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.
Scottish Printing Museum
Coupar Angus, Nr Perth
Prop. John Easson Esq
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
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
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)
There's a Printing shop in the main street of the ‘Blists Hill’ section of the Ironbridge Gorge Museums. It's a jobbing printers, with typical jumbled layout, composing room, and working printing machines, often in use.
Has a print shop in its ‘High Street’ opposite the ‘Co-Op branch’
Crich Tramway Village
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.’
‘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)
- 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
The printing department of the Kent & East Sussex Railway, at Tenterden Town Station.
West Somerset Railway
The Ticket Printing Department has a unique Edmondson Ticket printing machine in use.
The British Printing Society
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
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
Temporarialy closed to the Public
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 Civic Centre, West Yorkshire
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
Sadly now closed. Thanks to Graham Woolhouse for letting us know.
Newark Millgate Museum
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
‘The High Street’ has a small print shop.
The Museum of East Anglian Life
A small print shop with once a month demos.
The British Library
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
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
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.
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 departments have old wooden presses, sadly broken due to failure to understand what the term ‘printing house’ actually meant in practise!)
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
The Briar Press' online museum has over 200 exhibits.
Meanwhile in Ireland...
The National Print Museum, Dublin, ROI
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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