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Printing Links

Over the years we've found other working letterpress printers and museum that include some form of printing exhibit. Some have been mentioned in blog posts but there are others - all we are aware of are gathered here with links to their websites where appropriate and in some cases our comments on them. If you are aware of others please email us and we'll add them. If you see this symbol BLOG then there's a blog article about the institution.

United Kingdom

Beamish Museum is a wonderful assembly of old buildings from across North-East England used to reconstruct a pit village and a typical north-eastern town centre. It includes a newspaper office which originated in Hartlepool. The ground floor is the office whilst the newsapaper and jobbing work was printed upstairs. They have an Arab, Columbian &  Wharfedale Presses and it is staffed by people with a printing background. 

Bradford Industrial Museum has a substantial printing section and one of the volunteers there is a regular visitor to Smail's. Amongst there equipment is an Arab Clam-shell press still used to print souvenirs.

Iron Bridge Gorge Museum website mentions that there's a printing shop in Blists Hill Victorian Town.  I've visited Blists Hill (long before I joined Smails) but have no recollection of it.

John Jarrold Printing Museum can be found in the engineers shop in the Jarrold printworks in Norwich. Once known for producing colourful guide books for stately homes Jarrold were pioneers in the introduction of high quality four colour litho printing. A museum rather than a working print works visitors are free to wander around the machinery. The volunteers are knowledgeable - many used to work at the HMSO press on the outskirts of Norwich.
St Bride's Library is part of the St Bride's Foundation and considers itself to be the world's foremost library for printing and the graphic arts.  A Metropolitan Mecca for anyone interested in either or both of these subjects.

North America

Black Creek Pioneer Village, Toronto ON is one of those museums where old buildings from a variety of villages and small towns have been re-built as a typical small town from the mid-nineteenth century. Part of one building was set up as newspaper office and jobbing printer.  This is likely to have been a fairly common arrangement in a small pioneer town.  There was a a wide range of presses including a treadle operated clamshell and a human powered cylinder press.

Blackstone Press, Granville Island, Vancouver BC is a commercial letterpress printers producing high quality (very) limited edition books. David Clifford learnt his trade in London.  As well as 2 Heidelbergs there’s also a Hopkinson & Cooper lever operated flat-bed press, a Vandercook 4 and a Golding Jobber treadle powered clam-shell. Hand set type is too time consuming and everything is printed from blocks made in house.

MacKenzie Printery & Newspaper Museum, Queenstown ON whilst billed as Canada's only working printing museum it is more a museum that does some printing. William MacKenzie founded the Colonial Advocate the first newspaper with a purely Canadian perspective.  The museum has a range of flat-bed and clamshell presses of the type used to print the Colonial Advocate.  They also have a working Linotype but no provision for training a replacement for the elderly operators who'd learnt there trade in the days of the hot-metal production of newspapers.  There are links to a number of printing history websites here.

Pike Street Press, Seattle WA is a commercial letterpress and screen printing business which includes an art gallery as well.  They don't have any type-setting capability (yet) but produce some very tactile letterpress work.  Once this would have been considered shoddy workmanship but times change.  Pike Street Press have an Original Heidelberg - how would these businesses manage without this work-horse?  In addition there's a Peerless Clamshell platten originally treadle powered but adapted for use with an electric motor.



MOTAT, Auckland, NZ otherwise the Museum of Transport and Technology is on two sites connected by preserved tram-cars. One site is devoted to aviation the other covers an enormous range of technology which is both a strength and a weakness. The printing exhibit is only staffed on Sundays, other days you have to look from the door. There's a wide range of equipment on display including a reconstruction of a wooden press of the type used by Gutenberg and Caxton although there seems to be more metal components than I'd expect.

Ferrymead Heritage Park, Christchurch, NZ features an early 1900s (Edwardian) township, with exhibits which include a printers, 

Shantytown Heritage Park, Greymouth, NZis a recreation of a 19th century gold mining and logging community with an eclectic mix of buildings and activities. Thebuildings included a printing shop with a mix of equipment, including a very colourful Columbia Eagle press. This particular exhibit is disappointing and badly in need of some TLC and an informed curator.

Walhalla, Victoria, Australia is an old gold mining town which has an interesting range of Victorian buildings. Whilst a few people still live there it is now a heritage site but with buildings that were built there for everyday use. Among the restored buildings was the print shop and office for the local newspaper. This is not normally open but there is a  Vicobold clam-shell platen press made in London, power operated but hand fed, a US made guillotine, a fair amount of type and other bits and pieces although there wasn't a lot of furniture but it looked as though it would work.

Yaldhurst Museum, Christchurch, NZ is more than just motor transport.  There is printing display with a wide range of letterpress equipment from an Arab platten to a Heidelberg, including mechanical type setters and a photo type setter.

1 comment:

  1. How about this for a design for a wall painting, in the tried-and-true Art Nouveau style?:, by the famous English artist, Audrey Beardsley himself. You can also order a canvas print of the picture from