Tim Morris

Tim Morris


Stamford Mercury
16 November 2012


Stamford Engraving

The Early Years

What happened before 1986 is omitted due to the writer's ignorance. The writer being Tim Morris, who stumbled into a Youth Training Scheme that year with a placement at Stamford Engraving. I was too shy to arrange an interview, so my older brother Shaun rang up pretending to be me. The interview took place on the day Prince Andrew married Sarah Ferguson, around about the time The Smiths released Panic. The location was St Peter's Street, Stamford, the interviewer was Mr Jennings. I was seventeen and very nervous. Mr Jennings was twenty-five.

YTS Certificate

After a three-day induction course, I started work on 7th August 1986. My colleagues were Robin Westerdale and Michael Hayward. The owner was the aforementioned Paul Jennings. The main activities of the business were engraving and screen printing. Robin did the engraving and Michael did the printing. Paul created artwork using Letraset transfers – we didn't yet have a computer. My early jobs included cutting and punching aluminium plates, tidying up and making cups of tea.

I took over the printing after Michael left in early 1989. Robin departed in 1991, and for a while the engraving work was split between myself and Paul. No new employees had arrived in the interim, so it was now just me and the boss. We were like Arkwright and Granville in Open All Hours.

The rise of computers in the 1990s broadened the scope of what we could do. Digital printing, vinyl-cut lettering and T-shirt transfers were all introduced during this period. I continued as the sole employee, year after year, still mainly occupied with screen printing and engraving.

A Changing Scene

Stamford Engraving left St Peter's Street in 2002. We relocated across town to Hallidays Yard, off Radcliffe Road. About six months later Paul had a big announcement to make...

In January 2003, on the first day back after Christmas, Paul told me he was selling the business to Ian Hilliard. He hadn't been intending to sell, but Ian had made an offer and Paul had accepted. Ian became my new boss in April, and from this point Stamford Engraving was a limited company.

Ian's background in IT led to improved standards in communications, accountancy and graphic design. He actively worked at the company for two years, mainly in the areas of digital printing, sign making and corporate clothing. Due to other work commitments, he decided to stop attending in 2005.

Doing all the work myself initially seemed quite daunting, but after a while I learnt to juggle the different elements quite well. Ian was always on the end of the phone if things got too stretched. By now I think some customers assumed it was my business, but Ian remained at the helm for several more years.

We had seemed to be getting through the economic crisis without too many problems, but things started to go very quiet in the summer of 2012. I can't remember a time when I had so little to do. With the prospects of recovery uncertain, Ian decided it was time to quit. I was facing a dilemma. I had to choose whether to continue on my own or to look for another job. I chose to continue.

The current era of Stamford Engraving, my first venture into self-employment, began in October 2012. I'm certain now it was the right decision. I think I've already lasted longer than some were anticipating.
Tim Morris

This article is dedicated to my brother Shaun, who died in 2010.
The website as a whole is dedicated to my Dad, who died in 2006, and my Mum, who died in 2011.

Tim, Robin and Michael

Tim Morris, Robin Westerdale and Michael Hayward c. 1988
(photo by Paul Jennings)