Page last updated at 11:12 GMT, Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Dole staff in Pontypridd mocked young Sir Tom Jones

Sir Tom Jones
In the early 1960s, a young Sir Tom was a regular visitor to the dole office

Sir Tom Jones was once the butt of civil servant sarcasm for his "non enthusiasm" for finding work or taking a job that might "dirty his fingernails".

The employment records of Thomas Woodward, as he was then known, suggest the hopeful young singer was already pinning his hopes on a musical career.

Sir Tom, in his early 20s, was claiming unemployment benefit but his attitude clearly irritated staff at the Pontypridd employment office.

The records, contained on six cards, were found in a skip some years ago and are now to be sold at auction.

An official wryly noted in 1964 that the singer had lined up a recording session but was still "signing the unemployment register and not autograph books".

Another wrote in December 1963: "He does not want shift work but I believe the reason for his not liking shifts is because he is a member of a vocal group which is supposedly an amateur affair.

"From the number of adverts one sees in the local press, however, it seems that this group has a good thing going... from the way he is able to dress, it would seem that Mr Woodward's little hobby is highly lucrative and this would also account for his non enthusiasm in securing employment.

He has been talking about 'going professional' since April but he is still signing the UR [unemployment register] and not autograph books
Employment records of Thomas Woodward

"Consider and submit as soon as possible to anything which wouldn't dirty his finger nails! Nothing on offer at present."

Sir Tom, who has sold more than 100m records worldwide, left school with no qualifications and married his sweetheart Linda at the age of 16.

The employment records illustrate how different his life in Pontypridd was to that of the singing superstar he was to become.

They were compiled between 1961 and 1964 and list the jobs he had, including factory worker, glove cutter and labourer.

The notes mention his tuberculosis but describe him as "physically fit, tall, well built."

Sir Tom Jones
Sir Tom went on to sell more than 100m records worldwide

They also refer to him being on bail for breaking and entering.

In March 1964 officials wrote: "No change in employment position but his vocal group is contemplating turning professional within next month or so."

A month later a civil servant noted: "His group has still not turned professional but they are in close contact with Decca Records and are awaiting notification as to when they will record their next record."

The final entry, written on 3 July, 1964, is: "Claimant showed me a letter from Decca Studios confirming a recording session had been arranged.

"He has been talking about 'going professional' since April but he is still signing the UR [unemployment register] and not autograph books."

Richard Westwood-Brookes, from Mullock's auction house in Shropshire, said: "These cards were rescued when the records were computerised.

"They are a wonderful look at the beginning of a glittering career when Tom Jones was trying to make a living from his singing."

Employment records of Tom Woodward
The official suggests work that "wouldn't dirty his finger nails"

He said there were some "quite acerbic and sarcastic remarks" written by the civil servants.

"The records set quite a scene with attractive Tom Jones in his tight trousers and smart clothes on one side of the desk and the civil servant on the other," he said.

"The notes mention his TB and it's amazing to think that such a voice came from a man who had suffered from the disease."

It is hoped the records will sell for thousands when they go under the hammer on 15 April.

Sir Tom, who is 70 in June, was awarded a knighthood in 2006.

He began his musical career in 1963 as vocalist in the beat group Tommy Scott and the Senators, before changing his name to Tom Jones.

His first single, Chills and Fever, failed to chart but his second, It's Not Unusual, was an international hit.

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Metro Radio Job Centre Staff Found Tom Jones 'Workshy' - 2 hrs ago
Sky News Sir Tom Jones 'Workshy' In 1960s - 17 hrs ago
Telegraph Tom Jones at the job centre: singer's employment record unearthed - 40 hrs ago
TalkTalk Tom Jones jobcentre records reveal staff scepticism - 43 hrs ago Jobcentre staff mocked Tom Jones - 45 hrs ago

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