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Museum of Science and Industry

Printing

Press 1Manchester got its first printing press in 1719. By 1752 the thriving market town was ready for its first newspaper, the Manchester Mercury. Founded in 1821, the Manchester Guardian had unique success. Renowned for its liberal viewpoint, the Guardian developed a national readership and dropped the 'Manchester' in 1959.

While printing technology kept pace with increasing demand, typesetting remained a slow, manual process. Invented in 1884, the Linotype machine solved this problem. It cast a line of type as a single 'slug'. Publisher Joseph Lawrence set up the Linotype Company in Manchester in 1889 to manufacture Linotypes under licence. This revolutionised British newspaper printing.

LinotypeManchester became Britain's second biggest newspaper printing centre. At its height, the 'Fleet Street of the North' employed thousands of workers. Built in 1929, Kemsley House was the largest newspaper printing house in Europe, turning out 11 million copies a week. Its modern equivalent is the highly automated Trafford Park Printers plant.

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