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

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - PEOPLE AND PLACES -

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@ trin­i­tymir­ “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

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