Preston building razed to the ground to make way for car park

Demolition work at the former Goss printing press site in Greenbank Street, Preston
Demolition work at the former Goss printing press site in Greenbank Street, Preston
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A factory which was once one of Preston’s best known manufacturing sites has finally bitten the dust.

The premises of Goss Graphic Systems were demolished last week, a year after remaining Goss staff finally moved to a new site.

The Goss Printing Press Company, Preston c.1953

The Goss Printing Press Company, Preston c.1953

At its height the company, on Greenbank Street, was a major local employer, internationally renowned, manufacturing and maintaining printing presses for newspapers across the globe.

Up to 1,300 people once worked there, with the firm proudly boasting on a sign outside its Preston premises that it was ‘the world’s number one supplier of newspaper printing presses.’

But in 2006 it was announced local manufacturing would end, with production likely to be shipped overseas to the firm’s other sites in France, America, Japan and China.

The Preston business started as a foundry in the 1830s and became a printing press manufacturer in 1887, when it was taken over by printing machine maker Joseph Foster and Sons. American firm Goss acquired the company in the 1930s.

We all had good memories of that site, particularly because a lot of us started as apprentices.

Marketing director Eric Bell

Goss Graphic Systems, now Goss International, has retained a base in the city, with more than 50 staff transferring to its new site at The Oak Business Park off Longridge Road.

Marketing director Eric Bell, who joined the business in 1977, said: ”We have an engineering service, installation and parts.

“Our guys will still travel all over the world because a lot of people buying newspaper presses now are not in the old traditional places – they are in Africa and the Asia Pacific.”

Looking back at the days at Greenbank he said the site had become too large for them, but added: “We all had good memories of that site, particularly because a lot of us started as apprentices.

Demolition work at the former Goss printing press site in Greenbank Street, Preston

Demolition work at the former Goss printing press site in Greenbank Street, Preston

“It was probably one of the best apprenticeships you could get in industry.”

When redundancies were announced at Goss in 2006 many workers sought employment with one of the town’s other big engineering employers BAE Systems. In 2013 more job losses hit with news that 54 of the remaining 110 jobs were to go. The site has been acquired by UCLan and will be used as a temporary car park for the next two years.

Demolition work at the former Goss printing press site in Greenbank Street, Preston

Demolition work at the former Goss printing press site in Greenbank Street, Preston