The St Bride's Institute is a neglected part of the printing industry. It was set up in Victorian times to educate and provide recreational facilities for those in the printing industry, mostly those from nearby Fleet Street. It was never a temperance institute, which its founders realised would be a step too far. It has been home to the Printing Library for many years which holds a fine collection of books on print as well as examples of fine printing from Caxton to William Morris. Yet this organisation is pretty much ignored.
Now it is seeking to come into the light. At Print Business we use its meeting rooms for our round table discussions. Its print room is used to teach letterpress and there will soon be a bindery to do likewise. Further improvements are adding display and conference facilities to bring in revenue and visitors. No doubt the patrons would be happy to accommodate accountants, lawyers and bankers who now use offices in and around Fleet Street, but printers should feel especially welcomed.
The library is an unmatchable resource for those doing research. If there is nothing new under the sun, then it is here. We found a title about selling print dating back 60 or more years - and its observations remain relevant. There are surely others. And for presentations to potential clients the facilities at Ludgate Circus provide more of the vital 'story' than an anonymous hotel meeting room ever could. It's not perfect yet and some rough edges need rounding off. It has a personality that is worth exploring. We can recommend it