Withy Grove, Manchester – 2

Many thanks to Paul Bailey for sharing these photographs. Says Paul: “Hi, found your site a while ago, I started work at Withy Grove Press, Thomson House, Manchester as an apprentice Monotype Caster & Keyboard Operator in the jobbing section, then I moved (upstairs) to the day composing and linotype section, then finally onto nights as a keyboard op on the national dailies.

I knew I had taken some photos, but I had handed them all out to the lads as mementos when Withy Grove closed down. But having recently purchased a neg scanner to digitise family photos, I found the negs of the ones I had taken at Withy Grove.

When Thomson House closed I went into chemical sales for a while, then went back into printing in Skipton at the Craven Herald as an Apple Mac op, worked in Keighley, Ilkley and Bradford before finally ending up in Blackburn at Newsquest North West Headquarters as a graphic designer. Five years ago the design production was farmed off to India. Since then I’ve had the odd job or two, but if some one offered me a job back at Withy Grove I’d snap their hand off. Great place, great blokes … loved it.

Paul Bailey setting the Telegraph TV guide
Paul Bailey setting the Telegraph TV guide.
Denis Barber (Ali)
Denis Barber (Ali)
Paul Bailey seated and George Vale
Paul Bailey seated and George Vale.
Ken Bond
Ken Bond.
Sam Calvert at the Elrods
Sam Calvert at the Elrods.
Racing-up-to-date crew
Racing-up-to-date crew.
Ged, messenger boy and Dave Grant
Ged, messenger boy and Dave Grant.
Dave Heald
Dave Heald.
Denis Sidebottom and Bomber Harris
Denis Sidebottom and Bomber Harris.
Alan Peason
Alan Peason.
Brian Mottershead and Arthur Bond
Brian Mottershead and Arthur Bond.

18 thoughts on “Withy Grove, Manchester – 2”

  1. Wow, a proper blast from the past! I was only a ragarse at the time, but still keep up with Dave Heald now and again, he will love these. Great pictures Plunger!

      1. I have just text him the website, he will be in his element, especially the one where he is holding a tray of whiskey glasses in one hand and an empty bottle in the other . . . priceless!

    1. What was the celebration Dave? Or was it “normal business.” Have you got any pics that could be used on the site?

      1. It was normal business. Are you an enthusiast about the world we lived in? I don’t recall your name. Dave Heald

        1. Dave Heald as I live and breathe. How’s things with you. Ken Tetlow here. Absolutely loved working at Thomson House. Started as apprentice in Withy Grove Press before moving onto the Linotype on the fourth floor. Happy Days

  2. Wonderful times I was an apprentice machine manager at a Kent paper (Gravesend Reporter). The pics just reminded how the print industry was, full of unforgettable characters, lots of tradition and the unions were so very strong because of genuine support for your fellow colleagues.

    1. I started work at Kemsley House, Withy Grove Press, in the summer of 1961 as a printer and bookbinder I have wonderful memories of my time there I was no stranger to the old place as my mother use to take me to work with her during my school holidays she worked in the canteen her name was Ann she use to take the trolly round in the afternoons, I don’t think there was a room in the old place that I hadn’t been in, even now I write chapters of my time made in Dagenham had nothing on us all, I even took over as MOC when Edith Johnson retired. Sadly I loss track of Les Byers from the print room when friends reunited folded
      Susan Baker (nee DUNN)

      1. Hi Susan, Glad you enjoyed the pics. M.o.C – a thankless task, but plenty of time off work for meetings (that’s my experience as an ex- F.o.C.). Lets hope Les Byers spots the article and makes contact.

  3. I was a Lino op from 1968 to 1979. My name is John Keefe (also known as Monkey!). Just wondering if anyone out there was employed at Thomson House at the same time as me? I left to go to the Daily Express and Daily Star.

  4. My mam Carole Gibson worked there from being 15 so probably from 1960 and left in 1973 on maternity leave. Heard so many stories sounds like it was a great place to work. Her boss was Mr Judd 👍

  5. My Dad, Dave Wilson, worked at Thomson House on the linotype in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Sounded like it was a great place to work and i know he missed it when he left to go the Telegraph in Trafford Park. Thanks for posting the photos. Takes me back to when I was a kid and he showed me around.

  6. Hi. I was an apprentice compositor at Withy Grove Press along with Paul Bailey who was slightly younger than me. Great photos Paul invokogreat memories. Started my 5-Year apprenticeship in August 1970. I used to do 2 hours overtime most nights except Friday and all day Saturday and some Sunday mornings. Loved working there. Worked last couple of years on Monotype keyboard. Then moved upstairs on the newspapers working on a Linotype machine. Moved to Manchester Evening News until redundancy. Started own print business with partner in Deeside. Then bought out by typesetting company in Newton-le-Willows where I relocated and became Production Manager. After 7-8 years again redundant and started digital print business with one of my sons. Now retired but remember fondly the heady days at Withy Grove.

Have your say . . .

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.