Page 14 - July 2014
P. 14

Paul Evett: Compositor pt.3

           OWEVER, TWO YEARS WERE UP              than expected owing to a type-founders'
            and I wanted a change. I inserted an  strike holding up deliveries of necessary sorts
            ad in the Printers' Register, which   for the dicƟonary. This was a full-union shop
I knew the boss read, for it was through that     and Bill Cable the able T.A. branch secretary.
periodical that he engaged me. The week           He was a good chap and did all he could for
my ad appeared I received my noƟce but            the branch members. The district secƟons
had received no replies. AŌer hanging about       of the T.A. were coming into full swing with
Newport for a week or two I jumped on my          beneficial effects on members seeking work,
bike and rode as far as Reading (barring the      as. was exemplified in my own case when this
journey from PortskeweƩ to Pilning through        job finished. Bill Cable got in touch with the
the Bristol Channel tunnel). Next day I rode      district secretary, who fixed a job for me right
to Gravesend, the only Ɵme I have ridden          away at the SalvaƟon Army PrinƟng Works
through London, and the only part of the          (The Campfield Press) at St Albans. My railway
ride I did not enjoy. I had always fought shy     fare was paid, but I cycled from Gravesend
of London, whether for work or pleasure. It       on the Sunday and started work on Monday,
could then offer me neither. I am not a real       in what I consider the best prinƟng works I
countryman, but a provincial who loves the        have ever been in. It was a six weeks' job on
country and country towns rather than ciƟes       a catalogue for Garstons of London, bag and
with their 'freƞul sƟr unprofitable and fever of   trunk-makers. At 8 a.m. all employees were
the world’.                                       gathered in the entrance hall for a religious
                                                  service conducted by the Works Chaplain,
It was now 1912. I applied personally for a       whose place was occasionally taken by other
job at Harmsworths (later the Amalgamated         S.A. officers. A SalvaƟon Army comp wielded
Press, now Fleetway Printers Ltd) at              a concerƟna to lead the hymns, and the
Rosherville, just outside Gravesend. I was        flourishes and arpeggios he introduced into
laughed at. No comps had been employed            the tunes delighted us by their variety and the
there since the 1911 London comps' strike         skilful abandon with which he executed them.
(except a stone-hand or two). The branch          He was a master of the instrument. During the
secretary, the jovial, rotund, snuff-taking        services, which usually occupied about ten
Freddy Newton, sent me off to Chatham, to          minutes, frequent exhortaƟons were made
—’s: where the Chatham Observer was (and          to those at the rear of the hall to desist from
sƟll is) printed. Here my chief work was the      reading their newspapers and aƩend to the
seƫng of an Esperanto dicƟonary, six different     Word as expounded by the elect — but with
founts of type being used. I very soon learnt     liƩle avail, I am afraid. On special occasions
Esperanto, and was made sort of clicker of        the service lasted a good deal longer, but no
the small 'ship' of two or three comps. Other     one minded that. We had both morning and
work was the Esperanto Journal, the usual         aŌernoon tea-breaks, providing our own milk
small display jobs, and the Sapper and other      and tea and sugar, and the mid-day break was
R.E.s work dealing with the part the R.E.s had    one hour and a quarter. The place was painted
taken in the Peninsular War and m which I         white or cream throughout, was light, airy
found a deal of interest. This job lasted longer

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