The Printer’s Shop
The first of many re-created shops and rooms on the museum tour is the Printer’s Shop. The splendid Victorian printing press in full working order, takes pride of place. The majestic Columbian Press, built in 1854 is an efficient hand-operated machine with highly ornamental cast iron refinements of an eagle with outstretched wings, serpents, scrolls and a descriptive brass plate. This type of press is often seen in period dramas and western films.
The Columbian Press printed posters for the visit of H.R.H. The Duke of Kent to the museum in 2004.
Posters, placards and large notices displayed in this room have been printed on this press, whilst cards, leaflets etc. were printed on one of the smaller hand-fed Platen machines.
Around the room stand compositor’s frames containing cases of type, mostly Victorian ‘Faces’. Adorning the walls are posters proclaiming local events, including celebrations for the Coronation of King Edward VII and Queen Victoria’s Jubilee.
Today the machines at Beck Isle are still loved and operated by Derek and Mike, posters are still printed for events, visiting schools and functions as are the museum paper gift bags. This is another part of our vanished heritage now we are in the digital age, however computer software owes much of its vocabulary to the age old art of printing.
The Blacksmith’s Forge
The museum has its own Forge and working Blacksmithing Days are held throughout the year. It is now home to resident Blacksmith John Steele, a life long ‘Smith’ and former Agricultural Engineer. John gives all his skills and experience to bring this ancient craft to life, watching him at work is fascinating and gives an understanding of just how important Forges and Blacksmiths were and to all communities – not so long ago.
The Model Room Collection