John Wood

(Haddington Courier)

2007/62/5 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 Transition to the modern ways. Some would find it difficult because it was such a change. The typewriter keyboard would be very difficult to learn when used to linotype or monotype.
0146 Went to typing college to learn the fingering. Time taken to set a row of type when hand setting. After job had been printed had to 'diss' the type / put type back in case
0316 If you made a mistake in a line you had to reset the line again in linotype. After you set a line of type it was proofed up and sent to the reader and then would come back.
0413 Print room on first floor and office on ground. Chute to send copy down and back.
0510 In early days a girl in the office and an editor would be proof reading. Three linotype machines at start but this increased with the introduction of two more machines.
0600 Noisy within the print room. In office below you could hear the thumping away. When computers came in was cleaner and quieter.
0643 As compositor wore white apron and would have to be boiled up every day. Had to wear shirt and tie with apron. Some men wore dust jackets but traditionally an apron.
0727 Did not miss the environment when it changed.
0800 Before they got rotary press were printed on a wharfedale. Paper came in on 500 sheet reams. All men stopped work and carried in paper reams to building.
0900 Would catch and carry reams of paper and were stacked in corridor of office leading to editors room. Paper came from Lasswade.
1000 No women in production just in office. Printing office across the way which was a wee jobbing office.
1030 Mr Brash was Secretary of union and they would loan each other things. Amazing man who would hand set everything. Printing office which was a one man operation. Would do the same type of market. His office was East Lothian Advertiser but the paper was long since defunct.

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