1999/164 Jack Breadon interviewed at his home in Edinburgh on 28th October 1999 by Dr Heather Holmes.
000 Started in Nelsons 1926. Worked in stores for a year then started as compositors apprentice.
009 Exams; went to day school at Heriot Watt. Worked in stores till 16 as couldn't start apprenticeship before then.
038 One compositors apprentice each year
053 Apprentice would begin correcting galleys and assisting journey men. Fifth year would start estimating and casting off.
095 Strict union which oversaw apprenticeship
113 Good relationship with journeymen. Nelsons did own adverts.
135 House style in adverts.
148 Worked as assistant to manager
169 Display work changed latterly
182 Adverts would go in various newspapers.
204 General strike in 1926 affected workers.
219 Discussion on various men in composing department
231 No female compositors. Female copy holders.
243 2 press readers, 4 readers at Nelsons. Cubicles for each reader.
254 Male talk in composing department.
258 Composing by hand with a setting stick. Could set a line a minute.
317 Harder to compose in foreign languages
327 French reader at Nelsons
337 1000s of typefaces at Nelsons
350 Clearing of caseroom when closed. Description of caseroom.
367 Six monotype machines. Majority of work done by machine. Hand composing for display work.
387 Taught monotype at night school
403 Did all jobs in caseroom
407 Away during the Second World War
422 Became manager of caseroom after War.
436 In charge of around 50 men.
447 Firm started to use monophoto film.
477 Film more fiddly to work with. Gradual shift to film. Smaller department with film, did not replace those that left
506 Decline in advertising after takeover
527 In caseroom all did various tasks apart from one man who prepared things for the foundry
563 Reader was a specialised job. Begun as compositors, prestige job.
591 Readers were superior to compositors and compositors were the elite. Good natured teasing from other departments.
654 People arrived at work in suits and then changed
678 Family firm, important to have family connections. Mother and father worked in Nelsons
709 Proud to be a compositor
720 Two men would set up a book, quicker that way. Some men would make more mistakes than others.
760 Difficult to remove mistakes.
775 Nelsons did intricate and varied work.
800 Buchan came round the factory. Couldn't read his writing, very difficult
840 Secrecy of work, did some Government work before Second World War
859 Used to send work out when busy, regularly used a firm in Glasgow
880 Very small percentage of work sent out. Some went abroad.
903 Heard about takeover on wireless. Queens visit, Ronnie Nelson was sent elsewhere and missed the Queen.
931 Managing Director H P Morrison showed the Queen around.
939 Spruced up factory
947 Monday, Tuesday, Thursday night overtime. Would decide who came in. Paid at time and a half
966 As manager did not get paid overtime