Life as a printer made a real impression
It’s always nice to hear from old friends and we’ve just had that pleasure when David Bousfield, a man who was an apprentice printer at the paper in the early 1950s, got in touch with us. Mort Smith talked to him about his memories of Chesham
DAVE Bousfield was a Chesham lad, born and bred. His mum and dad, Everlyn and Eric Bousfield, were married at St Mary’s Parish Church and he and most of his seven brothers and sisters were christened in the same church.
He recently attended St Mary’s for a thanksgiving service for his late sister, Gillian, and contacted the Examiner shortly afterwards to share his thoughts about the town.
Dave said: “We all grew up here and have always regarded Chesham as our home.
“The family has spread out all over the UK – my wife, Dorcas, and I now live near Stroud in Gloucestershire – but we have returned often and we always have a special place in our hearts for this town.”
Dave attended Germain Street School – now called Thomas Harding School – and it was there that it first became obvious that he had a special talent as a footballer which eventually led him to play for Chesham United in the Corinthian League for several seasons.
Like any young man leaving school at the beginning of the 1950s, Dave’s first priority was to find a good job and he achieved that when he became an apprentice printer at Page and Thomas (P&T) in Germain Street, the company tha published the Bucks Examiner at that time.
He recalled: “The Bucks Examiner was such an important part of P&T during my time there.
“I remember a dear old gentleman known by all within the company as ‘Spec’ – he was the editor. He was a portly man who always wore glasses. I think when he eventually retired, he was followed by the young Clive Birch.
“Getting the paper out on time involved a great deal of teamwork. It was hectic but most enjoyable. It was, after all, our local paper and we were proud to be a part of it.”
The technology of newspaper publishing has changed dramatically since Dave Bousfield served his apprenticeship.
These days the process of writing stories, gathering pictures, laying out pages and printing the titles is all handled by digital machines - laptops, PCs, digital cameras, and computer-programmed printing presses. But it was very different in Dave’s day.
He said: “The Bucks Examiner was printed using a system called letterpress on flatbed machines and the print run was 11,000 copies a week.
“Wednesdays and Thursdays were very frantic. The front and back pages of the newspaper were hand-fed by girls who put them through the machines at 2,5003000 copies per hour! Interesting times!”
Another of Dave’s fascinating recollections concerned the cost of housing in the late 1950s.
He said: “I lived in a flat above the company’s front office with my wife, Dorcas, for about a year while we looked for somewhere we could buy.
“In 1959, we did find a house that we thought would be perfect for us. It was priced at £2,500 and it was detached with a building plot on the side. My manager at the time advised me not to buy it because he thought that prices were far too high and would soon be reduced. Hard to believe, but true.
“As it happened, we moved to Norfolk for two years before returning to live with Dorcas’ parents at the Unicorn pub in Chesham. Here we stayed whilst I built our first home in Ramscote Lane, Bellingdon.”
As mentioned, Dave Bousfield had a successful amateur football career playing for Chesham United.
He joined the first team in 1957 playing left-half (left centre midfield for those who have never heard the term!) and was a regular member of the side, representing his home town all over the south of England including a Berks and Bucks Senior Cup semi-final against Wycombe Wanderers in February 1960.
Dave would love to hear from any of his old colleagues who worked at Page and Thomas between 1950 and 1960 perhaps even with a view to organising a reunion. Dave now lives in Gloucestershire but if anyone would like to get in touch with him, please contact the newspaper and we’ll put you in touch. Email: mort.smith@ trinitymirror.com. “THREE is the magic number” they say. But ask most parents with this number of children if this is the case, and I have no doubt they will disagree. This dishevelled and frequently-at-the-endof-her-tether- mum of three certainly would at times!
What is it about having three children hat just doesn’t work? As far as the Mincham household is concerned, having three tends to upset the balance of a supposedly normal day of family un, and the cliché “three is a crowd” can be applied for a more accurate description.
Being in the midst of raising two boys as if they are twins (only being 10 months apart) and a girl with a six and a half year age gap to her younger sibling, it is apparent that even then, the sibling rivalry can escalate beyond belief. Yet somehow, it’s the youngest who seems to succeed in her mission to control the situation, by way of incessant barking of commands. I don’t know where she gets it from! How can they all clash? They all came from me! The mind boggles.
There are other days where they all get along great. These days are cherished. But for most of the time, it’s the older boy and the younger girl, versus the middle boy, like some sort of standard procedure.
Few are the days it’s the younger two versus the oldest, or the older two versus the youngest. Some times, it seems that the three of them just can’t seem to see eye to eye for what seems like the entirety of a long and tiring day.
Niggling remarks, and the boys’ play fights that end in tears as our four year daughter decides she ought to intervene, are just two typical scenarios in the Mincham house, AKA wrestling ring.
These are the days that a yoga retreat would be extremely welcomed (never been to a single yoga session – just saying!) and bedtime seems to roll around much earlier than usual – especially as the nights are drawing in, there’s a silver lining to the pending winter cloud after all!
“Have another baby” some say – you have got to be kidding me! No thank you. That’s the last option on my list to instil some sort of tranquillity in to the mix!
David Bousfield when he played for Chesham United and below, with wife Dorcas, he has fond memories of life in Chesham