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Thankyou Butler & Tanner!

June 13, 2014
by the gentle author

A month ago, photographer Bob Mazzer, book designer Friederike Huber & I visited the historic printing works of Butler & Tanner (Britain’s oldest established printer, in Frome since 1845) to see the printing of Bob’s book UNDERGROUND which I published yesterday.

No-one knew that a couple of days later the company would  go into administration and, on the day of our visit, we were told that it had been the longest factory tour ever – on account of Bob’s insistence upon photographing every aspect of  the production of his book. Yet now these photographs exist as a poignant tribute to those people who made Butler & Tanner one of the great names in British printing.

I have no doubt that there will be future editions of  UNDERGROUND and other books of Bob Mazzer’s photography, but the one to have will always be the legendary first edition which was also the last book ever printed by Butler & Tanner.

The Master Printer who printed UNDERGROUND

Bob Mazzer & Friederike Huber

Fred checks the cover

Checking the colour quality of the photographs

The covers roll off the press

Plates ready to print UNDERGROUND

Bob’s son Arthur gets into a discussion with a printer

Reject prints of the cover

Completed pages ready for collating

The binding department

Collated pages

The women of the binding department

Bob’s son Arthur sleeps all the way back to London

Back on the tube again!


Photographs copyright © Bob Mazzer

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5 Responses leave one →
  1. June 13, 2014

    A memorable visit indeed and so sad that they had to close. Valerie

  2. June 13, 2014

    I LOVED that opening last night, what a buzz!
    And how great to see all the red stickers spreading like measles!
    Huge congratulations to GA for creating a livelihood for the extremely talented Bob Mazzer.

  3. June 13, 2014

    Printing a book WAS and IS always an fascinating adventure — thanks for the detailed representation!

    Love & Peace

  4. Neville Turner permalink
    June 13, 2014

    A very good presentation and great photo’s of human life on the London Underground an excellent Hard cover book of everyday life and journey’s on the train and platform’s of London’s travelling population,well done Bob Mezzar.

  5. Dave Green permalink
    June 13, 2014

    I recently subscribed to your website as I have enjoyed reading so many items on it and particularly like Bob’s photos. I’m a Londoner but have lived in Nottingham for the last 30 years.
    My Dad was a master printer so reading your news about the printers going into administration was particularly meaningful to me. He was apprenticed to Eyre and Spottiswood in the 1930’s which I think was in the City and he worked for many years for Chiswick Press who were a fairly major printer of books.
    I have ordered my copy of Underground and look forward to it arriving. Best wishes to all involved. PS I would love to have been at the launch party!

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