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.
More pics, added January 2021
Brian Stafford sent in these pictures. If you have any pictures taken at Withy Grove that you would like to see here please get in touch.
New pics added September 2021
Many thanks to Heather Stewart for sending in this picture of her father Norman Douglas Stewart who worked on the Daily Mirror from 1976 to 1984.
Heather also added to the Comments.
Heather also sent in these photos from her father’s collection, but has no idea as to who is in the pics. If you can shed any light on them, please comment below.
New Pics November 2023
I have been contacted recently by Derrick Lumb, who sent me these two photographs. I have asked him for further information, names, dates, etc. but so far have received no response. If anyone would like to shed some light on these pictures, please do so in the comments.
In the first one everyone seems to be holding one of their shoes in their hand! Derrick says: “The photo with shoes is comps showing their shoes bought from Albert or Stuart, you could buy almost anything on the shop floor.”
This next one, in colour, I guess would have been taken at a later date.
Stuart Holmes, from night lino comps, contacted me with a couple of photos. He said: “It would be nice to see our names on the site, good memories of happy days.”
So, here’s the night Linos staffing list from about 1985.
Stuart also sent in this one of a banging-out ceremony. “Banging out ceremony, everyone shaking hands with the retiree passing through the composing room to the noise from banging of metal on the stones.”
Here’s another one from Stuart. “Withy Grove Night Lino Comps football team ready to play against Lino team.”
Still on a sporting theme . . . “Stermac B bowling team, Thomson Withy Grove. I was the only compositor to play with these stereo department lads. Arthur Grewer was captain. 1980s.” said Stuart.
“We were well paid in the Comps. Felt like millionaires on a 26 hour week.”
“A happy face you may remember,” says Stuart.
Bringing it right up to date . . . a recent reunion.
“Lino Ops, Tony Power.”
John Latham, electrician worked 3 floors down in the cellars where all the power sources for the machines etc. were installed. His father Bert was a lino op and is shown on his retirement night in an earlier photo where he is wearing a silver suit and with the Chapel Committee of the Night Lino.
Enjoyed the photos? Well, you’ve found the main page! But there’s another couple of pages on Metal Type you may have missed. More photos here: Withy Grove (no names for the people photographed though, maybe you could help out in the Comments) – and some pics sent in by Eric Saltmarsh here: Men and Machines.