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  • Naomi Kent

St Bride Wayzgoose

If you ever decide to visit St Bride Library, don’t get off the tube at London Bridge like we (me with supportive boyfriend in tow) did. The stop at Blackfriars is much closer. It was, however, a beautiful walk in the morning sun, with lazy Sunday vibes felt throughout the city. And navigating our way through Primrose Hill and St Bride’s Passage only helped to build our excitement as we finally arrived at an opening facing the library – a building which gloriously adds to the regalness of our capital city.


Some beautiful type spells out ‘your in the right place’

Upon entry there were two rooms full of stalls, buzzing with printers, designers and the like. I felt like a child in a toy shop, not sure where to start. The Carpathian Type Foundry was an enticing stall, full of metal available for purchase. I spent a while deciding which border ornaments to buy, but got a little overwhelmed and had to walk away and come back later.

Two Wood Press grabbed my attention quite quickly, with a plastic box full of wooden type and “£1 each” hand drawn on the sign. Great! I started digging around and within seconds found a few pieces of outline type. I made it my mission to pick all of them out, which formed a large pile. “How much?” – “I’m not counting… £10.” It turned out I had 28 – 35p each! That’s my kind of price… Not like the three small blocks I’d paid £12 for on Portobello Road the previous day! (And that was even with my “Hey, I’m a printer!” barter).

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It was good to see Twitter friend Paul from @StBoltophsPress again and nice to put some faces to names – @Typoretum, Roy and his son and granddaughter from Caslon, Zoe @uberbabygraphic, & @stumptownprinters, who’d joined us all the way from the USA.

Once we’d made our way round the stalls, we visited the workshop downstairs. The room was full of exquisite presses, the smell of ink passing through the nasal passages as we made our way round. Here, I gleaned some knowledge on newspaper printing with a linotype (while being persuaded to buy a raffle ticket), and had a poke about in a few cabinets.


Not satisfied with the fact that we’d toured the place and it was home time, we circled the room of stalls once more, buying a few more bits and pieces and spending what cash I had left in my purse – not wanting to miss a bargain opportunity. I ended up chatting to Mick who works at St Bride Library who offered, upon my return, a real tour of the library. A chance to see the treasures that were currently behind closed doors. This was the cherry on the cake, and after that satisfying chat, it was time to make our way to the tube, Blackfriars.

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