Started work in 1961
The Machinery Publishing Company was situated halfway down West Street in a building called National House. I started work there in 1961 where I began as an assistant in the photographic studio on the top floor; my ‘salary’ was less than £3 per week at the time. I had many tasks which were applicable to the technology of the time, such as loading the film cassettes for the industrial photographers who went off travelling the country, taking photos of various machines working in different factories. I also loaded film sheets in cassettes for the plate cameras that were used at the time, as well as filling baths with developing chemical and running the glazing machine when hundreds of photos had to have the shine put on them.
Interesting and varied tasks
The photograph here was taken in the art studio which was on the top floor of National House. The desk with the pots and the stripped mug was mine; I am the ‘young boy’ third from the left. In the art studio, I was responsible for a wide range of jobs ranging from filing away all the finished artwork and visuals to making the tea for the artists. As a young trainee, the range of jobs that came my way was varied and interesting. The man immediately behind me at the back was Richard Kemp who lived in Woodingdean and drove a yellow and white Ford Classic. The man next to him with the glasses was Mr Hopkins and was my tutor really, teaching me hand lettering for the years I was there. The men in the white jackets were the artists while most of the others were photographers.
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A different world
The older man in the middle next to the ladies was the boss while the man next to him was his assistant as far as I can recall. The artist to my left was the chief artist and art studio head, while the young man just behind me on my left, worked in the sales office. The older lady was responsible as I recall, for everything from the wage packets we received each week containing actual cash, to all aspects of ‘personnel’. This is what would now be termed ‘human resources’. The young girls sitting to her right were the ‘office juniors’ and would have been responsible for jobs such as typing, filling, daily post, making tea etc. These tasks were not looked down upon, but were very much part of your learning skill, and considered essential as a part of your development to become successful. It was a different world then.