Ipswich: Printer notches up 68 years of A1 service

David Routh of Ipswich who has retired after over 60 years with the same printing company

David Routh of Ipswich who has retired after over 60 years with the same printing company - Credit: Archant

AN octogenarian businessman is today preparing for his retirement and the closure of one of Ipswich’s oldest companies.

David Routh, 84, proprietor of Bayley’s Printing Company, joined the 145-year-old firm, which he ended up owning, as a 16-year-old in 1945.

Established in 1868, Bayley’s was based in Ipswich’s Falcon Street where the company had a warehouse and printing presses.

Mr Routh took control of the firm in 1985 after it had been placed in administration.

“I joined the company in April 1945 when I answered an advert in the Evening Star which asked for a young man to learn the printing and stationary trade with a view to becoming a representative,” he said.

“I used to bike around Ipswich drumming up trade – not many people had vehicles in those days.”

In the 1950s, 60s and 70s the company employed around 30 people and supplied office stationary to companies across the region.

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Mr Routh said: “We supplied many Ipswich companies like Ransomes, Sims and Jeffries and Churchmans.

“We also had big contracts with Volvo and BMW in the UK. We had a lot of smaller customers all over Suffolk and Essex.”

But the development of office computers and desktop publishing meant orders became increasingly sparse in the 1980s.

Mr Routh bought the name, goodwill and office contents when the company that then owned Bayley’s went into administration. He still uses the desk he was first allocated in 1945.

“We specialised in supplying ledger books to the antiques trade and other work I used other printers so I became the middle man really,” said Mr Routh.

“I gave up the offices in 1990 and worked from home after that.”

Mr Routh, of High Street, Ipswich, said he had hoped the company would celebrate its 150th anniversary.

He added: “I remember the 100 year celebrations back in 1968. I’ll be sad to see it go and I’ve seen lots of troubles but some good times too.

“It was a lovely family business to work for and it was very social.”

Mr Routh said he will devote more time to his other interests which includes being the president of Ipswich and Suffolk Youth Football League and being the president of Ipswich Sea Cadets.

Do you remember Bayley’s Printing Company? Or are you preparing to retire after decades of loyal service? Write to Your Letters, Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email starnews@archant.co.uk

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