Wayzgoose 2016

20160515_131116

Follow the Goose to St Bride Wayzgoose

On Sunday 15.5.16 St Bride Foundation hosted the second Wayzgoose. The hundreds of people who came to enjoy the-print-and-type-lovers’ get-together all left with full bags of goodies, tummies and good vibes.

This year we were fortunate enough to have the  sponsorship of Paper Mule and Commercial Type – their generosity is much appreciated.

What was on offer?

wayzgoose edited

We had something going on in each part of the Foundation – from the basement bar to the Passmore Edwards café – and in between stalls, exhibitions, and hands-on activities.

DSC_0438

Passmore Edwards’ refreshments stall

For the first time visitors learned about the history of Fleet Street, the delightful Salisbury Room – bedecked with newspaper equipment and ephemera – providing the perfect backdrop to Len Friend’s fascinating insight on the area as an iconic hub of newspaper production.

len at the salisbury room1

History of Fleet Street told in the Salisbury Room

Building on the success of last year, the Bridewell Hall, Farringdon Room and Library reading room, were buzzing with activity. The special ambience of meeting like-minded people with shared interests from all over the country and indeed abroad was summed up in one participant’s comment: “It is one of the few chances a buyer has to actually browse what is on offer, as these products are normally only available to buy online.”

DSC_0487

Justin Knopp

browsing 2

Browsing up close

DSC_0522

Bridewell Hall – perfect setting for selling and buying

DSC_0556

DSC_0549

20160515_114614

Richard and Molly Caslon in the Farrington Room

The ever-popular print workshop combined demonstrations with hands-on experience of letterpress printing including the production of a Wayzgoose coaster and a printer’s paper hat.

workshop2

Steve Linehan showing how the Wooden Hand Press works

20160515_145027

Zoe Chan making her first Printers’ Hat with Barry Felsted’s guidance in the Workshop

The raffle prizes this year were particularly appealing with a first prize of a one-day Adana print course (White ticket 160), a second prize set of limited edition London Labour and the London Poor prints, proofed from original 19th century wood engravings held here at St Bride (Yellow ticket 177) and the third prize Fleet Street Apocalypse print by Stanley Donwood (Yellow ticket 243). All winners have been contacted and prizes sent.

We are already looking forward to, and preparing for next year’s event.

 

 

The Fire Next Time

5657smaller
“Today considerably more that one hundred thousand men who were disabled by the Great War seek employment.” writes “One of Them” at the start of his article “The Problem of the Disabled Man”. The anonymous author’s work appears in the St Bride Students’ Cake, a book “reverently dedicated to the glorious memory of those St Bride students who made the supreme sacrifice in the great European War 1914 – 1918.” *

5650smaller
This showcase of technique “has for its object the raising of a sufficient sum of money to found a St Bride Students’ Printers’ Pension in commemoration of the students killed in WWI” and was published in May 1921. We have two copies in our Library, a rather tattered paperback example and the other a hardback edition. As it’s title hints, this was an in-house production “printed by the Students, mainly disabled men undergoing a course of training to prepare them to take up work in the printing office”, printed on handmade paper, coated paper, antique text paper, matt art paper, Japan cream paper and chromo paper (the donators of which are all listed).

5660smalller
“The Students” are almost exclusively men, just one woman is named as a contributor, Miss May Hartung (credited elsewhere in the book as Mary), a lithographer who’s introduction design and Book Plate pages appear right at the start. As such the men of their time have left us a rather vivid snapshot of their class and their age though there is one frustrating and puzzling  omission. Wren’s famous church steeple next door is depicted several times (including on the book’s cover) but there is not a single illustration or description of the Foundation building itself.

5659smaller5658smaller
The major event in the book is of course the “Great War” and three articles are eye witness accounts of the conflict from unusual perspectives (none of them of trench combat on the Western Front). The Bolshevik revolution is also mentioned several times and in 1921 with civil war still raging in the former Russian Empire this was very much unfinished business. The major concern however for the men seems to be what now?

