For the past two years Francis Cupiss has been invited to take part in the Norfolk Section of Heritage Open Days where historical buildings, premises or places of local interest voluntarily open their doors to visitors to see what goes on there during the rest of the year. We open the company to visitors one Friday and Saturday morning during a week in September.
Bookings are taken by the Heritage Open Day organisers in Norwich and visitors arrive and are welcomed by John and Richard who take them through to our poster room where a display has been set up with photographs and literature from our formation in 1830 until today. The display gives details of our founder, Francis Cupiss, MRCVS a vet who decided to buy a printing press to print literature for his range of Horse Medicines. Richard or John will give a talk relating to this time moving onto the present day. Continue reading
When I started my apprenticeship in 1971 at City College Print Department, George Street, Norwich adjoining the Art School, letterpress printing was on the wain.
The curriculum for printing apprentices was wide and varied. I studied alongside apprentices from well known local large printing companies including Jarrolds, Clays, Cox and Wyman and Mansfields. Many of these companies had offset litho well established as the major part of their printing process. Film typesetting was also en-vogue. To me, from a small letterpress company in Diss, this was a different world.
Having started my career as a Saturday boy working for my uncle and grandfather, I learnt the basics of letterpress printing and case layout by being given the job of cleaning and distributing poster type as the typefaces were larger and easier to see and handle. By 1971 the company had purchased a Linotype hot metal machine for casting lines of 8pt text for fixture cards and draw tickets, greatly reducing the time spent standing in front of a typecase.