Robert Smail's Printing Works celebrates 150th anniversary with year-long programme of events
The National Trust for Scotland (NTS) has announced the launch of a year-long programme of events to mark the 150th anniversary of Robert Smail's Printing Works at Innerleithen.
The Works, which is now a NTS property, is the last remaining Victorian letterpress printers in the UK. The premises opened on 2 March, 1866, when Robert Smail signed the deeds for the Works in Innerleithen, near Peebles. Since then, the Works has kept a record of nearly every print job it has completed including tickets, programmes, newspapers, advertisements and correspondence.
The year-long programme of events will begin on 25 March, when Robert Smail's opens for a new visitor season. Events will include an Ink Differently exhibition featuring letterpress posters created by Edinburgh Napier University students on the attraction’s historic presses, and talks and workshops on a diverse range of topics from printing and paper making to artefact conservation.
Gen Harrison, Property Manager/Compositor at Robert Smail’s Printing Works said: 'For us, 2016 is all about showcasing the rich history of this print works, its national significance and its continuing role within this town.
'Robert Smail’s is the only functional Victorian letterpress printers in the UK. We utilise machinery that is over 100 years old and as a conservation charity, a large element of our role is preserving this important part of our industrial heritage and the traditional skills of letterpress printing.
'As the Smail family retained copies of almost every item ever printed here, in addition to all of their old files and customer ledgers, we have an incredible archive not only tracing changes in letterpress design but also relating to industrial and social history. It is part our job to care for and conserve these precious objects for future generations.'
Robert Smail's Printing Works, Innerleithen EH44 6AA; tel: 01896 830206; website.
(Works image copyright Dave Souza, letterpress copyright 'John')