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11 The High Cross Centre

Fountayne Road London N15 4QN

t +44 (0)20 8275 4280


Witherbys returns to Heidelberg for second XL75

Two years after switching from an SM74 to an XL75, the London printer has replaced its second SM74 in the same way. North London commercial printer Witherbys has ordered a five-colour Speedmaster XL75 for installation in December.

The press will replace an SM74, now almost eight years old and a year beyond the normal replacement cycle the 275 year-old business likes to keep to. “We always try to replace each press after seven years,” says director James Greene.

The company installed a six-colour XL75 in 2016 and once the new press is installed, the company will once again find it easier to split a job across two presses using the plate format and inherently closer colour matching.

The new press, like the first XL75, will have Axis Control to store and recall settings for spot colours. Choosing to source all consumables through Heidelberg also helps with consistency and worry-free operation.

“It’s pretty much five colour out, five-colour in,” says Greene. “We looked at the Speedmaster CX model, but felt it wasn’t really for us even with the benefit of a smaller footprint. It just makes sense for us to make this investment.” Nor was the company convinced by the idea of accelerated drying, remaining with a conventional set up.

There will be a make ready saving though the greater automation that the XL provides, matching the increase in shorter run work being handled. Two years ago a Stahlfolder CH56 was installed to add an automated folder to help with short run work, but there has been no temptation to increase the scope of its digital print department.

“We have two Xerox presses and that is enough. Digital does not suit the market we are in,” says Greene. With the “very good service and support” provided by Heidelberg, Witherbys remains resolutely in the litho market.

Xerox visits Witherbys

Following the installation of our 2 new Digital presses earlier this year, Witherbys were visited by Xerox UK who asked if they could bring some distinguished guests from Japan. These were Fuji Xerox Japan, The All Japan Federation of Printing Industries and Japanese printing Companies, Otowa Printing Co Ltd, Bunshodo Printing Corporation and Takizawa News Press Ltd, who were all very interested in seeing how Witherbys have been operating since 1740 and were keen to observe our entire operation.

A very pleasant morning was had by all and the question and answers language barrier was overcome with the aid of a translator gifts were exchanged and they were very interested with our history book detailing the companies events from 1740-2015.

Witherbys Awarded Carbon Smart Gold Certification for 2017

We are delighted to say that Witherbys have achieved the Carbon Smart Gold Certification. This is for showing comprehensive, effective actions to reduce the carbon footprint, to integrate carbon and energy management into the organisation and to communicate this positive work to staff and customers. Your carbon footprint has reduced by 15% since last year – an excellent achievement!

Our Electric Van

The environment is important to us all and to continue our commitment to reducing Witherbys carbon footprint, we have invested in a new Nissan NV 200 Accent Rapid Electric Van.

How we celebrated 275 years of Witherbys

We started the year in discussions with Visix Ltd who assisted us on rebranding and redesigning our website. Our aim was to create an old style logo with a modern twist.

With some hard work we achieved our goal feel and we were ready to unveil this in July 2015 at a customer celebration of our 275 years at the St. Brides Foundation in the heart of London’s Fleet Street.

Many of our customers attended the event and we were pleased that two of our very oldest customers, The Worshipful Company of Fishmongers, a customer since 1743, and The Worshipful Company of Coopers, a customer since 1741 were both there and also said some very kind words while presenting Witherbys with a plaque in recognition of this auspicious occasion.

Celebrating 275 years of Witherbys in London

In November 2015 it was the Staff of Witherbys turn to celebrate the milestone and this was done in traditional fashion by taking all the staff and their partners for a weekend to The Old Ship in Brighton, which is said to be the oldest hotel in Britain. Witherbys also celebrated its 250 years anniversary at the same venue.

Keeping with the tradition of the past the following employees were recognised with long service awards at the after dinner speeches.

James Greene collecting his 25 year-long service award

25 Year Awards:

Kym Youngsam
Gary Freeman
James Greene
Gene O’Reilly

40 Year Award:

Bill Kelly

An overall of 80 awards have been given out since the service awards began in 1927. The 40-year accolade has been rewarded to a remarkable 39 staff with two staff reaching the 60-year mark.

