Page 9 - March2017
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|  New Every Evening |                            |  Pat Swadling (10453)  |


                hen it comes to getting a      The apprentices, myself included,
                local newspaper into the     were also on a learning curve about the
       Wnewsagents, on to the                union and the power of the National
       streets and through the letterboxes   Graphical Association at that time,
       every evening, much depends on the    certainly within the newspaper industry.
       composing room doing “their bit” on   No union card, no job. I believe that was
       time. Of course all the other departments   particularly true on the London papers.
       are really equally important, but  we felt     An example I remember well: One
       we  were in the front line.           of the advertisement staff  came into
         To produce a paper each evening     the comp room to see someone during
       everyone in the comp room had to work   tea-break (so there were unattended
       together and individually at jobs, but the   machines) and decided to start tapping a
       linotype operators liked to think they   keyboard.
       were kingpins (even if they weren’t).  As     I don’t know why he did it, but I’m
       there were 24 machines all the operators   sure he didn’t expect the reaction he
       aspired to having their “own” which they   caused. The union FOC (Father of
       worked on each day. This, of course, was   the Chapel) closed down the room
       within the gift of the Overseer, and he   completely. To cut a long story short, it
       wasn’t about to be swayed by requests.  was two hours before work started again.
         Eventually though, I was given/     We lost a couple of editions ; I suspect
       allowed my own linotype, and yes, it   all the advertising staff  received very
       was the oldest  of the lot.  Not a Model   strong advice on what not to do in the
       One, but probably not far off . I’m not   composing room, and that is probably
       sure why, but it went by the name of the   putting it mildly. Shall we say no-one
       Black Widow. Because of its age, it was   from another department ever went near
       certainly not the easiest of machines to   a machine again!
       operate.                                Looking at it now, you could be
         It had two magazines, one for small   forgiven for thinking why did we take
       advertisements and the other for 6pt.   such action, but it was just how things
       fi ller stories, so hence you spent most of   were in those days, however, here I must
       your time setting small ads, plus Births,   hasten to add we always had excellent
       Marriages and Death notices. It was   FOCs and union branch offi  cials, who
       slow and   could  be temperamental,   achieved many good things for us,
       but looking back, it was an  excellent   without any industrial action, including
       learning curve. Perhaps our Overseer   obtaining quarter of an hour heat breaks
       was wiser than we all gave him credit   (on a rota system) every hour during
       for!                                  the extremely hot summer of 1976. We
         Several of us were still attending the   certainly needed those breaks with our
       printing department at the art college   glass roof.
       for evening classes, and for some reason     Little did we realise then, the
       the teacher decided to bombard us with   turbulent times ahead of us, the union,
       leafl ets on how to operate and care for   the print industry and the newspaper
       these huge machines. Actually, some were   industry in particular.
       very good, once you had them explained
       to you. I  still have a few of them.
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