Yet, as I mentioned yesterday, after McCorquodales arrived in 1878, Wolverton had a second important industry and the McCorquodale plant at Wolverton was as well known and respected in the envelope manufacture and printing industry as the Carriage Works was in the railway industry.
But it was the fate of Wolverton's second industry to never quite gain the respect of Wolverton's first industry. Part of this was of course due to the relative size difference between the industries but other social factors were at play. Work at McCorquodales was only a career choice for a few - and these would be men. Women entered McCorquodales at a young age and mostly only stayed a few years. Marriage brought their paid careers to an abrupt end as they happily embarked on a future of child-raising and home-making. And I should add here, however much the present generation thinks that this strains credulity, that this was a contract that was willingly entered. The majority of women were happy to be Mrs Smith rather than Miss Smith. In fact McCorquodales at one time offered £10 as a wedding grant to those who stayed ten years and there is no doubt that this financial incentive caused some women to put off marriage for a few years. £10 was a deposit on a £100 house.
Colonel George McCorquodale started his stationery and printing business in Liverpool in 1841. His first expansion was to Newton le Willowsin 1846 where he built a large factory.
|McCorquodales at Newton le Willows|
The Wolverton factory opened in a building more-or-less at the bottom of where Jersey Road starts. At this time the western edge of the town was the back alley to the east of Cambridge Street, so McCorquodales at this time was a little way out in the country. The plant expanded westwards to the limits of railway property and even crossed the road with buildings at the end of Church Street. These have been demolished in recent years to make way for new housing development.
McCorquodales grew from printing for big industries like the L&NWR and in the 20th century worked on large government contracts - stationery, forms, postage stamps, postal orders, pension books and the like.
The Wolverton plant finally closed in the last decade.