Page 8 - March 2018
P. 8




            aving just read the February issue of
            Choice magazine, I found an article
       Habout the village of Ditchling, Sussex,
       and its connection with Eric Gill fascinat-
       ing – especially when I read that Ditchling
       Museum has a Stanhope Press and holds
       courses on letterpress printing. Not every
       one, even veteran printers, has heard of
       Earl Stanhope’s remarkable all-iron press
       made at the start of the nineteenth cen-
       tury. These presses are very rare compared
       with Albions, Columbians, Britannias, etc.
         My own experience of using a Stanhope
       press goes back to 1946 when, starting
       a seven-year apprenticeship, I had the
       weekly task of using the press to print large
       cards advertising the films showing at two
       local cinemas. Because of their size and
       shape they could not be printed on any of
       the platens or cylinder machines. When
       the Stanhope, located in the composing   Another Stanhope on show at the Stadtmuseum in Iserlohn
       room, was not being used for these weekly
       items, it was employed as a proofing   to put it. Fortunately I had contacts with
       press for both galley matter and locked-  ‘The Friends of Salford Museum’ and as a
       up formes. It had originally been in use   result the 1804 Stanhope was donated to
       at a missionary station in India to print   Salford Museum where, hopefully, it still
       Bibles, but had been returned to Eng-  is (but probably not on public view). It was
       land around 1880.                     not long after the press had been rescued,
         Soon after I had left, after 8 years with   that the printing works was completely
       the printing firm, I heard that a scrap   destroyed by fire. The Stanhope, which was
       merchant had been asked to take the press.   in the composing room, would have ended
       At the time I knew the owner of another   up in pieces if it had crashed through the
       scrap metal firm and he agreed to offer my   wooden floor into the press room.
       old firm £15 to buy the press on my behalf   If readers would like to see an illustra-
       - £5 more than the other scrap dealer was   tion of the Ditchling Stanhope, it can be
       prepared to offer! So, I became the owner   seen on the museum’s web-site at:
       of this magnificent press, but had nowhere
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