Stanley Lane finds further fame

Jo Francis
Thursday, August 1, 2019

Octogenarian artisan printer Stanley Lane's search for a successor received a further boost this week with an appearance on Radio 4’s The Untold.

Lane, the owner of Gloucester Typesetting in Stonehouse, appeared in a Telegraph article earlier this year. The newspaper described him as ‘Britain’s last artisan printer and explained how he was hoping to find a mature apprentice to learn the craft of hot metal typesetting and letterpress printing, and then take over the business from him.

He runs Monotype hot metal casters and prints artisan books for a variety of specialist publishers, with his projects including the Folio Society’s letterpress Shakespeare. The firm’s printing kit includes a Heidelberg cylinder and auto-feed platen, alongside Vandercook, Western and FAG Swissproof proofing presses in various formats.

Lane has been producing work for the Folio Society for more than 30 years, and the society's Joe Whitlock Blundell has described Lane’s technical expertise as “incomparable”.

Radio 4’s The Untold programme, presented by columnist and broadcaster Grace Dent, took up the story of Lane’s search for a successor, after he was contacted by people from all over the world who were potentially interested in taking over the business.

The programme recounted how Lane struck up an association with technical writer Robin Hughes. Hughes became a regular visitor to the studio after returning to the UK after working overseas and suggested ways that Lane could perhaps find funding and get a younger generation involved with the operation.

Dent recounted that Lane “takes the afternoon off” to celebrate his 81st birthday. “It’s beginning to look like Stan could take a step back and bring in flesh blood before the three years of his lease are up,” she concluded.

Speaking this week after the programme had been broadcast, Lane told PrintWeek that the search for new blood was progressing. "I'm interviewing someone tomorrow, and we've also approached the University of Gloucestershire which runs a typography degree," he said.

"I need to find someone who has a feeling for what we're doing. It's not just about the equipment, it's how to use it," Lane added.  

"I've had a realisation that if I don't find someone to continue, the equipment here will be dismantled and dispersed and it will all be lost."

The Untold episode can be listened to our downloaded via BBC Sounds.

How many genuinely artisan printers are still operating in the UK? Have your say below.

© MA Business Limited 2019. Published by MA Business Limited, St Jude's Church, Dulwich Road, London, SE24 0PB, a company registered in England and Wales no. 06779864. MA Business is part of the Mark Allen Group .