Early Production


Back in 1974, the editor, Miss Chandler, gathered in her contributions, added her own editorial page, and passed the lot to Margaret Finch. Margaret typed them, arranged them roughly over the twenty available pages, and returned them to Miss Chandler, who noted any typing errors, adjusted the layout, and filled up any big holes with a poem or material from her ‘bottom drawer’.

The pages were then typed again onto wax stencils, using the long-carriage typewriter. Two pages were typed side-by-side. One had to take care to get them in the right order. For example, in a 20 page issue, page 1 would be on the right hand side of the stencil, with page 20 to its left. Plenty of room for confusion!

The stencils then had to be checked. Any errors, which might be just a single letter, were covered with a red correcting fluid. The stencil then had to be re-inserted into the typewriter in exactly its original position, and the correction made.

The next job was to fix the stencils to the Gestetner duplicator, and to run off the required number of copies, plus a 10% allowance in case anything went wrong when the reverse side of the sheet was printed.

The printed sheets were left to dry, then put back into the Gestetner for the other side to he printed. The used stencils were stored between sheets of newspaper. Just occasionally there was a glitch which required the inky stencil to be put back onto the duplicator;  an extremely messy operation. The final operation was collating -  putting the sheets into the correct sequence, and stapling them.

In the early years, the whole of the production work (typing, duplicating, collating, stapling and folding) was done by Margaret Finch in her dining room at 3 Ridge Green. She was assisted to some extent by her family, and occasionally by neighbours. After six years this had to end. Margaret had decided to begin full-time training for a nursing career, starting in January 1980.

The production task had grown dramatically since the Link began. In 1974 the issues consisted of 20 Pages (5 sheets). By 1979 this had doubled to 40 pages (10 sheets). In 1974 the print run had been 500 copies. By 1979 it was 750 copies. It was no longer reasonable to ask one person to do all the work. The Link needed a new production system.

The Editor appealed for volunteers to join rotas for typing and for duplicating. For the collating process it was agreed not to seek individual volunteers, but to ask village organisations to provide complete teams of ten or a dozen members to assemble at a given time and place. It took a little time to get the rotas established and the people trained.

The Editor decided to acknowledge their efforts in the magazine. In the April 1980 issue she reported:- "The February issue was typed by Mrs Peggy Chandler, duplicated by Mr Eric Coupland and Mrs Vaines, and collated by the Youth Club. The March issue was typed by Mrs Anne D’Arcy, duplicated by Mr Eddie Rayner with some assistance from Mr Lye-Whatt Chua, and collated by the Rangers and Venture Scouts”

Many Nutfield people will have memories of the collating nights. Ideally ten or a dozen members of an organisation would turn up at one of the village halls or the Cricket Club, to work under the direction of the Production Manager.

A long trestle table would be erected, with piles of printed pages set out in order along it. The helpers would walk along the table, picking up a sheet from each pile, and in theory taking a quick glance to check that the underside had been printed. (The Gestetner was not 100% foolproof.) The bundle of sheets would he shuffled into a neat rectangle, and passed to the stapler who would thump two staples into them. Another person would take the stapled magazines, fold and crease them. And finally another helper would fill labelled bags with the quantity required by each distributor.