Page 13 - April 2017
P. 13

ago. I would recommend a visit to the   were no exception: things became
       museum, there are lots of other things   rather fraught, to say the least. To
       to see and do.                        cut a long sorry story short, our
        The Echo family of newspapers        newspaper days were over. The fi rst
       (Southampton, Weymouth and            tranche (me included) went, quickly
       Dorset Echos) really was a family     followed by the next. It was the end of
       in those days. We held Inter-offi  ce   an era both for us and for the Echo.
       fl ower shows which were always          The daily minor miracles required
       keenly contested, and yes, I did win   to produce a newspaper each evening
       a class occasionally. There were also   that all came together in the race
       children’s Christmas parties and a    against the clock, right up to the
       thriving Sports and Social Club.      moment that the presses picked up
         Companies of any size always have   speed, racing break-neck into the
       anecdotes, although this one doesn’t   new edition, had ended. But life had
       involve the comp room (we had our     to carry on for those of us not old
       moments, though). The Southampton     enough to think of retiring. Other
       council had a car park backing onto   career options had to be considered:
       the Echo car park, but despite the    suddenly there were application forms
       notices there were always some        and things called interviews to be
       members of the public who decided to   coped with.
       use the spaces reserved for us.         We all went our separate ways.
         Inevitably there were arguments,    For me it was into the Civil Service
       until it was pointed out that when    with HM Customs and Excise,
       all the Echo delivery vans returned,   learning about things like the Queen’s
       they would park across them, and      Warehouse. I thoroughly enjoyed my
       they could fi nd themselves trapped    years with Customs, but that, as they
       for several hours, even more so if the   say, is another story.
       van driver had fi nished for the day    The old Echo offi  ce was eventually
       and went home. It was surprising how   pulled down and the paper moved to
       quickly cars could be moved!          purpose-built premises out of town.
         Like so many staff  before us, we all   Now, joy and delight, the old site has
       expected to do our 50 years service.   become the West Quay Shopping
       Then along came fi lm setting. We      Centre.
       all received training; I became Head       However, you know the question:
       Reader and everything seemed fi ne for   “Would I do it all again?” Of course I
       quite a while, but technology advanced   would.
       rapidly and the management took full
       advantage of it. Contracts disappeared
       overnight and the whole atmosphere    Correction
       of the composing room, and indeed
       the press room, changed; and the word   In the panel on page 71 of the March
       ‘redundancy’ started to be heard more   magazine - Calling Conservationists
       and more.                             - the number of typecases shown in
         Redundancy in any company is        the second paragraph should be 200,
       never a pleasant experience and we    not 20 as printed.
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