• Do you love Genealogy? Why not write for us? we're looking for volunteers to write articles for Family history. Please contact us for further information.

Lithographic Printers.

benny1982

Loyal Member
Staff member
Moderator
Posts
5,289
Likes
117
Location
Norwich
#1
Hi

My two ancestors William Thomas Coombs born 1828 and his son William Thomas Coombs born 1860 were both working class London printers.

From 1886, the Coombs left the Central London area and moved to North London such as Islington and Camden Town. A relative told me that William Coombs born 1860 worked in the Farringdon Road area of Holborn. This would make sense as his wife whom he wed in 1886 lived in Holborn in the 1881 census.

William was a member of the Lithographic Printers Union and when he died in 1947 a £15 grant was paid to his family.

I would love to try and trace employment records for the newspaper offices in the Farringdon area to see if anything turns up.

Ben
 

benny1982

Loyal Member
Staff member
Moderator
Posts
5,289
Likes
117
Location
Norwich
#3
Hi Juliejtp

That is an interesting link. It would be good to try and find out which newspaper office he worked for as there is The Guardian and Observer offices in Farringdon, London.

William's youngest granddaughter who is now 66 was told as a girl that whenever her and her mum went by Farringdon on the bus, she'd point out saying "That is where your grandfather worked".

Ben
 

dave6023

Well-known member
Posts
179
Likes
12
Location
Poole
#4
Hi Ben
My father was a monotype operator at Waterlow & Sons, first in London and then in Dunstable. I had a look at the union ancestors site and was surprised NOT to find either the Typographical Association or the London Typographical Society listed on it. These two were the founders of the NGA (National Graphical Association) in 1964 and I could not find that listed!

Dave
 

benny1982

Loyal Member
Staff member
Moderator
Posts
5,289
Likes
117
Location
Norwich
#5
Hi Dave

Where in London is Waterlow and Sons?

My ancestor worked in the Farringdon area for on of the newspaper offices. I know that there is The Observer office along Farringdon Road.

Ben
 

crankypants

Loyal Member
Posts
3,338
Likes
2
Location
South Australia
#7
Hello all

Advertisements & Notices
Daily News (London, England), Tuesday, December 3, 1850; Issue 1412

COPY YOUR LETTERS. - No business letters should ever be written without a copy of them being retained, and there is no cheaper, better, or more correct method than using WATERLOW'S PATENT COPYING MACHINES, which may be had from 38p each. Also Waterlow's Patent Portable Copying Appartus, fitted up as writing desks for use of travellers, complete with all materials, at p2 12s.-Patentees,WATERLOW and SONS, Manufacturing and Export Stationers, 65 to 68 London-wall, London.

cheers
crankypants
 

crankypants

Loyal Member
Posts
3,338
Likes
2
Location
South Australia
#8
Hi

My two ancestors William Thomas Coombs born 1828 and his son William Thomas Coombs born 1860 were both working class London printers.

From 1886, the Coombs left the Central London area and moved to North London such as Islington and Camden Town. A relative told me that William Coombs born 1860 worked in the Farringdon Road area of Holborn. This would make sense as his wife whom he wed in 1886 lived in Holborn in the 1881 census.

William was a member of the Lithographic Printers Union and when he died in 1947 a £15 grant was paid to his family.

I would love to try and trace employment records for the newspaper offices in the Farringdon area to see if anything turns up.

Ben
I Ben

May not be the employer Mr Coombs worke for but I did find a printer in Farringdon Road.
Articles reads:-

Latest London News
Aberdeen Weekly Journal (Aberdeen, Scotland), Wednesday, August 10, 1887; Issue 10131.

Another big fire in London
Shortly before seven o'clock on Tuesday night a great fire broke out in London on the extensive premises of Messrs Grant, printers, Farrington Road. In about a quarter of an hour the top part of the premises was completely gutted. Owing to the height of the building the firemen had great difficulty in playing upon the burning premises.


cheers
crankypants
 

benny1982

Loyal Member
Staff member
Moderator
Posts
5,289
Likes
117
Location
Norwich
#9
Hi Crankypants

That looks interesting. I would imagine that somewehere there will be a reference to where my ancestor William Coombs worked for. His father William Coombs born in 1828 was also a litho printer. If I could find a reference then that would be brilliant.

