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‘Paul Pry’ at midnight

By Simon Eliot
Until the 1840s time in Oxford, and therefore at the University Press, was five minutes behind that of London. With no uniform national time until the coming of the railways and the telegraph, the sealed clocks carried by mail coaches would have to be adjusted to Oxford or London time as they were shuttled between the two cities.

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Ink, stink, and sweetmeats

By Simon Eliot
All powered printing machines needed an effective means of inking type at speed. In most cases this was done by the use of rollers. The earliest prototypes had been covered with leather but, as a sheet of leather had to be joined to create covering for a cylinder, there was always a sewn seam that did not distribute the ink evenly.

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The Richardsons: the worst of times at Oxford University Press?

By John Feather
From 1715 to 1758, Stephen and Zaccheus Richardson were successively the ‘Warehouse Keepers’ for Oxford University Press. The seemingly innocuous title conceals more than it reveals and yet is telling. In William Laud’s original vision of a university press at Oxford in the 1630s at the heart of the enterprise was to be an individual known as the ‘Architypographus’.

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The vanished printing houses

By Martyn Ould
Someone on even the most cursory visit to Oxford must surely see two fine buildings that once housed the University Press: the Sheldonian Theatre and the Clarendon Building, close to each other on today’s Broad Street. If they venture further afield, perhaps heading for the restaurants and bars along Walton Street, they also can’t fail to notice the neo-classical building that has been the Press’s current home since 1832. What they’ll never see however is the Press’s second home.

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Picturing printing

By Ian Gadd
No visit to the Sheldonian Theatre would be complete without craning your neck to admire Robert Streater’s painted ceiling. Entitled Truth Descending upon the Arts and Sciences and comprising thirty-two panels, the painting was completed in Whitehall in 1668–9 and shipped to Oxford by barge. We don’t know the terms of the commission but Streater’s personification of Truth triumphing over Envy, Rapine, and Ignorance fitted well with a University looking to reassert its cultural ambitions in the aftermath of the Civil Wars and Interregnum.

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When did Oxford University Press begin?

By Ian Gadd
Determining the precise beginning of Oxford University Press is not as easy a question as it may seem. It’s not enough to brandish triumphantly the first book printed in Oxford, Expositio in symbolum apostolorum, as all that proves is that there was a printing press in Oxford in 1478…

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Oxford University Press and the Making of a Book

To celebrate the publication of the first three volumes of The History of Oxford University Press on Thursday and University Press Week, we’re sharing various materials from our Archive and brief scholarly highlights from the work’s editors and contributors. To begin, we’d like to introduce a silent film made in 1925 by the Federation of British Industry.

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