Warwick Printing Company has been in existence for 70 years and has been retained by just two families throughout this period. As the company has developed and changed the underlying principle has always been to ensure that the company has had financial strength and stability with continuous reinvestment of profit.
The Company was started in 1946, with Moric Schwarz as one of two partners. Moric was a Czechoslovakian Jew arrested by the Gestapo during World War II. He managed to escape to England, where he came to the Midlands, fighting for the British as part of the Free Czech Army.
After the war he settled in Leamington Spa and using his print experience, he invested in Warwick Printing which was then producing general jobbing work. Moric had greater ambitions for the firm and so bought out his partner in 1947. Using his linguistic skills he established a specialist foreign language typesetting and printing service. He also recognised the potential of the extensive motor vehicle and motor cycle manufacturing industry in the Midlands and so Warwick Printing began to print motor vehicle literature and workshop manuals from premises situated behind a bookshop on Warwick High Street. As the Company expanded, larger premises were needed and so new premises were built on Theatre Street in Warwick.
The company continued to print motor industry literature and workshop manuals for a number of years, but due to the decline in the British motor manufacturing industry, other work was needed.
John Young, current owner and Managing Director, joined the firm as a General Manager in 1974. His brief was to develop new business as 50% of the customers at this timer were under notice – industry giants such as Triumph, Jenson and Leyland were all in trouble. With John’s experience and contacts in the trade, he was able to bring a new type of work to Warwick Printing, namely magazines, journals and short run books. This has remained a core part of the work produced by Warwick Printing to this day.
Sadly, nine months after John joined Warwick Printing, Moric died suddenly and his two daughters inherited the business. A holding company was formed and John ran the firm as Managing Director.
With significant technological changes taking place, Warwick Printing replaced the hot metal typesetting machines with phototypesetting, facilitating the change from letterpress printing to offset litho printing, enabling much quicker turnaround between jobs.
In 1986 John Young became owner of Warwick Printing following a management buyout. Freed from the constraints of ownership by a holding company with diverse interests, and following a strategic and operational review, John began to restructure the business. His wife Jill also joined the business as Company Secretary and Co-director and with their two sons, Alan and Paul, joining as pre-press apprentices, it was very much a family business. This is still the case today with Alan and Paul holding senior positions in the production department and shareholders of the business. A third generation is now involved as Alan’s son recently joined as an apprentice.
Warwick Printing teamed up with a periodical print agency who supplied customer leads. This proved very successful with some of these relationships still in place today.
1990 saw the move to desktop publishing and with this the need to comprehensively retrain the existing team to provide them with the necessary skills.
Following the closure of a print company in Stratford, Warwick Printing bought some of the equipment and took on a number of their employees and contracts. This provided the opportunity for a significant step change in growth.
As magazine printing continued to grow, investment was put in place to purchase a Heidelberg B1 – 4 unit press. The new equipment also opened up new markets and opportunities as Warwick Printing could now offer much larger printing.
The installation of linotype image setters allowed for a greatly simplified pre-press process.
After 50 years of being in Theatre Street Warwick Printing moved from its Warwick town centre location to its current location at Caswell Road in Leamington Spa. This move enabled the company to have a massive clear out and also expand its operation with larger, more suitable and accessible facilities. This move also facilitated much better work flow planning and with the purchase of a Heidelberg 5 colour unit plus coater, they could now offer spot colour and special finishes.
In 2005, Paul Baxter joined the firm and that is when Warwick Printing began printing A5 community magazines. Warwick Printing’s reputation within the community magazine sector is second to none and they are now the leading printer in the UK in this sector. Paul Baxter is now the Assistant Managing Director with John Young still overseeing the company using his wealth of experience.
Warwick Printing has survived through some difficult periods for the printing sector and has thrived and continued to grow and invest. In 2008 two large Midland print companies closed, providing an opportunity for the management to recruit 15 production journeyman and supervisors. Warwick Printing could now move to 24 hour working with extended shift patterns.
To reflect the growth of digital printing, Warwick Printing bought a Konica SRA3 Full Colour Digital Press, enabling the company to offer full digital and litho print services to their customers.
The bold decision was taken to invest £2 million in the Heidelberg Speedmaster SX 102 litho printing machine. This was the first machine of its kind to arrive in the UK and demonstrates the company’s commitment to constantly develop and improve its services to the customer. This machine also facilitates Warwick Printing’s strategy to grow their position in the commercial print sector.
Following the arrival of the new machinery, Warwick Printing Company was awarded both the ISO 12647 Colour Management Certification and the FSC Chain of Custody Certification. Both of these awards demonstrate the business’ ongoing determination to improve the product they deliver to the end user, with a commitment to quality colour printing and the need to fully understand and be responsible for the source of our main raw material.