Picture Gallery

 

Welcome to the Sun Picture Gallery!

Don't miss the art of Corrie Graddon. Corrie is an engraver who worked at the Sun from 1956 to 1982 and is still very active in the world of art.

And new to the site are Gladys Rendell's Rembrandt photographs, 1932-1934.

About the Pictures

The pictures are in roughly chronological order. Our intent is to display here as many facets of the companies, and as many faces of the people, as we can. You will find pictures on many other pages of this site as well. See, in particular, the Timeline, Facts & Opinions, and People pages.

You Can Help Make the Picture Gallery Better

If you have photographs or memorabilia that will make this collection more complete, please contact us. Pictures Wanted tells you more. And if you can provide more information for the captions, we'd love to hear from you.

Mystery Pictures

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Mystery picture. Col. Oscar V. Viney, chairman of Hazell, Watson & Viney, shows a distinguished guest some newly printed magazines in the Sun's Warehouse, while members of the Warehouse staff crowd around. But who is the guest? Can anyone identify him? (From the Sun archives)

The Gallery

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Storey Brothers & Co. Sir Thomas Storey (founder), left, and his sons Herbert and Frank, of Storey Brothers & Company Ltd in Lancaster, were calico and oilcloth manufacturers, and printers of textiles. In 1890, engraver and innovator Karl Klic offered them his services, along with the photogravure process he had developed. With their support, photogravure saw its first commercial application in 1893. The Storeys, civic-minded art lovers, were quick to realize photogravure's potential for producing good quality art reproductions at prices the working classes could afford. The result was the creation of a subsidiary firm, Rembrandt Intaglio Printing Co. Ltd, with Klic as technical manager.

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Geo. W. Jones presentation, Whippendell Road, Watford, 1908. Staff gather for a presentation to George W. Jones (left) upon his departure from the company. Art director Mortimer Menpes (possibly the man in the centre of the photo, in suit and watchchain) will take over and rename the company Menpes Press and then Menpes Printing and Engraving. In 1918, Edward Hunter will purchase the firm and combine his various printing and engraving operations on Whippendell Road under the banner of the Sun Engraving Company. (Photo supplied by Marjorie Cottrell, from W.T. Blenkarn papers)

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Comic football team. The match was against the watch factory (later Rembrandt House). The photo likely dates from Menpes days (most probably, between 1909 and 1914). The backdrop is clearly the Whippendell Road factory. No one has been identified. (Photo supplied by Marjorie Cottrell, from W.T. Blenkarn papers)

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Another comic football team. Even less is known about this photo, including where it was taken. But it was in the same collection as the photo above, so we presume it shows a team from a different (but earlier) year. (Photo supplied by Marjorie Cottrell, from W.T. Blenkarn papers)

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Richard André. The original caption of this picture (photographer unknown) reads: 'Richard André, c.1910. A flamboyant author and illustrator, and pioneer of colour process engraving, he was one of the founders of the firm of André and Sleigh of Bushey, which much later became the Sun Engraving Co.' (Photo supplied by Pat Skeates)

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An André & Sleigh staff dinner, 1914. The question was, 'How can a Dinner be held in Bucks and Herts at the same time?' The answer is on the cover of the programme for the dinner held at Buck's Restaurant, in Watford, Herts, on February 6. The programme's pages are a lively mix of cartoons, in-jokes, spoofs, and doggerel, all poking gentle fun at company personalities (among them director and general manager David Greenhill). The evening's entertainment included songs, toasts, recitations, and a selection by a banjo trio. It was to be the last staff dinner before the sale of the firm to Edward Hunter's Anglo Engraving. On the cover is 'Our Village', the reproduction of an 1890 painting by Bushey artist Hubert von Herkomer. (Courtesy of Derek Hutton)

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Locations in the first twenty years. In chronological order, they were, centre left: Anglo Engraving Co. Ltd, Farringdon Street, London, where the firm occupied the 'shop' with a room or two at the back; top right: Anglo Engraving Co. Ltd, Raynes Park; centre and centre right: The Sun Engraving Co. Ltd, Milford Lane, London; top left: André & Sleigh Ltd, Bushey, soon to be purchased by Anglo Engraving and renamed André Sleigh & Anglo Ltd; bottom: Menpes Printing & Engraving Co., Whippendell Road, Watford, soon to be purchased by Sun Engraving, at which time the factory would be expanded to accommodate all these companies at the same location. (From the Sun archives)

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Not a war zone. Sun gravure machine minder Jack Garratt recalled that the Watford Observer ran this photo around 1922, with the comment that it was not a picture of a battlefield in Flanders. It is an early photo of Whippendell Road as seen from the Hagden Lane junction, with the Jones/Menpes factory on the left. The Garratt family lived in one of the houses on the right, and Jack could remember the factory before Sun Engraving acquired it in 1919. The houses, built in 1914, were the first in Watford to have electricity. (From the Sun archives)

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The staff of the Sun Engraving Co., Milford Lane, London, c.1917. Annette and Dorothy Greenhill, flanking an unidentified co-worker (possible surname Rouse), join the company's ranks to fill jobs vacated by men off at war. The firm's founders worked alongside their employees in those early days and are thought to be in this picture - J.A. (Archie) Hughes (back row, far right) and Edward Hunter, in winged collar and fur-trimmed jacket (second row, far right). (Photo supplied by Eileen Chapman)

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On the roof of Milford House, c.1917. Dorothy Greenhill (left), an unidentified co-worker, and Annette Greenhill take a break on the rooftop of the Sun Engraving Co. The two women in work smocks are looking over an issue of The Sphere. (Photo supplied by Eileen Chapman)

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Illustration, no. 6, vol. IV, 1919 (cover). This Sun Engraving promotional piece reproduces on its cover a J.A. Shepherd illustration whose reproduction is, according to the text, 'wonderfully true to the original. The basis is photogravure, with specially engraved colour plates printed over.' This is Illustration's New Year's issue, celebrating the dawn of 'a new era in printing – the Era of Colour.' (Greenhill archives)

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Illustration, no. 6, vol. IV, 1919. 'The Madonna of the Toys,' by M.V. Wheelhouse, is reproduced as a Christmas card above a poem by Francis Thompson. On the page opposite, Sun Engraving offers customers 'Designs and process blocks; line, half-tone; two, three and four colour. Wax engraving. Reproductions by photogravure (one and two sided).' (Greenhill archives)

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In the Warehouse, c.1919. This photo comes from a promotional brochure published shortly after Sun Engraving moved to Watford. While a copy of the brochure has yet to come to light, some tantalizing details and photos from it were reprinted in the December 1962 issue of Sun News. Here we see women doing hand-folding in the Warehouse. (From the Sun archives)

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Leslie Hodge's apprenticeship indentures. Signed on October 5, 1920, by directors Edward Hunter and J.A. Hughes and by first company secretary John Edwards, the indentures accept Leslie Hodge as an apprentice of Sun Engraving. He had been working for the company as a 'boy' since April 8 of that year. Leslie will stay with the Sun as an etcher and overseer until his retirement 49 years later. (Courtesy of Alan Hodge)

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Sun Engraving's victorious football club, 1921-22. Sports were part of the Sun from the beginning. Photographed after winning the Printers' Cup for 1921-22 were, back row: Frank Kirby, William Brunt, T. Goodman, and William (Bill) Cooper; middle row: W. Bundy, C.(?) Habbijam, William Page, C. Brookes, W. (Bill) Compton, and William Cartwright; front row: Fred Thorne, William (Berko) Monger, Jack Wheatley, Eddie Hutton, A.G. (Guy) Symmons (the Sun's works director), A. Goodman, and Len Cotton. (Photo supplied by Derek Hutton)

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Rembrandt staff, late 1920s (#1). Workers gather for a photo outside Rembrandt Intaglio Printing Co., in West Norwood, London. The man in the middle row, second from left, was a carpenter. In the same row, fifth from left (dark hair, clean-shaven, no glasses), is Mr Wilson, who later moved to Sun Printers to take charge of the Proofing Room. In the front row, far right, in suit and glasses, is George Bell, a director (who chose not to move to Watford when Rembrandt did). Behind Mr Bell, in cap and overalls, is Mr Waterman, who moved to the Sun as a chargehand, working on the letterpress machine that printed the insides of catalogues for which photogravure covers were fed in. (Photo and information supplied by L.C. Leach)

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Rembrandt staff, late 1920s (#2). The rest of the employees of Rembrandt Intaglio Printing Co. pose for their picture. Gladys Rendell,  back row, left, is the only employee in this image who has been identified so far. (Photo supplied by L.C. Leach)

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The Sun Engraving Co. head office, Milford House, London, c.1929. This photo of the attractive, wood-panelled reception area and office appeared in the Sun Type Book. So did many photos of production departments at the Watford works. (From the Sun archives)

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Inside head office, Milford House, London, July 6, 1929. Heavy wood furniture, candlestick telephones, an Underwood typewriter, and, on the desk behind, an Oliver Visible Typewriter - a downstroke machine that was hugely popular in offices in the early years of the 20th century (it was excellent for stencil cutting and could produce up to twenty carbon copies at a time). The name on the basket at the lower right is E. [Eddy] Hutton, a member of the sales staff. (From the Sun archives)

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A Sun Engraving executive office, Milford House, London. We don't know for certain that this handsome, well-appointed office was Edward Hunter's, but chances are that it was; it is clearly that of a senior executive. The photo appears to have been taken around 1929. Note the two candlestick telephones behind the desk, one of them on an extendable mount. In the upper right corner atop the panelling are four bells, two for each telephone. (From the Sun archives)

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An order office? Another intriguing glimpse inside the firm: studded leather chairs, a roll-top desk, an Underwood typewriter, candlestick telephones. But is this London or Watford? (From the Sun archives)

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... and just down the hall... This looks like a finishing or shipping area. Blocks of engravings, ready for packaging, are lined up on a bench furnished with a weigh-scale, a glue pot, balls of cord, and labels reading 'Press Blocks - Urgent', 'Bristol', 'Ex Paddington', 'Ex St Pancras', and so on. At centre front is a small apparatus, complete with bobbin, that might be a stitcher, and beside it are covers for a book entitled His Private Life. The date is July 19, 1929. (From the Sun archives)

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A Sun office, Watford, c. 1929. On the table, a copy of a Carters Seed catalogue and sheets of a fashion spread (likely for Weldon's). There is no name on the small office with its elegant desks, brass flower pots, and framed photo of an Alsatian dog (an image used in the 1929 Sun Compendium to demonstrate the effects of different halftone screens), but L. [Len] Cotton's name appears on one of the lockers just outside the office door. (From the Sun archives)

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A Sun Engraving advertisement. Created by calligrapher Edward Johnston, who had also handlettered the title for Illustration, Sun Engraving's quarterly magazine, this advertisement appeared in The Times on October 29, 1929. (From the Sun archives)

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Sun Engraving's self-promotion. The company produced a steady stream of promotional items - from technical reference publications, magazines, and brochures to collectable wall calendars (one features designs by Eric Gill) and desk calendars, blotters, proportion wheels, and even glass paperweights, such as the example shown here. (Courtesy of Peter Greenhill)

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Sun Engraving's Natural Objects Studio, c.1930. Products ranging from foodstuffs to furnishings were photographed here for magazines and catalogues. (From the Sun archives)

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Sun Engraving's Black-and-White Photographic Studio (Watford), c.1930. The cameras in this studio were galley-mounted, so that they could easily be rolled back and forth as required. Carbon arc lamps illuminated the subjects. (From the Sun archives)

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Sun Engraving's Composing Department, c.1930. 'The Comps' was a large and extremely busy department. Note near the ceiling the little black box with four coloured light-bulbs, used as a paging system to summon managers to the front office or the telephone. (From the Sun archives)

