Charles Chadwyck-Healey interviewed by Alan Macfarlane 4th November 2009

0:05:07 Born in 1940 in Much Hadham, Hertfordshire; my mother had left London because of potential bombing to have me in the country; her father was a friend of the Norman family and I was born in a cottage in the grounds of 'Moor Place', the home of Montagu Norman between 1944-1950; both of my grandfathers were distinguished, particularly my mother's father, Cecil Lubbock; he had been head boy of Eton, got a first in Greats at Oxford, and went on to be Managing Director and later Chairman of Whitbread’s the brewers; he also went onto the Court of the Bank of England in 1907 and remained on it until 1942, an extraordinary period to have been right at the centre of the British financial system; he and Montagu Norman, who became a famous Governor of the Bank after the First World War, became close friends; an extraordinary correspondence between them has survived; Cecil Lubbock was regarded by his four daughters and his son as something near to a saint; he was an accomplished man and yet he had that absolute natural modesty and goodness which I think you have to be born with; in a way he is a difficult figure to feel particularly close to because of this essential goodness which most of us don't have; I was very fond of him although I don't remember much about him as I was sixteen when he died; my other grandfather was not such a good man but in many ways I feel closer to him; he was inventive, energetic, loved photography, which I do too; in some ways I remember him as a much more rounded, colourful figure; I have written a short biography of Cecil Lubbock as I thought his business career was so interesting; I doubt I will do so for my other grandfather, Gerald Chadwyck-Healey; he was interesting as in about 1907-8 he raised money to back an inventor called Hollerith who had invented the punch card machine, and the Government decided to use that system for the 1910 census; it was a big contract and Gerald Chadwyck-Healey set up a company called the International Tabulating Machine Company to enable the Hollerith system to be used; he and one of his half-brothers were directors of ITC through the 1930s and into the 1940s; by the end of the 1930s he had become quite a good friend of Thomas Watson, the founder of IBM; tantalisingly there is a record in the published history of ICL, which ITC became, of my father, Charles, as a young man staying with the Watsons as a house guest, but by the time I read this, both my father and every other member of the family who might have known something about it, were dead; ICT had the rights to sell IBM machines throughout the world outside North America, but at the end of the War IBM realized that it was a right that they did not want to pass over to anyone else so it was withdrawn

6:30:00 My great-great grandfather, Charles Healey, came from Rochdale in Lancashire where there was a Healey Hall and a Chadwick Hall, so they were not poor people who came south; he had invented a steam valve and he came to London to sell it and published a pamphlet describing it; as far as I know the steam valve never did sell but he then decided to start a magazine, which was called 'The Engineer', the first in the world, weekly, and it is still so to this day; that was the family business through the nineteenth century; his son, also Charles, was a barrister specializing in patent law, and is probably the most interesting and able of the Chadwyck-Healey family of any generation; he went to Berkhamsted Grammar School and did not go to university, but became a remarkable amateur historian and Secretary of the Somerset Record Society; he wrote books on the history of Norman law and on the local history of Somerset, was a water-colourist and collector of paintings, books, including bibles, and clocks; some of his collecting was magpie-like and sadly he did not always collect the very best, but his book collecting was surer; most of the books were bought by Phillips and ended up in the Phillips Collection; he also owned a lot of houses, so was a very wealthy man; he inherited the family company but was also a successful barrister; he had a large private yacht and was a very keen sailor; he and the Duke of Montrose started the RNVR, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, at the end of the nineteenth century, the idea being that if there was going to be a war with Germany then the Navy was going to be an important part of it, and that it would be appropriate for gentlemen sailors to be ready to join the Navy; the professional working sailors joined the RNR, Royal Naval Reserve, so immediately you get that social differentiation; he decided that he would add to his name as he was as much a part of the Chadwyck family in Rochdale as he was a Healey; he paid a fee to the Royal College of Heralds to do that, and paid again ten years later as was required; in 1919 he was made a Baronet but died at the end of that year, but he had been made a C.M.G. earlier so already had a lifetime title; I think he got either of these because he was the Chairman of a Royal Commission on mental health which took place either just before or during the First World War; my grandfather, Gerald, wanted to go to South Africa with people like Cecil Rhodes and make his fortune there, but his father wouldn't allow him to do so; he had to stay at home and run the family company, which he did; his eldest son survived the war and got the M.C., Edward Chadwyck-Healey, decided he didn't want to work with his father, so his younger brother, my father, also entered the family firm; by that time it was called Morgan Brothers as they had amalgamated in the 1930s with another family publishing company which published magazines like 'The Chemist and Druggist' and 'The Ironmonger', good trade weeklies; in 1940 my grandfather started 'The Electronic Engineer' which was pretty prescient and extremely successful

