Metal Type: Home | Library | Forum | Free Ads | Store

Alabaster Passmore Strike Breaking

Started by John Nixon, April 23, 2022, 11:29:09 AM

Previous topic - Next topic

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Printle: A Printing Word Game from Metal Type

John Nixon


This film was shot in 1959 by Brian Passmore (1899 -1985) who at that time was Managing Director of his family printing business in Maidstone Kent - UK.

It shows the Passmore Family, including wives and some other members of staff not on strike attempting to complete a job for a customer which is seen leaving the factory at the end of the film in Fairy Snow boxes.

The ladies are seen attempting to hand fold and bind a job whilst Denis and Roy Passmore working with the managers and sales staff, (including John Thompson - father of Diana) are seen doing other finishing tasks.

My mother (Anne) recounts how her mother-in-law Barbara, when put on checking for any miss-registered sheets before folding, said that this was ridiculous activity and the customer should be grateful for all the magazines they got regardless of the quality of printing. She then encouraged the other Mrs Passmores to go on strike too.

Michael and his father Brian Passmore are seen running letterpress machine (single colour, single side, 5,000 sheets per hour max).

The factory at that time employed several hundred staff and the output on that day would have only been a few percent of the factory's normal output.

Strikes (The legitimate withdrawal of labour by the unionised workforce) were relatively common in the UK printing industry at that time and were due to the 100% unionised shop floor workforce wanting improved pay and working conditions.

At that time there were at least seven separate Trade Unions (known as Chapels) in the Maidstone based factory , each representing a different craft and department in the factory and all keen to maintain their  hourly pay "differentials" as well as take advantage of the evolving technology to press their case for improved pay and conditions.

Talking to my father Michael about this film he said that this particular strike was called at a national level and so there was no significant animosity between those "strike breaking"  and the workforce. The overseers, and apprentices were not on strike whilst the sales team were not members of any print union.

I was also present as a 6 month old and one of the more senior FOCs (Father of Chapel - Shop Steward) called Charlie English offered to look after me whilst my mother Anne worked in the bindery.

The film was shown to the workforce after the strike running at twice the normal speed which was thought to be very amusing.

If you would like to know more about this film and Alabaster Passmore & Sons Limited please contact:

Dave Hughes

Quote from: John Nixon on April 23, 2022, 11:29:09 AMThe film was shown to the workforce after the strike running at twice the normal speed which was thought to be very amusing.

Interesting stuff John, I think there were quite a few national stoppages around that time.

As mentioned in the description there seems to be very little animosity shown. I guess in those days the strikes were just a fact of life!
Printle: Word Puzzle for Printers Play Now

Keep in touch with Metal Type Get our newsletters

Quick Reply

Please leave this box empty:
Type the letters shown in the picture
Listen to the letters / Request another image

Type the letters shown in the picture:

Shortcuts: ALT+S post or ALT+P preview

Printers' Tales - Over 30 stories from the pre-digital age. Buy now on Amazon/Apple Books

☛ Don't miss our illustrated newsletters. Click here to see examples and subscribe. ☚