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Westwood Works 1903-2003

The Lithographic Department

An engineering business the size of Baker Perkins generates the need for an enormous amount of printed material, both for internal and external purposes.

Up to 90% of the printing required by the Westfield Road site, and another seven of the group’s companies, were produced in house by the Lithographic Department. Norman Johnson, manager of the Archives and printing service at Baker Perkins, Peterborough argued that a well-run in-plant could show savings of up to 50% on the cost of using outside printers – “The convenience factor is equally important. An outside printer has other customers to consider but with an internal department one can, with a little ingenuity, adjust production schedules to give an almost immediate delivery on urgent or unforeseen jobs that might arise. There is also the security aspect to consider. Some jobs by their very nature simply have to be done inside the company”.

By 1974, the department, as will be seen in the photographs, had grown to a considerable size, producing a wide range of work including, technical sales literature and publicity material, business forms, invoices, statements, multi-part sets and the company’s internal telephone directory – this, of course, needing constant up-dating.

1974 - The Lithographic Department Rene Bowman with the A-M DT100 Platemaker

The photographs show the department house in the ‘penthouse’ on the top of the 1933 multi-story office block. (See Outside Views). This had been added in 1965 and was served by the new ‘closed’ lifts, the original caged lifts not reaching that level, necessitating a climb up a final staircase.

Lithographic was moved in 1976 to the east end of the first floor of the original two-storey (1918) office block – against the railway – as part of the reorganisation brought about by the completion of the new (1975) office block.

In the course of a year, the department produced around one and a quarter million copies on their Total Copy System, another six million impressions being made on a battery of Multilith machines. Although a number of photocopiers were strategically located around Westwood Works for departmental use, the rule was that only up to ten copies of any one document should be made on these machines. Requisitions for larger quantities were sent to the Lithographic Department where an Addressograph-Multigraph Total Copy System could process 300 or more copies in a matter of minutes.

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