INSIGHTS ON IVOR
My father, a staunch believer in social and work justice joined the Labour Party and was a member of the Printing Union for many years. It was through this latter connection that when he resumed his printing career after the First World War and work was hard to find he turned to them for help. This entailed him cycling daily to the Union’s Headquarters in Blackfriars London he found it hard to found a permanent job. The country was still recovering from the war. So Dad would cycle daily to the Union headquarters in Blackfriars London seeking any available work. Sometimes he got a few days work and other days he could be very lucky to get a week’s employment.
This financial uncertainty continued until one day in 1923 when the Union sent him to an address in Westbourne Terrace in the Paddington area of London. This event would turn out to be, after the War, the next life changing event of his, and his family’s life. The work he was offered was to print the First Subscribers only copy of T.E. Lawrence’s (Lawrence of Arabia) book Seven Pillars of Wisdom.
No more would he be grateful for just a few days work, this mammoth task would not only enable him to meet and work alongside Lawrence, it also kept him employed for the next three years. When the book was finished in 1927 Dad was temporarily out of work until through the Union he was introduced to another man who also had a big influence on his life. This was Robert Maynard, one of the best artists of the day and the controller of the Gregynog (pronounced Gree-gun-ogg) Press in Mid Wales.
Maynard offered Dad the post of Pressman at the Press. This invitation came out of the blue and demanded very careful thought by Dad and Mum. After all they were true cockneys through and through and the thought of moving the whole family, three children at that time, from their spiritual home of London to Wales, a country with a completely different environment and culture wasn’t to be taken lightly.
But after deep discussions between Dad and Mum plus Robert Maynard it was agreed that Dad would accept the post for a one month trial period. So, with some trepidation of leaving Mum and his family in London he took the train from Paddington to Aberystwyth and onto Newtown where he was met by a chauffer driven Rolls Royce which took him to Gregynog Hall where the Press was housed.
The one month trial period was very successful and Dad signed a three year contract at £4.10 shillings for a 48 hour weekly wage. This exceeded the average £3 a week he had been receiving in London.
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