrial chimneys. The metals tarnished and oxidized. Today we use different materials that don't require as much polish. The towns are smokeless zones and a lot of modern everyday footwear would be ruined by shoe polish.
Related posts in this series :
Foods of the Empire