people printing using an old-fashioned press, other people are watching

The Local History group made a visit to the Bell House letterpress studio and book bindery this morning. Volunteers Simon Trewin and Tania Hurt-Newton introduced us to the intricacies of setting type, inking and different types of paper before we were let loose on the Victorian Albion press - a huge piece of equipment - and the smaller, but no less fun, Adana presses. On the Albion press we made posters celebrating our visit and on the Adana machines we made postcards using the beautiful 'Festival Titling' typeface, created for the 1951 Festival of Britain. It gave us new insight into the time and expertise needed to print the kinds of documents that we, as local history researchers, use all the time. Simon then showed us the collection of Illustrated London News volumes recently donated by Catherine and Alice, daughters of the Soho printer and bookbinding enthusiast Lionel Selwyn. We enjoyed delving into the beautiful engravings and fascinating news reports of the 1840s and 1850s, including many illustrations of the Crystal Palace.

Our thanks to Bell House for the hospitality and to Simon and Tania for sharing their time, expertise and enthusiasm.