The Wipers Times


Glad to see BBC2 is showing a drama based on the story of The Wipers Times.

For those who haven’t heard about it – it was a trench-based newspaper, started after a couple of infantry soldiers found a treddle-platten in war-torn Ypres. Go check it out (or “The Best Bits” book, from Ian Hislop and Malcolm Brown) – dark humour that’s exceptionally funny.


The ability of the printing press to bring some happiness to people in such dire circumstances, almost brings a tear to the eye. A friend told me a similar, but more recent story; during the Sri-lankan civil war, the northern town of Jaffna was cut off by the government.. but a local paper (Uthayan) was able to continue by rediscovering letterpress printing and get information to its readership, in a country synonymous with state-censorship and misinformation.

The above work, uses Stephenson Blake 10 line Johnston woodtype circa 1916 (as used on the tube); in honour of underground presses!


I’m NFN (Normal for Norfolk)

Great great grand-daddy Platford: ploughman and horse-doctor

Great great grand-daddy Platford: ploughman and horse-doctor

Managed to get up to Norfolk, last week, where apparently a fair few of my genes are from. The pictures of John Platford, an ancestor who worked on the Holkham estate in the north of the county. Its a lovely bit of the world and they have a little museum on the estate, but I felt a bit irked at helping support the aristos (who still live there) by buying their beers and scones.

More my thing was the wonderful Jarrold printing museum, where volunteers staff what was once a huge working press by the river Wensum.


They have an amazing array of letterpress and litho presses; and had the foresight to start the museum up in the 1980’s.

Sadly I only had a couple of days to look around- didn’t even get to see the broads, or even find out if theres any fishing up there. Will definitely be back.