Page 4 - April 2016
P. 4

| From the St. Bride Archives | | |Bob Richardson (9718)

Hats off to George!

We had a visitor to the St Bride               boxes of original steel punches from the
             Library a few months before its   Caslon Foundry and the original printing
             closure in August last year. She  plates for Harold Curwen’s Puffin Picture

was trying to find out a little more about      Book No. 70 on the subject of ‘Printing’,

an ancestor in the printing trade who was together with trade union banners,

described in the 1901 census as a ‘Hat-Tip scandalous broadsides, dozens of original

Stamper’. Did we have any information          woodcuts by Robert Gibbings, and others

about this trade? A search through the         used in the works of Henry Mayhew.

general catalogue found nothing, but           There are also boxes of curiosities,

tucked away                                                  including

in our Special                                               the company

Collections                                                  records

folder was                                                   described

a reference                                                  below.

to George                                                    Every piece

Fowler,                                                      of top-quality

Hat-Tip                                                      headgear for a

Stamper of                                                   gentleman has

Bermondsey                                                   a square- or

(south-east                                                  diamond-

London). I                                                   shaped piece

went up to                                                   of satin

Room 19 (the                                                 sewn into

main book                                                    the crown.

stack at St                                                  This is often

Bride) and                                                   covered with

did a little                                                 a thin piece

digging after                                                of celluloid

we closed       George Fowler, from an illustrated strip published in the to protect
one evening.         Evening News, September 1950. The engraved card the ‘tip’ from
Room 19 is a                                                 Brylcreem or
trap, for once       pre-dates Fowler’s Bermondsey address.
                                                             pomade, for

I start searching through the material         a hat-tip is the small panel which carries

shelved in the Special Collections I often     the maker’s name and sometimes the size

lose all track of time and suddenly it’s       of the ‘titfer’. George Fowler was Britain’s

9.00 p.m. or later.                            last hat-tip stamper. Each piece of satin

The Special Collections at St Bride            went through George’s engraving press

number 200 or more and include a vast          and all were carefully printed by hand.

range of materials related to printing         Fowler was a skilled engraver and made

and publishing. Here you will find 1,051        his own intaglio plates for producing the

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