HRH The Duke of York visited printing and bookbinding company Barnard & Westwood last Thursday (May 29).
Prince Andrew explored the premises and was shown the firm’s mix of the latest technology and traditional craft skills.
“He was with us for about an hour and he seemed very happy and had a nice time,” said managing director Austen Kopley.
The London-based firm, which employs 23 staff and has a turnover of £1.4m, was founded around 90 years ago by First World War veteran Albert Reginald Barnard.
It has held a Royal Warrant from The Queen since 1986 and from The Prince of Wales since January 2012.
The company has supplied Prince Andrew's office and other members of his family with printing and bookbinding for around 20 years.
Barnard & Westwood is in the process of taking on three new craft apprentices who will learn a variety of skills including hand case-binding and book restoration and how to use processes such as die-stamping, letterpress and foil blocking.
“We’ve got one apprentice at the moment but we’re currently trying to recruit three more. We really want to try and get to a stage where 10% of our workforce are apprentices so we’re making quite a big push on that at the moment,” said Kopley.
Barnard & Westwood also showed the prince its new LumeJet S200 photonic printer, which was installed in the second week of May after the firm signed for the £150,000 printer at Ipex.
“It’s a completely new thing for us. It’s quite impressive and technically amazing because it’s basically printing photographs. It’s had a great reaction from customers so far,” said Kopley.
The Duke, who has previously served as Britain's Special Representative for International Trade and Investment, discussed the new machine with the system’s inventor Dr Trevor Elworthy and LumeJet chief executive Paul Anson.
Before he left The Duke unveiled a plaque commemorating his visit and was presented with a hand-finished book about Barnard & Westwood.
“We make one-off items or very short-run items all the time. That particular item we produced has the history of the company in it and showcases all the different types of printing that we do," said Kopley.