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Thread: Polestar Purnell Printworks

  1. #11
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    Default Re: Polestar Purnell Printworks


    Quote Originally Posted by wolfism View Post
    Are they Heidelbergs, or something of that ilk?
    It doesn't look like a Heidelberg as far as I can tell, although they do manufacture these hugmungous sheet-fed computerised presses. There have been loads of different manufacturers over the years, mainly Japanese and American. Had a quick google to see if I could find a match in the second-hand and reconditioned presses but there are too many of them to troll through. :)

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  3. #12
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    Default Re: Polestar Purnell Printworks


    cant remember the make but they were italian, - the paper feeds on the lower floor were germen though i think.

    Quote Originally Posted by Foxylady View Post
    It doesn't look like a Heidelberg as far as I can tell, although they do manufacture these hugmungous sheet-fed computerised presses. There have been loads of different manufacturers over the years, mainly Japanese and American. Had a quick google to see if I could find a match in the second-hand and reconditioned presses but there are too many of them to troll through. :)

  4. #13
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    Default Re: Polestar Purnell Printworks


    Actualy i can remember - they were made by Cerutti i think,

    There were 9 ink troughs i think (9 colour process?)

    http://www.packaging-technology.com/.../1-cerutti.jpg

    Quick google seems to back my memory up!:
    "At Polestar Purnell, manufacturing capability is based upon six large Cerutti presses - these are the veritable giants of the print world. No one has yet been able to substantially improve on the rotogravure press principle that was developed by Giovanni Cerutti in 1947. Today 56 million copies of magazines and newspapers are printed using this technique each day in 52 countries."

  5. #14
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    Default Re: Polestar Purnell Printworks


    Excellent, thanks for that - I've never had the chance to explore an out-of-use printworks, but I have been around a couple of live ones. The Cerutti presses are certainly monsters - I guess they'll do CMYK plus several spot colours and varnish? A good set of photos, BTW. :)

  6. #15
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    Default Re: Polestar Purnell Printworks


    Quote Originally Posted by Reaperman View Post
    Whilst at British Cellophane Krela mentioned he knew of another site not far from Bristol that could be interesting. So the following day on the way back to Southampton WOTS and Myself thought it would be rude not to take a look.

    About 60% of the site has been demolished and the rest will go shortly for new Barrett Boxes. They may even put up another helicopter...!

    The main building looks like it was built as an expansion to the older (now demolished) works in the 60's or 70's. The works printed amongst other things copies of the Daily express and the readers digest.

    I was pleasantly surprised to find much of the old printing machinery in situ which really elevated the interest value of the site above that of a mere collection of sheds!
    Excuse the big post but I think the following might be of interest.

    This thread brings back sad memories for me as I spent all my working life as a printer at Purnells. I joined as an apprentice in 1961 in the old works (now demolished and under Barratt's Homes!) and they started building the new Cerutti department a couple of years later. I was in the Cerutti department at the end of my apprenticeship in 1966 and took early retirement in April 2004. The works finally closed on 31 December 2005.:(

    The printing machines were all built by Cerutti of Italy and at various times we had 11 main machines and a smaller proofing press, but not all together. Over the years machines 1-5 and the proofer were dismantled one by one and replaced by the newer machines 6-11, which were all there when the place closed.

    We printed various magazines and catalogues, etc., but never newspapers, although we did print quite a lot of weekly colour supplements for newspapers, such as the Observer, Daily Express & Mirror.

    As for your photos, I can identify these:



    The main building seen from the north side. Behind the fence on the left was the main car park. On the chewed up ground to the right of the road and in front of the surviving building stood the boiler house, solvent recovery and the engineers department and stores (formerly an ink works). The solvent recovery recycled solvent from the press fume extraction system - those fumes were pretty potent!



    The building was on two levels, with the presses on the upper floor; the lower floor was the reel room, which had reel-stands which fed paper up through slots in the floor to the presses above. It also stored the big reels of paper. This looks like the reel room.



    This looks like the control panel to No.6 press.



    Looking down the spiral staircase beside No.11 press into the reelroom.



    View of the machine room from the west end. The machine on the left is No.6; the gap beyond is where No.7 once stood; the thing in the far corner (behind the bright blue "tub") is No.8. The blue "tub" is the railing around the top of the spiral staircase (see above). Against the right wall, the dark thing at the far end are presses No.9 & 10, while No.11 once stood in the area in the foreground, in front of the windows.

