On Saturday afternoon, the foreman in each department in Lennoxmill went to the public houses in the village and paid the workers under his charge. The use of the room in the pub was given in return for their patronage, since it was expected everyone would spend some money or give a small contribution. This system of payment prevailed until 1832. The system encouraged drinking to excess, and many workmen spent too much of their wages before leaving the pub.
One of the managers at Lennoxmill recognized the evils of the system and decided to change it. He arranged for every man, woman and child to be paid by a clerk during working hours, and this brought about an immediate improvement. Workers drank less, and became more regular and punctual at work.
The trades' unions made provision for accident, sickness, or disablement, or in the case of death, and the block-printers regulated the terms of admission to their trade and the amounts to be paid at entry.
Members paying £10 were free from all subsequent payments to their union, but those paying the minimum sum of £7.7s had to make a 'pay-off' whenever they were liable. Printers, Block-cutters and Engravers all had to pay the entry money. Sometimes half-entry of £3.10s had to be paid before members were allowed to start work in a new shop.
Almost any imaginable circumstance became an opportunity for a trade or shop fine or pay-off. An example of this would be when, at the first sign of a beard in an apprentice, the oldest apprentice would act as barber, the victim would be seized, seated, have his face daubed with soap, shaved then charged half-a-crown for that first shave.
Getting a new suit of clothes, being put on piece work, when work was changed. when an apprenticeship was completed, when they got engaged or married; if a wife had a baby, a bottle of whisky had to be bought to treat the workmates, and men and women partook, sometimes to excess, even during working hours inside the gate.
These shop fines, were also exacted in other print mills in the parish, and one story from the Kincaid print field illustrates how rigorously they were enforced.
The child of a block-printer died and he was off work for 2 - 3 days until after the funeral. His workmates would not allow him to resume work until he paid his bottle of whisky, as a fine for having a death in the house. The man refused point-blank to pay. He suggested a birth may be reason for exacting a pay-off, but not a death. He thought it cruel and inhumane, and decided to consult with the manager.
Fearing they may not get their treat, they decided to entrap the man. With a plausible reason, they induced an apprentice block-printer to finish the mans work for him, saying the goods were needed immediately. Willing to oblige, he complied and was instantly challenged for attempting to work as a journeyman. He was ordered to pay a fine. The manager suggested that both men, i.e. the bereaved man and the apprentice, pay for their bottles and quietly resume work.
The monies levied at entry, half entry or pay-offs, were entirely expended on eating and drinking rather than being paid into sick funds or death and funeral expenses.
In the 1830s there was no bank of any description in the village, but by the 1880s, there was a branch of the Royal Bank and one of the National Security Savings Bank, which had been established in 1848.
The Lennoxtown Savings Bank was established in 1846 and certified in 1863 under the Trustee Savings Bank Act of the same year. Around this time it became known as the Campsie Savings Bank. Its amalgamation with the Savings Bank of Glasgow, took place in 1938.
Back to: Points of Interest