Visiting the Incline Press


What, no green fields or pastoral hills? No, occasionally we go urban. This is Oldham, 'up North', on the outskirts of Manchester, the weather typically grey. We'd been warned by our host to take the tram as 'there's a lot of roadworks in town'. He wasn't kidding.


 We were here to visit the Incline Press (whom I've met over the years at various Fine Press fairs and Wayzgooses, blogged here, here and here) which we found tucked away in a little side road, looking very unassuming.

Until you get inside, that is and breathe in the inky aroma. What treasures are piled ceiling high - what delights are being printed!



At the moment Graham is producing 'Danger and Destiny in the Fairytales of the Brothers Grimm' written by David Blamires, to coincide with the 200th anniversary of the first printing of Grimms' Fairytales. It will be a limited edition of 300 copies and when I say producing, I mean that he is setting the entire text by hand, printing it on the traditional press and binding it - again by hand. Pre-publication price as I write is £48, which I consider to be reasonable in the extreme.

When we arrived, Graham was typesetting and had noticed a tiny fault in a 'J' block. He printed off a page to show us.




Although he was clearly busy with setting up the book, he kindly took us on a tour of the studio - I dawdled and took lots of  nosey photos.

Down the stairs, carefully now!


To the basement - heavenly.

Packets of minty fresh type bought up from Stephenson Blake, the last working type foundry in Britain before it shut down at the end of the Twentieth century.


So many corners filled with *stuff* - I asked Graham if he knew what he'd got and where it all was and he said yes.


 Towers of type cabinets. My not-very-secret passion.

Various jobs in various states.


 We had a brilliant and informative time - and Graham gave me some sound advice on what to do with my salvaged Adana gear, which is stored down in the Forest of Dean until we find our new home. 

 Town or country, one thing remains true - Andy is always many strides ahead of me.  

Thank you Graham for a lovely visit and our very special souvenir. 

 'Letterpress Printer's Essential
May cause stickiness so eat responsibly
Do not use while operating machinery
Hand Made at Incline Press 36 Bow Street Oldham'


Acornmoon said...

How lovely, I have met Graham also and have a few of his books. I am sure you had an inspirational day out.

Sue said...

Lucky you! Lovely place, lovely people :-)

Anonymous said...

good sunday from Italy !!!!

Charlotte said...

How glorious. My dad's first job, on leaving school at 14 was as a printer, he still has the memory of compositing in his fingertips. I can't wait to show him you post.

So good to know this fine art is still going.

Claire said...

Wow, what a wonderful place to visit and I can imagine how much you enjoyed it Gretel.
Graham's certainly taken on a big job printing up the limited edition book......a labour of love but what a wonderful book it will be.
Your description Gretel reminds me of the movie Miss Potter, when Beatrix goes to the printers to see the book being printed for herself. I can just put myself in that moment.....
Love the souvenir too.....tea and toast and marmalade...my second choice after Vegemite, hehe...

Claire x

Things Hand Made said...

Have you been to Roberts Smails printworks up in Innerleithen? Absolutely fascinating.

Lin said...

Oh, very cool!! Can't begin wondering what's in all those cabinets. WOW!

Caroline B said...

I must confess to knowing nothing about the printing process, but that looks absolutely fascinating, a regular Aladdin's cave!

Tonia said...

Love it - am craving my own letterpress despite there being No Room Whatsoever for one!
Poor old Oldham though, what on earth are they doing to it??

elizabeth said...

What a treat to see a real press up close.
I'm always fascinated and delighted to see real craftspeople up close.
Henry and Gretchen really loving your book still!

Sandy's witterings said...

I would expect there noticeboard to be delightful but what really tickles me is the hand printed marmalade label - just some sort of perfection.

rachel said...

Goodness, that sounds like exactly the right trip for you! Heaven, I should think. Thank you for letting us have a glimpse of it.

Vintage Jane said...

Knowing your love of letterpress, I can just imagine you there, like a child in a sweetie shop. It must have been heaven for you. M x

mountainear said...

Fabulous - and brings back loads of memories. I 'did' typography at college in Manchester and learned to set type - back in the day when no print union would ever entertain emloying a woman - so my studies were a bit in theory only. Could still 'diss' a galley of type though and put all those little lead letters back into their homes in the type tray.

Anonymous said...

I never knew this place existed! what a place, I can imagine you were in 7th heaven and didn't know where to look first. Letterpress is so fascinating and required such very special skills. (Q: How do printers do it? A: Upside down and back to front.) :-)

Frances said...

Well Gretel, clearly magic is performed at 36 Bow Street. How is it possible that the interior of that building is larger than its exterior?

I do envy your trip there and the opportunity to actually have a tour. Of course, I am sure that Graham was delighted to have enthusiasts like you and Andy visiting. The atmosphere must have been amazing.

I absolutely agree that the price of the upcoming publication seems actually too reasonable. But it's hard to put a price on love.

The marmalade jar and its splendid label make me smile. Your and your marmalade!


Unknown said...

Sue and I feel quite left out of this fabulous visit, Gretel. Next time, call in at Chets for a nice cup of tea to go with that marmalade!

Trailshome said...

Yet another delightful trip down Alice's magic rabbit hole with you! Thank you for sharing your world with us. What fun! Didn't you want to just sit down and start opening drawers and poking around in the contents? I had to go through your pictures at least 3 times to be satisfied that I'd seen as much as I could. Thanks for the ramble through magical places.

Deborah Flint said...

Magic! Just magic. Thanks for taking us on the trip with you, Gretel. Reminds me so much of my Dad that there's a lump in my throat. D xx

Stacey said...

Wow, a true treasure indeed! What an amazing place to be able to visit. The creations that you took pictures of are amazing. I love to see people keeping arts like this alive! Thank you for sharing all your photos of your tour.

Janet Metzger, Artist said...

May cause stickiness...I love that!

Janet xox

Annie Cholewa said...

Oh my goodness, I'd have been in heaven!!! And how small the world is, my father is from Oldham and my grandfather was a type setter. I have longed for my own press ever since art college!

Love the marmalade label :D