Ipswich: Peter Underdown, former head of Ancient House Press, dies aged 77
17:41 13 February 2014
Peter Underdown, the former head of Ipswich-based print company Ancient House Press, has died at the age of 77.
Mr Underdown and business partner Bob Cole, who had jointly established a print firm in Bethnal Green, London, in the late 1960s, acquired W E Harrison & Son Ltd, then still trading from the Buttermarket in Ipswich, in 1973.
They revived the company’s former identity as the Ancient House Press, with the business then operating out of London and Ipswich − manufacturing in Cobbold Street, Ipswich, and sales in London.
The mid 1970s was a period of great technological change within the printing industry, accompanied by strong union resistance, while the three-day week also made for difficult trading.
By the early 1980s, however, Ancient House Press and sister company Monarch Origination were among the leading colour commercial printers in the country.
Monarch Origination was later sold to another Ipswich-based print group, Serif Cowells, and in 1985 Ancient House Press relocated from Cobbold Street to the Hadleigh Road Industrial Estate, where extensive investment in new equipment followed.
In 1991, his son, Michael Underdown, and daughter, Allison Berry, were appointed directors of the company, although he remained closely involved in the business, which today employs 110 people.
Mr Underdown is survived by his wife, June, daughters Angela and Allison and son Micheal. The funeral is to take place at 2pm on Friday, February 21 at All Saints’ Church, Brandeston.