Heidelbergs, letterpresses and compositors

I’m in full swing as Project Manager for the E17 Poetry Trail which, if you haven’t heard, is part of Walthamstow’s celebrated and successful Art Trail. Poetry prints and an anthology are being supplied by Paekakariki Press so last weekend I dropped by to see them and take a look round Mitre Studios where some of the artists who will be collaborating with the poets are based. And there it was. An old Heidelberg Press together with all the materials for keeping the traditions of fine letterpress printing alive. It took me back. It took me back to my early days at Eastern Counties Newspapers where the guys “upstairs” still set all the text and images for the advertising sections by hand. Days when you had to be a member of the right union to fulfill a specific task. Days when messages were not sent by email but written on paper, tucked in a cylinder and catapulted along the office ceiling on a chute. Those were the days when I was selling advertising space by phone for the “What’s On” section, sharing pub, club and restaurant clients with my colleague Katy. Wonderful Katy, elegant, well spoken and damned rude. It was fun while it lasted. My next encounter with a Heidelberg came when I moved to London for my first marketing job – buying print and design services for  as US owned financial services firm…but that’s a whole other story…

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