George Francis Hounslow Blunt
(1914 – 2008)
George Francis Hounslow Blunt (GFHB, my much-admired Uncle) gained a degree of family notoriety at the age of six by shooting at his sister Kathleen with their father's loaded service revolver. The bullet narrowly missed her, fortunately for all concerned, not least my brother Simon and myself.
He was educated first at Park Lane School, in Wembley, and then, from the age of 11, at Harrow County Grammar School, after which he went on to serve an apprenticeship (1928-1934) at the family firm George Blunt & Sons under the supervision of his father George Ernest Blunt, whilst also studying part-time.
He then joined the management in 1934 to oversee their Government Stationery Office (a precursor of HMSO) contract, while simultaneously continuing part-time study at the London School of Printing and the Central School of Arts & Crafts, gaining City & Guilds qualifications and many medals and awards, including the Silver Medal of the Worshipful Company of Skinners for outstanding achievement.
Having served in the Royal Artillery (1939-1945) during the Second World War, George returned to the family firm and during the 1950's continued actively to promote excellence in printing and book-binding by serving in office on various professional bodies. His appointments included
- Governor of the London School of Printing
- Chairman of the London Bookbinders' Committee of the Joint Industrial Council
- President of the Master Bookbinders' Alliance of London
- (unusually for a craftsman) Member of Council of the British Federation of Master Printers (with 4000 member firms)
- Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts
- Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Stationers & Newspaper Makers
- Examiner of binding for the City & Guilds Institute
As a rather remarkable coincidence, George was also approached by West Dean College (first endowed by Edward James) who hoped that he might become an adviser regarding their bookbinding and book conservation courses. Lack of available spare time precluded this, but it is also something of a coincidence that his daughter, my cousin Angela, spent a number of years with West Dean College as an administrator. It is indeed a small world.
He was unique in my pre-teen days in that he addressed me 'man to man', which endeared him to me, and also as a benevolent dispenser of half crowns on family occasions, which endeared him even more!
He also maintained contact during later life, even though circumstances were such that we rarely met in family contexts, and I was very touched when he dropped by one morning at my place of work, to express regret that he and his wife, my Aunt Margaret (who was by now seriously ill), hadn't been able to make contact with us for some time, and were in fact moving away from these parts. And from time to time thereafter, he would ring up to talk for a while, just touching base, so to speak, which as a rather obscure nephew I really appreciated.