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The Cylinder Depository, c.1930. In the Depository's lead-lined tanks, steel cylinders were rotated in a bath of copper sulphate and sulphuric acid while an electric current was passed between copper anodes hanging in the solution on either side of the cylinder. The current was maintained throughout the deposition, which, over a period of several days, built up on the cylinder a copper coating one-eighth inch in thickness. When removed from the bath, the cylinders had a rough surface and were taken to the next department for grinding and polishing to a flawless finish. (From the Sun archives)

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The Letterpress Proofing Room. Graham Dallas and Alan Hoare identified this room. Printing plates were test-proofed here, hence the dearth of paper. Other photos in the archives, similar in look and quality, date from the early 1930s, so this one is probably from the same time. (From the Sun archives)

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The Art Department? Some employees seem to be retouching negatives, others are measuring or checking alignment or are using scissors. Can anyone confirm which department this was? (From the Sun archives)

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Half the Sun Engraving delivery fleet, 1930. These vehicles carried the Sun's output to local customers and to railway termini in the London area. (From the Sun archives)

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Taking a gravure cylinder to the press. Moving a gravure cylinder from the 'cylinder square' to the press was not a job for one man. Cylinders could weigh a ton or more. (From the Sun archives)

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A John Wood press at the Sun. The engineering firm of John Wood of Ramsbottom was one of the Sun's main suppliers of presses in the early years. (From the Sun archives)

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The 'home of engraving at Watford', 1931 (#1). This picture of the works appeared in the Souvenir Programme of the Official Visit of the Prime Minister (Rt. Hon. J. Ramsay MacDonald) to Watford, January 30, 1931. On the P.M.'s agenda were a civic reception hosted by the mayor, the opening of the Trade Union Hall, and a visit to Sun Engraving. This view shows half the Sun's frontage on Whippendell Road. (Programme supplied by Derek Hutton)

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The 'home of engraving at Watford', 1931 (#2). The rest of the Sun's frontage on Whippendell Road. The text of the accompanying article reads, in part: 'Of all the factories this writer had to inspect during the latter half of the war, and of all those whose products he has written about since, none seems to him to have been so thoughtfully or efficiently equipped as this home of engraving in Watford. [...] The photographic studios here remind one forcibly of a film-set erecting-room at Hollywood. They are immense. There are none like unto them anywhere.' (Programme supplied by Derek Hutton)

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The 'home of engraving at Watford', 1931 (#3). Sun Engraving's dining hall/canteen, the tables set for a directors' dinner. According to the accompanying article, 'the well-equipped Dining Hall supplies refreshments to meet the general need. [...] The Watford factory is a difficult place to leave, once having been allowed to wander about in it - a privilege accorded only to the few for obvious reasons. "Dash it," one says to oneself, "these people do at least know their job; and knowing it has given them a poise and a bonhomie that is distinctly enviable."' (Programme supplied by Derek Hutton)

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The canteen and garden, c.1931. The staff canteen and director's dining room overlook a splendid rose garden, which, it's been rumoured, tireless works manager and avid gardener Mr A.G. Symmons helped to maintain. (From the Sun archives)

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The Sun's clock tower then... This fanciful, Art-Deco structure, hiding a water-pumping station, was erected on Ascot Road in 1934 over an artesian well. The pumping station enabled Sun Engraving to overcome problems of fluctuating water supply, which were especially serious after lengthy periods of low rainfall. A license was granted for the firm to extract up to 16,000 gallons per hour. The water was pumped to the boiler house and thence to the rotary gravure presses to steam-dry the ink. Our thanks to John Kirkham for this information and for permitting us to reproduce his pen-and-ink illustration.

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... and the Sun's clock tower in early 2005. The structure was still awaiting a promised restoration as part of the redevelopment of the Sun Printers site. (Photo courtesy of Roy England)

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A complicated business, printing Woman's Own. In the mid-1930s the magazine was produced on an Albert letterpress machine with two pre-printed gravure webs run in. Registering of these two webs was likely done using the automatic inset registering method developed at the Sun in the late 1920s and described in an article on our Facts & Opinions page. (From the Sun archives)

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Cup winners, 1934. The Sun Football Club poses with the winners' cup. Front row, left: Ted Sedwell (manager?), and centre: Len Cotton (captain). (Photo courtesy of Carole Pitman)

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Record-keeping in the Composing Room, c.1935. A 'comp', standing at a work bench lined with drawers of galley proofs, reviews past issues of Woman's Own. He may be recording page counts. The issue in front of him (price 2d) is advertising a special millinery supplement and carries an article on 'three bad hats.' (From the Sun archives)

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On the loading dock, c.1935. The Woman's Own issue with the special millinery supplement goes off to newsagents across the UK. (From the Sun archives)

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Destination Blackpool, 1935. To celebrate the King's Silver Jubilee, the firm's chairman and directors booked four trains (their locomotives sporting bright signs declaring 'Here comes the SUN!') to take their London and Watford employees on a day-trip to the seaside town. Breakfast was served on each train, lunch was laid on in three halls of the Winter Gardens, speeches and presentations followed, and then everyone headed out to enjoy Blackpool's many attractions. By all accounts, it was a grand day. (From the Sun archives)

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A group of Warehouse employees at Blackpool, 1935. Posing in the Palm House are, back, l-r: [seven unidentified employees], Louie Hedges, Dorothy Brown, Elsie Hilton, and Wally Brewer; front: [?], Gladys Swanson, and Nellie Hanson. Elsie Bryant describes this day in her entry on the Reminiscences page. (Photo courtesy of Elsie [Hilton] Bryant)

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Getting out the latest Farmers Weekly, c.1936. Employees in the finishing area of the Warehouse trim and count copies of this acutely time-sensitive product. (From the Sun archives)

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Lunch break, 1936. This photo appeared in a Watford area newspaper with the caption: 'A white-coated traffic controller on duty while employees of the Sun Engraving Co. leave the works at lunch time. [...] Watford is one of the busiest printing centres in the country.' The young man on the bike in the centre of the photo is Charles Hilton, aged about 15 or 16. Charles went on to work in the Proofing Room and on gravure machine #10 before leaving the Sun in 1948 to emigrate to Australia. (Supplied by Elsie [Hilton] Bryant)

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A need for more factory space dooms the canteen building. The canteen is demolished in 1937 or 1938, along with the rose garden and the stone cottage on Ascot Road that served as the girls' rest room. In their place will be erected a three-storey building for the Composing Department, two new Vomag presses (and their reelstands, in the basement below them), the Warehouse with its Christensen stitching machines, and a loading bay. Canteen operations have been moved to premises on the opposite side of Whippendell Road. (From the Sun archives)

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Sun Engraving hires a new employee, January 1937. The Gravure Machine Room hires Jack Garratt for a one-month trial (wages £4.7.6d). Jack will stay with the Sun (Sun Engraving and then Sun Printers) for thirty-nine years. (Courtesy of Jack Garratt)

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Sun Engraving’s first dinner and dance, London, Holborn Restaurant, 30 January 1937. (Photo courtesy Pauline Nugent)

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A rank of Miehles, c.1937. These are #1 type, Quad Demy, 35-inch x 45-inch sheet-fed, flat-bed presses, furnished with HTB automatic feeders, in probably the largest such pressroom in the world. (From the Sun archives)

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Carbon-tissue sensitizing room, 1937. Carbon-tissue is a mixture of gelatin, plasticizers, pigments, and similar ingredients, on a paper base. The gelatin is sensitized (i.e., made light-reactive) by placing the tissue in a bath (centre of photo) of potassium bichromate, after which it is dried and stored under refrigeration (at left) until required. Exposed to strong light together with a gravure screen or a photographic transparency in a vacuum frame, the gelatin hardens to various degrees, depending on the amount of light different areas receive. The exposed tissue is then transferred, gelatin side down, to a wetted gravure plate or cylinder, the protective backing sheet is removed, and etchant is poured over the plate or cylinder. (From the Sun archives)

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The victorious Sun Nats. '1937 Winners', reads the caption on the back of this photo. Jack Garratt was able to identify most of the Natsopa team members: back row, centre, goalkeeper George Willit (dark jersey); middle row, l-r: Dave Burton (trainer), [?], Alf Davis, Jack Owen; front row, seated l-r: Charlie Trevers, George Trevers, Charlie Hunt, and Jerry Callow. Can anyone identify the remaining players? (Photo supplied by Shirley Childs)

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The Sun Engraving works, from Ascot Road. A look at the company's elaborate mosaic sign over the loading area. The Sun is now printing Picture Post, the magazine that pioneered photojournalism in Britain. Within months of the launch date, more than a million copies will be leaving the Sun's loading dock each week. A Post lorry (left) arrives to pick up another shipment. (From the Sun archives)

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A.G. Symmons' bountiful garden, 1938. Picture Post did a five-page spread on Sun managing director Guy Symmons' impressive garden, on Watford's Parkside Drive, bordering Cassiobury Park. And no wonder. Before and after his long working day, the indefatigable Mr Symmons maintained this huge garden with just a few hours' help a week from one other man. He produced tons of garden produce for the local hospital and even found time to run the hospital's annual flower show. (From the Sun archives)

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Sun Engraving hires a new employee, 1938. Bill Wiseman's application for employment results in this letter from the Sun's photogravure machine room overseer, A.G. Lambert. Bill Wiseman will stay with the Sun for thirty-seven years, until his retirement in 1975. (Courtesy of Brian Wiseman)

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A new home for the compositors, 1938. Manager Alex Smith stands outside his office in the Composing Room, now situated on the top floor of the new three-storey building. (Supplied by Basil Boden)

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From the Comp Room manager's desk. Alex Smith has a commanding view of his department from his semicircular office. Photo by J. Allan Cash. (Supplied by Basil Boden)

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The Reading Room, c.1939. The sign on the door says 'Reading Room. Quiet Please.' A copyholder (girl at right) reads source copy aloud (but we presume very quietly), as a reader marks corrections on typeset proofs. (Supplied by Basil Boden)

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A Vomag re-reeler. (From the Sun archives)

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A 'Sungravure' press, c.1939. One of a number of gravure presses built to Sun Engraving's specifications by Baker Perkins. This one printed Picture Post. The Sun had just begun marketing these presses internationally when WWII broke out, and the plan had to be shelved. It was never revived. (From the Sun archives)

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An ad touts the Sun's new Vomag press from Germany, 1939. In the ad, Sun Engraving is described as 'the largest and most modern combined letterpress-gravure plant in the world'. This Vomag gravure press printed the popular weekly Everybody's. (Supplied by Peter Milham)

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A new boiler house for the Sun. The first two of three coal-fired boilers are photographed on May 2, 1940. Steam from the boilers will drive the solvent-recovery process, will help dry ink on the gravure presses, and will heat the factory. (From the Sun archives)

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The coal-fired Lancashire boilers, 1940. Purchased second-hand, one dating from 1894, these boilers will serve the Sun very well for thirty-six years. When the boiler house is demolished in 1976 to make way for a modern system, these old Lancashire 'hot pots,' still in good working order after almost 80 years of constant, heavy use, will be broken up for scrap. (From the Sun archives)

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The boiler house nears completion, July 25, 1940. Works director A.G. Symmons reportedly placed the last brick of the 120-ft. chimney, but history doesn't record whether he had to go to the top to do it… (From the Sun archives)

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WWII. Jack Garratt's A.R.P. (Air Raid Precautions) card (#1). A similar card was issued to every employee of Sun Engraving.

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WWII. Jack Garratt's A.R.P. card (#2). Every group of Sun employees has been assigned a designated air-raid-shelter area within the factory.

