The Old Printing Shop – Portobello Market



After the success of our FIRST EVER LETTERPRESS EVENT (*cough* read about it here *cough*), and the popularity of the only two printing blocks we took with us (a bicycle and a tree, among a plethora of type), I thought I’d better stock up on new blocks from The Old Printing Shop. You know, for next time.







I chose a rather random, rather large selection but was a little short on cash to get all the blocks I wanted. Michael usually mans the stall with his son Daniel, but as Daniel had headed off to catch a train I offered to help out to earn my letterpress swag!

It was loads of fun, and took me back to my days in retail. Maybe I’ll open up a stall of my own once I’ve inevitably bought all of Michael’s gubbins and need to sell them on again so I can afford to eat.





Here’s my swag, below (excuse the terrible lighting – it was very dark and stormy out).




I especially love these beautifully intricate borders. They’re a bit wonky, and might take some sanding/packing but that’s all part of the fun of working with antiques!




The Old Printing Shop are at Covent Garden Market on Mondays, and Portobello Market (where I visited) on Fridays and Saturdays. You can find the hours and directions here.

Jen Wright

Jen Wright

Letterpress printer, maker and freelance writer. I blog about the people and things that inspire me, and that I hope will inspire you.
Jen Wright


  1. Great article and pictures. I visited this stall recently and like you spent more than I bargained for. However, when I came to lock up my blocks in the chase to print on my Charlton & Cropper Peerless treadle press, I quickly discovered that the blocks were not exactly type high (0.9186″) and so will need to be routered down at the base if they are going to be used in conjunction with standard metal type.

    • It’s a pain isn’t it! Most are either too high or too short. I’ve a pile I need to sand down to get them to the right height. The others are built up with layers of card and tape for now.

So, what do you think?