Grant Best of Durham Road, Laindon

I started my apprenticeship as a hot metal compositor at Grant Best and worked with Roger Snook (compositor), Robert, Jerry Charker, Laurie (machine minders), Mr Feener (manager), Eric Grant (owner’s son who ran the firm) and a lady who worked on the finishing side. Mr Grant senior retired to Thetford and as Eric was more interested in selling cars in Grays, the firm was sold and became Smith and Laverno. I was there for a year or so before trying my hand at butchering but only lasted about four weeks. I then went back to the printing trade and retired at 67 working on magazine advertising in Docklands.

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  • Eric Grant was my dad, Len Robinson’s cousin and my godfather. My brother, Martin, worked for a while there to help out, and I, Christine, became a printmaker/artist as an adult, once I’d emigrated to W Australia in 1974.

    By Christine Elaine (nee Robinson) (14/05/2021)
  • Hi Paul,
    I remember Grant Best because I worked for another printing company called Smith Greenfield which was located across the road. The two printers used different printing systems, Grant best used letter press which entails lead type whereas Smith Greenfield were Lithographic printers using aluminium plates that were etched by a photographic process. I don’t know if there was any rivalry between the two firms because we probably differed in the type of work that we sought. A lot of our clients were in the city especially the Law Stationary Society who had us print letter-headings for law firms. One benefit of this work was that their definition of a ream of paper was 480 sheets whereas for everyone else it was 500 sheets, this was an advantage to us because you had twenty sheets to spare for spoilage. Smith Greenfield was owned by the Greenfield family, with Brothers Sid and John and Sid’s son Derick being the management. Derick’s wife was Lilian Greenfield who was a Councillor in Billericay. I was not there for long before moving on to start a career in electronics. Smith GreenFields works were located on part of the land now used by PGR Building Supplies and next door to Turners where they processed old clothes and scrap material.

    By Colin Humphrey (09/05/2021)

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