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WWII. The Sun's Red Cross Section, May 1942. Charles Petts, head of the Block Proving Room, also headed up the firm's Red Cross staff and is shown here with Gwen Joiner (left), winner of the Efficiency Cup presented by the St John Ambulance Association in Watford, and Louie Hedges, who placed second in the examination. All three ran well-attended weekly St John classes in the works canteen. Both women were also members of the Sun's A.R.P. First Aid Party and were volunteers at local hospitals and First Aid posts. (Photo supplied by John Fitzsimons)

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WWII. The Sun's Home Guard. Gwen Joiner is third from left in the front row, Charles Petts is in the centre of the middle row, with Louie Hedges to his right. (Photo supplied by John Fitzsimons)

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WWII. The Sun's Anti-Gas Brigade. Ready for action. (Photo supplied by Ann Birdsey)

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WWII. Propaganda leaflet, 1942. When Britain's Political Intelligence Department decided it wanted colour in the propaganda leaflets that R.A.F. planes were dropping over enemy territory, the Sun's facilities were found to be ideally suited to the task. In this leaflet, a smiling Hitler stands in a snow-covered field of corpses, saying: 'The thought of the coming of spring refreshes me.' Printed by Sun Engraving. (Courtesy of Basil Boden)

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WWII. The 'Sun' at War (four volumes). In April and December of 1942 and again in April 1944, the Sun published The 'Sun' at War: A Record of Service, a compilation of the activities of staff members on service both at home and abroad. In a letter to the Sun in September 1944, Field-Marshal Montgomery wrote: 'I always thought that the Magazine was a very good idea, which other business concerns might well copy.' The fourth and final issue, The 'Sun' at War: A Record of Victory, published in October 1945, carried a list of Sun staff – almost half the workforce – who had served in the forces during the war. (Courtesy of Jack Garratt)

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WWII. A recurring motif in The 'Sun' at War volumes. A steel A.R.P. helmet is set against a backdrop of printing presses. It was the A.R.P. wardens' responsibility to get people into the shelter and to keep watch over the factory during an air raid alert.

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WWII. 'Sun' girls at war, 1943 (#1). In the first three volumes of The 'Sun' at War, very little detail was provided on the Sun's war work - not surprising, as the content of the books had to pass scrutiny by the censors before a word could be published. But luckily for us, one photo of this room appears in the initial volume (October 1943) under the heading ''Sun' Girls at Work' and is captioned 'Copper-depositing' - confirming that the three photos presented here do indeed show Sun staff contributing to the war effort. (Supplied by Digby Wakeman)

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WWII. 'Sun' girls at war, 1943 (#2). The final volume of The 'Sun' at War states that an enormous amount of plating and anodizing work was carried on at the Sun in the later years of the war. Since experienced electroplaters were impossible to find, most of the recruits were volunteers from the warehouse, who, the writer adds, 'brought great energy and ability to a type of work unlike any they had done before'. Although the final volume was published after the war's end, it remained very stingy in terms of details, and we are not told what the women in these photos were producing. Printed circuits, perhaps? Can anyone enlighten us? (Supplied by Digby Wakeman)

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WWII. 'Sun' girls at war, 1943 (#3). A closer look at the work. (Supplied by Digby Wakeman)

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WWII. 'Sun' girls at war, 1943 (#4). A closer look at the work. (Supplied by Digby Wakeman)

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WWII. A woman assists in the press room, 1944. A make-ready is being done on a section of Country Life. The sheet on this hand-fed Miehle carries an article on Beatrix Potter's 'gift to the public': she had willed to the National Trust 14 farms in the Lake District as well as some 4,000 acres of surrounding countryside. (From the Sun archives)

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WWII. Copy #469 of Tactical Targets, Area 4901W (Caen), May 1944. Sun Engraving began the top-secret production of these massive loose-leaf books of aerial reconnaissance photos in November 1943. The final volume of The 'Sun' at War reveals that 'each department had an area partitioned off; entrances were guarded, and plates and copy were transported between departments in locked containers.' The first series of books, code-named 'Boxes' by the Sun, held 90 to 200 full-page illustrations in which the targets were engraved by hand (in some cases, over 50 engravings per photo). The heaviest book weighed 7.5 lb. and contained 360 separate printed items, all hand-collated. The second series ('Cases') covered the strategic bombing of single targets. The third series ('Kartons') covered targets not dealt with in the first series, and a fourth series ('Pakkets') comprised 46 two-colour books (of which this is one) covering area operations, including the Rhine, the Ems and Elbe rivers, and the 'Southern Redoubt' on the Danube. The statistics: 600,000 sq. in. of 175-screen halftone plates etched; over 70,000 hand engravings of lettering and diagrams done; 1,300 separate sheets made ready and printed; over 14,000,000 hand folds; 27,000,000 hand collations. Later referred to at the Sun as 'the Bible of the invasion', all these books were produced and printed by Sun Engraving. (Courtesy of Eric R. Greenhill)

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WWII. Map #5 of Tactical Targets, Area 4901W (Caen), May 1944. The map contains numbered rectangles corresponding to each aerial photo in the book. Note rectangle 11 on the coastline at the upper right, indicating the territory covered in aerial photo #11 (see below). Printed by Sun Engraving. (Courtesy of Eric R. Greenhill)

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WWII. Aerial photo #11 from Tactical Targets, Area 4901W (Caen), May 1944. The photo shows the coastline and the town of Les Bains. Taken March 7, 1944. Printed by Sun Engraving. (Courtesy of Eric R. Greenhill)

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WWII. A bomb falls on head office, 1944 (#1). Milford House took a direct hit from a V.1 flying bomb on the night of July 28-29. The rounded arch of the entrance to Sun Engraving's offices appears to be undamaged amid the little that remains of Milford Lane. (Photo supplied by Margaret Hobbs)

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WWII. A bomb falls on head office, 1944 (#2). A third of the old building was destroyed, along with all its plant and fittings. (Photo supplied by Margaret Hobbs)

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WWII. An artist captures the bomb damage to Milford House. Shortly after the bombing, Sun artist E.J. Samuels produced this composite drawing of the wreckage, as seen from the window of the artists' room. The 'Sun' at War, third volume, carries a black-and-white reproduction of this ink and wash illustration. We are delighted that we have been able to obtain the original for the Sun archives.

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WWII. Safe conduct. The leaflet reads, in German and English: 'The German soldier who carries this safe conduct is using it as a sign of his genuine wish to give himself up. He is to be disarmed, to be well looked after, to receive food and medical attention as required, and to be removed from the danger zone as soon as possible.' It is signed Dwight D. Eisenhower, Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Force. Printed by Sun Engraving. (Courtesy of Eric R. Greenhill)

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WWII. A.G. Symmons's wartime gardening. Sun director A.G. Symmons, by all accounts a man of prodigious energy, began growing fruit and vegetables on an even more massive scale than usual, at the start of WWII (see the photo of his garden in 1938). Besides giving plants to others to encourage them to grow their own food, he also staged exhibits of his produce to raise money for the Sun's Forces Fund, the Red Cross, and local charities. The impressive display shown here was set up at Watford Post Office in September 1944. From The 'Sun' at War: A Record of Service, vol. 3. (Courtesy of Jack Garratt)

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WWII. A.R.P. warning sign, 1944. The various types of 'alerts' must have sown confusion at the Sun, despite all the care taken during early A.R.P. planning. A.G. Symmons felt obliged to post this clarification, although it doesn't seem all that clear to readers now. Perhaps it never was; it appears to have been used at some point for target practice! (From the Sun archives)

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WWII. War work, 1944/1945. The Composing Room has been given over entirely to war work and is unrecognizable now, except for the manager's semicircular office on the right. (Compare this photo with the one from 1938, taken from the window side of the room.) Taped to a pane of the temporary cubicle by the office is a jingoistic poster depicting landing craft delivering soldiers to a beachhead under massive air support that almost blots out the sky. It reads: "This Is the Year! It's up to Us to Let 'Em Have It!" (Supplied by Digby Wakeman)

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WWII. The Sun Engraving Light Orchestra. Inaugurated in November 1944, the orchestra gave its first performances at the Old Merchant Taylors' Home and at Peace Memorial Hospital, and then entertained 300 Sun colleagues in the works canteen. The evening was such a success that a second concert was given in the canteen two weeks later. The Sun's management, impressed by the response, arranged for the orchestra to put on a show at the Palace Theatre, Watford, in aid of the British Red Cross P.O.W. Fund. The drummer was Bert Hancock, of Gravure Process. Published in The 'Sun' at War: A Record of Victory. (Photo supplied by Graham Lock)

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WWII. Nachrichten für die truppe, 1944-45. This German-language newspaper ('News for the Troops') went into production at Sun Engraving on July 14, 1944, and was produced 7 days a week until May 14, 1945. Production started at the Sun at 5 a.m. daily with the arrival of the formes. Stereos were passed for press by 8 a.m. Printing was begun at 8:30 a.m. and the presses were run full-tilt until 2 p.m. The product was packed into special containers as it came off the presses and then was driven to nearby airfields and loaded into aircraft, which took off at 4 p.m. One million to 1.5 million copies of this newspaper were produced daily by the Sun. Allied forces dropped them over Germany, 10,000 copies per 'bomb'. We show issue no. 365 for Monday, 16 April, 1945. (Courtesy of Eric R. Greenhill)

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Post-war reunion programme, 1946. On October 19, a reunion dinner and evening of entertainment were held in Watford Town Hall for the Sun's machine minders and assistants. Fallen comrades were remembered (13 names appear in the programme); a three-course dinner was served; toasts were proposed to the King, to absent friends, to the guests, and to the Sun Engraving Co.; seven skits were performed; the directors were thanked for their financial help; the tireless Mr A.G. Symmons was thanked for assistance rendered; and the evening's music was provided by the Sun Engraving Light Orchestra. This copy of the programme belonged to Jack Garratt and carries the autographs of at least seventy colleagues. (Now in the Sun archives)

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The Sun's Returned Men's Dinner. The 'Record of Sun Staff on Service' in the final volume of The 'Sun' at War lists over 1,000 names. At least 228 ex-servicemen appear in this photo, taken in Watford Town Hall during the Sun Printers Returned Men's Dinner and Variety Evening, on November 19, 1946. Three former mates from the Proofing Room at Sun Engraving, reunited for the event, are: bottom, from left, Ron Naylor (R.A.F.), Ken Hall (Army), and Charles Hilton (Royal Navy). Photo by the West Herts Post. (Supplied by Elsie [Hilton] Bryant)

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Sun Interdepartmental Cup winners, Warehouse, 1946. A sure sign that the war is over: the sports rivalry at Sun has resumed. Standing, from left: Fred Cooper, Percy Walker, Harry Fishlock, Keith Powell, [?], [?], Jim West; seated: Keith Picton, [?], Arthur 'Tiger' Smith, Harry Westall, [?]. Thanks to Alex Fayer for these names. Please help us identify the rest of the team. (Photo supplied by Bette Fishlock)

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The Edward Hunter Cup. The captain of the team in the photo above holds this coveted Edward Hunter Cup for Interdepartmental Competition. (From the Sun archives)

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Alan Clark's indentures. Apprenticed at Sun Printers in the Letterpress Department in June, 1947, Alan Clark will remain with the Sun for forty-one years. (Courtesy of Allan Clark)

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Sun Printers at the Watford Industrial Exhibition, June 5, 1947. After formally opening the Exhibition, Lord Camrose (centre) visits the Sun Printers exhibit in the Town Hall. Also watching the operators on the Christensen stitcher/collator are, l-r: Howard Marion Crawford (radio's first Paul Temple), [?], Sun director and general manager Cyril Greenhill, and Sun chairman Edward Hunter. Can anyone identify the operators? (Supplied by S.R. Matthews)

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Programme of a Sun Engraving outing to Margate, 1948. Sun Engraving had by now sold its printing operations to Hazell, Watson & Viney, but continued to work closely with Sun Printers, maintaining offices and a work area in the Watford plant while keeping its head office at Milford House in London. The company celebrated its 50th anniversary with an outing to Margate, where a four-course luncheon was served at the White Hart Hotel, and toasts were proposed to the King, the Sun's directors, and the staff. A free afternoon culminated in a tea of plaice, fresh salads, and cakes and pastries, at 5:30 p.m. (Programme donated by Doreen Blackie)

