I first came to Aldershot in the "grand old Galo days" 36 years ago, when Gale and Polden's presses thundered on the corner of The Grove and the smell of ink and rattle of linotype composing machines drifted out into the street to intrigue passers-by.

To have a newspaper printed on the premises is a thrill that few provincial journalists enjoy today, but I loved to see the presses roll, to feel the thunder in my bones as the building shook and the lights burned late.

Later my wife Pat joined me, one of the sub-editors who had to proof read "upside down" type, set in hot lead from bubbling cauldrons of molten metal. This they did in the first floor of the famous rounded building where many a fine journal was printed.

Then along came Robert Maxwell, Galo's went and another chapter in Aldershot's history closed, although even now Galo trained men are to be found in printing works all over Britain, for this was a fine firm - unfortunately run at the very top mainly by nitwits, which is another story.

A town's history happens before your eyes, while you are producing that week's newspaper. However, thanks to Aldershot Military Museum, something of

the flavour of Gale and Polden's can be sampled in an exhibition that is running until Christmas - "Around the Firm- Remembering Gale and Polden."

This looks at the firm from its move to Aldershot in 1893 to the troubled last years and Maxwell takeover, when it had become part of British Printing Corporation. It closed in 1981.

Visitors can go on a "behind the scenes" tour of the works and meet some of the key figures in its history.

Tools and artefacts on show range from a die stamp to relics of the hot metal type days and lots of artwork and posters from the heyday of the Wellington Works.

For ten years in total I worked out of 2, The Grove, mostly as the firm's Chief Reporter. Now the clatter and bustle, the skills and the presses have all gone, but the finest moments of this once-great firm are remembered by all those of us who once earned our living with the late, great Galo's.

** Many a local printer learned his trade in the composing room at Galo's, pictured above in its heyday.