Page 11 - February 2018
P. 11

I remember investing                  moved from our village to Northampton
                                             (my father moved his engineering business
       in a new font of                      there) and it was there that I and about
       Spartan, which worked                 30 other boys had to sit a test to see if we
       well on the cards.                    had half a brain and were not colour blind.
                                             Employers with apprenticeship vacancies,
                                             then chose who they wanted to interview.
       1948 as I had a couple of blocks with food   I had three. One as a printer with a small
       depicted, which I used for the menu. I was   printers, mainly letterpress, another as a
       very proud of my work, although I doubt   monotype keyboard operator with a compa-
       it was that good.                     ny called Belmont Press, who have become
         As I grew more confident I began print-  a very large business over the years. Finally
       ing cards for people at school with their   I was interviewed by a large packaging com-
       name address and telephone number (if   pany called Vernon Packaging. My surname
       they had one). I charged something like   being Vernon, caused some confusion
       25p for 50 cards, my first taste of run-  when I commenced work, I was the only
       ning my own business! I ordered the card   Vernon in the company. It was originally
       from Adana and I remember investing   established in the 1920’s as Vernon Press in
       in a new font of Spartan, which worked   Vernon Street, Northampton from which
       well on the cards.                    it took its name. There were about 200 em-
         One of my friends had somehow ac-   ployees and they had moved to brand new
       quired a significant amount of small   premises about 2 years previously and had
       self-adhesive labels on a sheet that could   9 large printing presses! I was impressed.
       be cut into strips of 12 labels. I bought the   My father and I signed my indentures (I still
       labels from him and had the great idea of   have this document) and I was signed up for
       printing football team names on them, in   five years to learn the art of litho printing.
       the appropriate colour, and sell them as a   I continued to use my Adana for some
       new product line to expand the printing   small commercial work and kept it at my
       empire. They proved hugely successful   father’s factory but sadly it was stolen.
       until I was stopped in my tracks by the   This left me a little heartbroken and my
       headteacher of my school. He didn’t take   Adana printing came to an end until very
       kindly to stickers being strategically placed   recently when I bought and Adana 8 x
       all over the school walls and furniture and   5 and fell in love again with these great
       announced in assembly that it must stop   little hobby presses.
       or the perpetrators would be punished.   I have many memories of my time in
       Fortunately my underground press was not   print and now work from home doing
       discovered and I escaped any reprisals from   graphic design and print management,
       the headteacher. I was, however, left with   along with a little photography. If space
       quite a few self-adhesive labels but had still   permits, I will continue the story and hope
       shown a profit.                       it proves of interest to members. I have met
         I decided that I would like to be a   many great and not so great characters,
       printer when I left school and the following   printed many interesting jobs and even
       summer I left just after my 16  birthday    attended a garden party at Buckingham
                              th
       in 1972. In the meantime, my family had   Palace through print but more of that later.
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