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Sun Engraving's outing to Margate, 1948. Staff gather for a group photo. Doreen Blackie is sixth from the left in the third row. (Photo supplied by Doreen Blackie)

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On the Chris (late 1940s?). Women in the Warehouse feed the Christensen collater/stitcher. The clock-tower/pumping-station is visible through the window behind them. Photo by J. Allan Cash. (Supplied by Basil Boden)

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In the Foundry, 1948. Ernest 'Charlie' Jermany works on the Pony Autoplate. Photo by George Konig. (Supplied by Basil Boden)

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Carbon printing, 1948. At work are Charlie Bowden, Bernard Sharpe, and Ernie Jarman. (From the Sun archives)

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On the Sheridan, 1948. On the top floor of the five-storey block, Keith Powell runs a Sheridan binder. Photo by George Konig. (Supplied by Basil Boden)

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On the Sun's first Sheridan square-back binder, 1949. Pictured are (l-r): Keith Powell, Margaret Heinz, [?], Stan Dack, and Nora Rolf. (Supplied by George Sanders)

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Binding Picture Post, 1949. Irene Jones (foreground), Eddie Goodall (second from right), and Mick Mitchell (right) work on the gatherer-stitcher-trimmer. (Thanks to Basil Boden and Alex Fayer)

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On the Seybold 3-knife trimming machine. These machines were capable of very large outputs and required a comparatively small staff. As with the continuous trimmer (next picture), all waste trimmings were conveyed through the trunking to the central baling machine. Photo by Red Lion Picture Service. (Supplied by Alex Fayer)

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On the Seybold continuous 3-knife trimmer, 1949. Tom Dearing (left), Warehouse journeyman, operates this semi-automatic trimmer with assistants Eric Post and George Ellis. Photo by George Konig. (Supplied by Basil Boden)

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In the Warehouse (late 1940s?). Basil Boden has identified George Kent (in dark shirt and white apron, back right), Jean Christy (smiling behind a stack of magazines), Margaret Hobbs (on the right, second table, with her back to us), and Dagma Puddifoot (bottom of the photo). (Photo supplied by Basil Boden)

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Monotype keyboard operators. The date is unknown but possibly 1949. Can you identify any of the operators? (Supplied by Basil Boden)

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The new Paper Warehouse goes up. It is March 1950 and a state-of-the-art White Paper Store is under construction to the south of the railway tracks on Ascot Road. The Sun has managed to obtain permission from British Rail to build a tunnel (shown in the foreground) beneath the tracks, to link the warehouse with the main works. Prior to this, the paper had been stored in the factory's basement, which, being so close to the River Gade, was not an ideal location for it. Photo by George Konig. (Supplied by Basil Boden)

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The South Paper Store is completed, June 1950. The volume of work is increasing at such a rate that this new warehouse will already be stretched for space by the time it opens. Photo by George Konig. (Supplied by Basil Boden)

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Now you see him... It was September 12, 1950, and Douglas Fairbanks Jr was making a visit to the works, much to the delight of all his fans there. Having served as a Lt. Commander in the US Navy during WWII, he was familiar with the Sun's contribution to the war effort. But he only discovered its true extent during his tour of the factory, when he recognized aerial photographs printed by the Sun and used on D-Day. He is shown here at the business end of a press, admiring an issue of Woman's Own as a stream of copies rolls past him. There was some evidence that the image had been retouched - tidied up, perhaps, as was often necessary prior to publication - but we had no idea to what extent the original had been altered until we were sent the photo below. (Greenhill archives)

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... and now you don't... Shirley Greenman forwarded this clipping from the April 13, 1950, issue of Woman's Own, preserved because the publishers were giving a word of thanks to the 'happy lot' of Sun men who printed their magazine, one of whom was Shirley's father, John 'Jack' Priestley (front left). It took us a moment to realize that Douglas Fairbanks Jr was nowhere to be seen in the otherwise familiar picture! This April version was clearly the original photo, the September version a clever composite: one pressman had been removed and Mr Fairbanks had been inserted with such deftness that we'd never noticed the extent of the retoucher's handiwork. All of this was, of course, long before the days of Photoshop...

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... where he really was... Basil Boden's archives yielded a third piece of the puzzle: Mr Fairbanks had been captured on film as he signed the visitors' book in the office of Watford's mayor, Mrs Mary Edith Bridger.

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... and how it was done. This final piece of the puzzle provided clues to the steps that were taken to achieve the ultimate image. First, the photo of Commander Fairbanks was resized. Next, he was carefully cut out of the print. Into his hand, in place of the pen, was slotted a cut-out of the Woman's Own magazine originally held by a Sun employee in the press picture. This composite was rephotographed, and Commander Fairbanks, now holding the magazine, was cut out a second time. Meanwhile, on a fresh print of the press picture, the man at the back right was airbrushed out entirely, and the press man in front of him was partly cut away from the print. Mr Fairbanks and his magazine were slipped in behind him, and details in the background were retouched where necessary. Finally, this new composite was photographed again, and the cut edges were retouched to remove evidence of the subterfuge. It was a lot of trouble to go to for a photo that would appear only in a staff magazine. But post-war, Commander Fairbanks was not only a movie star but also a hero to many, and perhaps there was keen disappointment that during his tour of the works a photo opportunity had been missed. This Sun artistry managed to put things right. (From the Sun archives)

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Planning the itinerary of the Sun Printers Productivity Team, autumn 1950. Representatives of the Composing, Letterpress Machine, and Gravure Machine departments are about to travel to America to study production methods at printing firms in Buffalo, Niagara Falls, Toronto, Chicago, Washington, Philadelphia, and New York. Each team member, a leader in his department, was familiar with the problems his department regularly faced. At the table are (l-r): Kenneth Harman, the Sun's night manager and leader of the team; Cyril Manders, FOC, Letterpress machine minders; C.R. Greenhill, the Sun's general manager; Leslie Dixon , FOC, Gravure machine minders; Gilbert Smith (an advisor from Aylesbury); Frederick Taylor, FOC, Natsopa; and Douglas Lindsey, FOC, Composing Room (From the Sun archives)

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Annual dinner of the Letterpress Machine Minders' Chapel, January 20, 1951. Buck's Restaurant in Watford does the honours for some seventy chapel members, their wives, and their guests, among them T.R. Walker, Mr and Mrs Cyril Greenhill, and Mr and Mrs Cyril Manders. At the event, Mr Manders was presented by Sun management with a barometer and by chapel members with a gold wrist-watch in appreciation of his twenty-one years of service as a chapel official. (Photo supplied by Basil Boden)

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The Edward Hunter Awards. Edward Hunter had always known that a company was only as good as the people it employed. With this in mind, he created two annual student awards for exceptional work in the Printing Department of the Watford Technical College: one for compositors, the other for photogravure process work. In 1951, the Edward Hunter Award went to David Cave 'for outstanding merit and progress in photo process work.' (Courtesy of David Cave)

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Inside the South Paper Store, 1951. The building is no more than a year old, yet reels and flat paper stock are already competing for scarce space. During the upcoming works expansion known as Operation Sunrise, a new white paper bay will be built to warehouse the flat stock, and the South Paper Store will be widened to accommodate more reels. The Store will be enlarged again in 1960. For more on the works expansion, see the Facts & Opinions page. (Photo supplied by Basil Boden)

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Loading Picture Post, c.1951. A Seddon Diesel lorry is loaded with thousands of copies of the magazine's latest issue. (From the Sun archives)

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Retouching Palatia plates, Rembrandt, 1951. T.C. Lovell (left) and colleagues are shown at work in the Process Department at Rembrandt. (Photo courtesy of Lynn Westcott)

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Aftermath of a break in the web. Scraps and shreds of Woman's Own are all over the place, including on the walkway of this press, after what must have been a dramatic few moments. A clear-up will be necessary before the press can be restarted. Photo by the West Herts Post. (Courtesy of Basil Boden)

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An Impressions cover from 1952. In the early 1950s, covers of Impressions, the house organ of Hazell-Sun Group, features Ronald Searle cartoons, while the inside pages are a busy, homey mix of typefaces and various formats. The look will change radically over the next decade. (Greenhill archives)

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Impressions, spring 1952 (Women's Page). The Women's Page was a frequent feature in early issues of Impressions, running alongside balance sheets, discussions of presses and paper, and photos of weddings, dinners, and dances. In the spring number, readers were told how to make a pattern and sew a blouse. The following issue gives instructions for knitting a cap and mittens - according to the text, 'a Parisian design reserved exclusively for Impressions.' (Greenhill archives)

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The Nurse's Room, 1952. Arthur Badrock (Monochrome Process) waits to have a large splinter removed from his hand by State Registered Nurse Eva Soar, while J. Bradshaw (Grinding & Polishing) looks on. The Sun Works Surgery was a small room off the binding warehouse, equipped with medicines, medical instruments, steel surgery furniture, and a chintz-covered settee. Nurse Soar treated everything from headaches and sore throats to gashes and mangled fingers. She also attended Rembrandt workers and saw to it that all first aid boxes were regularly replenished. (From the Sun archives)

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A Sun Sports Day, c.1952. Sports Day involved sack, potato, and obstacle races, the ladies' relay, high-jump competitions, distance racing (220 yards, 440 yards, the Printers' Mile...), and many other attractions, including the de rigueur bathing beauty contest. The latter was judged, on different occasions, by the fashion artists of the Daily Express and of Woman's Own, and by representatives of Vogue magazine. The Sports Day was sometimes opened by celebrities, who also handed out the prizes. One year (1950), Sun's Sports Day was photographed by, and presumably featured in, Picture Post. (Supplied by Basil Boden)

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A tug of war at a Sun Sports Day, c.1952. This popular event pitted department against department, chapel against chapel, Sun men against Rembrandt men, managers against staff. (Supplied by Basil Boden)

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Christmas in the Comps, 1952. Alex Smith's office is renamed 'Uncle Tom's Cabin' for the occasion, and the room is festooned with balloons and streamers. At centre, comp Ron Brown. (Supplied by Michael Shilling)

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Crowds enjoy a Sun Sports Day, c.1953. (Supplied by Basil Boden)

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The Colour Carbon Department at Sun, 1952/53. Gathered for the photo are, back row: Derek Spruce, Wally Archer (assistant), Jack Simmonds, Percy Perryman, Denis Margetts, Bernard Sharpe, George Jarman (2nd i/c), John Dryburgh (apprentice), Bob Habbijam (assistant), Fred Habbijam (assistant), Jim Eldridge (assistant); front row: Len Mellor (jr asst.), 'Uncle' Harry Bell, Charlie Bowden (overseer), Leon 'Twinkle' Wendel, and Rhys Thomas (apprentice). Missing (he may have been the photographer), is Peter Peskett (apprentice). Those not identified otherwise are all journeymen. (Courtesy of John Dryburgh)

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Part of the huge Gravure pressroom, February 1954. (From the Sun archives)

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Another view of the Gravure pressroom, February 1954. (From the Sun archives)

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Lorry-loads of magazines leave the Sun's loading bay every day. This photo was taken in February, 1954. (From the Sun archives)

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Christmas dance, Watford Town Hall, 1954. Left to right: Michael Smith, Bob (Michael) Shilling, and Peter Simmons, all apprentices at the time. (Photo courtesy Michael Shilling)

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A new tennis pavilion is opened on the Sports Ground. Edward Hunter (deputy chairman), Cyril Greenhill (general manager), and Mrs Ruth Harrison (daughter of the late David Greenhill), open the pavilion in the early summer of 1955. A plaque over the door reads: 'This pavilion and the equipment of the children's playground were provided by a legacy [of £1000] left by David Greenhill, a director of the company from 1919-1947.' (From the Sun archives)

