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Launch Letterpress Museums Map

Letterpress Museums


Use our new interactive map to find a museum near you or scroll through a more detailed list below. Most of these are part of larger museums and aren't demonstrated regularly (if at all). If you know of other museums or even notable static displays, please send us the details.


John Easson at his Scottish Printing Museum

Scottish Printing Museum

Coupar Angus, Nr Perth

Prop. John Easson Esq

coupar-angus.org/Groupshtm/presshere.htm

Composing Room, with a totally unique vast collection of display type, various presses in working order, Ludlow slug type casting, and Monotype Equipment on display. With thanks to John for letting us use the picture above!


The John Jarrold Printing Museum

Norwich

johnjarroldprintingmuseum.org.uk

East Anglia's prime printing museum. One very large hall, with a remarkable collection of composing room and machine room equipment. For example a direct litho cylinder press. Occasional demonstrations of some items. Very well worth a special effort to visit.


Robert Smail's Printing Works

Innerleithen, Border

nts.org.uk/Property/52

The National Trust for Scotland own a perfectly preserved jobbing printers at in the Scottish Borders. Some of the guides are former emlopyees.


Ironbridge Gorge Museum

Nr Telford (West Mids)

ironbridge.org.uk

There's a Printing shop in the main street of the ‘Blists Hill’ section of the Ironbridge Gorge Museums. It's a jobbing printers, withtypical jumbled layout, composing room, and working printing machines, often in use.


Beamish Museum

Co. Durham

beamish.org.uk

Has a print shop in its ‘High Street’ opposite the ‘Co-Op branch’


Crich Tramway Village

Derbyshire

tramway.co.uk
Sam Allen, who gives demonstrations, wrote to tell as about The Eagle Press at Crich Tramway Village. ‘The collection is small - three different sizes of the Adana, an 1859 large Columbian Hand Press and a hand operated Guillotine. Plus a fairly large collection of wooden type.’


Amberley Museum

West Sussex

amberleymuseum.co.uk

‘Most of the Print Workshop's exhibits are operational and in use throughout the season.’ Here's what's on display:

  • Franklin Common Wooden Press built by volunteers in the Wheelwrights Shop at the Museum (16" x 22")
  • Columbian – Eagle Press vintage 1850's (20" x 30")
  • Wharfedale vintage 1850 – hand fed cylinder (22" x 13")
  • Vicabold with feeder vintage 1950's (10" x 13")
  • Autovic without feeder vintage 1940's (13" x 18")
  • Heidelberg Cylinder 1960's Late London School of Printing (18" x 23")
  • Large Power Soldan Proofing Press (30" x 34")
  • Chandler & Price Treadle Platen from the early 1900's (15" x 12")
  • Various table top Adanas and Model presses.
  • Intaglio Press from the 1850's (15" x20)
In storage:
  • Thomson Platen (10 x 15)
  • Glockner Cylinder (15 x 20)
  • Arab Platen
  • Vertical Miehle (15 x 20)
  • Heidelberg Platen (10 x 15)
  • Various Small Rotaprint Litho Machines

Kent & East Sussex Railway

kesr.org.uk

The printing department of the Kent & East Sussex Railway, at Tenterden Town Station.


West Somerset Railway

west-somerset-railway.co.uk

The Ticket Printing Department has a unique Edmondson Ticket printing machine in use.


The British Printing Society

bpsnet.org.uk

Open Days (and/or Sale Days) of regional branches commonly include some sort of demonstration of smaller printing equipment


The Science Museum

Exhibition Road, London

sciencemuseum.org.uk

Their comprehensive and excellently laid out printing display has now been closed, and it is understood is to be moved to store – rumoured to allow a canteen to take its place! There are larger printing exhibits in a hangar at Wroughton Aerodrome in rural Wiltshire. These include a letterpress rotary newspaper machine.

Opening arrangements are unclear at present.


The Type Museum

Kennington, London

Temporarialy closed to the Public

typemuseum.org

Holds the National Collections of Monotype Equipment including the matrix manufacturing side – ‘Monotype Hot Metal Ltd‘ which is currently open for business. There is also a hall full of printing presses, some in working order, including a Wharfedale.