5654smaller
The over riding consensus is to carry on cheerfully for the good of business, country and God (in that order). Many of the writers mention the traumatic transition from a structured “outdoor service life” to that of a hugely competitive labour market and exhort their fellow printers to do their best, reminding them of their patriotic duty to one’s nation (the opening article is even titled “Patriotism”) while providing more practical advice through articles “On Selling Oneself”, “From Army to Print”, “Printers! Help the Disabled Man”, “Science for Printers” and “Apprentice! What Will You Become?” F. C. Davis writes “As we come back to civil life we all feel that years spent in the services are all lost ones.” but concludes “It is business experience we have lost, and now that commerce is getting more scientific every day we must study the science of our craft to be in the front of all nations.” Kipling’s poem “If” is quoted at the end of an article on how best to compose a job application letter and later in the book is reproduced in full.

5652smaller
This being a student publication some of the articles are full of “in” jokes impossible to fathom now, and many of the writers display a rather Pooterish sense of humour. One of the longest articles is by L.J. Cumner, “Cheddar the Exquisite – Notes of a Cycle Tour”, in which he recalls the pleasures of Chepstow, Gloucester Cathedral and Cheddar “the most exquisite village I have ever set eyes on.” He describes the Mendips as “mountains” and disparages Bath, “a very fine city… But the people in it! Effeminate men, freakish women – the girls are more or less normal! I’m speaking of appearances only.”

5651smaller

5661smaller
5656smaller
“At Work in the Mines”, by J Fuller (who can be seen in the plate above of St Bride Foundation Printing School Staff, middle row, first left) recalls an often forgotten aspect of that War. He was  captured “at 1 o’clock in the morning of March 24” three days into the German spring offensive of 1918 and was subsequently sent as a forced labourer to the coal mines of Westphalia. “The food here was quite inadequate for men expected to work as hard as the Germans expected the prisoners to do, and had it not been for the timely arrival of emergency parcels from the British Red Cross Committee at Minden, and the parcels from England which began to reach us in July, it is doubtful any of us would have returned” Compelled to toil through 12 hour shifts the “work was of the heaviest character, especially to men who had never engaged in anything more arduous than setting type or working a printing machine.”

The conflict was experienced too in Bride Lane itself, as described by Joseph Stuart in “A War-Time Reminiscence” in which he recalls a three hour air raid by Gotha bombers on London on 28 January 1918. The St Bride Foundation evening class students, he tells us, took shelter in “the basement” of the building (possibly today’s Bar or the Foundry room). Following a nearby hit he mentions this was the bomb which damaged Cleopatra’s Needle but it seems the writer is compressing two different events in his memory as the Needle was struck on a different raid on 4-5 September 1917.

large

The Needle on September 5, 1917

The students pass the time with a jolly sing song and the joke about a particularly shattering explosion being caused by “old Gutenberg knocking through an 8-page forme or dropping a case of nonpareil” encapsulates the gist of most of the humour in the book. “If the Hun campaign of frightfulness was launched with the idea of terrifying the British people into submission, it certainly failed so far as Saint Bride students were concerned.” and the whole thing is portrayed as memorable a lark. Sixty-seven people were killed and 166 injured in this particular attack. “Casualties included 14 dead and 14 injured in stampedes when people queuing for admission to shelters were alarmed by maroons (rockets) set off as a warning that a raid was expected: another 11 were injured by shrapnel from antiaircraft fire. Many of the other casualties were caused by a single 300-kg (661-lb) bomb which fell on the Odhams printing works in Long Acre, which was being used as a shelter.” Raymond H Fredette, The Sky on Fire: The First Battle of Britain 1917–1918

gotha-bombing

Bombed out Odhams printing works in Long Acre. The iron and brick construction would have been near identical to St Bride Foundation’s

The most remarkable eye witness account is provided by F. C. Davis (quoted earlier) who was present at “Der Tag”, The Day. Known to the British as Operation ZZ, this was the mightiest gathering of warships in a single place on one day in naval history and the St Bride student saw it from a British airship, probably the blimp NS8 which can be spotted in several photographs and illustrations of the event, the internment of the modern German battle fleet off the east coast of Scotland on November 21, 1918.