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Checking colour proofs, October 1955. Operation Sunrise - a complete overhaul and modernization of the Sun factory - is well underway (see 'The 1950s Expansion' on the Facts & Opinions page for details), but production work must go on without interruption. Here, colour is checked on first proofs of a women's magazine. A proof for Farmers Weekly is in the foreground. (From the Sun archives)

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The Sports Ground gets a new entrance, July 26, 1956. Before a group of applauding onlookers, Edward Hunter steps up to the blue-painted wrought-iron gate embellished with a gilded sun. The enthusiasm for the annual Sun Sports Day was still high, but will wane in the coming years. Times were changing. Discontinued 'in view of declining interest,' is how the 1961 spring/summer issue of Impressions will put it. Yet there was never any lack of interest in sports on the part of employees. John Try remembers that, in 1963, Sun Printers' large, much-used, and much-loved sports ground still boasted cricket pitches, four tennis courts, two football pitches, rugby pitches, and a bowls club with a well-kept green used by 6 mixed rinks. (From the Sun archives)

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Registering and lining up. Gilbert Lane, Composition Department, demonstrates a new 'S-H' register and line-up table. Photo by Smith-Horne Ltd. (Supplied by Basil Boden)

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Stripping and imposition in the Planning Department. Photo by J. Allan Cash. (Supplied by Basil Boden)

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Exposing carbon tissue for conventional gravure. The sheet of sensitized carbon tissue was given two exposures. The first was to a point source (originally a carbon arc lamp, later a xenon lamp). The exposure, to a glass screen under vacuum, established the cell/wall structure on the tissue: the areas that would become the cell walls were exposed to the U.V. of the lamp and were hardened, while the unexposed cell areas remained soft. The same piece of tissue, but in a different vacuum frame, is then exposed (as shown in this photo) to the planned-up continuous positives. The light source is a bank of fluorescent tubes (just visible on the right). The operator is positioning a photocell to time the exposure. The frames could be swung to the horizontal for loading the tissue and foils. Photo by J. Allan Cash. (Photo supplied by Basil Boden, information by Barry Humphreys)

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Measuring acidity. Conducting the test is Sun's chief chemist, Jack Riley. Photo by Howard Atkins. (Supplied by Basil Boden)

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Water mystery solved. A stretch of apparently deep water flows between the Sun's clock tower/pumping station and the factory, where no water appears in most other photos. Alex Fayer has explained that, during the 1950s expansion, Ascot Rd was rerouted a little distance from the factory. The ground there was waterlogged, obliging the road builders to dig a deep diversion trench and keep pumps running most of the time. This photo was taken when the pumps were not running and the trench had filled up. Ascot Road has since been widened and there is now no sign of the trench, but Jack Garratt recalled that watercress was grown in it for some years. Alan Collette added that a footbridge built mainly of railway sleepers crossed the water near the railway embankment to allow access to allotment gardens between the clock tower and the River Gade. The photographer was likely standing on the bridge to take this picture. (From the Sun archives)

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An aerial shot of the Ascot Road façade, April 1957. Work is nearing completion on the Operation Sunrise factory expansion. Here we see the drainage trench running past the clock tower, with allotment gardens filling the space down to the river. On the right are the railway line, the footbridge, the White Paper Store, and the entrance to the Ink Factory. (From the Sun archives)

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Rembrandt Studio 'crew', c.1957. Back row: Ivor Lefrere, John Cousins (apprentice), Dave Hendry (apprentice, not long out of National Service), [?]; middle row: [?], Peter Fawcett, Terry Stevens, 'Mick' Frazier, Frank Westley; front row: [?], Peter Mckintyre, Brian Carter, [?], Colin Ballchin (apprentice), Ken Beckley (apprentice). Missing: Bob Lawrence, Frank Simmonds, Peter Devonish, and Bert Rump. (Photo and names supplied by John Castle)

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An Impressions cover from 1958. The Ronald Searle cartoons have been replaced by a new design. On this cover is a humorous drawing based on a well-known Norman Rockwell illustration. The artist, identified as GAT, is Gordon Atkins, the magazine's art director. (Greenhill archives)

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Sun's Camera Club winners, 1958. Started in 1952 by resident photographer Howard Atkins (joint deputy departmental manager, Mono Gravure Process), the club attracted 40 members during its first year alone, and soon began holding annual photographic competitions. In 1958, as reported in Impressions, first prize went to A. Reed, of Colour Retouching, for 'Girl behind Net,' and the Hammond Trophy went to David Hopley for 'Cardplayers' in the 'Print of the Year' competition. Clubs abounded at the Sun. In this same year, employees could choose between a motoring club, a darts club, a snuff club, a golfing society, a gardening club, an angling society, a cage-bird society, and several others. (Greenhill archives)

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Rembrandt 'boys,' 1958. Taken on by Rembrandt, this group will all wind up as employees of Sun Printers when the Rembrandt factory is closed in three years' time. Left to right: Pete Walker (who restored this photo), Ron Rooney (now living in Australia), Michael Hood, John Gallon Jr, Derek Rymill (described as 'the one and only'), Mick McGrath, and John Halliday. (Courtesy of Mick McGrath)

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Charles Chaplin's artistry. Chaplin, a manager in Sun's Gravure Process Department, was a master engraver, considered one of the best in the UK. Parallel with his career he pursued more-artistic interests as an etcher and engraver, eventually having his work shown in Royal Academy exhibitions. He went on to exhibit internationally. Remarkably, given the extraordinary visual demands of his profession, not to mention his having served in the Royal Observer Corps in WWII, Mr Chaplin had sight in only one eye. The 1958 engraving shown here is 'Moorhen and old willow', from a limited edition of thirty. (Courtesy of Peter Greenhill)

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A Sun Christmas party, c.1958. Rene Warren, whose father, Walter Willis, worked on gravure machines at the Sun, remembers attending great Christmas parties at the firm when she was a child, and always looked forward to receiving a 'lovely present at the end from Mr Symmons Sr.' The tradition continued into the next generation: in this photo, Rene's daughter Brenda and son John sit beside the clown while other youngsters ply him with cakes. The girl standing at Brenda's right is Mary Frost, and Mary's younger brother is proffering the plate. (Supplied by Rene Warren)

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Polishing shop. Before the copper-plated cylinders are engraved, they are polished to a high sheen to remove all blemishes. (From the Sun archives)

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Chromium plating gravure cylinders, 1959. Cylinders intended for long runs need a very hard finish, such as chromium, to prolong their life. A million copies or more could be printed from a chromium-plated cylinder, while unfaced cylinders might wear down after only 60,000 or 100,000 impressions. In this photo, cylinders already etched and manually retouched by skilled craftsmen arrive in the chromium plating room. The overhead cranes (dated 1955) were installed during Operation Sunrise. For more on Operation Sunrise, see 'The 1950s Expansion' article on the Facts & Opinions page. (From the Sun archives)

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The Cylinder Store, 1961. In the rack on the left are 30-inch cylinders for the 'baby' press. Hanging on the right are cylinders for the Goss. Cylinders were plain-paper wrapped when fresh from Gravure Processing. Until they were used, they were hung in the Cylinder Store (which could provide vertical storage for 3,000 cylinders) between the Process Department and the Gravure Machine Room. Used cylinders were also often hung here before stripping, pending a possible reprint, and would be wrapped in white paper with a copy of the job or section pasted on them and the job/date/section number, etc., crayoned on the outside. It was not unknown for a large Goss cylinder to fall out of the hoist. Given that these cylinders weighed upwards of 2 tons, their landing didn't go unnoticed! Pictured (centre) is George Hammond (Deposition). (From the Sun archives)

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The Composing Rooms get a new home, 1960. Between April 29 and May 8, the Sun and Rembrandt Composing departments are amalgamated, and are moved into the new South Extension. The move includes more than 1,000 items of equipment, including 186 compositors' frames and desks, 19 proof presses, 85 galley racks, 30 readers' desks, 20 Monotype keyboards, 27 Monotype composition and super casters, 11 Linotypes, and 4 metal-melting furnaces, along with 3,600 cases of type, over 15,000 galleys, and over 100 tons of type metal and type. Today, such a move would involve a few desks, a few personal computers, and a few laser printers, all the work backed up on media that one person could carry with ease or, even better, stored on a remote server. (From the Sun archives)

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Goodbye in 1960 to the second canteen building... This building had been the works canteen since about 1939, but was always too small for the company's needs. Here we see it meeting the same fate as its predecessor. (From the Sun archives)

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… and hello to the third. When the Letterpress Department moved to the South Extension on Ascot Road, it vacated this building on Whippendell Road, opposite the main factory and beside the canteen in the photo above. The move freed up space for a new and larger canteen to serve both the Sun and Rembrandt. The building also housed the Personnel Office at that time. The canteen will move again – in 1968 – into the factory space that had been used by Sun Engraving during its final years in Watford. By 1980, canteen operations will be run by outside caterers. (From the Sun archives)

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Children’s Christmas party, 1960. In the back row, waiting for the show to start, the four daughters of Alan Childs. Standing, fingers to lips, Margaret Childs; to her right are her sisters Pam (only just visible in the shadows), Valerie (standing on a chair, hands on face), and Carol (with pointy hat, craning her neck). Bottom right, with two flowers on her hat, is Sandra Reid. (Photo courtesy Margaret Childs)

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Rembrandt retouchers, 1961. Rembrandt is about to be closed, and these retouchers will all join the Retouching Department of Sun Printers. Back, l-r: Jim Crossley, Tom Dixon, John Castle, Colin Herbert, Bob Crosby, Gerry Ireland, Dennis Thorn, Bill Palmer, George Brett, Bob Glover; middle: Dawson Piper, Maurice Simmonds, Peter Elliott, Jack Barnes, Arthur Jarvis, Vic Payne, Bill Cheeseman; front: Paul Hancock, Anthony Petts, Geoff Halsey, Rodger Wise. (Photo and names supplied by Pete Gardner)

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Part of Rembrandt's Rinco and Glass Planning 'crew', c.1961. Back, l-r: Roy Hart (glass planner), Peter Darnell (Glass Planning overseer), Jeff Battersby (Rinco overseer), Roger (?) (apprentice glass planner), Dennis McKintosh (glass planner), Ted Joyce (Rinco?); front: [?], Bob 'Uncle' Moor (glass planner?), Andy Anderson (Rinco), John Woodard (glass planner), [?]. Missing: Eddie Baker (apprentice glass planner), Dennis Watts, and Les Athey (Natsopa). (Photo and names supplied by John Castle)

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Rembrandt House stands vacant, 1961. Rembrandt Photogravure is absorbed into Sun Printers proper, and employees are transferred to the Sun.

