John Wood

(Haddington Courier)

2007/62/2 John Wood interviewed in his home in Haddington by Sarah Bromage on 24th April 2007

Mr Wood worked in the Haddington Courier as a compositor then a linotype operator. He subsequently became a proof reader with the Haddington Courier. He remembers going on annual trips with the Courier staff every summer.

0000 Started apprenticeship in 1953. Apprentice compositor. Did a lot of hand setting type from case. Was newspaper office but also did general printing.
0102 Not assigned to a particular journeyman. Had to learn the layout of case. 3 linotype operators, two apprentices and two other compositors and foreman in room.
0200 Whole staff was 18. Weekly paper which started as Haddington and changed to East Lothian Courier. Centenary of the Haddington Courier.
0253 Night classes at Heriot Watt College, Chambers Street
0330 Met other apprentices from other firms. Uncle worked on Courier staff as linotype operator.
0411 Rise in pay gradually each year. After National Service went to work on linotype machine. Did National Service after 4 years of apprenticeship.
0500 Description of linotype machine. School parties that came to look at linotype machine.
0551 Hours 8am till 5pm and a till 11.30 on a Saturday. Worked Christmas Day
0631 Two weeks holiday and the odd day. Union responsible for improving holidays. Was a member of the STA and eventually SOGAT. Union meeting which included other printing firms. Had an office in local recreational halls.
0811 No strikes. Had a good boss. Closed shop in Haddington Courier.
0844 Editorial side. When started only two reporters and the editor.
0913 Lot of commercial work. Did all the accounts of the Local council and Town Council. Minutes for Town Council and Church magazines.
1000 House style of newspaper. Printed on a flatbed machine. 4 pages early in week and 4 pages later. Always finished on a Thursday evening. Feeding the paper.
1100 Circulation 8,000 when started and by end 14,000. No marketing department at first but tried to bring in adverts.
1134 D and G Croal Ltd ran the paper. Miss Evelyn Croal ran it but when she died it became a Ltd Company.
1219 Feeling that it was a family firm. When she died got one hundred pounds from the firm.
1300 Statutory sick pay. Aware of the convalescent homes but did not use them
1339 No recreational facilities
1350 Annual trips.
1500 Description of locations visited such as Dunoon and Gretna
1530 Foreman a fiddler which meant there was music and sometimes dancing on the trip. Local bus company would take them
1600 First Saturday in June and would meet outside Courier to get bus.
1630 Stopped in early 60s. Mr Wood felt people had their own cars and did not need the trip
1700 Goes to show photograph.


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