Many thanks to Derek Cross for sending in this photograph and story.
The Argus Press was situated off Fleet Street in Tudor Street. It printed a number of magazines and newspapers, including the Observer.
I was an apprentice compositor there from 1955 to 1958 (I think) when it closed down and I was transferred to another printers in the group to complete my apprenticeship. The Observer production was transferred to The Times.
The tradition was for apprentices to be “banged out” on completion of their six year apprenticeship, which meant people banging on the chases (the metal frames that held the type) to celebrate followed with drinks.
This picture shows the Father of the Chapel pouring out the drinks on the stone.
This was to celebrate Charlie Marks completing his time. Charlie is the first person on the left, but sadly his face is turned away, so it can’t be seen.
There were a number of restrictive practices in place in Fleet Street at that time, one being that although a compositor had completed their apprenticeship, they couldn’t work on a national paper until two years had passed.
The Argus Press building was recently converted into luxury flats.