The New Custodian

I’d really love to share a project I’m working on.
The New Custodian

I will be restoring a c.1840s Columbian Printing Press, the Press was manufactured by Wood and Sharwoods, 120 Aldersgate, London. It is being restored on site at Leicester Print Workshop (9th Feb-4th May 2019)

I wanted to restore the press in a gallery space to allow an insight into the process of the restoration. As well as creating a platform, once restored, to produce prints again. I’m a week and a half away from putting it back together so I can’t wait to get it printing.

*Does anyone know if the sales records, or accounts for Wood & Sharwoods (120 Aldersgate Street, London) are available I’m trying to track down the provenance of the press.*

To follow the progress, follow on Instagram @thenewcustodian

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It occurs to me that even in the 1840s 120 Aldersgate was an unlikely location for an open hearth furnace making cast iron.
So the basic bits made elsewhere and machined at 120 or just assembled there?? I’ve never seen that name on an Albion before and I’ve seen a good many. Try Bob Richardson at St Brides Printing Library.

Harridplaten : Wood and Sharwood, Austin letter Foundry was indeed was based in 117 - 120 Aldersgate street and listed as a Printers’ broker, Columbian Press Manufacturers also Printing Material Warehouse. Thier business was better known as the Austin Letter Foundry.
For more info:-
As you say an unlikely place for a Foundry but a lot destruction happened during the 2nd world war.

Hi Frank, ‘a lot of destruction’ is an understatement, in that exact patch there was total destruction from just alongside an unharmed St Pauls Cathedral, northwards right up past the Barbican, and definitely included Aldersgate Street. A letter foundry is no suprise, but I still think a cast iron works less so. ”Printers broker” strikes me as a phrase of interest, there
were quite a few outfits getting their names on Albion style castings produced elsewhere, and only finished off by themselves.

Good luck with the restoration. We did this maker a few years ago and also Wood & Co, the related children’s business. photos on our website

I visited the Michael Collins House in Clonakilty, West Cork, Ireland, recently and there on the top floor is an Albion Press made by S. & T. Sharwood - see photo at or
I’m not an expert but it looked like it was in good condition. Michael Collins’s brother-in-law ran the “West Cork People” newspaper so I guess that’s why it was there.

Thanks for posting that information. I have added the museum and the press to the Worldwide Hand Press Database - I did not know of it!