Letterpress Alive in U.K.!
Letterpress is still alive in the United Kingdom. There are still commercial printers using letterpress, especially for labels and numbered forms, etc. There are still some universities and colleges with letterpress equipment for student use. There are still private and fine presses producing books by letterpress. There are still many small 'hobby' printers with letterpress equipment, and interest in letterpress is slowly reviving as people realise the pleasure that can be derived from the physical placement of type and its subsequent impression onto paper.....
The purpose of this site is to provide some information about letterpress activity in the United Kingdom. There has already been an awakening in North America, with several Centers for the Book as well as many Book Arts courses in colleges and universities, but this is less advanced in the U.K. and mainland Europe. Sadly, also, the number of suppliers of type is dwindling, as the typefounders retire and few people come forward to replace them, but as you will see below, new type is still available.
This website is supported by the Oxford Guild of Printers. The list does not try to be definitive, and also is deliberately small-scale for ease of loading and viewing, and so is only a limited selection of what is available in the United Kingdom. Please send any comments, corrections, suggestions for inclusion, etc to firstname.lastname@example.org
Letterpress equipment and supplies in the U.K.
PressesPaper, inks, etc
Type and typesettingRollers
- John Purcell for paper (e-mail email@example.com)
- R.K.Burt for paper
- Gemini Printers Supplies for paper, cards, etc (e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Rogate Paper for cut paper, cards, tubes of ink (e-mail email@example.com)
- Newsham Print Ltd for cards, tickets, etc. (182 Wallasey Rd, Wallasey CH44 2AG)
- Joyce & Co. for quoins, inks, etc (e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org)
- T.N.Lawrence for brayers, ink, etc (e-mail email@example.com)
- Norman Haynes for tympan sheet, ink, quoins, reglet, cards, page cord, cutting sticks, etc.(e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Mayday Graphic Products for Van Son inks.
- Lyme Bay Press for Van Son inks, photopolymer plate base, etc.
- Craft Press for Van Son inks, Crane papers, etc. (e-mail email@example.com)
- Local branches of Litho Supplies for Van Son Inks, etc.
Blocks and platesBookbindingMonotype
- Beyondletterpress for recovering rollers. (e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org Rod Shaw, phone 01453 766716)
- Caslon for Adana rollers (phone 01727 852211)
- Glenthorne Rollers for rubber rollers (e-mail email@example.com or phone 01226 747012)
(Sarah Hales, Glenthorne, Rosehill Cottage, Harley, Rotherham S62 7UJ)
- A M Components (phone 01495 769100 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org)
(A.M.Components, Polo Grounds Industrial Estate, New Inn, Gwent NP4 OTW)
- Elli Evans for Adana and Kelsey rollers (e-mail ElliEvans@aol.com)
- Printing Roller Services (phone Lee Paterson 01274 741321 or email email@example.com)
- Bottcher UK Ltd for Heidelberg, Model, etc. roller recovering (phone 01495 350300)
(Bottcher Uk Ltd, Cwmdraw Ind Est, Newtown, Ebbw Vale, Gwent NP23 5AE)
- KV Rollers (phone 01633 871919 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org)
(KV Rollers Ltd, 1 Blaenwern, Avondale Industrial Estate, Cwmbran, Torfaen NP44 1TY)
Linotype, Ludlow, etc
- Monotype Hot Metal for Monotype matrices and spares (e-mail email@example.com or phone 020 7735 0020)
But note that the Type Archive is officially closed
- R.T.Harrison for spool paper (Blue 31 Channel Tape) (phone 0113 250 9358 fax 0113 250 4594)
(SAE to R.T.Harrison Ltd, 21A Kirk Lane, Yeadon, Leeds, W Yorks LS19 7LX)
NB at present out of production
- CMP srl for spool paper (e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org). Minimum quantity is 40 rolls.
