Inky Interview: Albert Pollington, Print Compositer



We’re breaking from our usual interview format today to introduce you to the lovely Albert Pollington, a family friend and retired Compositor.

Albert started his apprenticeship at 15 years old, working at The Croydon Advertiser. He composited his first print ad, shown below, in 1955.

“We were told what it needed to say, but we would choose the type and the layout.”

Something very different now, with Designers, Art Directors and Copywriters all adding layers to the process.




“Advertising was different then,” Albert told us. “People only wanted to know three things: what is it, where can I get it, and what does it cost.”

We’d all live in a saner world if the advertising industry still stuck to that!

New and old composing sticks. The older (lower) stick only adjustable by muttons (sorry non-printers)

New and old composing sticks. The older (lower) stick only adjustable by muttons (sorry non-printers)


Working up until 2002, Albert witnessed huge changes to the way printing was done. “Computers came in and changed everything in 1985, I didn’t enjoy it as much.” You can imagine how the craftsmanship that Printers had been putting into their work would have become almost defunct overnight, as businesses made way for new technology.

When I told Albert about the popularity of letterpress now, and how the once male dominated printing world was now mostly made up of young women, he was most impressed. “It’s amazing to see letterpress having a revival. It’s great that there is a new demand for hand printed work.”

Albert was kind enough to show us his Compositors and Printers Handbooks from the 1950s, which were both in beautiful condition.





We absolutely loved hearing about the old-school world of printing and advertising, and having the chance to set up the Adana letterpress to show off our own printing skills.

Thank you so much to Albert and Joyce Pollington for so generously giving their time to us.

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

So, what do you think?