John Jarrold Printing Museum, Norwich

Norwich printing museum to relocate after demolition fears

Miles Rowland, 05.12.2018
John Jarrold Printing Museum displays historic printing equipment
A museum which celebrates the history of printing in Norwich is to relocate after a bid was submitted for building works on the site of its current premises.

The John Jarrold Printing Museum had been facing an uncertain future as the printing factory where it is currently located is being demolished to make way for a housing, office and hotel complex. Although much of the factory has already been flattened, the museum is still housed in the engineers’ workshop on the site.

The plans will see the workshop demolished, but Hill, the developers of the site, have now revealed that the museum will be accommodated in a new building.

Owned by the Jarrold Group printing company, the museum displays working exhibits from the early 19th century, showcasing the history of printing and book-binding in Norwich.

The collection includes what is thought to be the only surviving example of a Ratcliff direct lithographic press, dating from 1927 and donated by Curwen Studios in London.

The vintage typesetting, lithography and hand press machines are used by students at Norwich University of the Arts, as well as local craftspeople. 

Christopher Doggett, the finance director of the Jarrold Group, said: “The museum exhibits represent an important part of the Jarrold history, and through our continued funding of the displays we wanted to provide a sustainable future for the collection and tell the story of Jarrold’s printing heritage.”

Doggett added that accessibility would be a key priority for the museum. The plans include proper wheelchair access and a café next door to the museum, as well as longer opening hours; the museum only opens on Wednesday mornings at present. 

A detailed assessment of the museum’s holdings is being carried out by the Norfolk Museums Service, Norfolk Record Office and specialists from London’s Science Museum, with a focus on keeping the most significant and historically important artefacts for the new site.