Plus the vast collection of items from Stephenson Blake Ltd including their pivotal type casting machines,not now used. Also the de Little Company's wood letter manufacturing collection. Ownership is shared between the V&A, The Science Museum, and the ex-Curwen Press Monotype equipment in private ownership.





Static Letterpress Displays


Locations with a static display, some infrequently demonstrated.

Otley Museum

Otley Civic Centre, West Yorkshire

otley.co.uk/museum/index.htm

Otley is the home of the Wharfedale and the museum holds an 1858 model, as well as some type and sundries. Free admission. Demos can be arranged (call 01943 461 052). Opening times: 10am – 12.30pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays plus the first Saturday of each month. Not bank holidays. (Current May 2009).


Walton Hall Museum

Stanford-le-Hope, Essex


Sadly now closed. Thanks to Graham Woolhouse for letting us know.


Newark Millgate Museum

Newark, Nottinghamshire

newark-sherwooddc.gov.uk/pp/Gold/ViewGold.asp?ID=1931

No demonstrations now (maybe someone would like to volunteer?) but quite a large collection including lots of type, two Atlantics and the press which printed Byron's first published work.


York Castle Museum

yorkcastlemuseum.org.uk

‘The High Street’ has a small print shop.


The Museum of East Anglian Life

Stowmarket, Suffolk

eastanglianlife.org.uk

A small print shop with once a month demos.


The British Library

London

bl.uk

With composing room and old wooden presses. These are in the open access area (of the basement) and you do not need to have a readers card. Very occasional demos.


St Brides Printing Library

Fleet Street, London

The Blades Memorial Library

stbride.org

Has old presses etc on display, and further items may be seen by prior arrangement.


The Knopp Private Collection

Coggeshall & Tiptree, Essex

Mr Justin Knopp(of Typoretum letterpress greetings cards fame) has gathered a large collection of printing equipment, with a museum envisaged in the future. Most is presently in store. It might however just be possible to arrange to see an early ‘stick delivery’ Wharfedale and/or Art platens in use.


The Hexham Courant Printing Works

Hexham, Northumberland

hexham-courant.co.uk

At the rear of the bus station. Still had letterpress in 2003. Not visited since.


Extant Letterpress Businesses

There are still printing firms operating part or even completely by letterpress methods. Needless to say they have a living to earn, but some might find it possible to permit a very brief visit, very much by prior arrangement. Local knowledge may find them for you. They might prove most helpful, e.g. cutting your paper, but might prefer to sell the stuff to you, and add a modest cutting charge!. They need to have made clear that you are in no sense commercial competition.


Print Makers Studios

Many print makers studios, both commercial and private will have some items of interest, commonly Albion presses or similar, but these will usually lack tympan and frisket.


Universities

Some Universities have presses and some type, commonly under the control of the Senior Librarian, or the English Literature Dept. These are sometimes operated for the benefit of students. Some very old presses and/or modern reproductions are to be seen.

(Note: Some American University departmentshave old wooden presses, sadly broken due to failure to understand what the term ‘printing house’ actually meant in practise!)


Private Companies

There are modern printing companies who have something interesting in their Reception areas. e.g. a press and a Monotype casting machine were the Cambridge University Press but whether that is still so is unclear.


Digital Museum of Presses

briarpress.org

The Briar Press' online museum has over 200 exhibits.




Meanwhile in Ireland...


The National Print Museum, Dublin, ROI

nationalprintmuseum.ie

The Irish are lucky enough to have a national printing museum. We're not sure what's on display, but the website mentions lots of workshops, from making books to Japanese woodblock print-making. There's also a photo of an Albion, so we assume that's one of the exhibits!





Closed Letterpress Museums


The William Clowes Printing Museum

Formerly at Beccles in Suffolk, is now closed and the collection dispersed.


The Cockermouth Museum

Is very sadly now closed, and the exhibits are being dispersed.







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