Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Ms Baroque - 'Sloanes, Liberty, no fraternité'

The entrancing Ms Baroque - do visit her literary site - is provoked into a reminiscence by my item on Olivia Stewart-Liberty, Peter York's "co-writer" on the Sloane Ranger sequel book. And below I have added a couple of links one of which takes you to a report about Richard Stewart-Liberty (or should that be "Mr Richard"?) and his unfair dismissal case against his old family company ...

I wonder how Olivia is related to Richard Stewart-Liberty? Untold aeons ago I worked for a year, as a young gel, in the china section in the basement there. Richard S-L was the vice-something or other in charge of something or other, and used to go walkabouts to see how we were all doing. Once in the summer, when it was about 90 degrees out and therefore stifling in the un-air-conditioned basement, he came down and saw me - in a fit of feeling faint - collapsed momentarily on a chair. With all the benignity of a kindly esquire, he leant over and suggested that my colleague, busy dusting, was working very hard...

Anyway, it still had the feel of a family firm then, and there was a desire expressed to be a little (within the confines of our uniforms, etc) less formal... To this end, we were told it we should adress him as "Mr Richard." Almost egalitarian! The dress code, in the name of this informality, deliberately omitted any caps to doff.

USDAW, the shopwkorkers' union, tried and failed to unionise Liberty during this time, and one morning when they leafleted outside the staff entrance, there inside the staff entrance we saw - on one side, Mr Richard, with a bin bag for throwing your leaflets into; on the other side, the scary-haired head fashion buyer with another bin bag; and behind her another lackey, taking names of people who didn't throw their leaflets. I didn't throw my leaflet.

Shortly thereafter, I was called into a meeting and given my "final written warning" - when I reasonably pointed out that I had been given no previous warning either oral of written, I was told not to be ridiculous, I had been told off so many times for my "attitude" I should have seen it coming.

Ah, those were the days! I'm SO glad Sloane Rangers are making a comeback.

Ms Baroque

Some olde Liberty history ...

Richard S-L wins his unfair dismissal case against Liberty

Liberty rejects call to sack chairman


Anonymous said...

Olivia Stewart-Liberty has written a novel entitled 'Falling'. Barbara Trapido blurbed the novel: "Dark and funny, this a wonderfully alluring read." Well she would say that as she's a friend of Liberty's. The Independent compares O S-L to Muriel Spark, but really she possesses only a modest talent for writing about handbags.

Anonymous said...
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