Ben
 
Posts
45
Likes
5
Location
Devon
#10
Hi Benny

The Observer/Guardian offices are very recent - I think they moved there in the 1990s - so no point looking there.

The main area for printers in London - which is next to Farringdon - was Clerkenwell Square. I used to work for a printing machinery supplier and you couldn't move for block-makers, platemakers, typesetters around there. It was like that from the mid-19th century until the 1980s.

You might find it interesting to consult The Morning Star's "Treasure Trove of Print History" which brings together all of the archives from the main print unions: see http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/...arts/in_focus/treasure_trove_of_print_history

The fact that your ancestors were litho printers sets them apart, because until the 1960s, that was much less widely used than letterpress printing. They would not, however, have worked in the newspaper industry because no newspapers were printed by litho until the mid-80s, when Eddie Shah launched Today, and Rupert Murdoch moved his titles to Wapping.

I believe that the Lithographic Printers Union became SLADE (Society of Lithographic Artists, Designers and Engravers) whose records The Morning Star holds.

Happy hunting!
 

benny1982

Loyal Member
Staff member
Moderator
Posts
5,289
Likes
117
Location
Norwich
#11
Hi Martyn

Interesting.

So what type of printing would a litho printer in the 1880s have done? Was it letterpress or printing onto slabs like some used to do?

Ben
 
Posts
45
Likes
5
Location
Devon
#12
Hi Benny

OK, a bit of a lesson. :)

Letterpress and litho are two entirely different printing techniques.

Letterpress is the oldest technique - Caxton used it - and it involves putting ink onto a raised surface (eg, type and engraved blocks) and pressing that onto paper. If you ever made potato cuts or used a John Bull printing outfit (if you are old enough) you used letterpress.

Lithographic ("litho") printing was invented about 200 years ago and originally used waxy images drawn on smooth limestone (litho comes from the ancient Greek word for stone). The stone was made wet, and printing ink on pads was pressed over the image area: because the ink was oily, it only took to the waxy area. When paper was pressed onto the image, it was transferred to the paper.

About a hundred years ago, offset lithography was invented, which involved using a roller to transfer (offset) the inky image from the stone to the paper, which improved the quality and speed. And in the 1950s, metal litho printing plates were invented, which enabled rotary offset litho - which is fast and high quality.

Over the past 40 years, letterpress has almost died out, because litho is faster, easier and the quality is so good.

In the 19th century, a litho printer in London would have been involved in printing pictures and drawings, often in colour - which were called lithographs. The process was too cumbersome to be used for normal text (although it was quite widely used for Arabic, Chinese and other 'calligraphic' languages). But your ancestors would have been very highly skilled artisans.

Hope this is understandable and answers your question. Let me know if I can provide more information.

Martyn
 

benny1982

Loyal Member
Staff member
Moderator
Posts
5,289
Likes
117
Location
Norwich
#13
Hi Martyn

Thanks. He probably worked in the Clerkenwell area or Holborn. His wife lived in that area before they married in 1886 yet he lived in St Pancras so I think he met her in Holborn.

Ben
 
Posts
1
Likes
0
#14
Hi

My two ancestors William Thomas Coombs born 1828 and his son William Thomas Coombs born 1860 were both working class London printers.

From 1886, the Coombs left the Central London area and moved to North London such as Islington and Camden Town. A relative told me that William Coombs born 1860 worked in the Farringdon Road area of Holborn. This would make sense as his wife whom he wed in 1886 lived in Holborn in the 1881 census.

William was a member of the Lithographic Printers Union and when he died in 1947 a £15 grant was paid to his family.

I would love to try and trace employment records for the newspaper offices in the Farringdon area to see if anything turns up.

Ben
I would be interested as to whether you had any success. I am likewise seeking the employment place(s) of an Islington resident mid to late 19th century by the name of Alfred Henry Mote (1834-1891). He was more liukely a print compositor, but at one stage he went to Gateshead, where he was in 1867, before returning to the same job back in Islington/Farringdon area.

#Thanks

Clive Reedman
 
Thread starter Similar threads Forum Replies Date
H Occupations & Work 5
G FHUK General Chat Room 40

Similar threads

Top