The Curtain Factory


I worked for a few months in 2004 in a curtain factory in Bootle, Merseyside.

(I'm not linking to them nor naming them. They gave us what they called a pay rise, which actually consisted of raising the basic pay and lowering the overtime rates).

This corner is the signwriting department, where I worked.

Curtains?

Yes, the PVC tarpaulins covering the sides of lorry trailers.

Department? They called the floor of the factory a department?

Yes.

The chap nearest to the camera, Ste Hunter...

is unpeeling the umpteen layers of masking from a set of yellow curtains we've just finished painting for The Pallet Network. You can see that our finished set is smaller than the yellow curtains laid out on the left-hand side, where Neil is masking over the brown ink (Europe) ready to put on the blue ink (the sea). The two sets are for the same company, but obviously for very different sized wagons. These weren't the fiddliest or most complicated designs we did (Castle Cement, come on down!), but they certainly looked the best when peeled and finished. That's Mark, Andy & Craig in the background. By the way, any resemblance between this curtain-painting scene and the Morgens cocking up their semaphore signs in the From Liverpool to Georgetown drawing must surely be spooky.

I've only once seen a lorry on the road with these curtains. Not that I go out lorryspotting or curtainspotting, you understand. Honest! I don't! If you see one of these curtains, look out for my tag, a footprint in the ink. And don't get in touch with me to tell me the news!

My googling only came up with this photo of these curtains in their natural habitat, with a different colour scheme. Not painted by us, and without my tag.
I know that Curtain Factory sounds like a great name for a fashionable eaterie-cum-macrodisco-cum-yuppie quarter, in keeping with Birmingham's Custard Factory and Liverpool's Tea Factory. Well, when I win the lottery I'm gonna buy this factory, throw the owners out, give the lads currently working there cushy jobs and turn the place into the hottest spot in Bootle