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The Original Audlem Printers!

9th August 2022 @ 6:06am – by Judy @ Williams
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The Original Audlem Printers!

Did you know? -- Between 1862 and the 1940s, Williams of Audlem were not only shopkeepers, but also printers of locally consumed stationery items ; such as mourning cards, church order of services, newsletters, local society programs etc... and also posters for many village events.

It is believed that the Williams's had other family members in the printing trade in Malpas -- though we don't have any direct evidence of this.

The printing office was initially a shed, set at the back of the shop, but this had to be rebuilt following a serious fire in 1896 . No doubt this building fire was instrumental in George Williams being part of the very first Audlem Fire Brigade, which formed just a few years later.

The replacement building was an altogether more substantial affair (possibly due to the rather generous insurance pay out of £1200 at the time !), being made of Cheshire brick, and set over 2 floors and having large skylights. Unfortunately none of the printing machinery remains today, as it was all sold off some time around WW2. The building then became the shop's stockroom for the best part of the following 75 years -- before being recently converted into part of the living accommodation. of Manchester House (the building's official title, since its construction around 1840).

One interesting item from the old printing office, saved and repurposed within the house, is a window frame bearing some graffiti on its sill -- see photo. We imagine this was the work of one of George's sons called Charlie Williams, and is dated 1907 Perhaps he was idling his time looking out of the window, possibly waiting for a print run to finish...or perhaps just a bit of sheer devilment ! Either way it is now preserved as part of the fabric of our building !

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