Page 8 - May 2014
P. 8

Paul Evett: Compositor pt.2

   LEFT CLACTON and took a job at Warewith         I was engaged, on stab18 on the July Voters'
    and Son. The prinƟng office was a small          Lists, starƟng work at 6 a.m. and finishing
    one at the back of a malƟng, in an             at 10 p.m. Didn't my feet get Ɵred! Tired of
overgrown garden, several yards from the           standing. AŌer a few days of this I had to wear
river. A pleasant liƩle place in a pleasant liƩle  canvas slippers before breakfast, unlaced
town, where work was also pleasant and the         shoes between breakfast and dinner, older
three or four comps-cum-machine-minders            shoes in the aŌernoon and slippers again
were a pleasant lot of chaps. But I had not met    aŌer tea, and then shamble to my lodgings
a Society man and sƟll knew next to nothing        to supper and welcome bed. On the first day
of Society maƩers, and thought of them not at      I asked the 019 where I might find a 'perch'.
all. This was a seasonal job, chiefly on a local    He directed me to the W.C. down the yard. He
and a county directory, interspersed with bill-    had never heard of a 'perch'. Nor could I make
heads, pamphlets, posters, parish magazine         one, for no old type-box or other material was
and a series of interesƟng extracts from an        available, not even an empty case to turn on
original copy of Izaac Walton's Complete           end. Anyway, I stuck it out and finished the
Angler, set in long primer14 old style with the    job. By the way, dirty post-cards were printed
use of the long 's', for which many pounds of      in this liƩle office. The boss was a member
I.c.15 leƩer 'f' had been purchased, so that the   of the local Council or Board of Guardians, or
inside of the cross stroke had to be chipped       some official body. I was fairly well-breeched
off with a pen-knife.                               aŌer gobbling up all this over-Ɵme, so I had
                                                   a week's holiday in Pompey and roundabout,
Soon aŌer the following Easter, this job           before taking a job I had secured in Warwick
terminated and I straightway went to               town. This job, I feel, was my first introducƟon
Portsmouth to work in the office of the              into the clan of real printers. I called on the
Hampshire Post. Up to now I had never seen         boss as soon as I arrived in the town in the
a linotype machine, though of course I had         late aŌernoon. He was a thick-set, round-
heard and read of them. I used to take the         faced, angry-looking man. He had but one leg,
BriƟsh Printer regularly. Here I had to help       the other had been amputated at the thigh,
in making up lino slugs16 into pages, lay          high up. He told me where to go for lodgings,
them down in sixteens, thirty-twos, etc. and       and said he would not pay extra for over-Ɵme.
generally do stone-band's17 work set leading       But he did. The wages, if I remember rightly,
on arƟcles and ads for the paper, programmes       were 32s. per week.
for concerts, bills and posters and winkle bags.
This was the largest works I had so far worked     The comps were friendly, and the snuff-boxes
in. I did not like it, but I stayed on to become   were freely passed round. I was soon asked if I
acquainted with the town and countryside,          belonged to the Typographical AssociaƟon.
both of which I thoroughly enjoyed. AŌer           As I did not, I was asked if I would join.
dismissal, when the Workman's CompensaƟon          I expressed my willingness, not knowing
Act was introduced, the following Monday           exactly what I was leƫng myself in for. This
morning I started work in the same town in         was an 'open house' but only a very few were
a liƩle office behind a staƟoner's shop. Here        not in the T.A. However, I filled in the forms

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