Former Regional Training Manager and printer,
Donald Stott, had his 7 year apprentice
compositor training interrupted by war-time
service. He began studying at the Regional College
of Art in Bradford in 1947 and gained his City and
Guilds Full Technological Certificate in 1955, when
he was named Student of the Year.
Donald had already completed the C&G Intermediate
Certificate in Halifax, but transferred to Bradford to
study for his Final and further certificates. “After nearly
60 sixty years I can still remember going up to the top
floor and looking at the mock shop fronts used to train
window dressers from Brown Muffs, Busby’s and other
retail organisations in the area.
The Printing Department occupied a large room on the ground floor. It was a very airy and well-lit room equipped with composing frames and proofing presses. On the basement level was the letterpress and lithographic machine rooms each with its heavy machines, the Monotype keyboards and casters and the process engraving section with its large cameras and etching baths. All the presentations and displays took place in a large hall situated on the first floor directing above the composing room and accessed by some imposing stairs. I remember one occasion quite vividly when for some obscure reason; overnight the gents’ toilet became the ladies and vice-versa, causing much confusion, not to mention embarrassment to all who had not read the notices! Printers’ costing and estimating classes were located in some teaching classrooms in houses in Grove Terrace.
After 9 hours at work I had to commute for classes running until 9pm, 3 nights per week. Once a week we would adjourn to the Manville Arms for some liquid refreshment and then dash into the city centre to get a bus home - happy days!”
Donald spent 2 years in the RAF, doing a correspondence course in machine printing while serving in Egypt. After the war, he resumed work at Dudley Hill and returned to College, his career progressing in parallel. In 1954 he was poached by Watmoughs, starting as an estimator and rising to Group Training Officer, when challenges included training all staff for metrication and decimalisation. In 1974 he became Training Advisor for the Printing & Publishing Training Board, co-ordinating the training of all apprentices in the North of England. Made redundant in his 50s, he trained staff for 20 housing associations in the North East Housing Association Group for 10 years.
Retiring at 63 due to ill-health, he offered a printing machine he kept in his cellar to Bradford Industrial Museum. They wanted the machine – and Donald! He has now been demonstrating the printing machines as a volunteer for 8 years. “I have a lifetime of experience in the printing industry and it is worthwhile to show, particularly to school children, what computers have replaced. As a printer you needed design, spelling and punctuation and there was no room for costly errors. We had a high standard of training.”
Photograph by Shelagh Ward