    Polestar built a new print works on a "green field" site in Sheffield; presumably 7 & 11 were moved there after the works closed.

    Judging by the state of the ceiling the roof has been leaking badly!



    In the reelroom. In the background is one of the reelstands.



    Folder on No.6 press - the paper web came off the press was slit into strips, and these then traveled around those projecting rollers on their way down to the final part of the folder.



    Upper deck of No.6 press



    Folder on No.6 press - the folded copies came out just below the yellow uprights. The doorway in the back wall to the right of the folder led through to the printing cylinder store, and beyond that the cylinder preparation department.



    No.8 press. The thing on the left of the photo is the special add-on folder used for the Readers Digest. It was bolted onto the side of main folder of No.7, but was obviously left behind when they took the rest of No.7.



    Looking the other way down the machine room. Machine No.8 and the Readers Digest folder on the right; No.9 & 10 on the left, and No.6 in the far corner.

    I have some pictures of the works taken on the day I left, which shows what it looked like before the scrappers got at it!

    [CENTRE]

    [lb=https://www.derelictplaces.co.uk/main/imagehosting/426247d94218c513f.jpg][/lb]

    Control panel on No.9 machine - the machine is to the right. Once all these control panels were in sound-proof "hush huts" and the presses were walled in behind sound-proofing partitions; obviously these have now all been demolished.

    [lb=https://www.derelictplaces.co.uk/main/imagehosting/426247d942a9210e8.jpg][/lb]

    Looking down the machine room. No.11 press is on the left, inside the sound-proofing partition; No.6 is on the right. By then No.6 was out of use. Note the narrow gauge railway lines in the floor; these were once used to move printing cylinders around. The biggest weighed over 1 ton!

    [lb=https://www.derelictplaces.co.uk/main/imagehosting/426247d9437471840.jpg][/lb]

    View of the outside, looking west towards the main gate. The print building is on the left, with the protruding office block. The brick building on the right is the engineers department and stores. Out of view to my right was the boiler house. The big pipes take solvent fumes from the presses to the solvent recovery, out of view behind the cars on the right.

    Belse

  7. #16
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    Default Re: Polestar Purnell Printworks


    Brilliant set here - nice captures.

  8. #17
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    Default Re: Polestar Purnell Printworks


    Hiya Belse
    That was a most interesting write-up and explanation of what we see in Reaperman's pics. Also enjoyed seeing your own photos of what it looked like as a working concern. I'd wondered what the add-on folder was!
    Cheers for that very much.
    Oh, and welcome to the forum, btw. :)
    "...If we lose our spiritual bond with the land they'll be nothing left of us as a nation..." Phil Rickman.

    I can't read and I can't write, but that don't really matter,
    I come from the west country and I can drive a tractor.


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  9. #18
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    Default Re: Polestar Purnell Printworks


    Cheers for the info Belse I always think its great to hear more about the places we visit. Really helps us to develop an understanding as to what was being done where.

    Do you know why the works was shut. I'm assuming it wasn't because things were out of date if some of the presses were moved to a new location?

  10. #19
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    Default Re: Polestar Purnell Printworks


    Quote Originally Posted by Reaperman View Post
    Do you know why the works was shut. I'm assuming it wasn't because things were out of date if some of the presses were moved to a new location?
    The place had been running down for some years, with many of the presses out-of-date and too slow by modern standards. Also management was pretty poor, with a constant turn-over of senior men! The writing was on the wall there for some time. Then the company built a brand new, state-of-the-art plant on a green-field site near Sheffield. We knew then that as soon as the new works was "up to speed" that they would shut down our works and that is exactly what happened. When they introduced worst working conditions 2 years before the end, along with voluntary redundancy to reduce the size of the workforce, I took my chance to get out while I had the chance!:)

    Some of the younger guys went up to the new Sheffield works, but many took retirement or other jobs locally. But these jobs don't pay the sort of wages we had enjoyed in the print works.

    Belse

  11. #20
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    Default Brian


    Further to my earlier postings, I can now tell you that the last part of this works was demolished at the end of 2008. Judging by the pile of rubble that was all that remained of the main print building, I think it likely that it was "blown down" with explosives.

    The site was being redeveloped for housing by Barratts and houses had already been built on the older, east end of the site. I understand that this redevelopment was halted by the credit crunch, but it is intended that house building will continue on the west half of the site (the location of the Cerrutti department) once the financial situation improves.

    Brian

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