Jim Henderson

1999/177 Jim Henderson interviewed in his home in Edinburgh by Dr Heather Holmes on 14th November 1999

000 Nelson pressbed: special base for letterpress machines. Invented the first rotary. First people to do paperbacks.
015 The pressbed, honeycomb press which worked like a vacumn. Used at Nelsons.
037 Started apprenticeship as an usherman at 15. Then went into Scotsguards. At 22 went to Nelsons, did negative spotting. Started apprenticeship as a retoucher, 3 years. Worked with film.
067 Left Nelsons to take up partnership in Transcolour.
075 Didn't want to into firm at first because father worked there. Family orientated firm at Nelsons.
085 Went into Nelsons as did not have anything else, father got him a job. Started labouring on the rotary press.
094 Started on cigs and cleaning presses.
104 Journeymen would monitor production
122 Lots of repairs, machines were old and there were many jams. Had to be careful as no guards on the machines.
144 No training, many teams at Nelsons.
157 Football and hockey played and there was a nine hole golf course.
169 Went from rotaries to handyman job and then onto an adult apprenticeship.
201 Foreman proposed him for an apprenticeship. Doing same job as journeymen with an apprenticeship wage.
228 Apprenticeship took 4 years, day release 1 year to Heriot Watt. Did not go to evening class.
252 2 unions SLADE and NGA, demarcations as to what members of each union could do.
257 Correction of illustration job of SLADE and correction of typographical errors NGA.
277 Always inter union battles over demarcation. Large caseroom
314 Linotype and monotype department
331 When film introduced the caseroom and foundry were obsolete. The Apple Mac decimated the industry. Didn't need case setting, reproduction, A3 image setters or Cromilon machines.
407 1963 introduction of film for an illustration, before this you could spend a month doing one job.
422 All time in the world to do a job. First scanner cost 1 and ½ million pounds, was obsolete in 5 years. Unions would not progress and accept new technology.
455 Nelsons quite advanced, installed a clichograph. Before this it was the retouchers job to pull a proof and adjust the colours.
494 7 or 8 retouchers, all men. Women in the bindery.
501 People in retouching department did general work.
511 Only one apprentice in department. Union wouldn't allow apprentices to protect wages of those employed.
535 Young department, all between 18 and 25 years old. Repro was a young trade where you learnt as you went along.
590 Banter at first, but as new regime came in were too busy.
620 Not interested in going into bindery with father, fell into job as a way to earn money.
650 Only departments that repro had contact with were the caseroom and NGA. Good natured banter between departments.
653 Bindery was separate. No smoking in Nelsons, people would smoke in the men's toilets. Description of Nelsons building and railway.
755 Ronnie Nelson had no interest in firm. Lord Thomson when he bought firm asset stripped. Sold fields for Pool. Wanted to sell bowling club but was not allowed.
806 Workers disgusted with selling of fields. Nelsons kept ordnance survey side of firm.
822 Atmosphere changed, new ideas and workers do not like change. 1965 BPC bought over. 1968 Morrison and Gibb and then the Oxley Group. BPC were rogues and got tax grants for machines that they never intended to be used in Edinburgh. Family spirit gone.
879 Cheap meals at institute which was also used for badminton.
891 Badminton club, women played badminton and bowls.
904 Pension schemes; pools syndicates and premium bonds.
913 Interdepartmental football.
928 Head of department wouldn't socialise with workers after work.
951 Didn't talk about work at home with father.
961 Was Father of the Chapel and was a strong chapel. Negotiations over publishing rights.


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