Page 10 - May 2014
P. 10

countryside was a favourite pasƟme of his.         job suited me for a Ɵme, and then I went to
And a smart turn-out it was. He was known to       Chelmsford, an open house, where a variety
be a connoisseur of horseflesh, as well as of       of work was done, and a lot of council minutes
whisky. But print is really my theme.              and the like, and the inevitable Voters' Lists
                                                   set on piece. It was a free-and-easy place,
In the works another pasƟme of his was to          with a genial O. He was so genial that rather
hop up the stairway to the gallery of racks,       than let me, or anyone for that maƩer pop out
unbeknown to anyone (but not always)               to get a packet of Woodbines, he would get
and to spy on us as we worked, and then,           them himself. He was himself an inveterate
unexpectedly, to thunder at anyone he              cigareƩe-smoker.
thought was miking. At one Ɵme one of
the labourers in the machine room got into         At 10 a.m. the boy collected our cans and
trouble and was spending a month in Warwick        went for our beer. If he happened to be
Gaol. The old man sent food to his wife and        late any morning, one of the comps would
family and saw that they were cared for, and       hit three Ɵmes with a shooƟng sƟck. Don a
took the man back into his employ on release.      suspended chase24 at which we would cry at
The Voters' Lists, of course, grew
monotonous, though the Directory                                 the tops of our voices: 'Be-err!'
was interesƟng enough, teaching                                  and up would pop the 0., saying,
me some interesƟng facts about                                   'All right boys, he won't be long.'
the county, some of which I                                      As long as we kept sober and did
verified on my cycle-rides                                        our work it was not against the
through that delighƞul                                           rules to bring in what beer or
county. Straƞord-on-Avon and Leamington                          other refreshment we wished to.
were of course favourite haunts. I had to go to    This place was another converted dwelling-
Leamington for my weekly bath—chalybeate           house, with cellar for the machines, the two
water 6d.; ordinary water 3d. I have tried         floors above being occupied by the composing
drinking this spa water, but the ordinary sort is  department. All was very cramped and the
beƩer, and the local beer was beƩer sƟll. I did    place rather dilapidated. But I stayed on,
not worry.                                         chiefly because my father was sƟll very ill. I
I knew the job would not last long and I had,      would cycle home nearly every weekend to
up to then, had no difficulty in geƫng a new         see how things were there and to pay my T.A.
one. In the following spring I got the sack and    subs as there was no branch in Chelmsford.
went home to Colchester, where my father
was very ill. I got a job in the town, in a small  When my father died and my mother seƩled,
print-shop behind a staƟoner’s shop.               I applied for and got a job in Newport,
                                                   Monmouthshire. This was another prinƟng
Spoƫswoodes were seƫng up their prinƟng            works behind a staƟoner's shop, where quite a
works there at the Ɵme and I applied there for     good class of jobbing work was done, it was a
a job, and was told I would be noƟfied when         full-Society house. Newport printers were very
the type arrived and would be given the job of     well organised, under the very able leadership
laying the cases. But when the manager found       of Bill Humphrys, branch secretary. The bosses
that I was a member of the T.A. he turned me       were, as a rule, somewhat antagonisƟc to
down and gave the job to a tram-conductor          Society acƟviƟes.
who had been a comp. Anyway, my present
                                                   The largest prinƟng works in the town went
                                                   so far as to employ a lady mono operator,

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