Sunday, 22 May 2011
VISIT TO STANHOPE PRESS AT DITCHLING MUSEUM
Today I visited Ditchling Museum, where Jenny KilBride, Chairman of the Trustees, was kind enough to show me the Stanhope press (No. 50), and explain to me the development plans for the Museum (see www.ditchling-museum.com).
This is the very iron press brought to Ditchling by Hilary Pepler when he set up his first printing operation there (intially known as 'Ditchling Press') in January 1916. At the same time it was joined in Ditchling by a crown folio Albion press and two founts of Caslon Old Face type. The name of the Press was later changed to 'St Dominic's Press', after the Guild of St Joseph and St Dominic, but reverted after a couple of decades to 'The Ditchling Press'. This Stanhope press was later owned by Justin Howes, but returned to Ditchling after Justin's death in 2005.
The press, and indeed all the contents of Ditchling Museum, is being put into store for a couple of years while the Museum is being renovated and enlarged, so I was lucky to be able to see it in situ before it is dismantled. The Museum is currently appealing for funds for the renovation and building work, and is planning a big fundraising ball in September for which I am designing and printing in letterpress the poster and publicity artwork.
I am also working on a book on Ditchling printing to coincide with the reopening of the Museum. This will focus on the materiality of the printing establishment at Ditchling, rather than on the products of St Dominic's Press for which there exist several bibliographies.