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A Rembrandt employee's letter of recommendation, 1961. Jenny Treacher's letter of recommendation, on Rembrandt letterhead, is signed by works manager Len Cotton on October 13, 1961. (Courtesy of Jenny Treacher)

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An Impressions cover from 1961. A decorative Christmas presentation by art director Gordon Atkins. (Greenhill archives)

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The Larcombe Cup Departmental Rink Competition. This is Jack Garratt's 1961 medal. His team (C. Abel, K. Beasley, Richard Roberts, and Jack), of the Gravure Machine Department, were runners-up in that year's bowls competition. (Sun archives)

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Sun's Darts Club, 1963. The runners-up in the Men's Fours competition in April receive their prizes from Sun director Charles Brinsden. The players, all Gravure machine minders, are (l-r): Mick McGrath, Tony Holden, Terry Gerrard, Ken Kelly, and Dave Carter. (Photo supplied by Elizabeth McGrath)

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The new 13-unit Goss and its output, c.1963. Shown here is a fraction of the week's output of the Sunday Times Colour Section. Photo by Graphic House. (From the Sun archives)

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An Impressions cover from 1963. The design is a montage of drawings on the subject of Hazell-Sun's presence at the annual IPEX [International Printing Exhibition] show, Earls Court. (Greenhill archives)

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Hazell-Sun's booth at IPEX 1963. A spread in Impressions. The display shows only a sampling of the many magazines and books the Hazell-Sun Group were printing at the time. (Greenhill archives)

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An Impressions cover from 1964. The firm pays tribute to the 77-year-old Draper's Record magazine, the first periodical printed by the Sun Engraving Co. (Greenhill archives)

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Impressions gets a make-over, 1966 (#1). The design of vol. 8, no. 4 (summer 1966) bears no resemblance to earlier numbers. Serious graphic design considerations have trumped the homey look of former days. (Greenhill archives)

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Impressions gets a make-over, 1966 (#2). Gone are the justified paragraphs, the hodge-podge of type styles and sizes, virtually all the serif faces, and all the zany cartoons. The Bauhaus has come to Hazell-Sun. All pages of Impressions now conform to a grid, and text is set in Helvetica, flush left, rag right. Even the wedding announcements and table tennis tournaments are given the no-nonsense, sans serif, three-column grid treatment. (Greenhill archives)

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A new data processing department for Sun Printers, 1966. Here we see the sorter, which can sort punched cards into twelve different pockets at a rate of 24,000 cards per hour. The cards are then fed into the '1004' pre-programmed reader, which can read 400 cards per minute, add 9,000 six-digit numbers in one second, and print out the results at 400 lines per minute. So explains an article in the 1966 summer number of Impressions, which also reminds readers that 'the 1004 is a good machine, but it is only a tool – though an extremely complex one – and it is not a substitute for good management. It must always be remembered that in spite of the numerous checks built into the system, the information it provides can only be as accurate as the "source documents"

– THE DAILY DOCKETS.' (Greenhill archives)

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Inside the expanded South Paper Store, 1960s. With flat stock moved to its own area, this part of the Paper Store can now accommodate many more reels. Pat Keilly is in the foreground, nearby is A. Selway, and on the hoist is Bert Buckingham. The sign on the hoist reads: Working load 1-1/2 tons. (Courtesy of Basil Boden)

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Cylinder Room, 1960s. Alf Chambers (Gravure Process) at work. (Courtesy of Tony Martin)

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Cylinder storage, 1966 (#1). A gravure cylinder is moved to the Cylinder Store on a trolley. (Courtesy of Digby Wakeman)

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Cylinder storage (#2). The cylinder (this one the key for a Barker's autumn catalogue) is raised by a hoist. (Courtesy of Digby Wakeman)

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Cylinder storage (#3). The cylinder is hauled into position on one of the racks. (Courtesy of Digby Wakeman)

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A closer look at the cylinders. Most are wrapped for protection, but the unwrapped cylinder on the left shows etching for one colour of a Woman's Own cover. (Courtesy of Digby Wakeman)

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Snuff Club celebration, 1967. More than half of the celebrants at the snuff club's 30th anniversary get-together have now been identified, thanks to John Swan. They are, back, l-r: Fred Gillingham, [?], [?], Syd Towndrow, Stan Perry, Butch Hutchins, Jock Chapman, Harry Latham, A.J. Smith, George Webb, Pat Ryan, [?], [?]; seated: Bert Smith, [?], Fred (?), D, Seamons. All were machine assistants except for Harry Latham, who was a chargehand on Sunday Times. Can anyone provide more names? (From the Sun archives)

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The Sun football reserves, 1967-68. Back row, l-r: E. Butler, R. Curzon, T. Barber (captain), C. Cunningham, D. Seabrook, C. Palmer, B. Kent, and C. Hows; front row: R. Rooney, T. Webb, G. Seabrook, S. Kiiling, and P. Nicolson. (Photo thanks to Shirley and Alan Greenman)

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The Solvent Recovery Plant, January 1969. This new plant was part of the modernization of the Sun works in the 1950s (for more on solvent recovery and the factory expansion, see the Facts & Opinions page). A fifth adsorber chamber was added when the new 13-unit Goss press was commissioned. The white trunking runs under the railway tracks from the Gravure machine room to the recovery plant. The photo is stamped 'Sun Printers Ltd, Physics Research Laboratory.' (From the Sun archives)

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Sun's netball team, 1969. Wearing their bright new uniforms are Sun's 'netball dollies', as the December issue of the house magazine put it. Photographed at the Sun Sports Ground after beating Leaford Ladies 30-21 are, standing, l-r: Mary Mitchum (Foundry), Jennifer Priestly (associate), Christina Sills (associate), and Marie Clarke (Budget Control); in front: Gillian Dobson (Process Office), Elizabeth McGrath (Process Office), and Diane Whalley (associate). Other Sun team members were Diane Legg, Chris Pigg, Rita Fry, and Janice Gregory. (Associates were not Sun employees.) The uniforms were made by Sun switchboard supervisor Irene Smith. (Photo supplied by Elizabeth McGrath)

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K&B Rotafolio letterpress machines. Purchased in the late-1960s, these four-colour presses are a last-ditch attempt to keep letterpress alive at the Sun. Especially adapted for the Sun's needs, they are used for printing high-quality catalogues and fashion magazines. John Terry (foreground) minds one of the presses. From the marketing brochure 'SUN in the seventies'. (Supplied by Tony Quick)

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The beauty of polished copper. A flawless gravure cylinder, ready for etching. From 'SUN in the seventies'. (Supplied by Tony Quick)

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Minute measurements, c.1969. Harry Miller, of the chemistry lab, uses the latest type of Tallycell surface-measuring device to assess the finish of a gravure cylinder after deposition and polishing. From 'SUN in the seventies'. (Supplied by Tony Quick)

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Gravure machine #81. John Woods units, modified to take Goss-type cylinder bearings and with a new Albert folder added, are shown here printing a 32-page fashion section for a British mail order house. From 'SUN in the seventies'. (Supplied by Tony Quick)

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Product rolls off the Goss. Finished copies of the Sunday Times Colour Section come off machine #90/91. From 'SUN in the seventies'. (Supplied by Tony Quick)

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The Goss's trial 'hush hut.' A tight squeeze for three, this was a quiet spot in which to confer in the Gravure machine room. The men rarely used it, though, relying instead on a time-honoured system of signals to communicate over the din of the presses. The signals are described by Jack Clarke on the Reminiscences page. (Photo supplied by Jack Clarke)

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The Planning Department, c.1969. This is where film positives were planned onto two-page assemblies. From 'SUN in the seventies'. (Supplied by Tony Quick)

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Part of the Cylinder Room, c.1969. The area known as the Gravure Cylinder Square stored a wide range of cylinder sizes unique in the world. From 'SUN in the seventies'. (Supplied by Tony Quick)

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Lost and found (under machine #57), June 1970. While dismantling gravure machine #57, engineers Dave Wallser (left) and Harold Healey discovered a 34-year-old section of Home Journal under the concrete floor. Containing an appeal for the preservation of rural Britain as well as articles on the death of King George V, the pages showed some signs of chemical reaction after having been buried under concrete for so long but, as Sunews reported, 'all credit should go to Sun, for the print remained perfect!' (From the Sun archives)

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The new Cylinder Stripping Room, 1970. This was where the cylinders had their engraved copper skin removed after the print run was completed, so that the surface could be readied for a new skin. The Gravure Machine Room was to the left of the far entrance in this photo, the Process Block to the right. A passageway on the other side of the right-hand wall ran under the railway line to the Letterpress and Composition departments in the new South Extension, and also to the car park. (Photo and information courtesy of Tony Hind)

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Banged out!! Painted, costumed, 'enthroned,' and noisily paraded through the factory by co-workers to mark the end of his apprenticeship, Maurice Brown of Mono Retouching is 'banged out' in traditional style on October 30, 1970. Departments tried to out-bang each other. At least one apprentice was taken through the streets of Watford in a kind of mini-car and another was wheeled through the works dressed entirely in paper cups. But the relentless competition eventually resulted in some injuries. Shortly after the ceremony pictured here, banging-out was stopped (no doubt to the relief of some apprentices) and was only briefly revived in 1978. (From the Sun archives)

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New developing machines, January 21, 1971. These machines were the product of Sun research and were built to Sun's specifications. Photo by Sun Printers Technical Dept. (From the Sun archives)

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Dealing with waste paper, 1972. Ray Croucher operates a forager clamp. Some 100 bales of waste paper are shifted out the door each day. (From the Sun archives)

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What's inside the clock tower? (1973) A chlorination plant has been added to the pumping equipment. Inspecting the completed work are, l-r: Gordon Cook, welder, Ron Toulson, Millwrights Section manager, and Ray Alberto, Engineers' Services Division manager. Photo by Graphic Photos. (From the Sun archives)

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The Readers are moved again, 1973. Sun Printers' financial situation has been worsening for the better part of a decade. As part of a number of cost-cutting measures, the Readers and Comps are moved out of the South Extension (which has been sold to the Post Office) and into the main factory. Reader Ivor Maldoom is shown at centre in the new work area. (Courtesy of Vernon Maldoom)

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The Comps are moved, too. Settled back in the main building are, l-r, C. Sonntag, A. Whitehead, David Staton, P. McNutt, A. Haines, and Vernon Maldoom, all members of the Sunday Times boat. (From the Sun archives)

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Morgan-Grampian chooses the Sun for a new magazine, 1973. Megan Rice-Davies (secretary to personnel director Donald Martin), magazine editor Trudi Culcross, and Marion Lawrence (secretary to works manager Gerald Mowbray) admire the first issue of Eve. (From the Sun archives)

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Bubbly for the record breakers, 1973. Stan Daw, the Sunday Times production manager, promised a crate of champagne to these machine minders if they could produce more than 420,000 copies of the colour supplement within 24 hours, without a hitch. What started as a joke became a record-breaking press run. Happily reaping their reward are (l-r): Harry Latham (chargehand), Ernie Hayes, Joe Johnson, Arthur Wedgerfield, and Arthur Willis. At right is Machine Room manager Alan Hoare. (From the Sun archives)

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Going out on a high, 1973. Chargehand Fred Cooper (right), a month or two from retirement, peruses, along with Machine Room manager Alan Hoare, a copy of the 120-page issue of the Sunday Times colour supplement from the record-breaking run to which his crew contributed. (From the Sun archives)

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Sun's firemen are tops, October 1974. The prize-winners are shown here with the trophies they won at the international contests of the British Fire Services Association at Hayling Island. They took, among others, the all-England prizes for the pump drill and wet hydrant drill, and the all-England Grand Aggregate Shield. Back row, l-r: Peter Walker, Micky Praide, Roy Miller, Derek Pangbourne; second row: Ray Holt, Dave Carter, Denis Gurney; front row: Second Officer Joe Johnson, Bob Ashley, Dave Haines, Barry Langdale, Ron Rooney, and Chief Officer Freddie Soar. For more on the fire brigade, see the article on the Facts & Opinions page. (From the Sun archives)

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Inside the Ink Factory lab, 1974. Chief ink chemist Dr George Fuchs, lab assistant Ian Smillie, and ink factory manager Ed Joyce develop special transfer inks for the embroidery supplement of Woman's Own. The inks created for the patterns were apparently the first that could be transferred to both natural and man-made fibres. Photo by Graphic Photos. (From the Sun archives)

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Sun's cricket team, 1975. The team poses for a photo prior to its annual management match against Thomson Tycoons - which, this year, will be fought to an honourable draw. Back, l-r: Ken Wicks, Don Coxon, Alan Nockles, Bob Lawrence, Denis Wells, Michael Knowles, Ray Tarbox, Bob Waller, George Sturrow as umpire, [?]; front: Graham Smith, Ivor Maldoom, Bert Nockles, and John Godfrey. (Supplied by Vernon Maldoom)

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Winners of the Interdepartmental Bowls Competition, c.1975. The Warehouse comes out on top for the third year in a row. The competition was played for the Larcombe Cup (donated by Alf Larcombe, Gravure Department manager). Harry Fishlock (white flannels) and other team members accept their trophy before an appreciative audience at the Sun Sports Ground. Bette Fishlock, who supplied us with this photo, is at right.

