Clocktower Press

Clocktower Press

In March 2020 Paul Chapman sent me details of the Clocktower Press which was set up in 1966 by Paul and his friend David Rees. This was an initiative by Paul and David with the help of Peter Jolly, one of the Staff. Originally they used an old hand platten press, then a treddle press before a firm in London, Heidleberg Press, donated one of their automatic machines to the School. The picures below illustrate a little of the set ups.

The Clocktower Press Team using the original pedal press.              The manufacturer's donated Heidelberg press.                Mr Peter Jolly at the Heidleberg facory in W. London.

Paul Chapman using a treddle press before the 
   Heidleberg Automatic was donated.  

Discussion on the School message board in April 2020 suggested that the original  press had been donated by Paul Dowsett's uncle and had been used by his uncle and father to produce their cricket club's fixture lists, contact cards, etc.Peter Jolly picked it up from Paul's house.

John Mason found the folowing aricle in the Esthameian:

 "Think big and your deeds will grow, think small and you'll fall behind." It all started quite by accident. The Sixth Form Society had rudiments of a printery installed in several 'cubby-holes' in the Biology stock-room.On occasions it came out from behind the mounted dogfish and sheep brains to produce play-tickets and several items, such as Sixth Form Society membership cards, which, considering the facilities available, were quite incredible. In comparing our work with that of outsiders you have to remember that he might be working with equipment, modern, efficient, costing about 100,000 in all. Our press was bought for 5 and is now 66 years old. We cannot hope to compete.We have found what I believe is known as an 'untapped market', in this case it is 80% those who love to see their name in print. The other 20% is the School - diaries, play programmes and tickets, beat-groups, youth-clubs, churches, members of the School (both sides of the master's desk) in short anyone who wants our sort of printing. We don't couldn't and won't print for companies, political organisations and anyone whocould turn our printing into their own profits.
We do not take a 'cut of the profits’. It's a funny thing but everyone either thinks we are either embezzlers or mad for not being embezzlers. Our accounts are open for inspection by anyone that is suspicious. All excesses are ploughed back.
We are supposed to say thank you to those masters and boys who have helped us over the past year. It's rather difficult to say as much to most of the school; we have indeed been deluged by helpand support from the most unexpected quarters and this has in no small measure contributed to the success of the Press which has been beyond our wildest dreams. However, Mr. P. J. Jolly, who has for for a number of years been working voluntarily at the Gospel Printing Mission, the evangelical organisation attached to Ilford Baptist Church, has given up a lot of his time helping enormously in composing type. We have three ’devils’  [printers jargon - apprentice, descriptive of printers attitude towards the uninitiatelearners gaily sprinkling type far and wide].  Mr. S. Forrester has been exceptionally influential in the staff-room and due largely to his efforts we are able to record the fact that we are in the process of acquiring two new presses and a quantity of printing equipment from a school in the western half of our noble Borough. Without his continued support and encouragement the Press would not have got as far as it has and we respectfully hope he will continue his interest in the Press by the renewed application of his wide knowledge of calligraphy and typography.
David Rees
Paul Chapman

John Dunstan, 1957-65, sent the following information which appears to relate to the Press obtained from "a school in the western half of our noble Borough".

My father, Jack Dunstan, spent some time in the art department during an open evening discussing printing of various kinds.  He was a director of the Curwen Press in Plaistow and ran a printing press when he was a pupil at Central Park School.  He arranged for a letterpress printing press to go to EHGS on permanent loan from the Curwen Press.  It was one that was largely redundant at the time.  When I left in 1965 it was at the back of the Art Room, I can't remember the number, A13?  It was used to print the termly school calendar and may have been used for the programmes for school productions.  Sadly the Curwen Press is no more but two of its offshoots, the Curwen Gallery and Curwen Prints both involved with fine art lithographs survive.

Harry Raver, 1961-68, wrote:

I was involved in the Clocktower Press and along with John Turner we were taught the various skills required. After Paul Chapman and Dave Rees (the original managers) left EHGS John and I became the co-managers. The next generation of “recruits” were George Bye and John Calcutt. Paul and Dave also recruited their contemporaries Geoff Lockwood and Mick Robinson. Two masters were involved – Messrs Forrester and Jolley.
As previously stated notepaper and school diaries were produced. Also visiting cards and programmes for school plays. The printing process was accelerated at some point by the acquisition on permanent loan of a Heidelberg 15 x 10 auto platen printer – an exhibition model capable of up to 90 impressions per minute.

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