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A Recognised Collection of National Importance

Home > Family Histories > Occupations & Trades > Joiner


also Apprentice Joiner, Foreman Joiner

Joiner David Newton Pumpherston RefineryR10-00780 Joiner outside the workshop at Pumpherston Refinery, circa 1950 A joiner was engaged in joinery work in shops making wood work of all kinds for building, repariring and renovating structures at the mines, oil works, offices and company housing. Joinery was a qualified and skilled trade that took many years to learn. An apprenticeship would usually start between the ages of 14 and 16 and last for 5 years. Once the apprenticeship was served the joiner would normally stay in this trade for the rest of their working life.

Wages & Working Hours

The average weekly wage of a joiner in 1886 was 28s 1d and the working hours were normally 57 hours over 6 days (Board of Trade Census of Wages).

By 1914 a Scottish Oil Ltd document "Rates of Wages Paid" records that joiners received between 4s 10½d and 7s 0per shift and those aged between 19 and 21 earned between 4s 8d and 5s 4¾d per shift.

In 1957 joiners earned 29s 7d per shift (Scottish Oils Ltd Comparisons of Various Day Rates of Wages Between Shale and Coal Mines).

In 1923 an apprentice joiner started on a weekly wage of 14s, which rose to 16s in 1924, 18s in 1925, 24s in 1926 and to 35s in 1927 which was the final year of the apprenticeship.


"I took up my appointment with Scottish Oils at Middleton Hall, where for the first six months, I was in the sawmill. I was learning a little bit about the machinery and how to work them and so on. Then when they needed a boy outside I was apprentice to a man called Wullie Meikle who was outside foreman at that time, and the housing that was being erected at Pumpherston at that particular time opposite the school.........we were going in to 1924 I think. We could be sent anywhere and the type of work we did was building bathrooms, roofs, hanging doors, replacing windows, putting in the boring for concrete roofs, coal house doors and converting old dustbins, you would call them........ in brackets, into wash houses, for each of the people". AM, Apprentice Joiner, Aged 15, 1924

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