Loving letterpress: Meet Ely's master printers

Update: We'll be upstairs in the Cutter Inn because so many of you want to come along!

Gordon Chesterman and Phil Treble will be joining us to talk about the art of letterpress printing, running through the history of letterpress and why it's so important.

They'll also tell us about the resurgence of the old letterpress printing process and why so many more printers are renovating old, rusty presses to meet the demand for the traditionally printed product. Despite the pressure of new technology in recent decades, letterpress quietly continues to thrive.

Gordon and Phil will bring along lots of samples to pass around and hope to have a working press on show so everyone can try printing themselves. They also created their own poster specially for the event!

About Gordon

Gordon started printing whilst at school and studied at the London College of Printing, after which he joined a company printing banknotes for 80 countries around the world.

After a lengthy break, he took up the hobby again, letterpress printing large posters using old Victorian wooden type and, using a smaller press, tickets, invites, stationery and small books of poems.

About Phil

Phil (pictured above) trained as a typographer and book designer in the early 90s. Tired of staring at a computer screen, in a mid-life crisis sort of moment, he decided to start letterpress printing. 

Three years later with three presses, a converted garage workshop and many drawers of metal type, he now prints and binds books and ephemera using antique letterpress machinery.

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  • Chris M

    Thanks to Gordon and Phil for such an insightful and enthusiastic 'show and tell' presentation - and to the tribe of letterpress printers for keeping this skilled art alive. Great poster and souvenir card too.

    February 5, 2014

  • Lizzy D.

    Brilliant!! Thank you so much to all the printers for a fascinating and very enjoyable evening :)

    February 5, 2014

  • William A.

    Excellent! It was wonderful to meet other letterpress printers in the area. I was particularly struck by their generosity in allowing me to speak and show some of my own work.

    4 · February 5, 2014

  • Margherita M.

    Impressive passion around this rather ancient techinique. Loved it! And thank a M[masked]LION for the gorgeous card!

    4 · February 5, 2014

  • Clare B.

    Thank you for a wonderful evening - it was great to see such beautiful work and to witness Gordon and Phil's wonderful passion for printing!

    2 · February 5, 2014

  • Emma-Jane R.

    Fascinating stuff and lovely to see the enthusiasm for traditional printing methods. I think those of us who knew little to nothing about letterpress before are now all secretly coveting a press of our own ...

    1 · February 5, 2014

  • Elaine E.

    Fantastic evening, thank you!

    1 · February 5, 2014

  • Ian B.

    So nice to see that enthusiasm for letterpress continues

    1 · February 5, 2014

  • Patrick B.

    Thank you all for such a wonderfully instructive evening.

    1 · February 5, 2014

  • natasha d.

    Fab fun an informative as usual
    Thanks guys x

    1 · February 5, 2014

  • helena g a.

    I loved it too- thank you. You were full of passion!

    2 · February 5, 2014

  • Charlotte G.

    Thanks for a great evening. Brilliant examples of quality print, equipment and the labour of love behind the craft of letterpress.

    2 · February 5, 2014

  • Chris T.

    Thoroughly enjoyable and educational - please can I have a cute little platen press too? http://miltoncontact.blogspot.co.uk/2014/02/letterpress-printed-on-my-mind.html

    3 · February 4, 2014

  • Kathy J.

    Thank you for such a great evening and brilliant presentations. Really enjoyed learning about Letterpress. I loved letterpress before, but I have a greater admiration now that I know how much expertise, care and patience it requires.

    2 · February 4, 2014

  • Sookio

    Thanks so much to Gordon and Phil for such a fascinating evening and to The Cutter for fitting us all in!

    2 · February 4, 2014

  • Nicky S.

    Really fascinating, thank you

    2 · February 4, 2014

  • Douglas D.

    Hi Phil
    Do you ever hold open days? I would be really interested if you did.
    Kind regards
    Douglas

    1 · January 6, 2014

    • Phil T.

      Hi Douglas -- I will be participating in Cambridge Open Studios in July, but you are very welcome to visit before then. Phone me on[masked] if you would like to arrange a visit.

      3 · January 6, 2014

    • Douglas D.

      Hi Phil, great talk this evening. I look forward to making arrangements to visit you at your studio.

      February 4, 2014

  • Rob B.

    Do the 'MPs" have any contact details? My studio is[masked]

    1 · February 4, 2014

  • Steve O.

    Sorry, I'm on toddler/baby duty as OH has the flu. Have a great one!

    February 4, 2014

  • helena g a.

    am able to come after all because of tube strike.. YEAH!!

    1 · February 4, 2014

    • Sookio

      Hurray for Tube strikes!

      February 4, 2014

  • Rob B.

    Can't make it… Work, work, work…but love letterpress, must use you on a project…..

    2 · February 4, 2014

  • helena g a.

    really sorry to have to miss this meeting as am in London to see Juliette Burton in 'When I grow Up'- https://www.facebook.com/JulietteBurtonWriterPerformer. I am genuinely sorry to miss this..

    February 3, 2014

  • Chris T.

    There is beauty in the printed word. Just before we graduated over 30yrs ago at the then University College of Wales, Aberystwyth, we visited Gregynog Hall. Seeing the Gregynog Press and the talk given by the printer was one of those things that has stuck in my memory. The Gregynog Press still exists as a separate entity, as i found out in a telephone call today - http://www.gwasg-gregynog.co.uk/. Really looking forward to tomorrows talk :)

    2 · February 3, 2014

    • Andy E.

      Fine press printing is definitely alive and well in the UK. The printer you saw was probably David Esslemont, who is printing in the USA now but was over here for the Fine Press fair when I saw him in November. Looking forwards to the talk - Ely and the surrounding area is rich in letterpress.

      1 · February 3, 2014

  • Nicole O.

    Would have loved to come to this talk but I am away, will pop by the Open Studios in July

    2 · January 9, 2014

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