Two men speaking to one another

Photo credit: Milly Nixon Photography

As part of Volunteers’ Week we place the spotlight on the Create North East Lincolnshire funded project ‘Meet us at Albert’s’ by ELEOS Collective. ELEOS utilised the expertise and experience of Walter Nelson-Aylott, who started in the printing industry in 1976. Here is his story:

We would like to celebrate our volunteer, Walter Nelson-Aylott, from our project “Meet us at Alberts!” His valuable knowledge of the printing industry, combined with his enthusiasm for the project, has made a significant contribution.

We initiated this project to honour the hidden rich history of Grimsby’s printing industry by delving into the social history of those who worked in print, exploring published materials and work-life of the day, and collaborating with local talented designers who have been inspired by our printmaking heritage.

Walter’s involvement has been immensely helpful as he possesses knowledge about the people, events, and places in Grimsby from a period for which archived information is scarce. As the project developed, Walter offered his time and creativity to make the project more enriching with his input and design flair. He helped us with the project’s badge design and was most valuable when we had our main drop-in sessions!

“One or two friends from the printing industry contacted me via Facebook and explained that an organisation was interested in Albert Gait Printers and printing from the past, I wasn’t sure I wanted to get involved. Then a friend from my current car driving job who owns a reclamation yard also contacted me. So I contributed some photographs via Facebook of objects that I have collected from eBay in connection with my Letterpress days.”

“I started in the Printing Industry in 1976 as a Letterpress Compositor, then followed that in Reprographics, Paste Up Artist and Platemaking, then moved to Typesetting on the first generation of computers. Naturally, that took me to Desktop Publishing using Corel Draw and Photoshop. My other skills were the ability to draw cartoons and touch typing at 50 words per minute.”

“In the two exhibitions, firstly at the Town Hall Grimsby and secondly at St James Minster Grimsby I found my ability to explain to the general public all of my experiences from Letterpress to Desk Top Publishing. I do believe this small amount of volunteering helped me grow and rebuild my confidence within my world of graphics and printing, whilst giving something back to the community. I think it is an interesting story to know how far back the words 18 point type has been with us, it’s certainly not something invented by the computer age.”

“I met many people at the exhibitions who seemed to enjoy my explanation of printing from the past and a couple of people said “you should be doing this”.  My father was in the Royal Navy for 9 years, 28 years as a welder and 30 years as a market trader, he retired at 86 years of age and maybe I get some of my ways with the public, from him. “

“I continued doing graphic art and design for friends and I believe meeting Wendy and Lucy @Meet us at Alberts, was something of a guiding light as to what I could be doing in the future with the project. Here’s to an interesting time in the future.”

Walter Nelson-Aylott age 64 and a thin lead, (64 and a bit), I used to be a Compositor and now everyone is.

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