For years the Type Archive (formerly the Type Museum) has been something of a mystery. A near mythical place, mentioned only in whispers, which many people have heard about but seldom few have ever been. Tucked away at the end of a quiet, residential street in Stockwell, south London, behind large gates to what was once a victorian circus animal hospital (complete at the time with its very own baby elephant), lies one of the most important collections of typographic history in the country. A repository for the equipment and precious materials from the country’s last great type foundries.
Now this hidden world is set to start opening its doors.
From April 2016 the Type Archive will be welcoming visitors to a series of exhibitions and workshops. So not only will you be able to see inside the fabled archive, there will even be the chance to get hands on and inky with some of the collection. First up is ‘Lost Words’ – a two day introduction to letterpress, exploring long forgotten language in the lost world of typographic treasures housed within the Type Archive.
The intensive, hands-on design and typography workshop will introduce participants to the basics of letterpress and the traditional techniques of typesetting with both wood and metal type. Over the two days, each student will design, set and then print their own limited edition poster on a Vandercook precision proofing press using the archive’s collection of type. The workshop is perfect for anyone wanting to escape the pixel perfect precision of their computers and get their hands dirty exploring the craft of letterpress. No previous experience is necessary, but an interest in typography, language and letters is a must.
The course will be run by leading London letterpress design studio, The Counter Press. Class sizes are small and intimate, just 6 places, with the first two day workshop being held 29 – 30th April. Places cost £300 each, all materials will be supplied, and can be booked via typearchive.org