New North Press has been based in Hoxton, East London since 1986 but the area has had a long association with print and its related industries, in particular the manufacture of wood type.
During the late 1800s Hoxton was renound for its furniture-makers and wood trades in general flourished in the area following the completion of Regents Canal in 1820 which provided an easily accessible supply of heavy materials and lumber. Some remnants of this industry can still be seen by those with a keen eye walking the area. It must have been a loud and busy place with many specialist trades such as veneering, French polishing, joiners, sawyers, turners and saw mill operators working alongside related industries like piano manufacturers and other skilled workers such as tailors, ironworkers, saddlers and cordwainers.
One ‘printer’s joiner’ of particular note were Gould & Reeves who operated from Wenlock Street from 1878 to 1904. As well as producing wood type, cabinets and print office furnishings they also offered engraving services for advertising (as this block for a ‘cure-all’ medicine in the V&A’s collection shows). Many others firms in the area will also have contributed to the booming print industry whose centre was just over a mile away at Fleet Street.
Needless to say we feel very fortunate to be based in an area steeped in the history of our craft.
With thanks to David Wakefield
Courtesy of David Wakefield, 23 Press