Our mono broadsheet newspapers have a unique appearance, setting them apart from their competitors on the local newsstands. The reason and the story behind why our newspapers have such a distinctive look and personality is as fascinating as the newspapers themselves: our wonderful Hoe Viscount Crabtree Di-litho press housed in the grounds at our New Milton site, believed to be the last regularly working example of its kind in the UK.
“I remember the foundations for the press were dug by local grave-diggers”
Harry Bouchier, Engineer and Press Room Assistant
The circa 1950s press, originally owned by the Lancaster Evening Post, was procured by the then proprietor Charles Curry in 1989 from a scrapman who demanded £10,000 to supply and deliver. The 120 tonne press was stored out in the open air until a year later when the firm’s staff installed it into its current position using a very large crane. A building was then erected around it.
“It’s a beautiful piece of engineering”
Will Blackmore, Lithographer and Engineer
The press was powered by a John Deere tractor engine and up until 2001 still used a combination of hot metal techniques combined with direct-litho technology. The Advertiser and Times was the last newspaper in the country to rely on hot metal technology. These days the press runs exclusively as a direct-litho press, and thankfully responds well to the latest computer software and systems now used in production and pre-press.
“It’s a reliable machine, but it does have to be coaxed now and again!”
Jerry Lawrence, Lithographer and Mechanic
Our Hoe Viscount Crabtree press is nurtured by a dedicated team of press engineers and assistants, some of whom not only helped to install this current press, but worked on its predecessor, a circa 1903 four-unit rotary press!
Bitesize Facts and Figures
Our Hoe Viscount Crabtree di-litho press:
- Prints 10,000 copies an hour
- Runs for 3.5 to 4 hours every Thursday
- Uses 7 tonnes of paper per print run (from sustainable resources where possible)
- Uses 200 kilo di-litho black ink per print run
- Is powered by diesel and electric generators
- Jerry Lawrence – Production Manager, Inserting Manager, Lithographer and Mechanic
- Will Blackmore –Production Manager, Inserting Manager, Lithographer and Engineer
- Roger Ganley – Press Room Assistant and Plate Maker
- Harry Bouchier – Engineer and Press Room Assistant
- John Fancy – Engineer
Not forgetting our crew of inserters and drivers who not only make sure the supplements are with every newspaper but that they get to their destinations too!
The Press room in action