13:09:10 I went to Eton in 1953 and probably when I was about seventeen my housemaster suggested that I would work in the family firm; I said no as I knew by then that I did not want to go into a family firm where everything had been done before me; I didn't particularly want to work with my father as even at that age I sensed that we would not work very well together; I think, looking back, that was the right decision; because I was born in May 1940, on the day Churchill made his first major war speech, my father was away for most of the War; my mother had me and then in 1943, my sister, as company, and I think we had a rather curious relationship because of that; as a very small child I had to play a kind of male role in the family which isn't really particularly healthy; I am really guessing, but I think that psychologically she leant on me rather more than a mother should; I think of it in contrast to the Italians where children are spoilt, particularly boys, who are given an easy time by their mothers; I don't think that happened with me and my relationship with my mother was always somewhat difficult; I know that she adored me, and my four brothers and sisters thought that I was her favourite; she was intelligent but I don't think she fulfilled herself; she was the youngest of five children that Cecil Lubbock had, and adored her father, but by the time she was born he was distracted by what was going on at Whitbread’s and at the Bank of England, and really gave her very little time, which she always regretted; my father came back from the War in 1945 a complete stranger to me; I remember him walking through the gates and having potato scones for tea, taking him up to his dressing room and showing him a piece of furniture that my mother had bought for him

17:47:15 The crisis of my early life was when a new nanny was due to arrive; we were living in a place called Robin Lodge in Sandhurst because my father had been an instructor there; I must have been about four, and I left the house and walked down the street and eventually found myself at the gates of Sandhurst; the sentry on duty told me to stay where I was as he wasn't allowed to move, and when his duty ended he found somebody to take me home; in the meantime my mother had been composing a letter in her head to my father to tell him that she had lost me; of course I had been told about this later but I do remember the new nanny arriving and having marmite for tea, and that is about it; I went to a lovely school taught by a woman called Miss Watson in Balcombe, Sussex; I have still got some of her reports; I thrived at that school because she was a marvellous teacher; Balcombe Mill is where Virginia Woolf killed herself; then I went to a Prep school called Spyway, in Dorset, in Langton Matravers; I have very mixed feelings about that school; it had some good things about it as it was extraordinarily advanced in its understanding of ecological issues, being green and natural, way before its time; it had two Headmasters, brothers, who ran the school, both bachelors, who seemed obsessed with success in games as a way of defining how successful the school itself was; by the time I was thirteen I saw through this and thought it absurd; quite a lot of my time there I was not particularly happy and I was very glad to leave; it was a boarding school, and although I was not particularly lonely, I did not like rugger or swimming; I disliked the latter as I found being thrown into the sea so terrifying; I have been back to the Dancing Ledge where we were taught to swim and, for someone who couldn't swim, it is quite an alarming place to have to enter the water; one associates fear of water with cold as well; heated swimming pools hardly existed in the late 1940s; I do remember three teachers - Mr Gray who taught classics, was a wonderful teacher, Mr Broom who taught geography and mathematics, was the father of the actress Googie Withers; I liked the science master, Mr Bailey, and what really impressed me was that he was building a dinghy himself in a workshop in Swanage, and we would go to see how he was getting on; I did like cricket and was Captain of the under 11s but the Warner brothers decided I didn't bowl correctly and by thirteen had put me off cricket completely; I started to take photographs with a box Brownie when I was ten and I still have the negatives from my days at Spyway, in fact I have all my negatives; books and reading were probably the things I enjoyed most; Mr Geoffrey, the younger of the Headmasters, with the new boys in their first winter term would always start with 'Moonfleet' by J. Meade Faulkner; it is still one of my favourite books and has a Jungian undertone that one does not realise as a child; I have read it to my own children who have absolutely no intention of reading it to their children as they can't really see the point of it; Eric, the other Headmaster, read Conan Doyle's 'The White Company', which I also enjoyed; being read to I always thought was magical; we hardly did any music apart from singing