- G Huth & Co. for Monotype and Linotype metal (but not reviver) (will also take in scrap type, etc.) (e-mail email@example.com or phone 020 8534 3405)
10a Sugar House Lane, London E15 2QS - can deliver or collect, in the Home Counties
- Engineers - see Help/Info
Note that eg The British Printing Society's Small Printer, and website carries advertisements, and classified ads for letterpress. The Briar Press has a sales and wants section which often includes UK items, and some of the letterpress websites in the U.K. now have small sales and wants sections. In addition, there are suppliers of letterpress sundries such as NA Graphics (e-mail for a catalogue), American Printing Equipment & Supply Co, in U.S. and Drucken & Lernen in Germany (e-mail for a list), and there are type foundries in U.S., Holland, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, India, New Zealand, etc. who will send to U.K. customers. On-line auction sites such as e-bay also feature U.K. sales of used equipment, etc.
- Linecasting Machinery for Linotype, Intertype, Ludlow, Elrod machines, mats, spares (e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 01227 450511)
(SAE to Michael Kirby, Unit 15, Barton Business Park, New Dover Road, Canterbury, Kent CT1 3AA)
- Keith Harding (01707 840297 mob 077987 84610 e-mail: email@example.com) for Ludlow and Elrod spares and repairs
- G Huth & Co. for Monotype and Linotype metal - see above
- Engineers - see Help/Info
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Organisations and Societies in U.K. with an emphasis on letterpress
- The British Printing Society or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
- Oxford Guild of Printers
- The Fine Press Book Association
- St Bride Printing Library
- The Anchor Press Museum Project
- The Type Archive (formerly The Type Museum) but now officially closed and details are awaited as to how to access the collections. E-mail email@example.com
There are other U.K. organisations and societies with an interest in letterpress shown under the general Links
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Courses and Workshops on letterpress in U.K.
- Bodleian Library, Oxford Centre for the Study of the Book - occasional courses and classes
- St Bride Foundation, London - letterpress workshops and bookable workspace - phone 0207 353 3331 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
- Camberwell College of Arts, London - letterpress available to students.
- Cambridge School of Art (Anglia Ruskin University) - letterpress available to students
- Cambridge University - letterpress available to students. Offers hand printing classes
- Central St Martins, London - letterpress available to students. Short course available.
- Ditchling Museum of Art & Craft - Sunday June 1 to 29 (phone 01273 844 744)
- Edinburgh College of Art - letterpress available to students. Is taught as part of Visual Communication.
- Frogmore Paper Mill - half-day letterpress courses using Adana 8x5s (e-mail education@the papertrail.org.uk)
- Glasgow School of Art - letterpress available to students.
- The Grange in Shropshire offer courses and workshops in letterpress.
- Harrinton and Squires, London offer one day workshops
- Hot Bed Press, Salford - letterpress weekend and evening classes and also bookable workspace (e-mail email@example.com)
- Juniper Press at the Bluecoat, Liverpool - letterpress workshops available, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The Letterpress Collective, Bristol offer one-day letterpress workshops
- London College of Printing (now London College of Communication)- letterpress available to students. Is taught as part of the degree courses in typography and bookarts.
- Manchester Metropolitan University - letterpress available to students. Is a compulsory component in Graphic Design undergraduate courses.
- Nomad Letterpress at Whittington - one day letterpress workshops (e-mail email@example.com)
- Northumbria University - letterpress available to students. Is a component within BA Graphic Design.
- Oxford Brookes University - letterpress available to students.
- Reading University - letterpress available to students.
- Red Hot Press, Southampton -letterpress courses throughout the year. Adana Press set up service and 1-2-1 tuition available email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Royal College of Art, London - letterpress available to students.
- Turnbull Grey - halfday letterpress sessions (e-mail email@example.com)
- University of Plymouth - letterpress available to students.
- UWE Bristol - letterpress available to students. Is taught as part of Art, Media & Design courses.
- Winterbourne Press (University of Birmingham) - occasional letterpress workshops
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Letterpress Exhibitions, Open Days, Book Fairs in U.K. in 2023
- BPS Dorset Branch Wayzgoose Saturday 15 April (Stratton, Dorset)
- St Bride Foundation Wayzgoose Sunday 21 May (London)
- The Biblio Press, Bodleian Library Sat/Sun 20,21 May and Sat/Sun/Mon 27-29 May (Oxford)
- Norwich Print Party Sat/Sun 3,4 June (Old Shoe Factory, Norwich)
- Shipley Wayzgoose Saturday 10 June (Shipley, West Yorkshire)
- Details of any other events in 2023 would be welcomed
Also, some museums have regular or occasional demonstrations of letterpress equipment, for example:
Some active Letterpress Printers in U.K.
