We were very sad to hear this weekend of the death of Joan
James, a great friend to Somewhere and an amazingly vibrant and
positive woman. Joan was one of the passengers from East Tilbury at
the heart of our first film Bata-ville: We are not afraid of the
She worked for almost quarter of a century in the Bata offices from 1947 to 1972 and retained a huge affection for the company and her time there without being sentimental or unrealistic about the changes over time. She put an enormous amount of energy into both the Bata Reminiscence & Resource Center and our project and she features in two of the most moving scenes in the film. The first at the Best shoe factory where she is overwhelmed by the sight of the machines that have replaced all the workers she used to see at East Tilbury and the second in the final few moments of the film, as her reflections on the future close out the documentary.
She said of her work at the center:
"We at The Bata Reminiscence and Resource Centre are not about shoemaking ... we're about the memories of people working at Bata, which is a different matter ... we're about memories, the past and hopefully the future."
She will be missed by Karen and I and certainly all at East Tilbury will miss her energetic and positive prescence. Our condolences go out to all her family and friends.