25:02:00 I went to Denis Wilkinson's House at Eton in 1953; I enjoyed my first year very much and thought I was doing rather well; in my second year a number of larger, very accomplished boys, joined the House - an unfortunate coincidence - and suddenly the boys of the year before were no longer the leaders, but overtaken by a younger cohort; I found that very disconcerting; generally I enjoyed Eton but there were parts that I didn't, and I was quite glad to leave; I did not enjoy football but did enjoy rowing though I was very light; what I really enjoyed was just being on the river; on half-days you could row up-river, stopping at Queen's Eyot, an island where you could get tea; what was really remarkable looking back was the extraordinary freedom we had to set off for the day on our own at fourteen or fifteen, and nobody worried about us - very different from the way the situation is now; I became interested in bird-watching when I was about fifteen, and my Housemaster encouraged me; I have a great friend now who worked for the RSPB for about twenty-five years who was also a keen bird-watcher, in another House at Eton but his Housemaster would not allow him to do it; this is where Eton is so strange as you can have individual Housemasters taking diametrically opposite views on different issues like that; there were a lot of good teachers; I can't say that there was any one who changed my life but when I became a science specialist at fifteen, which I now think is too young, I did find it very exciting to do nothing but science for most of the time; I learned the clarinet but I never practised and had very little gift for it; I rediscovered music in a different way when I began to listen to records, first classical then jazz; a lot of contemporary pop music by the time I left Eton, Elvis, for instance, I missed out on completely; by the time I got to Oxford I was very keen on jazz and saw all the big bands - Duke Ellington, Count Basie - in the flesh in London in the sixties; music is important to me now, both jazz and classical; I think music can raise one's spirits to an extraordinary extent; I was in the north of England recently and heard Strauss's Four Last Songs; the BBC had a short programme about it and why they were so important to people; I was in Carlisle and bought a version of it on the day of the broadcast, as apparently had others; I am listening to it now and getting a great deal of pleasure from it; my favourite composer used to be Schumann - for a period of about ten years I would listen to nothing else; I would find it difficult now to choose one classical composer - Beethoven, Brahms and Poulenc would do very well; as far as jazz is concerned it would probably be Errol Garner

32:21:03 I was confirmed at school although I had doubts about whether it was the right thing to do; I think a lot of it had to do with guilt about sex; I was always happy to go to Chapel at Eton because I liked the music and liked singing; I also enjoyed the sermons which both in Lower Chapel and College Chapel were of high quality; when I got to Oxford, to Trinity College, I don't think I went to Chapel once in three years; I would go to church at home because it suited my father as a Church Warden, and he went every Sunday, so it was easier to go than not to, but I was quite indifferent to it; through my twenties before I was married, I never went to church; when I married we lived several miles from a church, so didn't go then; in 1977 we moved to a house right next to a church in Bassingbourn; the Vicar came to see me after a few days and I realised that with the church so close that I had to make a decision; I couldn't just be indifferent and go occasionally, but would have to either say I would go or was not a churchgoer; I decided that I would go; there were really two reasons - I had moved into an office in Cambridge which overlooked a churchyard, and had also become interested in Jung and had read that, although he was not a believer himself, he found that his clients who did go to church usually had an easier time psychologically; I thought that if it was going to ease one through life one might as well do so; that is very much my attitude now; I go to church because I am interested in the spiritual side of myself, but a great deal of what the Church of England in particular says I don't actually believe; the thing I find the most difficult to accept in any way is the idea of the loving God - God a word that we apply to something that we don't understand anyway; the humanistic idea of a Father looking down on us is just totally absurd; for me, God is just a huge creative, but impersonal, energy, that comes from somewhere and does create; the constant concern of clerics to try to explain why God allowed the Holocaust etc. to happen, is pointless; the creative energy that to me in God is impersonal, not a thinking creature; I have met Dawkins at Oxford and he is an interesting, attractive and lively man, and one should read his books, but it is irrelevant to me because my reasons for going to church or singing a hymn are so totally personal that I don't have to explain it to anyone; if it give me some kind of comfort and rebalancing within myself that is good

