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The Hidden History of Birmingham’s Printing Industries

Baskerville printing punches

Researcher: Caroline Archer

Background

Professor of Typography, Caroline Archer, will be joining forces with academics at the University of Birmingham, as part of the Centre for Printing History and Culture (CPHC), to carry out this project.

This research will cover the history and culture of printing in Birmingham and worldwide, spanning the 18th to 20th centuries. In the 18th century Birmingham was at the centre of the European printing business, shaped by renowned local printers such as John Baskerville, named after the ‘Baskerville’ font.

‘Birmingham is Britain’s most historically important centre of printing outside of London’ - Caroline Archer

This project will involve research into how print sparked questions on gender, press freedom, and changes in print from the industrial revolution. Untouched archives from the University of Birmingham will be delved into to analyse unknown information on the history of print.

Aims

The academics aim to:

  • Examine advancements in art and technology which resulted in newspapers and publishers
  • Analyse changes in style from the past to today
  • Explore how key figures shaped the printing industry 
  • Discover what made Birmingham popular for typography

Benefits

This academic partnership will allow for both of the universities to bring their skills and resources together, to carry out thorough research that will further educate people on the history of printing. This information could then be used to improve our existing printing industries, unveil different techniques, and reveal more about periods of history.