Page 9 - May 2014
P. 9

Peter Criddle (6562)

and duly aƩended the branch meeƟng (wet)20         contents. There was no difficulty in locaƟng a
and was admiƩed as a member on the 5th             specific galley.
October 1907. I regularly aƩended chapels and
branch meeƟngs (both of which were always          So our chief job was to correct the pages
wet), and learnt a lot, of which I had been        according to the RegistraƟon Officer's up-
totally ignorant before. I was soon made to feel   to-date copy. Besides all these galleys was
at home with my fellow comps, an experience        another series of hundreds of further galleys,
more strange than familiar (except at Ware).       single-column, bearing all the pages of type
I was happy at my work and in geƫng about          for the County Directory. I believe so many
that lush and delighƞul countryside.               galleys of standing type in so limited a space
                                                   was unique, to say the least. Now, the boss, it
Several other fresh comps started work soon        was said, had been a schoolmaster, and had
aŌer I arrived. They were of the travelling        lost his leg through being kicked by a schoolboy
fraternity, who had learnt by experience where     whom he was chasƟsing. He was certainly a
seasonal work was to be found, and here they       temperamental old chap. He also suffered
knew that the Autumn County Voters' Lists          from an obvious rupture, which at Ɵmes would
were to be printed; also the Warwickshire          confine him to his bed, where it was also said,
County Directory. T.A. Travelling Cards were       he throve on a boƩle or two of whisky Ɵll he
then expiring. And here, I would like to           was well enough to get up again. He would
menƟon, was something the like of which I          spend hours on end siƫng on a high stool
have never seen elsewhere. The whole of this       peering into the mono-caster, with his hands
establishment was housed in one wide and           and chin resƟng on his crutch. And he hated to
very long room with a stone floor. At one end       be disturbed while thus engaged, and would
near the entrance door were the machines,          wield his crutch at any would-be intruder,
the one mono-caster21 and the keyboard; then       which once unluckily caught his wife and felled
trestle tables at which folders and binders        her. She at one Ɵme had been his servant or
worked and on which paper was stacked. The         housekeeper.
rest of the floor space to the other end was
the composing department. The boss's house         During one of the bouts menƟoned above,
was at the front of the works and a liƩle to       aŌer I and the other imported comps had been
one side. At the extreme end of the composing      there only a few weeks, we received a week's
department was a sort of wooden gallery,           noƟce to leave. No reason was given, I was
elevated on baulks of Ɵmber and reached by a       perturbed; but I need not have been, for at
fixed step-ladder. On racks all round this gallery  the weekend the noƟces were withdrawn. The
were hundreds of double-column all-metal           old man was well again; and on the Monday
galleys, quite new in appearance. On these         following he issued a noƟce that on a certain
galleys were the pages of the whole County         date the whole firm would have the day off to
Voters' Lists, two pages, close up, to each        aƩend the County Show at Kineton, travelling
galley, with brand-new reglets22 between each      there in four horse-brakes, all expenses to be
column dividing the address column from the        paid by him, including reasonable refreshment
name column, and so on. Most of the type           and meals. It was a glorious autumn day, a
was new, once-printed founders' type—Caslon        lovely ride, and a cheery crowd, and plenty of
long primer, I believe a few were mono-set. All    food and beer. The cavalcade of brakes was
the galleys were numbered and the numbers          headed by the old man driving a high gig drawn
corresponded to a MS list indicaƟng their          by a first-class fast-troƫng pony, his wife siƫng
                                                   beside him. This mode of travel round the

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