Practical printing at the Bodleian Library


People using a hand-operated, cast iron printing press
The letterpress workshop in the Old Bodleian Library

The Bodleian Libraries’ teaching programme offers sessions in learning through making books, using technology from the 15th to the 21st centuries. Sessions take place in the Weston Library for Special Collections and in the letterpress workshop, located in the Old Bodleian Library.

To visit, e-mail

Sessions can be booked during any of the opening hours of the Old Bodleian Library
Monday – Friday: 9am – 9pm
Saturday: 10am – 4pm
Sunday: 11am – 5pm

Arrange a bespoke session for a course or group, or see the scheduled workshops and courses listed on the Bodleian Events pages.

For everyone:
Courses open to the public

For universities:
To arrange a demonstration or workshop session, usually for up to 12 students, write to: Costs may apply.

For schools:
Arrange a workshop session through Bodleian Education:

Newly-made printing blocks from a 17th-century ballad in the Bodleian Libraries, 4o Rawl. 566(121), showing a man and woman with hats

Working presses at the Bodleian Library:

Large John & Jeremiah Barrett Albion Press of 1835, serial number 539.
Platen 17¾” x 24”.  This was the press used by C.H.O. Daniel, Provost of Worcester College, from 1880-1906 and presented to the library in 1919.

Medium Miller & Richard Albion Press of 1898, serial number 4993. Platen 12” x 18”. From the Moss Press

A Columbian, from the Samson Press (c. 1860)

Medium Harrild & Sons Albion Press of 1877, serial number 3531.  Platen 11” x 16”. From Leonard Baskin’s Gehenna Press

Small table-top Frederick Ullmer Albion Press of circa 1900, serial number 2919. Platen, 9 ⅞ x 7 in.

A star-wheel etching press

A ‘Western’ model proofing press, formerly belonging to Vivian Ridler, Printer to the University, by kind permission of the Story Museum.

A Risograph (stencil duplicator)

A Chinese typewriter (Double Pigeon brand)

A Western typewriter (Remington)