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'