38:54:02 I read geography at Oxford; I had wanted to read chemistry then Eton lost its nerve because Eton's science was considered to be very poor in the late fifties, mainly because they didn't have proper Labs; Manchester Grammar science was considered to be very good and there was a view that in 1958, when people were coming up to Oxford who had done National Service and the first stream of students coming straight from school, it was quite difficult to get a place; Eton told my father that they didn't think I would get a place and could he think of an easier subject; as you could in those days, he went to see the President of Trinity, Arthur Norrington, who suggested agriculture, forestry or geography; I have always hated farming, forestry would have been a good, but narrow, choice, so I chose geography; it was probably a mistake and I would have been better off reading either English or history, but I would have had to work a lot harder and didn't have the background as I had given up both subjects at an early age; I don't think I was particularly inspired by the teaching but I did read a lot for pleasure; the French symbolists was something I was interested in for a time, and I read more of the classics than at any time since; I enjoyed rowing and the social life which was very important to me; I think I was really too young to go to Oxford and would have been better off waiting a year or two; a great friend whom I had been at Eton with, Roger Daniell, was there; we shared a room and are still very close friends; another friend, Dicon Hesketh-Prichard, later went to America and is now an oil engineer in Houston; he was a brilliant engineer but unfortunately got sent down for not attending lectures

42:49:13 The big discovery for me had actually been at Eton when I was seventeen, and had walked into a shop just over the bridge in Windsor and bought a copy of 'Popular Photography Annual', an American publication full of the best photographs of the year; for some reason which I still can't understand it was an absolute revelation; until then I had never understood what photographs could be like; this was a mixture of documentary photographs and fashion and glamour; I thought then that it was what I wanted to do, to be a photographer; my grandfather had had a darkroom up in Scotland where I had developed films, so I began to do my own developing and printing; my grandfather had given me a Kodak folding camera and I used that for a number of years; I went on taking photographs at Oxford; I think the big mistake I made was not to get involved with some of the Oxford magazines and take photographs for them; I have recently printed quite a lot of the photographs I took then and have given them to Trinity; it turns out that Trinity have very few photographs of students at that time, so are pleased to have them and recently had an exhibition of them; it was at that time I started photographing in the Pitt Rivers Museum, which had made a tremendous impression on me; the University Museum itself with its extraordinary ironwork and the great dinosaur skeletons are still one of the most startling juxtapositions one could find anywhere, then to walk on into the Pitt Rivers Museum lying behind it - it wasn't just the content of the museum, but the impact of having the material presented in that way; the fact that it has hardly changed is one of the best things that has happened in the last fifty years; we did anthropology as part of geography and I did briefly think of being an anthropologist, but when I discovered that it meant staying on for an extra year I thought better of it

47:03:02 Before I left Oxford I looked at what I thought were the best magazines; 'Man About Town' was owned by Michael Heseltine and 'Queen Magazine' owned by Jocelyn Stevens; I wrote to both of them and Heseltine replied almost immediately to say he had no job; Stevens, just after I finished finals, sent me a telegram inviting me to see him immediately; he had another magazine called 'Go' which was a travel magazine and he had just fired the editor which provoked the female staff to leave en masse; he did what I have done many times and looked though old personnel files; I was interviewed and offered a job at £8 a week as an editorial assistant, and I started work a few weeks after I left Oxford; it was in London where I was longing to be; I worked on the magazine for about two and a half years and I moved from writing on the editorial side as the new Editor allowed me to take photographs; I then moved to the studio where I worked as a darkroom assistant some of the time, then out taking photographs the rest of the time; I also did some freelance work as I had a girlfriend who was fashion editor of 'The Scotsman' and she gave me jobs, among others; in those days being a freelance photographer was actually quite easy; the extraordinary thing about photography around 1961-2 was that it wasn't even a craft, it was a trade; apart from the fact that Tony Armstrong-Jones, who married Princess Margaret, had made photography more fashionable, generally photographers were not recognised as anything special; then there was the New Wave and the Antonioni film, and suddenly in the mid-sixties, David Bailey and people like that, made photography fashionable; it has got more difficult and competitive ever since; it was possible to offer photographs to anyone - I went to the 'Evening Standard' and showed my photos, and the editor bought one of an actress and it was published in the paper the next day; the problem now is that there are so few publications; in the sixties there were many newspapers and magazines, then when commercial television started in the mid-sixties, many of them disappeared; there is another wave of disappearance now because of the Internet; Jocelyn fired me in the summer of 1963 at the time of the Profumo affair; I went to work for John Hedgecoe who was a well-known photographer as his assistant; I then decided at the age of twenty-three that I didn't want to be a photographer any longer; I had a kind of insight that at forty with a family I couldn't see myself as a photographer, and that I was not going to be one of the world's great photographers; the person I would have measured myself against was the American photographer, Irving Penn, who died a few weeks ago at the age of ninety-two; I have two of his photographs which I bought in the last few years and he has a gift that very few people have; I think that making those kinds of judgments when you are young is actually right; people often say to younger people that they shouldn't take life-changing decisions when young because you haven’t lived long enough to really understand what you are doing; I absolutely disagree with that, and think that you can have intuitive insights on what is right for you at an extraordinarily young age; John Hedgecoe wanted to start a shop selling things that go inside a house which was really the precursor of Habitat; John was a fried of Terence Conran, and there was a whole wave beginning then in 1963 against the stainless steel and teak which had been the fashion of the previous ten years, towards butchers' aprons, enamel coffee pots, Spanish folk carpets from Casa Pupo etc., and we were the pioneers; John had great energy and an extraordinary good eye and knew exactly what he wanted to do and I was the stooge who was hired to run the whole thing; I was a shareholder and put some money into it, and for the next three years ran what became two shops called 'Abacus'; we got a great deal of publicity and made very small amounts of money, but enough to pay me and get by; at the end of three years I had got heartily tired of the whole retail business and John had become the first Reader in Photography at the Royal College (later Professor), so we sold the shops and I had to find something else to do

