OPTICHROME BLOG Hot off the press

Banging Out

Bizarre celebratory graduation ceremonies exist across the world – Norwegian secondary school graduates celebrate russefeiring– three weeks of parading in buses, celebrating in overalls and caps and completing absurd challenges; UCLA graduates jump in a fountain that they aren’t allowed to touch after their first day, and historically, apprentices in the printing industry take part in ‘banging out’.

Upon the completion of their rigorous training, print apprentices were doused with all sorts of ink and print waste materials by their colleagues, before being paraded through their factories and towns in an outlandish community-building initiation that would never pass today. This bygone tradition dated back to the Fleet Street newspaper factories, when retirees were given the same treatment whilst being serenaded by the sound of banging tools – hence the name of ‘banging out’.

These pictures show Optichrome’s very first apprentice, Glen Susans, during his ‘banging out’ on Woking’s high street in around 1975.