Spen waves goodbye to 168 years of printing

Cleckheaton’s oldest surviving business is closing its doors for the final time.

Siddall’s Colour Printing, which is based in Horncastle Street, has been running for nearly 170 years – but increasing competition and the economic downturn has forced it to merge with Leeds firm Mercury Printing.

The company, which was set up in 1845, was the brainchild of printer John Siddall, who also set up the town’s first ever newspaper, the Cleckheaton Advertiser, which ran until 1868. Siddall built up an impressive range of clients throughout the 19th century, and the business stayed in the hands of the Siddall family until the 1990s.

Manager Jim Frost has been working at Siddall’s since completing his apprenticeship in 1970, and is in a unique position to talk about the history of industry in the area.

He said: “Traditionally, we always had a lot of businesses from in and around the Spen Valley use our services. Back when I started, there were a lot more factories round here, such as British Rope and Norwood Textiles, it’s amazing what a rich industrial past we have in Cleckheaton.

“Nowadays, we have more clients based out towards Huddersfield than we do in the Spen Valley – I guess it’s just a sign of the times.”

The site, in Horncastle Street, has been the company’s home since 1928, and has echoes of printing’s 19th and 20th-century heyday, but its towering stacks of type-cases and numerous pieces of machinery now lie practically dormant.

Jim said: “One of the reasons we are having to move is because, in printing, you always need to be buying new equipment to keep going – and these days, printing has mostly gone digital, and we cannot keep up.”

A giveaway will be taking place from Monday at Siddall’s, including free paper available to anyone who wants it.