A printing company founded in 1832 to produce anti-slavery literature has fallen victim to the credit crunch.

Alden Press, which was taken over in September this year by the HenDi Group, yesterday told the 121 workers at its headquarters in De Haviland Way, Witney, and 41 more in London, that it was filing for voluntary administration.

Operations director Arthur Gachowski said: “We couldn’t extend our borrowing.

“An administrator will be appointed after consultations with the bank, Lloyds TSB.

“Employees came into work this week to learn more about the company’s state of affairs.”

He confirmed that workers had not been paid for November.

Alden Press moved to Witney from the Osney Mead industrial estate in Oxford two years ago.

Until the takeover earlier this year, it was owned and run by the Alden family for 176 years.

William Alden, a member of the sixth generation of the family to be involved with the firm, is a non-executive director.

In 1832, Henry Alden, a devout Baptist, used an inheritance to buy printing equipment to publish his own anti-slavery pamphlets and the business prospered.

It published Oxford’s first ever guide book, Alden’s Oxford Guide, which remained in print for many years.

In the 1920s, the company established a reputation as a book printer, forming a close relationship with the publisher Jonathan Cape.

The company later added academic journals and commercial colour work to its list of specialist capabilities, while investing in new technologies along the way.

The news follows closely on the heels of administrators taking charge at another west Oxfordshire company, Windrush Frozen Foods, which last year employed 75 people at its depots in Witney, Long Hanborough and Park Royal in London.

Administrative receivers BDO Hayward have been appointed at the frozen food company, which had a turnover of £28m a year. Its offices, at the Network Point Industrial Estate, were opened by Conservative Party leader and Witney MP David Cameron last year.

The secretary of the Witney Chamber of Commerce, Iris Guntrip, said the news was worrying, but added: ”Apart from Woolworths going into administration, Witney’s retail is doing well.

“Footfall has even increased since the development at Woolgate.”

In the summer, another Witney firm, timber-frame house builder Stewart Milne, made 78 workers redundant as a result of the slump in the building business.

That redundancy programme contributed in September to a 10 per cent jump in the number of Oxfordshire people out of work and claiming benefit in the county.

In October, there were 4,563 jobless people claiming benefit in Oxfordshire compared with 3,417 in the same month last year.