The main work of the press takes place on the ground floor and basement of a small 1820s cotton mill in Oldham town centre. There are several different workstations for the various processes involved in book production, and the space is crammed from floor to ceiling with stacks of paper, ink, printing machinery, books, cases of type and shelves full of materials and equipment. Where there is space left, posters, flyers, sheets of typefaces and examples of letterpress printing are displayed in frames or just pinned to the end of a bookcase or shelf.
The basement houses the bindery, where pages of printed material are gathered, stitched and bound into beautiful collectors’ items, and piles of clean, folded paper and card fill every surface.
Next door is the typesetting area, where the chases are set by hand, and trays and paper parcels of type jostle for space.
The job of printing takes place on the ground floor, where the venerable old presses include an Arab, an Auto-Vic, a Victoria Art Platen and a Heidelberg.
This little mill which once chattered with the sounds of cotton manufacture now thrives as a letterpress print shop, turning out some of the loveliest hand-made books in the North West.
These lovely books feature patterned papers from three of the design heroes of the mid-twentieth century: Edward Bawden, Eric Ravilious and Elizabeth Friedlander.