55:51:01 I was then twenty-six and had met Angela who became my wife a year later; she had actually managed one of the shops for me; I couldn't think what I actually wanted to do and for a time tried to write television plays; I had completely misplaced ideas of how one did this; I discovered that they were paying about £900 for a one hour play and I reckoned that I could write one play a month, so if I wrote twelve a year I would become quite wealthy; I went to a bed-sitter in Notting Hill and I wrote the first play in a month, sent it off to the BBC, wrote the second play and sent it off, by which time I had had a reply to my first posting to say that the play was very poor; I then got the next letter to say that the second play was much better but not quite good enough, but to go on trying; I then wrote a third play which I sent to Granada as well; unfortunately, by that time I had discovered Pinter and my attempt at a kind of Pinteresque dialogue didn't work at all; both Granada and the BBC told me that my third play was very disappointing, but by that time I had virtually given up; the day I opened the 'Daily Telegraph' jobs page the spell was broken; it was a great experience because it taught me that writing for a living is probably the hardest thing that anybody could do; it also taught me what wonderful places offices are because they are so socially interesting and companionable, and there are so many distractions that you don't have to do hard work for more than a few minutes at a time; I got a job as a salesman for a company owned by Clive Labovitch, which had been co-owned by Michael Heseltine, called Cornmarket Press; Clive and Michael had split up by then and Michael had gone off with Haymarket Press which is still a very successful large publishing group; Clive Labovitch was building up Cornmarket Press which published things like 'The Directory of Opportunities for Graduates' which a lot of people will remember, 'Which University', still being published, and it was a great place to work; the reason that I remember it particularly was that one day Clive called me into his office and said that he wanted to branch out into reprint publishing, reprinting out-of-print books for libraries; I thought I knew what he meant because my brother had worked for the Trianon Press in Paris which did very fine facsimiles of Blake's works etc; Clive said he didn't mean anything like that but just straight-forward offset litho reprints for the library market, that there was a huge demand but mainly Americans and Germans were doing it, and that we should do it; Cornmarket Press was making a lot of money at that time from their directories; they had borrowed money from a merchant bank who were encouraging them to expand, but the problem was that the directors didn't really know what to diversify into; reprint publishing was the right decision but they probably chose the wrong person to run it who knew nothing about it, which was me; I found that I was quite vulnerable and exposed when within a year or so I realised that this was a much bigger, American dominated, venture, and I had nobody I could turn to who could give me guidance or really tell me what to do; I went to Atlantic City for the American Library Association summer conference in 1969 and it was an absolute eye-opener; I realized there were big concerns doing it on a much larger scale than us, and that I was working for the wrong people; I actually got hepatitis in early 1970 and it ended up with me being off sick for some time; I came back, had a row with the managing director, got fired, and then went to work for Walter Johnson who owned Academic Press and Johnson Reprint Corporation, which was the largest of the reprint publishers; I worked in the offices in London, but paid out of New York; by that time both Academic Press and Johnson were owned by Harcourt Brace - Walter Johnson had sold to them for a really huge sum of money; it was not a very happy company to work in because Charles Hutt, probably the finest publisher I have ever worked for, and Johnson didn't get on at all well; this reverberated throughout the company; to some extent I was public enemy number one because I was the Johnson representative in the Academic Press offices, but I put up with that for three years and learnt an awful lot about the business; I became interested in microfilm as a publishing medium because the economics of reprint publishing had meant that it was actually very difficult to make money out of reprints by 1972-3; I decided to leave Johnson in 1972 by which time I had met a book dealer called Hans Fellner; Hans and John Hedgecoe were probably the two who had the most formative influences on me; Hans had come to England in 1939 as a young teenager and set himself up as a book dealer sometime after the War; he was extraordinarily knowledgeable and spoke many languages, an archetypal book seller; I forced Hans to be a director of the company, gave him some shares and tried to involve him, but he was one of those people who never wanted to be part of an organization, but we got on well and I used to take his advice on almost everything; I probably wouldn't have started Chadwyck-Healey if I hadn't had Hans to advise me; in January 1973 I started my own company which was the logical thing to do because at that time I was making the editorial decisions at Johnson, and knew that if I didn't get it right I would be the first one to go; I thought that if I was taking these decisions I might as well be taking them for myself; the great thing about microfilm as a publishing medium was that you just made a negative, just photographing the manuscripts or books once, and then you made copies to order so you did not have the publisher's problem of having to invest in a stock of copies which might take years to sell; Hans wasn't very interested in microfilm as a medium, Walter Johnson definitely wasn't which was why I couldn't have done that at Johnson Reprint Corporation anyway; I think that with my photographic background, not having been a book publisher, I have never had that great love of the book as a medium that most publishers have; I have often found the attitude of other publishers towards things like microfilm, CD-ROM, extremely precious because what you want to do is to have ways of distributing information; very positive about e-publishing as I don't care what format people read things in; think the new formats are even better for images; our own photographs often look better on computer monitors than in print form; I was very fortunate in having access to a family trust to set up Chadwyck-Healey; Morgan Grampian, the old family company, had been a public company quoted on the Stock Market since the 1930s; the share price had gone up substantially under a young managing director called Graham Sherren, who now runs a publishing group called Centaur; my father took him on as Managing Director at the age of twenty-eight in 1968; he is the same age as me and if I had been in the Company at the time I would have found myself in a very difficult position as the Company had run out of steam; it needed someone with a lot of ideas to come in and shake it up which is exactly what Graham did; I was able to start my company with £20,000 which was the money I was able to take out of this trust

