A special museum and sharing memories of the typewriter
opens the door to a magnificent building in Norwich and steps back in time to the glory days of print... where the “inkies” still ply their trade. But only on a Wednesday morning that is.
The old world of print is a lost one, taken over by new technology. But there was a time when Norfolk and Suffolk had several companies printing newspapers, books, and literature of all kinds.
The people in the trade were craftsmen, even artists, who often worked alongside huge machines. They had done long apprenticeships and once a printer, always a printer.
During my 50 years as a journalist working on various newspapers around the country I have always had the greatest respect for them and have appreciated their help and advice. They could be quite scary.
“Did you really mean to say that, laddie?” they would ask – reading my stories on the ‘stone’. Many mistakes were corrected thanks to them.
So it was a joy to visit the John Jarrold Printing Museum at the St James Mill site, towering
above Whitefriars Bridge in Norwich. This is not a commercial organisation – it is only open on a Wednesday morning and is operated by dedicated volunteers.
And it was a treat to see young people and students working alongside the former printers in this working museum, which is home to some fantastic and rare machines. There are no displays behind glass cabinets; these are working machines which are there to be used - and they are. A booklet telling the story of St James Mill has been written by Nick Williams and is on sale at ... where else but the Jarrold department store in the city.
The typing class at Norwich City College in Ipswich Road, in March, 1953. .
Getting to grips with typewriters during a adult typing course.
Compositor’s tools laid out at the museum.