Alnwick's Printing History

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A selection of printed material from various Alnwick sources

The Albion Printing Press dates from the same time as the prolific Alnwick printer and philanthropist William Davison.

However Davison was not the only printer to feature heavily in producing large amounts of material.


An original poster advertising a William Davison exhibition in 2003

A Davison flyer for a long-gone steam engine company in Canongate!

A Davison election poster -- some of these posters were particularly sarcastic and cutting

Davison's two sides shown: advertising his own Apothecary's wares, along with a quite different advert, for coal mining

Davison produced the card on the top to encourage his debtors to settle around Christmas time. The lower notice shows that even two hundred years ago serious crime took place

Davison's poster shows how much value was placed upon silver coinage in that time period -- the year previously, the great recoinage had taken place, silver being extremely scarce

Davison had a great advantage over many other traders in that he could create and produce copious advertisements for his own products

One of the main differences between the Alnwick printers at this time was the high quality of engravings produced by William Davison's works

William Davison was not only a printer, bookbinder and apothecary, but a man of considerable importance in the town. As a philanthropist he helped set up an Infirmary, and as a man of science and technology he was at the forefront of the local Mechanic's Institute.

Even this invoice from 1840 shows the high quality of designs

Whilst not particularly "pc" nowadays, there is certain naive charm to how Britain viewed the rest of the world. Note that the main image is based upon a William Hogarth sketch -- such blatant copying was rife throughout printing and etching circles.

Where today would one find an advert for: chemicals, seeds, brushes, cigars, perfumes, musical instruments, farm animal mixtures and sheep dip all in one place!!

Davison of course was not the only printer in Alnwick -- here we see an example from Mr Mark Smith

Smith's printed works are generally plainer than those of William Davison, but no less effective for that

Here we can see a poster from another printer (Mr Graham) advertising the sale of property in Clayport Street, Alnwick

Another simple poster from Graham. Note the spelling of "Willoby's Bank Close", now known as "Willoughby's Bank"

A Graham flyer advertising an auction "Under a Distress for Rent". Note the dates of this enforced sale: 26th and 27th December!!

During these years of printing, the local newspapers (Mercury, Gazette and several others before) carried on

The Catnach Press had several important boks printed, included Bishop Thomas Percy's "The Hermit of Warkworth"

Published in 1770, this was dedicated to the then Duchess of Northumberland

An extremely important work, Skelly's "Guide to Alnwick" was printed by C.E. Moore of Fenkle Street, Alnwick

Skelly's Guide is filled with detailed information. It is a testament to the standard of printing and bookbinding from that era that these books are still being used today!!

This poster from Smith, relating to the important 1826 election, features in the BBC "A History of the World" website, as one of the objects describing a vital time in our history

Yet another example of the varied articles and adverts that featured in Gazettes of the past

The Gazette went to great lengths to ensure deliveries, even during the Transport Strike of 1911

Adverts from a free newspaper, "The Northumbrian Star"

From the "Hot off the Presses" exhibition -- note the bottom right poster, printed by Henry Hunter Blair, another important local printer and bookseller