Page 6 - September 2014
P. 6

ales from a                                                   Pt.2

    COMPOSING ROOM

                                         by Derek Nuttel (9693)

             OME HUNDRED OR MORE of                door into the composing room crying ‘Awake,
              the most popular hymns were          Awake’. They had come to order several
              ‘standing’, but woe beƟde if a       hundred more copies of a leaflet headed
                                                   ‘Awake, Awake’ which they gave out to the
           Methodist version was used on           public in the streets. Even more eccentric was
BapƟst ‘Sermons’ hymn sheet, and one               a man who ran a ‘Full Gospel Mission’ and
had to watch out for subtle differences in          who claimed he could ‘speak in tongues’ –
wording, such as ‘hallelujah’, ‘halleluiah’, or    which he oŌen did when he came to place or
‘alleluia’. I sƟll remember the wording of a       collect an order (at least he burst into some
large number of hymns, which is perhaps not        sort of mumbo-jumbo!)
surprising aŌer spending many hours seƫng
8-page ‘Sermons’ hymn sheets, wedding and          All proofs were pulled on the massive
funeral orders of service. Whilst I cannot recall  Stanhope and I used this every week of my
the local Catholic church holding an annual        apprenƟceship. Some Ɵme aŌer I had leŌ the
‘Sermons’ (a major event, usually in early         firm, I heard that they wanted to scrap this
summer), the local funeral directors brought       fine, rare, press which dated from 1805 and
many jobs, of which a popular Catholic             bore the words ‘Stanhope invenit. Walker
memorial was a kind of bookmark printed on         fecit’. I desperately wanted to preserve this
a strip of white silk.                             press, so arranged with a scrap dealer I knew
                                                   to offer £10 for it. This was refused, so I then
One job that occurred every week and took          offered £15 which was accepted. The press
at least a couple of days, was the prinƟng of      was then donated to Salford Museum where,
window bills and quad crown posters (20"x          I trust, it sƟll remains. This turned out to have
30") for two local cinemas. This was heavy,        been fortuitous, as not long aŌerwards the
dirty work. The large, and very heavy, poster      prinƟng works was burnt down.
formes had to be carried down to and up from
the machine room, a job normally requiring         I said at the beginning that the working week
two people. On one occasion, however, the          was 48 hours – which included 3 hours on
boss decided to carry a poster forme on his        Saturday mornings. This was usually spent
shoulder (perhaps suggesƟng that it was Ɵme        delivering jobs to customers and I had to
I could do likewise!), when, as he descended       accompany the boss in his newly-acquired
the stairs, a corner caught against a beam and     AusƟn 10. SomeƟmes there were ‘perks’, such
the forme fell over his head – not a happy         as free Ɵckets for the local cinema or cricket
occasion!                                          match and, at Christmas, giŌs from some
                                                   customers when they were given a calendar
Apart from more orthodox jobs for private          for the new year. It was on one such delivery
customers or local businesses, from Ɵme to         that I witnessed an aircraŌ crash onto the
Ɵme we had visits from two religious middle-       local hillside.
aged ladies who always barged through the

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