Page 12 - December 2015
P. 12

12

BRANCH REPORTS

Essex Branch—October                               Our group visit consisted of Len Friend our
                                                leader, and his son Colin. Plus we had Alan
     The Hell Box Type Foundry                  Brignull, Paul Butler, and Chris. Brinson, Jim
           Faversham Kent                       and Mike Perry, and John GarreƩ (all the way
                                                from Suffolk.) It was good to see again Victoria
ON October 10th the Essex Branch finished        Barton and Al, of Press Genepy, and finally
our season of leƩerpress prinƟng acƟviƟes in    our old friend Bob Richardson who had come
fine style with a group visit to Ed Denovan’s    down on the train from Middlesex.
Hell Box Foundry in Faversham, Kent. By
the kind invitaƟon of Ed himself, A group of       As a group we were lucky that Ed gave us
fourteen mad keen LeƩerpress enthusiasts        a step by step instrucƟon of how it was done,
descended upon the glorious premises.           and even let us cast our own chosen fleurons
                                                and designs.
   We were greeted by a smiling and proud
owner who was delighted to demonstrate             I went home with a large font of 18pt
an Aladdin’s cave of vintage type casƟng        Goudy Deepdene, a beauƟful type, which was
machinery. It was wonderful to see these        a real rarity back in the day, but which is once
complex machines in fine feƩle and churning      again available thanks to Ed I shall be using
out the most mouth-watering selecƟon of         it for my page in Alan Brignull’s It’s A Small
types and decoraƟve borders guaranteed          World, very shortly.
to warm the heart of any printer. Ed has a
magnificent archive of type matrices and can        By great good fortune we were joined by
produce some very rare types indeed.            Barry Felstead who had worked as a

   Having been welcomed with tea/coffee,            Monotype operator for many years, and he
biscuits and cake, followed at mid day by a     kindly took us through how it was done in the
delicious buffet lunch, we were made to feel     60’s and 70’s. His friend and colleague Steve
very at home in the foundry. I noƟced molten    Linehan also explained the finer points of the
lead on the ceiling, which reminded you of the  Intertype machine as well.
tricky nature of working with molten lead at
pressure, but all went well on this occasion.      It is worth noƟng that a lot of BPS members
The Hell Box had moved with the Ɵmes,           (parƟcularly those new to the ranks) do not
despite using vintage machinery, and Ed         realise that freshly cast type is sƟll freely
showed us his IT interface which replaced the   available in the UK. Hence the strange trade
old punched roll of paper. A similar interface  of selling quite baƩered type on the EBay at
is being launched for the Super caster very     ridiculous prices. If only they realised that
shortly, and Ed has invited us all back to see  nothing can compare with freshly cast type,
his Monotype composiƟon caster being run        and in the majority of cases it is the most
from a computer in the New Year.                economical way of acquiring first class type.
                                                People like Ed have to make a living, and we
   Most of the machines were from the           should support his enterprise, and give him
Monotype corporaƟon designs, and originally     our patronage. It would be a sad day if we lost
came from the firm of Alabaster Passmore         any more type founders in the UK.
Press, Torvill, on the outskirts of Maidstone.
They had to be craned in, and the building         As a group, we have to thank Len Friend for
built around them!                              organising a fabulous day out, and we have
                                                to thank Ed Denovan for his skill, enthusiasm,
                                                generosity, and friendliness in opening up
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