There then followed a good old-fashioned knees up with the staff and partners dancing the night away until the early hours.

When Gary Lineker came to Witherbys

Another fantastic milestone to add to the ever-growing history of Witherbys Ltd was in 2013, when broadcaster and former England footballer Gary Lineker was on a mission to track down the history of one of his ancestors. And Witherbys made it all possible.

Gary Lineker came to Witherbys as part of the TV programme, “Who do you think you are?” which featured on BBC1. Gary and the camera crew spent many hours in our factory to film the episode with our Finance Director Bill Kelly.

Gary’s four times great Grandfather, Thomas Billingham, completed an apprenticeship with Witherbys in the early 19th century back then an apprenticeship would start at 14 years of age and last 7 years compared to the modern day apprenticeship which can last anything from 1-4 years with a minimum starting age of 16.

Thomas Billingham spent his apprenticeship learning to become a calligrapher. Clients would come to Witherbys requiring someone with the handwritten skills of Thomas for very particular agreements such as marriage settlements, wills, rental compliances. Once qualified, he was eligible to write bespoke documents for courts and legal chambers. It was crucial that the font was exactly the same on every piece of work. He and another member of staff would collaborate on the documents so the font had to be identical in style.

The programme reveals an original precedent book from the 1800’s which contained styles of writing from over 200 years ago. This book would have been used to assist clients pick a font for their document, and also to help Thomas and his colleagues learn the types of writing styles.

Gary Lineker was particularly impressed when seeing an actual piece of his work, “Not bad for a gardener's boy!” he said.

Thomas Billingham’s father was an illiterate gardener, but Thomas was sponsored by his father’s employer and went into education and became a highly skilled legal clerk for Witherbys in London.

As you can see through the video, Gary Lineker was clearly moved by finding a real copy of a contract Thomas had handwritten which dated back to 1821.

Witherbys and the print industry have evolved and we continue to develop in terms of technology and the way we work. A lot has changed and we will continue to progress by investing in the best technology for our customers.

Celebrating 275 Years

Over the past 275 years, thousands of our customers, staff and business partners have all been a part of helping Witherbys evolve. To every single individual, thank you.

As we begin to enter another period in our history, we aim to create further milestones to be proud of. We want to continue investing in the future of printed communications to ensure our customers’ requirements are maintained.

From 1740 to 2015. We started from handwritten marriage settlements to now offering both litho and digital printing. We survived two World Wars a General Strike and The Wall Street Crash all in the space of thirty years. Witherbys have come a long way since being burnt down in 1748, where we have since become an established and well recognised print company throughout the UK and Internationally.

To mark this achievement we have decided to rebrand to celebrate our 275 year history. We really wanted the new brand to encapsulate the history of Witherbys. This is truly because it has made us who we are today. Behind the new logo and website is our promise to continue helping our customers use print to benefit their business.

We believe our customer service, quality of work and highly regarded loyal customers have helped us achieve our success. We are honoured to have worked together with many prestigious companies over the years.

To thank our family of staff for their consistent commitment and hard work, we are going for an outing to The Old Ship Hotel in Brighton This is the venue where so many of the firm’s outings took place during the 1940’s, 1950’s and 1960’s the last time being in 1990 when we celebrated 250 years.

Thank you all, lets continue to create history.

Providing continuous quality

Witherbys have yet again invested in the latest equipment to add more value to our customers. Continuous investment is why Witherbys are able to provide the quality and service our customers require.

This speaks for itself. Witherbys have just invested into a brand new Heidelburg Speedmaster 74 litho press. Not only this, but the integration of digital print is now integral to the way we work.

We realise that digital printing has grown in demand for companies who want an affordable, faster turnaround of short-run printing, as well as personalisation. This is the reason we made the decision to purchase Abacus Print. The purchase of Abacus has enabled us to offer digital as well as litho print.

At Witherbys we have been customer focused with our investments for over 275 years and that philosophy will always remain. Being up to date with the latest print technology has always been our goal, which we will continue to fulfil for centuries to come.

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