"The Biscuit Girls," by Hunter Davies

"The Biscuit Girls," by Hunter Davies

Ivy, Dulcie, Barbara, Ann, Dorothy and Jean all had different reasons for applying to work at Carr’s biscuits, but once they had put on their overalls and walked through the factory gates they discovered a community full of life, laughter and friendship.

To those who didn’t know, the biscuit factory that towered over Carlisle might look like just another slice of the industrial North, a noisy and chaotic place with workers trooping in and out at all hours. For the biscuit girls it was a place where they worked hard, but also where they gossiped, got into scrapes and made lifelong friends. Outside the factory walls there might be difficult husbands or demanding kids, and sometimes even heartbreak and tragedy, but they knew there would always be an escape from their troubles at Carr's.

Some, like Barbara, only applied because she needed the extra cash, until things got a bit easier at home. Her supervisor cross examined her about who would be looking after the kids while she was at work, but let her have the job. Like many of the women who joined up ‘temporary’ Barbara went on to stay at Carrs for 32 years.

Beginning in the 1940s, these heartwarming and vividly-remembered stories have all been told by the women themselves to Hunter Davies.

I bought this book while in Britain as it's about Carr's Biscuits in Carlisle which was where I was born and have family to this day.  My aunt I think was a "cracker packer" for a short time probably in the late 50's or very early 60's, so was interested to read what went on there.  My dad remembered having a tour of the factory when he was a school boy.  I just remember it always being there whenever we were in Carlisle.

Although it talks of the experiences of all the women interviewed, it does also go into the history of the factory and the founders.  I would like to read a history of the Carr family themselves at some point.

Although both Barbara and Ann are a few years older than me, I found there memories and stories making me remember things from when I was growing up.  I used to stay at my Nana's in Carlisle often so many of the places mentioned were also familiar to me.

Stars out of 5 : 4 I am not sure if the general public would find this book interesting.  I found it interesting because I came from the area, so things and names meant something to me.  If you are interested in Britain and the way people lived and the history of biscuit making then you would probably enjoy this book.  If you're from the Carlisle area in Britain you will thoroughly enjoy it.


  1. This sounds like a very interesting book even though I am not from the area. I enjoy reading books about regular people in places that I am not from. I am going to see if I can find it -- e book maybe.


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