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High House Press ….

June 9, 2016

Recently I joined the Oxford Guild of Printers; on Monday I attended my first meeting at Charlbury in Oxfordshire. Although I had met some of the other members last week at lunch before they went Typography for a visit here at the University in Reading it seemed like a good opportunity to meet again.  As the meeting was in the evening,  I decided to take advantage of a lift (my husband newly redundant was available with the car)  and made an afternoon of it.

So we broke the journey at Oxford and looked  in on the Bodleian Library  and enjoyed the exhibitions, tea and cake. In future I will go by train but will drop off at Oxford as there is always plenty to see.

The meeting later at the Bell Hotel was very pleasant; having a talk by Oliver Clark the proprietor of the Collinge and Clarke; a private press booksellers.  He spoke about a small press called High House Press in Shaftesbury run in the early to mid 20th century by James E. Masters and his wife. It was fascinating ; if not a little too much information; yet not quite enough. While they produced lovely little poetry books, the social history was lacking, and therefore a bit dull.

I did meet a couple of people, it was not I think the right time for introductions and small talk. Perhaps, next time …

However, I did enjoy looking at the books and wondered if we had any in the library here at Special Collections.  So, with renewed interested I researched during my lunch break. I only found two and fairly ordinary copies;  I was hoping there might be more in the Finzi Collection renown for its poetry content; but no.  I am hoping that there is a full archive for public view and this little press will not drop away without it deserved interest.  

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