In “The Day – and After” he writes “We now pick up the Grand Fleet. What a sight! You see nothing but perfect parallel lines of ships like dark dots on a grey surface. We forge in front of the fleet and just before 9 am you discern a few dark dots ahead. Out goes the signal, “Enemy ships sighted,” and you hear from below the bugle call, “Man your guns,” and every man in the fleet “stands to” his gun ready if the enemy should show fight . We now get a close view of the once great German Fleet. What do you see? An endless straggling, ragged line of ships. Look astern! You see regular parallel lines of our navy. What a lesson; you can now realise the difference between the British and German fleets; Britons are born sailors, Germans are only made in a generation.”

'the_Pride_of_the_German_Fleet'_-_the_battleship_'bayern',_the_first_German_ship_to_carry_15-inch_guns,_surrenders,_never_having_fired_her_guns_in_action_Art.IWMART1636

The Pride of the German Fleet’ the battleship ‘Bayern’, the first German ship to carry 15-inch guns, surrenders, never having fired her guns in action (by Oscar Parkes)

Davis goes on with similar sentiments for much of his essay. “Would the British have surrendered their fleet like that? No! A thousand times No! They would have fought to the last man, ** even if they knew that defeat was inevitable. They would have died willingly doing their duty rather than surrender their fleet in such an ignoble manner. They still have the traditions and grit as in the days of Nelson.” Indeed much of the book contains such jingoism including this very surprising line from the first essay, “Patriotism” by T.W. Oswald-Hicks, B.A. “It is the national embodiment of that personal devotion expressed in those few words which have happily been so familiar of late, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

5653smaller
No room here for the likes of Wilfred Owen or Siegfried Sassoon, though the book does end with a poem, What Odds? by A. L. Butler. Of course they couldn’t know that ahead of them was the great Depression, the General Strike and an even more devastating war though Davis strangely evokes this future when, as the sunshine breaks over the German navy  below him he writes “What was this, a sign? A night of darkness passing into a morning of peace – a real peace. One remembered the old allegory; after the flood God sent the rainbow as a message.” Seven months later most of these same German ships were at the bottom of the sea, scuttled by their own crews at Scapa Flow and Mr Davis neglects to complete the last line of “the old allegory” best expressed in the spiritual song – “God sent Noah the rainbow sign/ no more water but fire next time.”

5655instsmaller
* A peculiar description for a World War also waged in Africa, the South Atlantic, the Pacific, the Middle East and Dardanelles.

** Here Davis may be consciously echoing Douglas Haig’s “Backs to the wall” order of April 11, 1918, when he stated “Every position must be held to the last man” in an attempt to halt the same offensive in which J Fuller was captured and sent to the coal mines.

Poison Rat

There is only one English painter who’s every new work makes headline news in the mainstream media upon its unveiling. This same English painter’s art is now almost always instantly stolen, covered up or defaced. Last week the press reported that one of his most popular pieces in Bermondsey had been boarded over or removed by the owner of the property on which it was painted, because this English artist does not exhibit (primarily) in galleries but on walls, streets and in public spaces. He is the Bristolian known as Banksy, and one of his works can still (just) be seen within a 20 second walk away from St Bride Foundation.

banksysmaller

If you are enjoying a drink at the top of the steps outside the Old Bell pub on St Bride’s Avenue you may spot a dark smudge on the wall at your feet which at first glance looks like weather and age damage to the stucco. It is in fact the faded remains of Poison Rat, one of a series of illegal pictures using this same stencil template Banksy had placed in various locations in London and Los Angeles around 2005.

