In the short story Steady the boy's sister Rose works at the cake decoration factory, Culpitt of Ashington. This factory provided a steady source of employment, especially for women, in Ashington. An American family company originally established in 1921, Culpitt's Ashington factory was opened in the 1940s, and amazingly is still in operation on the same site today. Over the years they have made many types of cake decoration including metallised plastics, artificial flowers and wafer roses. They are now owned by DecoPac.
Courtesy of the company, here are pictures of some of the workforce from around this time.