BPS Logo

BPS Overseas Branch

Note from Kevin Thorp, former Secretary of the Overseas Branch of the B.P.S.
9th March 2015

Welcome to  the Overseas Branch page of the British Printing Society.  As you may already be aware, the Society was the brainchild of Mr. William R. Brace from Bristol who founded it in 1944.  All members of the Society have a membership number. Up until last year when she passed away we had a member, Mrs. Hilary Brace, the widow of William R. Brace whose membership number was No.1……In the past 71 years people have come and gone from the Society on a regular basis.  The B.P.S. now has a total of 10 branches, nine of which are based on the British mainland in England, Scotland and Wales.
However I live in Ireland and I rarely get to meet fellow members except when I am able to attend the Annual Convention which is normally hosted by Branches on the British mainland.  At any one time there are up to two dozen overseas members who are scattered all over the globe on all five continents.  The majority of them are hobby printers who live a hermit-like existence in small sheds and use every possible type of printing method from letterpress, lithographic and roneo to digital and produce booklets, cards, magazines and local newspapers.



(Mr. Juzo Takaoka from Tokyo in Japan who is 96 and believed to be the world’s oldest practising printer is pictured here with the Overseas Branch secretary, at the 2013 Convention held in Colchester in Essex.)



Some years ago  Len Friend, a member of the Essex branch had been deputised by the Executive of the B.P.S. to encourage members in areas which did not have a local branch to get together and form one.  Arising from his efforts there was an entirely unexpected consequence.  Some of the keener members living overseas wanted to know why we could not have an Overseas Branch of the B.P.S.    The reasons why not were pretty obvious – geography – time zones – no physical meeting place – who was to run it and in what way.  The overseas members were consulted and it was decided that we did not need an executive once we had a secretary.  I agreed to take on that job and also agreed to produce an Overseas Newsletter at least three times a year, containing up-dates on what our members were up to and publishing articles written by them about their experiences in printing and other things that they had done in their very interesting lives.  The 15th edition of the Overseas Newsletter should (I never use the word “will”) be out for Easter 2015. 

Every Overseas Branch member automatically receives a copy of this publication with his copy of the Small Printer three times yearly courtesy of  Ron Rookes, currently the B.P.S. mailer.  The Executive members of the B.P.S. also receive a copy at the same time to keep them up-dated on what the members overseas are doing.  In the past five years at least three quarters of the Overseas Branch members have contributed articles for the Newsletter on a regular basis.  In order to receive both a copy of the B.P.S. Small Printer publication and the Overseas Branch Newsletter it is necessary to join the Society.  The annual subscription for overseas members at present is £42 which almost  covers the cost of mailing the Small Printer, monthly and also the Overseas Branch Newsletter, three times a year