Stop the press! Printer has shut down after 75 years

PUBLISHED: 07:14 25 May 2006 | UPDATED: 09:21 24 May 2010

WESTON'S largest printing company has shut, turning the final page on over 75 years of working history in the town. Butler and Tanner, which ran presses from a factory off Winterstoke Road, has closed its doors. More than 30 workers left their jobs and an

WESTON'S largest printing company has shut, turning the final page on over 75 years of working history in the town.Butler and Tanner, which ran presses from a factory off Winterstoke Road, has closed its doors. More than 30 workers left their jobs and another 15 relocated to the company's headquarters in Frome.The Weston site was called Lawrence Allen until two years ago. The name came about after a merger of two of Weston's oldest printers, Lawrence Brothers of North Street and Allen's of St James Street.The firm helped produce well-known titles including Jamie Oliver and Delia Smith cookbooks, hobby magazines like Railway Modeller as well as accounts for Shell, Marks & Spencer and brochures for Rolls Royce, Jaguar and Mazda.A former worker told the Weston Mercury that camaraderie between experienced staff helped to make the firm a well-oiled machine.Its presses could print 10,000 sheets per hour, 24 hours a day for weeks on end if needs be, said Peter McArdle, of Grasmere Drive.Mr McArdle joined Lawrence Brothers as a binding apprentice aged 15, a period when sheets were fed into presses by hand.Now aged 67, Mr McArdle said: "The last 12 years down at the Winterstoke Road site were superb. The camaraderie down there was amazing. We didn't deserve what happened to us. It seemed genuinely sad that such a good workforce should go."The major thing that has caused our grief is that technology is going so fast and it costs so much to keep up with the major players."He said workers accepted a 15 per cent reduction in overtime but refused to lose £40 from their weekly salaries. The company closed the Weston plant and moved its presses to Frome.A Butler and Tanner spokesman said: "With pressure from Europe and the Far East we are under pressure to reduce our costs."We have had to go through large cost reduction and the only way has been to reduce many of our sites and bring them into the main site in Frome. We've had to go through pain to get longer term gain.

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