Ref NoOHP/68
TitleTony Rabey
Date16 January 2002
Extent2 minidiscs, 1 cd, 1 file, 6 AIFF files (764 MB)
Creator NameRabey; Tony; production director
DescriptionInterview with Tony Rabey, production director for the Observer. Conducted by Stephen Pritchard on 16 January 2002. Also includes a data sheet containing biographical details about the subject and information about the recording.

Summary contents of interview (with rough timings):

Disc 1:
Track 1

Track 2
00.21 Started a five year apprenticeship as a printing engineer at the age of 15
00.41 Two years national service
00.50 Worked for a company that installed newspaper presses
01.11 In 1962 installed a letterpress press for the Times
01.56 Explains the letterpress printing process
04.31 Printing in colour in the early days
05.08 Accepted a job as a maintenance engineer at the Times
05.15 Worked for the Times for 10 years
05.35 Became chief engineer at the Observer in 1974
05.41 Times printed approx 300,000 copies a night
06.37 Sale of the Times in 1969
07.22 David Astor purchased the Times and Observer building in early 1974
08.32 July 1974 - the Times moved out and the Observer took the building over
09.34 Changes to page size - 'web width'

12.10 David Astor retired as editor and Donald Trelford took over
12.42 At this time, Observer printing approx 800,000 copies per night
13.12 Observer colour magazine
14.10 Changes in printing newspapers in the late 1970s
15.05 In 1978 Sunday Times shut down due to industrial relations problems
15.30 Demand for increase in Observer circulation
15.50 Increased pagination and started pre-printing on a Friday
17.00 When the Times returned circulation dropped to c.1,000,000
17.17 Sunday Times taken over by Rupert Murdoch - modified presses
18.58 Time it takes to produce a paper

20.04 Number of staff and shift patterns
21.34 Linotype machines

Track 3
00.01 Industrial relations in the 1960s-1980s was 'all about greed'
00.50 Personal anecdote relating to industrial relations
04.40 Stressful time on Fleet Street - 80% of time spent on industrial relations
06.46 Machine room objected to a Conservative Party advert, led to delay in printing
08.30 Recording is stopped while Rabey relates an off-record incident

Track 4
00.14 Murdoch moving all his publications to Wapping in 1984
01.45 Knew Wapping was going to happen 12 months before it took place
02.02 Fleet Street's reaction to Wapping
02.51 Thatcher's anti trade union legislation
04.24 Observer changed from letterpress to offset printing
04.40 Observer had printing contracts with various companies across the UK
05.37 Moving from letterpress to litho press
06.40 John Carey Observer production manager and computerising the printing room

Track 5

Track 6
00.01 Moving to contract printing, producing 2 sets of prints,1 for letter-press, 1 for litho-printer
01.00 Describes transmitting of pages to the printing centre
02.45 Began to experiment with colour
05.20 1st national newspaper to produce high quality colour images

12.00 Redundancies
14.30 Losses at the Observer
18.00 New printing techniques - printing at the Guardian plant
20.15 Independent on Sunday rumoured to be starting
21.00 Looked into producing the Observer on the Financial Times presses
23.00 Printing at the Yorkshire Post
Access StatusOpen
Access ConditionsAccess to recording via GNM Digital Repository


FormatMinidisc recording
Electronic record
Printed document
CD recording
CopyrightGuardian News & Media Ltd and Tony Rabey

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