Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Tom Paine and Lewes Festival, 4-14 July 2009

The Tom Paine Printing Press during the Thomas Paine and Lewes Festival, July 4th to 14th, 2009

The Festival finished today, so I'm just posting these initial statistics and comments.
The Tom Paine Printing Press was open for the whole 11 days of the Thomas Paine and Lewes Festival.
I demonstrated the press for 7 hours every day, to a total of 1,148 visitors, giving 96 complete demonstrations to individuals and groups.

Average number of visitors: 113 per day.

Average number of complete demonstrations: 9 per day.
Public comment was extremely favourable, and children and young people were particularly impressed.

Older visitors were very interested, and many related the Press to their own lives and memories.

It was particularly rewarding to meet so many retired compositors and printers who had worked at local printing companies - Baxters, Farncombes, Lewes Press, Barbican Press. They thought it wonderful that their own trade was being commemorated in this way.

Many of the visitors were clearly day-trippers and tourists from the UK and abroad (France, Holland, Germany, Belgium, Spain, Italy, USA), and thought the Press was a great attraction. These were people who were not necessarily in Lewes for the Tom Paine Festival.

Those who were in Lewes just for the Festival were particularly interested in the Press as representing the key engine for the production of printed material and the dissemination of Paine's ideas (and ideas generally).

Many visitors suggested that the Press could produce printed material appropriate for other Lewes commemorations and events. This is one of the aims of the Press, and I have several plans afoot.

Finally, thanks to Andy Gammon, Peter Flanagan, Les Ellis and others, for their help and support.

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