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Goodbye to the 'Tiny,' December 1975. Engineers Jack Adams (left) and Ron Toulson plan the dismantling of the Sun's last 'Tiny' gravure press, to make way for a new Gravure rest room. In the 1930s the Sun had had two such machines, of six units each. One of them ran in tandem with an old Foster letterpress rotary and printed the four-colour covers of Wild West and a girls' magazine called Silver Star. The other ran in tandem with an Albert letterpress rotary and printed two-, three-, and four-colour covers to be run in with the letterpress printing of Nursing Mirror and Practical Motorist. The presses were later reconfigured into three groups of four units each. Two of these four-unit presses eventually went to the Watford College of Technology and the London School of Printing. The 'Tiny' pictured here was used for testing purposes by the Gravure Research Department. (From the Sun archives)

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Equipment arrives for the Ink Factory. Manager Ed Joyce supervises the delivery of a new ink mill. (From the Sun archives)

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Sun's hard-working DE5, June 1976. Alan Abbott, Arthur Ayres, and Jim Paige pose with one of the Sun's two 1-ton platform trucks. The machine was one of Lansing Bagnall's first models. About 26 years old and obsolete when this picture was taken, the DE5 had been sidelined several times, only to be resurrected by friends in Truck Maintenance. With spares no longer available, Sun engineers made any needed parts, and in 1976 the DE5 was still working full shifts and was thought to be the only machine of its kind left in service. (From the Sun archives)

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New livery, March 1977. A Sun Printers vehicle sports the firm's new look: a stylized orange sun and white lettering on a royal blue background. The designer was Paul Yandell, from the Technical Department. (From the Sun archives)

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Campers at the ink factory, 1977. When a pair of wagtails chose to make their home among the pallets behind the Ink Factory, George Sharpe (left), here showing Kevin Corbett the nest, created this sign to make sure the birds would not be disturbed until they were ready to leave. (From the Sun archives)

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News of a royal baby forces a rethink, May 1977. The announcement that Princess Anne is expecting a baby in November keeps Sun staff busy through the Easter weekend, redesigning the front cover of an issue of Woman's Own that was already well into production, and altering inside layouts to accommodate a new three-page article. The race is on to be the first of the women's magazines to carry the story in colour. Reviewing the new layouts are Woman's Own comps Sid Blow, Albert Perkins, Ray Smith, John Tyrrell (clicker), and Lew Whitehouse. (From the Sun archives)

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Hot stuff, 1977. Sunews captioned this photo 'Not a new number for Chorus Line.' Members of Sun's hard-to-beat fire brigade show their stuff on the way to winning a total of seventeen trophies in local and national competitions this year, missing out on an overall first-place finish by only 10 seconds. For more on the fire brigade, see the article on the Facts & Opinions page. (From the Sun archives)

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Cap badge of the fire brigade. The same badge design, but in green, was used by Sun security staff. (Courtesy of Peter Walker)

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Car badge of the Sun Motoring Club. (Courtesy of Peter Walker)

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When 'long service' meant long service (1977). In the course of three ceremonies in November and December, long-service awards were presented to 103 men and women whose combined service at the Sun totalled close to 4,000 years. In something of an understatement, managing director Bob Phillis noted in his congratulatory remarks, "It is clear to me that there is considerable attachment and loyalty towards the firm." This photo, taken in the directors' dining room, shows just a few of the recipients. Left to right: H. Parr, E.H. Challis, J.C.W. Bennett, R. Preston, H.A. Alston, S. Bailey, N.J. Edwards, R. Humphries, Miss J. Willoughby, D.A. Jones, H. Andrews, J.G. Messider, E. Warren, T.G. Woolner, L.J. Tilt, A.W. Roberts, R.C. Nobbs, W.A. Ramsay, R.A. Bray, and S. Martin. The Sun archives contain many such pictures.

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New computers for old, spring 1978. The Sun's rented ICL 1901T computer is replaced by a 2904 processor and two additional disc drives. The old computer had served 12 other fee-paying companies as well as the Sun, and expectations are that its replacement will bring in more revenue from outside sources. (From the Sun archives)

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A new Autofilm dispensing and cutting table, spring 1978. George Chamberlain, Carbon Printing, demonstrates the new cutting table in the Process Department. Polyester-based Autofilm will replace carbon tissue (paper), which has been used since the early days of gravure. The dispensing table accompanies a new Autofilm sensitizing machine. Photo by Sun Printers Technical Dept. (From the Sun archives)

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A new gravure press, spring 1978. The Albert TR5S is the first new gravure press to be bought since the acquisition of the Gosses. It is hoped that the Albert will help open up new opportunities for the Sun. Installation is well along. Engineers had begun assembling the press the previous September. Photo by JBW Photography. (From the Sun archives)

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The Albert's folder is installed. Sun development engineer Ray Alberto and two gravure pressmen check details. (From a negative supplied by Roy Hodgson)

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New blood, 1978. Sun apprentices, back with the company after several months at Watford College, review the progress being made on the installation of the Albert press. They are (l-r): David James (Engineering), Geoffrey Hale (Electrical), David Blackburn (Engineering), Chris Ahearne (Engraving), Clive Hooley (Retouching), Colin Boddy (Planning), and Russell Haines (Engraving). (From the Sun archives)

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The Albert's first crew, July 1978. This crew will be trained on the Albert TR5 and will in due course train other crews. Shown with managers Ken Gravestock (fourth from left) and Alan Hoare (far right) are: Ron Coppin, Len Knight, Larry Bayley, Peter Laws, Alan Clark, Fred Gillingham, Cliff Goodyear, Ralph Blagden, and Ted Ivison. Commissioning of the press had begun months earlier, on April 24, but technical problems will plague the crews for another 18 months or more until sorted out by Albert engineers under considerable pressure from Sun management. See the story on the Facts & Opinions page. (From the Sun archives)

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The Albert in operation, 1978. Now that the manufacturers have corrected the installation flaws, the Albert is running properly - at twice the speed of the fastest John Wood press and 60 per cent faster than the Sun's newest Goss. (From a negative supplied by Roy Hodgson)

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Checking the output on the Albert. Although the press is running well, the Sun continues to struggle financially. The high cost of maintaining a large and well-paid workforce is preventing the company from offering lower prices to potential customers. The consequence is a growing number of bids lost to other printers, both at home and on the Continent. (From a negative supplied by Roy Hodgson)

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In the wee hours. The Engraving Room at the end of the night shift. The blinds are down, the clock reads 5:30. The papers draped over the cylinders are proofing sheets. Cylinders were proofed after etching and the proofs were marked up wherever revisions were needed. The sheets shown here may be just for identification or they may be the marked-up sheets for the engravers to work from in the morning. The light frames in the background held the transparencies/separations that the engravers used as guides. (Photo courtesy of John Dryburgh)

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'The Comps' in 1980. The Sun has moved into phototypesetting at last. Many customers and most of competitors had made the switch years earlier. Compare this photo with the many earlier pictures of the Comps. Over the century, virtually every aspect of composition/typesetting has undergone radical change. (From the Sun archives)

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Raising the roof, 1980. The Sun has just won two major long-term contracts, and hope is in the air again. A tower crane is needed for the construction of a vast new press hall in the heart of the factory. The Sun is going to print a major part of TVTimes and is literally raising the roof (to 45 ft) to accommodate the folders of two new Cerutti gravure presses. Rembrandt House can be seen in the distance, to the left of Whippendell Road. (From the Sun archives)

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Robert Maxwell arrives, 1981. Media tycoon Robert Maxwell has taken control of the British Printing Corporation (BPC), of which the Sun is a major part. Within weeks of becoming chairman, he inaugurates an 'over-65'club at the Sun (called the Sundowners' Club), and ushers 130 employees out the door with a £2,000 handout. Here, he talks with members of the club's executive, Ken Sands (Technical Sales Manager), Jim Pascoe (Order Office Clerical FOC), Les Todd (Gravure Process), and Doris Kitchener Elson (Ink Factory). Photo by Harrison & Laking. (From the Sun archives)

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New stacking equipment is put through its paces, 1981. Mike Batchelor and Ken Gravestock watch Rowland Thorn put a 'log' through the Muller Martini Jumbo Stacker in the Gravure Machine Room. (From the Sun archives)

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The Sun wins a five-year contract to print Weekend magazine, 1979. An issue of the magazine is finished on a Muller Martini Card Gluer, which is attaching a card to a page of the magazine with hot melt adhesive. The magazine will be lost during a commercial restructuring in 1980-81. (From the Sun archives)

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Signing the first 'survival plan,' 1981. Robert Maxwell issues 'survival plans' to BPC's companies, and insists on agreement from every union before he will commit to any future investments in any company. Here, in the Sun Printers boardroom, he and the firm's union heads sign the first plan. Seated, l-r: Peter Childs (Process Sogat FOC), Bill Ford (NGA FOC), Robert Maxwell, Don Griffin (Sogat Finishing FOC). Standing, l-r: Eric Codling (NGA Comps FOC), [?] (Prepress Sogat Deputy FOC), [?], [?], Dave Wright (Pressroom Sogat Deputy FOC), Stewart Fraser (Commercial Director), Brian Reynolds (Printing & Engineering Director), Ray Cox (Prepress Director), Terry Davis (Electricians FOC), Mike Jose (Finance Director), Ron Stephens (NGA Comps Deputy FOC), Tony Fuchs (Engineers FOC), Gordon Templeton (Planning), Chris Gill (Industrial Relations Manager), [?] (Sogat Finishing MOC), Denis Wells (Sales Director), Barry Dixon (Slade FOC), David Staton (Personnel Director), John Swan (Pressroom Sogat FOC). Please help us complete the list of names. A detailed account of the Maxwell era can be found in The Way of the Sun, by Peter Greenhill and Brian Reynolds, published in 2010. (Photo supplied by Brian Wiseman, information provided by Brian Reynolds)

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After the signing, 1981. Maxwell and his co-signatories gather for a photo in front of the Sun's office entrance. New investment is expected to flow, now that the survival plan has been signed, and it appears that redundancies had been avoided - hence the smiles. With a big contract in hand to print the 'new-look' TVTimes, and with two new gravure presses coming in to do just that, it seems as if the Sun's fortunes, in decline for a decade, are about to change for the better. (Photo supplied by Brian Wiseman)

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One of the new Ceruttis, 1981. The capital investment in two state-of-the-art Italian presses for the Sun is dealt with by BPC through a lease agreement. The presses will cost £8 million, and the renovations required to accommodate them will eventually cost the same amount again. On these presses will be produced the editorial pages (i.e., the magazine section) of the 'new-look' TVTimes, with an average 3.7 million copies per week. (Photo supplied by Corrie Graddon)

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Another view of one of the Ceruttis, 1981. The presses are capable of running at 36 feet per second and can deliver more than 80,000 magazine sections per hour, using over 10 tons of paper and three-quarters of a ton of ink to do it. (Photo supplied by Brian Reynolds)

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The Cerutti reel room. A view 'below-stairs,' where reels of paper wait to be swung into position and used. (Photo supplied by Jack Clarke)

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Official launch day, September 24, 1981. Bob Phillis, former managing director of the Sun and now managing director of TVTimes, shares the start-up duties with Robert Maxwell and television's Telly Savalas. (From the Sun archives)

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Who Loves Ya, Baby? Sunews captioned this photo 'Kojak and friends!' The launch day for the 'new-look' TVTimes is also the official opening day of the Cerutti press hall. Shown here are (l-r): Roy 'Whisky' Miller (engineer), actor Telly Savalas, Jim Warner (press maintenance), A. Byrne, Wally Newman, Bob Goodyear, Don Keen (engineer), and Gordon Cook (engineer and welder). (From the Sun archives)

