The 1980s and 1990s

Linotype Works, Broadheath

The Linoype Works, Broadheath, c.1980s. Trafford Local Studies Collection, cat. ref. TL2535.

In the 1970s and 1980s the company suffered from increased competition.

Early in the 1980s the Altrincham Guardian published a series of articles on the Broadheath industrial estate. Despite reporting on the situation at Linotype, the article did not mention that the parent company had closed its three other factories abroad and had concentrated production at Broadheath. Sadly, that was not enough to save the factory which was badly affected by the British economic recession, the high value of sterling and the lack of updated technology. In December 1980, Linotype issued ‘protective’ redundancy notices to all 540 staff because, despite a strenuous sales campaign, they had no orders for their offset printing machines. In January 1981, 240 employees were dismissed.

What remained of the company was saved by a buy-out by four of its senior staff. Negotiations with the parent company lasted 2 years and stipulated a change of name to L & M Ltd, the American company retaining the name ‘Linotype’.

The recession of the early nineties stymied hopes of success, despite strong efforts to develop new technologies and diversify company business. By June 1991 only eighty-five people were employed by the company. The factory site was divided up and shared with a number of small businesses which included a double-glazing manufacturer, furniture auction rooms, a motoring centre, a martial arts school and a number of fitness and sports and leisure centre.

The 1980s and 1990s