Peter Morrison


2001/170 Peter Morrison interviewed in his own home in Edinburgh by Dr David Finkelstein on the 4th November 2001.

000 Father joined Waddies as an apprentice stationer and worked his way up to Managing Director. No idea what he wanted to do after school (George Watsons). Father suggested he do an apprenticeship at W and A K Johnstons the map specialists.

016 Started apprenticeship in 1954. Restriction on number of apprentices. Father negotiated that he was a Waddies apprentice while still working at Johnstons.

031 All litho machines and had a large finishing section to do with maps and globes. Apprenticeship: would clean plates and sweep floors. Moved to small litho machine which printed cheques for the national bank.

056 Moved to printing department making plates. Helped on bigger machines which were different to Waddies. Johnstons had a lot more book work.

075 Johnstons and G W Bacon were part of Morrison and Gibbs who were the parent company.

091 Johnstons publishing side of maps and book printing were mainly for Morrison and Gibbs. Apprenticeship not structured. Learnt a little through different roles. Covered all aspects of printing.

116 Camera room and studio. Small map section, making of maps. Procedure to get different colours set; done by 4 girls who would paint on positives. Printing 4 colours.

135 100 people in firm. Not a big social side. Played football at lunch. No outings.

155 Golf club; well patronised. Would have golf outings.

170 1959 strike; apprentices continued to work. Kept the factory ticking over. A good summer, all those on strike sunburned.

190 Went to Waddies and went into estimating. Went into main office and putting orders through. Father wanted him to learn litho as it was the up and coming process. Idea was always to go into the office.

211 Estimating jobs: picked up from department. Make ready times and bindery. Work out how much job would cost to do including paper costs. 5 people in the department. Waddies centenary book. Other people interviewed

(Break in interview)

245 After left firm been playing golf.

255 1960 - 1997 highlights. Been made Managing Director; because of whose son he was his career was mapped out. But felt it went well; putting in 4 colour machines.

270 Good times, worked hard. Father had got business from financial institutions and they stuck with them.

280 Moved out to Slateford Road. Manufactory at Livingston which had two 8 page webs and a 16 page web. Big increase in turnover.

292 Sold one of the web machines now. More striking change: the coming of 4 colour printing and 4 colour presses. Great change.

305 Computer and desk top publishing tied in with photo typesetting. Firms would hand in discs. Keyboards becoming more user friendly which took away a lot of work particularly in composing. Firms probably needed to slim down before they did.

324 Restructured company in the early 1990s. Meant redundancies which was hard. Happening all over.

337 Decline of printers in Edinburgh. Cheaper printing costs of firms overseas. It wasn't a big factor, effected the publishing sector more. The market wasn't big enough run wise to make it worthwhile going abroad.

360 Loyalty of customers. Litho stone used for labels for chemists. Not a big market.

370 Unions quite difficult in the 1960s. Only allowed to have a certain number of apprentices. Eddie Shaw and the breaking of the unions, didn't use union workers. All picketed factory, didn't break him as he was financially backed. All other newspapers started doing this. Unions could not afford to pay all those on strike.

417 Meant Scottish unions could not afford to strike. Problems in the manning of machines. Couldn't de-man a machine. Overtime rates were huge.

438 Unions began to agree as were losing members as the industry was declining.

451 End.

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