Oral History: Eric Feasey
I want to emphasise, when we say smells, it wasn’t necessarily the smells. Sometimes it was how hazardous these industries was that the working class had to do. A lot of the people die of asbestosis. I have traces of asbestosis in my lungs too. So that's why I don’t like people knocking the working class.
Eric Feasey has lived and worked in Barking and Dagenham nearly all of his life. Eric recalls life as a carpenter and joiner at Austin’s Timber in Barking, recalling the smells and working conditions of the factory. Including some dramatic accidents due to the lack of health and safety of the time.
From being born in 1942 in an East London ‘slum’ and adopted, Eric describes moving to Barking and Dagenham, his school life growing up with dyslexia and discovering an interest in woodwork. Eric talks about his career in carpentry and memories of Abbey Road factories. He talks about how many working class people in the area have suffered from the hazards of industrial work, including the effects of asbestosis.
A member of Barking Historical Society and visitor of Valence House Museum archives, Eric also shares his knowledge of Barking’s past, historical moments and anecdotes about the many changes he has experienced in the town including the decline of pubs and housing developments.