Hampton through Time – Archive Blog

8 October 2020Publications Through Time

As the 2019-20 edition of The Lion is in production, we thought it would be interesting to see how earlier editions of the publication were produced.

A building owned by the Makepeace family on Hampton Hill was used solely as a Post Office until 1935 when it was partly converted into a Printing Press. This development was swiftly followed by an advert in the papers from a Mr Edwin Makepeace Esq. promising “Superior work and materials only, established 1835” and this is where our story begins.

Hampton Hill Post Office

Before the luxury of modern-day printers, if the Edwardians wanted anything printed they had to take their requirements and designs to a printing press. There was a lot to consider before printing could take place; what font to use, the spacing between the lines and the inclusion of an emblem or insignia. Letter by letter, row by row, the words were formed on a re-usable printing block. This process was called typesetting. The bound text was then mounted onto the press, painted with a thin coating of viscous ink, topped with a sheet of paper and then, pressure transferred the writing onto the paper.  To create image blocks, it was a painstaking process using chemicals to permanently burn images onto a copper and zinc plate.

The Hoe Rotary Machine 1888

The Hampton School archive holds a selection of printing blocks which were used from the early 1900s to the 1960s.  Bronze and later, rubber printing blocks were used for text and blocks created using zinc and copper was reserved for photographs. Although these blocks couldn’t be altered they could print multiple copies of the same design. This was useful for the front covers and photographs used in the Lions between the years 1908. See the printing block below? The space at the bottom of the block left space for the new date.

In order to gain a greater understanding of modern printing, the current Lion Editor and English teacher Mr. Baker, was asked to explain the process behind the modern Lion. The articles for the Lion are supplied by teachers, current pupils and alumni.  The Old Hamptonians Chronicle (within the Lion) is edited by Denis Fuller OH (1961) who collates stories from alumni about their time and memories of Hampton.  After all the content is collated, it’s placed into a single document and reviewed. It’s then sent off to the designer, who, although retired has been working on the Lion for over 20 years. Once the document has been approved, it is sent to the printers who send back an A2 proof, for a final check. The checked copy then goes back to the printers ready to be bound. So you can see, the Lion has been on quite the journey before reaching its readers.

The process that underpins the Lion has changed over the years but the essence has remained very much the same and now, as it was then, remains a celebration of our staff and pupils both former and current.



15 January 2020 – Meet the Archivist

Alexandra J Esmond MA – School Archivist


After completing her bachelors degree in English Literature with Creative Writing she studied a masters in Archive Administration at Aberystwyth University, and found her way to Hampton School soon after.

As a school archivist, she preserves the collective memory of the School.

Her inspiration comes from historians Lucy Worsley and Mary Beard.

If you would like to access the archives or have any documents, photographs or artefacts relating to the School that you would like to donate, Miss Esmond would be pleased to help.