Finn – What was your job in the steelworks ?
Mr Cairns – Well I started off as a labourer. I didn’t actually work in Ravenscraig , I worked in a little factory attached to it. There were lots of little factories. Ravenscraig supplied us with steel which had to be shot blasted . We put protective coating on the steel so it wouldn’t rust.
After that I did other jobs like driving a fork lift truck and eventually I became a shot blaster
Finn – What was the shot blasting like ?
Mr Cairns – (Laughing) It was very dirty. Very dirty. If you have ever seen a house being sand blasted , It’s like that except we used iron filings instead of sand. So when you went home at night your pockets were full of iron filings. Your mum would fall out with you because the iron filings would come out during the washing and ruin her washing machine. The steel would corrode the insides of washing machines and your bath. It was a horrible ,dirty , filthy job. You had to wear protective clothing like a space suit. You had to have an air feed from the back and a visor at the front. The visor would be all pitted with the wee bits of iron blowing into your face.
Finn: How do you feel about the closure of Ravenscraig?
Mr Cairns: Well on the one hand it’s a shame because it provided lots of jobs for people and their families to have homes, cars, holidays etc but on the other hand it was a very dirty and dangerous job.. It’s a complicated thing. There is no industry left in this part of Scotland but health might have improved because people aren’t breathing in the smoke and pollution that was coming from the steelworks.
Interview by: Finn, Olek, Suzanne and Piroska
Transcribed by Alicja S1