Page 13 - February2017
P. 13

I didn’t need to look at the keyboard, and     So the apprentices did everything. We
       even remembered to open the knife block   moved from machine to machine to keep
       to allow for 10pt drop letters at the start of   them running, we set the type, proofed it,
       news stories (as was the style then), and   read it, and made it up into pages, so that
       perhaps more importantly, to put it back   everything was ready for the journeymen
       to 7pt afterwards. If you didn’t, none of the   when they came back.
       subsequent lines were trimmed and you     As I recall, it was a very hot summer,
       had to reset the lot as it was all off  its feet.  and I think the strike lasted about six
          Then along came the national printing   weeks. The Deputy Overseer even bought
       strike in 1959. The Echo was a strong NGA   us ice creams sometimes. Strangely
       union shop, so all the men went ‘out’, but   though, we stuck to the usual times for
       as apprentices we were not called out on   tea-breaks and dinner hours. It was a
       strike. I’m not sure if it was the law or a   tremendous experience for us, but we were
       union ruling, but we still went into work.  all very glad to see the men back again.
         The only people in the comp room      Without getting into the politics of
       were the apprentices, the Overseer and   it, at my age, I hadn’t realised until the
       the Deputy Overseer. As the journalists   strike just how strong the union was
       weren’t aff ected the Editor decided that   in the printing industry. I don’t know
       stories would be covered in diary form   about jobbing offi  ces, but certainly in the
       and these pages would be included as   newspaper industry at that time the FOC
       supplements in the normal paper when   (Father of the Chapel) and the Chapel
       publishing began again.               Committee were very important people.

        This picture gives a view of part of the Southampton Echo composing room showing the
        Linotypes; also a couple of randoms and some of the stones where the pages were made
        up. Not sure when this picture was taken, but probably the early sixties. One thing that
           is certain, it is a scene that will never be repeated in any newspaper offi  ce today.
   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15   16   17   18