Please note that these links are just to a few of the Presses whose web sites show pictures of their equipment. Many of the list of Presses that offer a commercial printing service also show their machinery. Many other active Private Presses can be found from the UK Private Presses site.
Letterpress Printers offering a commercial service
This list is still being compiled. Suggestions for additional entries known to readers are welcome. Note also that many Private Presses may undertake commissions.
Some U.K. sources of help and/or information
or try the archive of letterpress discussion, as the group has U.K. members. Or even mail your query to LETPRESS@UNB.CA after joining the group. Join by sending the message SUBSCRIBE LETPRESS xxx (where xxx is your name) to LISTSERV@LISTSERV.UNB.CA
- Books published in U.K.:
- Printing for Pleasure, John Ryder, Bodley Head/Private Library Association
- Basic Printing - Letterpress for the Beginner, Lindley & Maggs, British Printing Society
- Introduction to Typography, Oliver Simon, Faber & Faber/Penguin
- Articles in Matrix (Whittington Press) and the Printing Historical Society Journal sometimes describe particular presses or processes.
- Websites with practical information:
- British Letterpress
- The Happy Dragons' Press
- Practical Instruction
- Elrod operation and maintenance
- Andy Taylor (Models F and K) (e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org), A.J.Taylor & Son Letterpress, Typesetting and Printing (01273 589896)
- Keith Harding (01707 840297 mob 077987 84610 e-mail: email@example.com)
- Intertype and Linotype operation and maintenance (Models C4 and 78)
- Andy Taylor (e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, A.J.Taylor & Son Letterpress, Typesetting and Printing (01273 589896)
- Ludlow operation and maintenance
- Andy Taylor (Models L and M) (e-mail email@example.com), A.J.Taylor & Son Letterpress, Typesetting and Printing (01273 589896)
- Keith Harding (01992 553133 mob 077987 84610 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Claire Bolton (01865 391391) (e-mail email@example.com)
- Richard Lawrence (01225 313494) (e-mail ZRLawrence@aol.com)
- Graham Moss (0161 627 1966) The Incline Press
- Paul Nash (01608 654349) (e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Nick Smith runs a short Cambridge course, and can provide advice (e-mail email@example.com)
- Mike Willshire-Jacobs (particularly using Adanas) (01252 326771) (e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Andy Taylor (01273 589896) (e-mail email@example.com) offers an introduction to typesetting, hand composition and printing
- Printers' Engineers:
- T.Harrison (01706 366972 fax 01706 366875)
- Graeme Smith (01226 388738 fax 01226 391195) - Heidelberg Cylinder specialist
- John Hogan (Yorkshire) (mob 07810440741 e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org) - Heidelberg S series if converted to cut/creasing
- Patrick Roe restores Albions, Columbians, Arabs, proof presses,etc. (e-mail email@example.com or phone 01933 681961)
- Michael Kirby Linecasting Machinery (01227 450511) - also bookbinding/finishing equipment
- Harry Rochat repair presses and show how to solve some common problems
- Homeward Bound restore, and sell, Albions, Columbians and proof presses (phone 01547 530630)
- Ludlow Engineers:
- Keith Harding (01707 840297 mob 077987 84610 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Norman Taylor (01992 466187)
- Monotype Engineers:
- Jim Crichton (tel/fax 0131 556 6299)
- Terry Vincent (tel/fax 01708 720084)
- Linotype & Intertype Engineers:
- Linecasting Machinery Michael Kirby (01227 450511) - also moves machines
- Other information:
- Ben Brundell's details of some presses, and how to start printing
- Typecases and their lays
- Lists of some Monotype information
- National Printing Heritage Trust - details of presses, etc in Museums
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Links to some other letterpress related sites
This list is only a very small selection of what is available, and for example Briar Press, Ton Cremer, and Dave Tribby all have a much fuller list of links.
Written by David Bolton and last updated 19 May 2023