The rat is pouring a jug of toxic liquid down the steps leading up from Bride Lane, though more than a decade later the aerosol paint is so faded this is now hard to “read” and some web sites have claimed the piece no longer even exists. The green goo once gushing from the poison jar has been completely erased by time. My photo above dates from 2011.

Within a 20 – 25 minute walking radius of St Bride Foundation two more Banksy rats can still be seen. On the wall of the Mount Pleasant Post Office is a Placard Rat, again dating from around 2005, its original slogan ALWAYS FAIL(E) was lost during the Banksy/King Robbo feud which saw a few of Banksy’s works defaced following a perceived slight to the older London graffiti artist’s work. A few yards across the road from this the daubed over remains of Cash Machine & Girl can still be discerned just off the Roseberry Avenue/Farringdon Road junction.

banksy mount pleasant

The other Placard Rat, still in rather good condition, can be spotted on Chiswell Street near the Barbican. Again the original slogan (London doesn’t work) has been painted out.

IMG_1673

Slightly further afield, about 45 minutes away are the protected remains of two vintage, canine inspired works at the Cargo Club on Rivington Street, Guard Dog and His Master’s Voice. However Guard Dog is currently partly obscured. Both date from the early 2000’s, and my photos here were shot a few years back.

IMG_1234
Banksy, Cargo, Rivington Street London

About 55 minutes away on Essex Road in Islington is another Perspex shielded work which  demonstrates some of the pitfalls local Councils can face when confronting the ol’ “is it art or vandalism” debate. In this case, Very Little Hurts, a large scale piece was deemed to be art worthy of saving and following attacks by Robbo’s crew and others, it was covered by a plastic sheet which unfortunately has itself become so badly vandalised it’s difficult to discern the original picture underneath (photo from 2012).

28 Banksy, Essex Road London

Meanwhile, about 1 hour and 40 minutes away (or up to 2 hours if you take the number 4 bus) two pieces were wiped by the same Islington Council. A1 Road to Anywhere in Archway was removed in 2012 following a single complaint that it was “an eyesore”. Down the road, oppisite Tufnell Park tube, Macanical Flowers (below, photographed in 2011) was also scrubbed. Last time I spotted it in 2o12 some taggers had graffed up the wall beside it  and I assume that the cleaners brought in to blast the tags must have wiped off the early 21st century Banksy piece too, accidently or otherwise.

23 Macanical Flowers, Tufnell Park Road

A protected work could still be spotted at Jeffrey’s Street, Camden until recently, but the Perspex has been removed (its outlined remains can still be seen) and the Banksy painted over. Another protected picture still exists on Clipstone Street and up until last week, The Grange in Bermondsey. However the south London painting dating from 2014 was removed from view last week and may even have been cut from the public space for private sale (the property owner has refused to comment: “Disappearance of Bermondsey Banksy stirs concern for its future” Southwark News 11 February 2016).

Banksy’s last London work, Les Miserables, was visible to the public for barely even a single day (January 24 2016) when the owners of the Knightsbridge building on which it was painted first tried to remove it, (damaging it in the process in front of the world’s press) then covered it up with wooden boards. Vandalism or art, Banksy had made an undeniable cultural impression and there are few street artists working today who could (or would) repudiate his importance. If you want a photo of one of his London pieces though you had better be quick.

” The scene in London at that time was about only one guy that nobody knew who he was – and he was painting like crazy the whole city and the trains I had seen here and there.” Brazilian street artist Nunca, VNA magazine, issue 28

IMAG0011Poison Rat today

Winter Cricket – Indoor sport during the early days of St Bride Foundation

cricket bowl

The beginning of a New Year sparks a revolution in the minds of many to leave the house and take up a new hobby. Unfortunately, the beginning of a New Year also entails a lot of miserable weather, meaning that anyone wanting to try an outdoor sport will likely acquire a bit of mud. Of course, nobody wants this. The whole thing actually sounds like a perfectly designed excuse not to follow through on that new productive lifestyle.

