Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Tom Paine Printing Press

The pic shows a typical wooden 'common press' of the 18th century - the type (!) on which Tom Paine's writings were printed. In Lewes, William Lee, a local bookseller and publisher of the Lewes Journal, had a print-shop in the High Street at the time in the 17760s and 1770s that Paine was in Lewes (before Paine went to the American Colonies and took up the cause of the Colonists against the oppressive Brirtish government of George III.

Watch this space for information about the Tom Paine Printing Press which I'm setting up this year for the Tom Paine Festival in Lewes in the summer of 2009, to commemorate the bicentenary of Tom Paine's death in 1809. On the press I'll be printing some of Tom's key writings, including The Amerian Crisis No.1, Common Sense, and The Rights of Man, plus some of my own work and also some contemporary radical stuff. The press will be set up somewhere in central Lewes, but the location has not yet been decided. The overblown state of the British housing market over the past decade has meant that artists studios and workshops have been squeezed out as every available property gets converted into housing units (how many second homes are there in the UK?). Time for a good rant about private ownership, greed and government policy? I'll leave that for my own crisis papers . . .

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