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|McCORQUODALE'S PRINTING FACTORY
Wolverton has been linked with the printing industry since 1878 when McCorquodales built premises in the town. The firm specialised in registered envelope manufacture, but undertook many other government and security printing contracts. However the history of the company commenced in 1841 George McCorquodale opened a stationers shop in Liverpool which became the Liverpool Printing and Stationery Company Ltd. The company prospered and five years later George opened the first McCorquodale printing works at Newton le Willows in Lancashire, specialising in providing a service to the ever expanding railway network.
McCorquodales went from strength to strength and further factories were opened in London and Glasgow in the 1870s.
The railway town of Wolverton had a labour problem for although the men were all gainfully employed in the railway works, their daughters remained unemployed. Sir Richard Moon, Chairman of the London & North Western Railway had an idea for solving the problem and contacted his friend George McCorquodale and suggested that he build a printing works in the town. George thought it an admirable suggestion and in 1878 he opened his registered envelope factory - success was immediate. The works rapidly increased in size and diversified into printing books, forms and commercial stationery.
|By 1886 McCorquodales of Wolverton was known as one of the finest printing factories in the country and employed 120 year women and 20 men. Most of the girls started work at the age 13 or 14 and were normally employed until they married. Girls were encouraged to remain in the factory as long as possible and a £10 wedding grant was given to those who had completed 10 years service. Until 1909 staff worked a 54 hour week starting at 6am with a half day on Saturday. The company were also quick to provide the best welfare and working facilities in the area, and the staff were provided with dining, reading and recreation rooms. A Good Samaritan Society was started and pension funds paid for holidays and service bonuses all made for a happy company.
Year after year, new buildings were erected and the works reorganised and rearranged. Government contracts for postal stamps, stationery, postal orders, old age pension and widows and orphans forms were secured. It is interesting to note that the advent of football pools massively increased the print runs on postal orders overnight, and ensured that the firm remained profitable.
McCorquodales have kept abreast of printing technology and their Wolverton Printing Works remains ever successful, competing in the age of computer and digital technology. Throughout their long association with the area, they have always been associated with security printing, and long run work . However there was also a jobbing printer in Wolverton, who produced short run work such as business and invitation cards to serve the local community. Muscutt and Tompkins was such a firm in Stratford Road Wolverton, with a single printing press that operated after the Second World War.