1:09:41:12 There were a lot of highlights in the Company - starting it, working in it for the best part of thirty years, is the main part of my life and I identify myself with that company and what we achieved; the turning point was when we started to microfilm the nineteenth century Parliamentary Papers in 1979; between 1973 and 1979 we didn't really make any money and were always short of cash in the way that small businesses are; however much we grew we never seemed to have quite enough cash coming in to go on and do the next thing; I used to look at the books and think about why this was so and not really understand the dynamics of a business which is growing, but is constantly having to reinvest everything that it earns because it is only getting paid after it delivers the finished product; I then realized what we needed was something on a much larger scale; with microfilm you couldn't make it work if you only produced one reel of film or one microfiche as the number of copies sold is so small; if you had 500 reels of film selling for £50 a reel you then had a £2500 unit, so selling ten copies meant we got £25,000; we were breaking even by selling about three and a half copies; the nineteenth century Parliamentary Papers is something like 6,250,000 pages and there were approximately 100 pages per microfiche; we formed a consortium of libraries in Britain as the point of producing it was that the original sets in places like Oxford and Cambridge were deteriorating as they were printed on acid paper, particularly from the mid-nineteenth century onwards; if you were a library that had an original set, rather than being an asset it was actually a huge liability; there had never been a microfilm edition so we produced a microfiche edition and twenty libraries in Britain subscribed to it; this gave me enough money to cover all the costs; then our Japanese agent placed an order for five copies at a much higher price, so the venture was in profit before we started; at last I had a project which was of sufficiently large scale to enable me to do all our own production; we set up a separate production company in Bassingbourn where I lived; we had a staff of thirty almost from the start just doing microfiche production; the big change that happened in early 1980s, partly due to the cut in university budgets, the librarians who had signed up to this legally binding contract decided they needed to get the money out of their budget and into my hands up front; suddenly I was getting these cheques for £12,500 and for the first time the company had a lot of money; from that time onwards we never looked back because we had discovered that if you published something that was expensive enough - over £5,000 - and you announced it before you published it, usually with a pre-publication offer, libraries all over the world would not only order it, but also pay for it; by the mid-eighties we had a £1,000,000 in cash at a time when interest rates were 16-18%, so it changed the whole nature of the business; we always had enough money but didn't have to pay much tax as the money didn't belong to us as it was prepayments for things we had yet to produce, and in theory those libraries could have asked for their money back, but fortunately they never did