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Checking the product, 1981. Cerutti crew members David Carter (left), Len Hooker, and Denis Cutler check TVTimes copies during the first press run. (From the Sun archives)

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The Cerutti control room and crew. In consultation are: (l-r): John Bennett (chargehand), Jack Clarke, Derick Haynes, Den Gurney, and Peter Laws. (Photo supplied by Jack Clarke)

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Italy fêted at the Sun, 1982. The Italian engineers installing the second Cerutti press gather with the Sun crew to celebrate Italy's win in the World Cup final. Left to right: engineer Mauro Pastorino, Andy Cook, Geoffrey Hale, engineer Carlo Rota, Terry Apps, John Bennett (with Italian flag), Peter Draper (background), engineer Biagio Casalino (kneeling), Bob Manley, D. Blair, B. Ausden, Len Hooker, David Farino, F. Jacket (seated), Bernard Scott. (Photo supplied by Len Hooker)

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A Cerutti folder, 32 ft high. (Supplied by Brian Reynolds)

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The second Cerutti's control room. Len Hooker is at the controls in the 'hush hut.' The presses perform as well as expected, but TVTimes does not, rarely containing the number of pages its publishers anticipated, and rarely reaching the anticipated circulation numbers. The Sun can print most issues on a single Cerutti. A full explanation of the situation can be found in The Way of the Sun, by Peter Greenhill and Brian Reynolds, published in 2010. (Photo supplied by Len Hooker)

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Cylinder etching, the modern way. A cylinder is prepared for one of the Ceruttis on an experimental Crosfield Lasergravure machine. A detailed discussion of the Lasergravure trials, their successes, and the project's ultimate failure, can be found in The Way of the Sun, by Peter Greenhill and Brian Reynolds, published in 2010. (Photo supplied by Len Hooker)

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Sun's 1982 football team. Pictured are, back row, l-r: J. Furie (manager), E. Fletcher, J. Plunket, G. Border, T. Duckett, D. Cripps, and T. Birch (captain); front row: T. Spicer, N. Ahern, N. Border, T. Evident, A. Morton, D. Churchill, and J. Perks (coach). (Photo courtesy of Shirley and Alan Greenman)

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The chairman pays a visit to newly merged Odhams-Sun, October 1982. Robert Maxwell has bought and closed ailing Odhams, and has created a new entity: Odhams-Sun. Even with the influx of Odhams employees, staffing at the Sun works has been reduced, through various schemes, to about 1,400 - just over a third of the number the Sun had employed in the early 1960s. The country's largest printer is now Bemrose, in Liverpool (although Bemrose's days are numbered). In this photo, print and finishing director Brian Reynolds reviews a completed section of Woman magazine with Maxwell. During his visit, Maxwell hints that Odhams-Sun might in future be printing newspapers as well. A full account of Robert Maxwell's purchase and closure of Odhams, the creation of Odhams-Sun, and the aftermath, can be found in The Way of the Sun, by Peter Greenhill and Brian Reynolds, published in 2010. (Photo supplied by Brian Reynolds)

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New name, new logo. The Sun name takes a back seat for the first time in its history. (From the Sun archives)

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Installation of the Sun's first web offset press, 1983 (#1). For reasons both misguided and shortsighted, the Sun has, since 1964, been prevented from adopting the technology that is revolutionizing the printing world. Maxwell ends the ban, and a web offset department is created. Here, the first Baker-Perkins web offset press, a G16, is installed in part of what was once the South Paper Store, on Ascot Road. To find out more about the ban, see The Way of the Sun, by Peter Greenhill and Brian Reynolds. (From the Sun archives)

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Installation of the Sun's first web offset press, 1983 (#2). (From the Sun archives)

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An aerial view of Odhams-Sun, c.1984. The Cerutti press hall stands well above the rest of the factory buildings, its white ducting linking the hall to the solvent-recovery installation. But the South Extension, behind the solvent-recovery plant, is now a Post Office sorting station, and the Ink Factory has been closed, the land sold, and the building razed. The clock tower/pumping station, untouched amid all these changes, looks incongruous beside a complicated new traffic intersection. (Photo supplied by Basil Boden)

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Goodbye to the Sunday Times Magazine, August 30, 1987. Etchers Brian Hall (left) and Colin Bailey paint the copper areas with bitumen to protect them during etching. They are working on the last issue the Sun will print of the Sunday Times Magazine, which has been taken away by its new owner (and Maxwell rival), Rupert Murdoch. It is the end of a major contract and of a 25-year relationship with the magazine. (Photo supplied by Ray Cox; thanks to John Snell for providing a missing name)

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A K, Walther Gravurpilot etching machine, 1987. Around the cylinder is a sheet of developed Autofilm (a clear, stable polyester with a pigmented gelatin coating). The surrounding areas have been painted with bitumen to protect them during the etching stage. This machine did not alter the baume (the specific gravity) of the ferric chloride etchant, the way early Crosfield machines did. The sensor (an inductive device) was in the head near the operator (Brian Hall, in this photo) and referred to a control wedge on the cylinder. The machine changed rotational speed according to the rate of etching against a set programme. A rubber roller underneath the cylinder kept the ferric chloride evenly applied over the length of the cylinder. (Photo supplied by Ray Cox; details supplied by Fred Frost)

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'What should I do if I become unemployed?' Several Odhams-Sun employees, possibly engineers and maintenance crew, as well as a security guard, share a table (during a retirement party?) beside a less-than-celebratory posted article. (Photo supplied by Gordon Cook)

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Buy-out, 1989. On January 1, Odhams-Sun is involved in a management buy-out and the company's name is changed to BPCC Sun Limited. In 1990, the name will be changed again, to BPCC Consumer Magazines (Watford) Ltd, dropping all reference to Sun for the first time in the company's long history. Barry Humphreys recalls that the constant tinkering prompted some wags to suggest that the letters of the name be suspended outside from cup-hooks. But name changes fail to revive 'the Sun's' fame and fortune. Many employees have left to work for Maxwell's Mirror in, ironically, the former Odhams factory, now refurbished and modernized and full of web offset newspaper presses. In contrast, the old Sun factory is almost empty. In this photo, the South Paper Store on Ascot Road, already home to the web offset department, undergoes extensive renovation to accommodate all that remains of 'the Sun', now solely a web offset company. The buildings on Whippendell Road are soon abandoned. For details of the death of gravure at the Sun, see The Way of the Sun, by Peter Greenhill and Brian Reynolds. (Photo supplied by Brian Reynolds)

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All web offset now, c.1992. Jack Clarke at the controls of one of the G16s. The factory is kept busy, but major decisions affecting the company are now being made by the parent corporation, while sales, personnel, and financial responsibilities have been centralized at Petty's. 'The Sun' has become a satellite operation, no longer master of its own destiny and not long, now, for this world. (Photo supplied by Brian Reynolds)

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Remnant of former days, 1992. The Sun's former office entrance on Whippendell Road is boarded up. (Courtesy of Brian Reynolds)

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Empty shell, 1999 (#1). The Sun buildings lie derelict and vandalized, nothing but leaks and rust, broken windows and discarded tires. The company's glory days are just a memory. (Photo by Dave Nicholson)

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Empty shell, 1999 (#2). (Photo by Dave Nicholson)

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Still no buyer, 2002. Abandoned for over a decade, the plant is a ruin - 'a local eyesore', in the words of Watford Borough Council. (Supplied by Jack Garratt)

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The Sun site is sold to Frontier Estates, 2002. (Supplied by Jack Garratt)

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A final look at the main entrance, 2002. Just days before demolition begins. (Courtesy of Barry Humphreys)

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Last views inside the Sun, c. 2002 (#1). The clocking-in/out hall – the employees' entrance – on Whippendell Road is now littered with refuse and broken furniture. A cigarette and sweets kiosk was once on the left. The doors on the right led to the first aid and medical department. Mounted near those doors had been the memorial plaques to the fallen of two world wars. When the buildings were abandoned in the early 1990s the plaques were moved to the changing room in the litho section. They have since found a new home in the current Sun Postal Football Club pavilion. (Photo supplied by Jack Clarke)

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Last views inside the Sun, c.2002 (#2). A vandalized corner of what was once the busy Cylinder Square, filled with gleaming copper. The doors led to the Process Block. (Compare with the photo from 1969.) (Photo supplied by Jack Clarke)

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A little piece of the Sun preserved. In 2002, a demolition contractor brought this decorative brass sun to Steve Ausden, managing director of Geo. Ausden Ltd, the company under contract to recycle metal from the Sun facility. Mr Ausden decided to save and restore the piece when he learned that it had been on the wall of the front reception area. The decoration may well date back to the 1920s or 1930s. Its style is reminiscent of many sun designs used in its heyday by the Sun Engraving Co. See 'The Sun Name and Visual Identity' on the Facts and Opinions page. (Courtesy of Steve Ausden)

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Demolition, c. 2004 (#1). The remains of the multi-storey building on Ascot Road. (Photo supplied by Jack Clarke)

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Demolition, c. 2004 (#2). The rest of the old Sun factory on Ascot Road comes down. (Photo supplied by Jack Clarke)

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Demolition, c.2004 (#3). Opened with such fanfare and hope in 1981, the Cerutti press hall, the Sun's final addition, is now a skeleton in an otherwise vacant lot. (Photo supplied by Jack Clarke)

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Demolition, c.2004 (#4). The Sun's brick chimney and the shell of the Cerutti press hall await their fate. (Photo supplied by Jack Clarke)

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Demolition, c.2004 (#5). Final act. After piling up a mountain of earth around the boiler-house chimney to allow the digger's claw to reach the top of the stack, the last remnant of the factory is pulled down. Few traces of the Sun remain today - a building that was once the new South Paper Store, a Post Office sorting station that was once the new South Extension, some vats and pipework, out of sight behind these buildings, and the clock tower/pumping station, partly renovated and then abandoned. (Photo courtesy of John Try)

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One promise kept, 2007. The developers of the Sun site refurbish the smaller Sun Engraving mosaic and mount it on one of the new buildings. Apparently the larger mosaic, with the Sun motif, fell to pieces decades earlier, during an attempt to remove it, and no trace remains. (Photo courtesy of Alan and Shirley Greenman)

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Sun Engraving's mosaic plaque. Close-up courtesy of Brian Reynolds.

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Rembrandt House, 2007. While the Sun factory has vanished without a trace from Whippendell Road, save for its mosaic plaque, Rembrandt House, always a handsome and substantial building, lives on. (Photo courtesy of Alan and Shirley Greenman)

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A tribute to Sun sports teams. In the club directors' meeting room of the former Sun Sports Pavilion (currently home of the Sun Postal Sports Football Club), the walls are lined with Sun memorabilia and photos of the firm's teams and cup winners over the decades. (Photo courtesy of Alan and Shirley Greenman)

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In remembrance, 1914-1919. Inside the Sun Postal sports pavilion are preserved the memorials honouring Sun employees who died serving their country in two world wars. (Photo courtesy of Alan and Shirley Greenman)

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In remembrance, 1939-1945. The WWII memorial. (Photo courtesy of Alan and Shirley Greenman)

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The Sun's clock tower rescue (#1). In December 2007, restoration work began on the 73-year-old clock tower. (Photo courtesy of Alan and Shirley Greenman)

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The Sun's clock tower rescue (#2). Long disused, this quirky structure, now a listed building, seemed to take on a life of its own for a time, both as a landmark and as a reminder of the firm that had launched Watford on its prosperous near-century 'in the print'. But Watford Town Council has recently put a stop to the current owner's plans for the structure. Despite some ongoing interest in preserving this piece of local history, the clock tower's future is very much in doubt. Perhaps it's for the best. Saving the humblest and least of the Sun's buildings after destroying virtually all the others (including the best) just seems wrong. (Photo courtesy of Alan and Shirley Greenman)


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