Cat no. 226509

British Cinema History Research Project Oral Histories: Tom Peacock (studio plasterer)

c.1988

Tom Peacock (1908 - ?)
Interviewed by Roy Fowler

Tom Peacock was born in 1908 the son of a plasterer’s labourer in Hammersmith. After initial work in a briar pipe factory, he entered the building trade as a plasterer and having trained to do fibrous plaster work at night school, he entered the film industry as a plasterer in the late 1930s.

In this interview conducted at ‘Glebelands’ (the CTBF retirement home) Peacock talks to Roy Fowler about his career as a studio plasterer in various studios including Denham, Riverside, Pinewood and Shepperton. A particularly interesting section discusses the typical day of the plasterer and the kind of work they were required to do, and how the plasterers shop tended to be organised. A member of NATKE, Tom discusses the role of Trade Unions within the industry, remembering several trade disputes arising out of issues of division of labour and Bank holiday rights - particularly the long-running dispute at Riverside during the filming of 'The Years Between' (1946). He discusses the system of allocating location work. Among the films touched on are 'The Seventh Veil' (1946), 'Fire Over England' (1937), 'Some Girls Do' (1969), 'The Long Duel' (1967), and 'In Which We Serve' (1942). Colleagues mentioned include Art Director Carmen Dillon and NATKE officials Tom O’Brien and Frank Kelly. Peacock also discusses the film made by the Trade Unions in support of Russia’s involvement in the war, 'Our Film' (1942) and the involvement of plasterers from the Crown Film Unit in creating WWII camouflage items at the ‘Thatched Barn’ at Elstree.