During the early days of St Bride Foundation, we made sure that you couldn’t avoid one summer sport over the winter period. This was cricket.

The earliest evidence we can find of cricket being played here is from The Illustrated London News, published November 1905.

winter cricket edit]

This illustration depicts ‘Women’s Day at St Bride Institute’. Play took place above the swimming pool, which was usually boarded up over the winter months. The stumps were made from black rubber and attached to a solid white board. This wicket system may appear rather simple, but in fact it was quite cutting edge for the time. Upon contact with the wicket, the ball would trigger an electronically connected bell.

cricekt posterIt seems that St Bride Foundation eventually became one the best places in London for a game of indoor cricket. Certain features such as ‘remarkable electric lighting’ and ‘perfectly smooth felt and coconut matting’ ensured that players could actually improve on their game during the winter months.



cricket book

This booklet (see right) was printed at the Foundation to advertise the sport. Inside there are many testimonials from publications such as The Manchester Guardian, The Gymnasium and The Sphere. Another source of praise was the professional players. Many of them used the swimming pool area to refine their skills whilst the fields were abandoned. Some of these players included the finest players around at the time. For instance, Frank Tarrent (pictured below) who scored almost 18,000 runs and over 1,500 wickets during his long career.

cricket

So it seems that back in the early 20th century, St Bride Foundation was a good place to be during the winter months. Fancy mechanisms, long opening times and some critical acclaim ensured that, at the very least, you couldn’t blame the weather for not playing a bit of sport.

Nowadays the swimming pool area is where you can find the Bridewell Theatre. We have a whole array of shows on this year. Click here for more info.

A tout’s golden ticket

If you made your living from reselling tickets to punters in any age, these tickets would have made your day.

The Royal Albert Hall opened on Wednesday 29th March 1871 and at St Bride we have three tickets, of varying importance to the event – it’s just a shame that opening night was 143 years ago!

IMG_2271

Our first ticket, admittedly, wouldn’t have been much use to a tout. The ticket itself was printed from an engraved copper plate onto the finest vellum, with the name Mr. Robert Hudson hand-written. We believe he was probably the deputy lieutenant for the county of Surrey, so he may well have been an important guest at the opening.

Our other two tickets aren’t quite so unique. Block C seat 171/172 would have placed the lucky attendee in the middle of the hall, luckily for them not quite up in the gods. Any self-respecting ticket tout would be able to turn some serious profit on these beauties…

IMG_2269

 

The day Hyde Park went Japanese

Today’s blog post takes inspiration from two posters found in Room 19, both from the late 1880s. One was colour-printed using stone lithographic techniques. This poster also happens to be one of our expert’s favourite pieces in our vast archive.

IMG_3675

Tannaker Buhicrosan was a Japanese man who imported tea and silk to England. A wealthy man, Buhicrosan played on the British fascination with Japanese culture at the time to make a living.

He was the brainchild behind the Japanese Village, which was built in Hyde Park. Buhicrosan relocated 100 Japanese men women and children to London to populate his village and made sure everything was traditional. Men would make kites, while women would make traditional teas.

The village proved a success. Admission was one shilling, or six-pence for children. If even Queen Victoria was willing to turn up, then it can probably be judged a fairly impressive creation for its time.

Traditional Japanese villages are generally made out of organic materials. As you can imagine, the day a fire swept through the village, the whole place went up pretty quickly. Ever the entrepreneur, Buhicrosan utilised the villagers other skills: while the village was being re-built, a travelling circus of acrobats and geishas toured Europe, earning money and staying busy.

The village stayed open until June 1887, and hosted over one million visitors. Not bad for a tiny bubble of Japanese culture 6,000 miles away from home.

IMG_0802