Peerless Printing Press & Type for sale in Putney, London

By January 14, 2013Letterpress

Last week I got an email from someone saying that they’ve just bought a house and had a shed full of type and an old Peerless No.2 printing press in their new place, and wondered if I’d like to go around to look at it. It turns out that the house is 400yds from where I live – I can’t believe I searched to find my peerless in Preston and there was one on my doorstep all along.

Anyway, Alan (The owner) asked me to try and find the equipment a good home for a fair price, and I was more than happy to help (I’d hate to see it go to scrap). I’ve just got engaged – woohoo – so my letterpress collecting will have to be put on hold or a bit otherwise wedding guests will either be going hungry, or eating paper. Also, I’m too worried that the floor in my flat will give way if I have any more type in it so I wonder if anyone out there would be interested?

More information and Pictures after the jump

Inside the house is a perfectly useable Peerless No.2, 11×7 inch -the same as my own treadle. It moves freely and 2 of the 4 rollers seem in working condition. All 4 rollers have runners (or trucks) in place and you can easily print with just 2 rollers. In fact, when I’m feeling particularly lazy, this is all I use. The other two rollers could be recovered easily as the cores are still there, despite the perished rubber. The foot treadle is missing the bottom section (about 6 inches has snapped off of the heart-shaped decal of the treadle) but it still turns the machine over and wouldn’t be a barrier to printing. The machine has also been modified slightly on the flywheel to allow a motor to be attached. These motors are in the shed but will need a bit of work to get them running. Other than that, it’s a little dusty but in good condition – it even has both tray tables still there.

As for the rest of the equipment, I’ve only had a quick look around the dusty shed but there’s definitely a load of usable type and enough stuff to start anyone off with a studio. I’ll list what I saw from my quick visit and will update this next week once I have a chance to make a proper inventory – It took me 45 minutes to clear out the shed so I could have a peek! There were some cupboards and filing cabinets that I didn’t have time to look into, so will update on their contents soon.

[list style=”list1″ color=”red”]
  • 4 type cabinets (2 with closed sides – John Haddon I believe, and 2 with open sides) All full of metal type from 6-60pt
  • multiple chases of different sizes, including a few for the peerless press
  • Lead cutters
  • Metal filing cabinet full of wood/resalite spacing materials
  • Tons of regular and narrow-margin quoins
  • As many spiders as you could ever wish for!
  • 20 trays that are full of type but unfortunately rotten due to damp.
  • Loads more that I couldn’t get to, but will update when I have a proper look.

From what I could see, the equipment has been untouched for about 20 years, I found old jobs still locked up in chases from that date. Most of the type and cabinets are in great condition, if a little dusty. One of the cabinets may have a bit of dampness to it but the majority of the drawers are fine and full. I found an old letterhead wrapped around a lockup, stating that a printing company called ‘Double-Aitch printers’ was run from this address. The old owner lived here for 70 years, so it’s an interesting bit of history.

Let me know if you want to have a look at the items, I can put you in touch with the owner. He is looking to sell them hopefully as a job lot but will be interested in offers for individual items and would love them to be used again, rather than going to scrap. I’d recommend having a look first, and you’re more than welcome to pop over to view. I’m going to go back and create a proper inventory of the type and everything else so please let me know if you want me to keep a lookout for anything.


Join the discussion 13 Comments

  • Alan says:

    Rich, thanks so much for your time. To those who pick up this message including Rich, it has thus far been a privilege to get a glimpse of the letterpress world and given the time to indulge I would love to but unfortunately I have the rather bigger project of renovating the house that came with the printer. I agree that our find in the house is a little piece of history that I would love to see go to a creative new home. As you can probably tell by now I or we, my partner Alison and near 3 year old Mitch are the proud new owners of a Cropper that we definitely don’t want to see ‘…come a Cropper…'(thanks Rich I now can give real context to the saying). So if there is any interest I welcome meeting you and hopefully you can adopt a Peerless. Look forward to any interest. Cheers and again thanks Rich and congrats on the impending nuptials.

  • Susan Lagneau says:

    What’s the chase size: 11×7 ?
    Thanks for any more specific info…
    Susan Lagneau

  • Hi Susan,

    Yes it is a 11×7, sorry I forgot to mention that. I’ve been dragged away from London with work for a while so have yet had chance to go and catagorise the type (and the snow has made it a little too cold!). Will update here when i’ve had chance to get there.

    All the best, Rich

  • Jo says:


    I just wondered if there was any of the letterpress items left?

    Warm regards,

  • Angelo says:

    Hi is this wonderful piece of equipment available?

  • Elmarie says:


    Is the printing press and other equipment still available? If so, how much would the owner like for the lot. I could come and view this weekend if it’s still available and the price is right.


  • Gordon Chesterman says:

    Dear David, Very interested to see this old type in your neighbour’s house. I’m after some LARGE type and lots of it, to print text heavy posters – roman or sans serif face 36pt or larger would be ideal. You can see some of my work here:
    Happy to pay a decent price for any large fonts. Do let me know if you or your neighbour can help.
    Many thanks,
    Gordon Chesterman in Ely, Cambs.

    • Hi Gordon, lovely work! There were a few drawers over 36pt from what I recall. If I hear back i will let you know.

      Ely seems to be the letterpress center of the world! I have some drawers for Phil Treble, perhaps a combined visit could be arranged.cheers,

      • Gordon Chesterman says:

        Yes, Chip Coakley of the Jerico Press is in Ely too and Andy english, the wood engraver – quite a few letterpress printers here. If you find any large fonts of large type do let me know. And I’d be delighted to make a trip down to London and liberate whatever you have back to the UK’s centre of letterpress printing – Ely!

  • Alan says:

    Richard … Happy to entertain interested people to see this large piece of cast iron that if I had the time I would love to see operate but similarly would love to see go to someone who would cherish it
    Cheers Alan

  • Charlotte says:

    Such an interesting find! How odd to think it was so close to you…

    If there are any really small typesets I’ll take a few off your hands. Especially if they’re incomplete and/or unwanted. How could I contact you or the owner to negotiate?

  • Stephanie says:

    I’m a bit late to the party – but to check, has this all been sold off now?

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