Established in Dalston Lane in 1953 by Les Wynn, whose son Peter joined the firm in 1962, The Malvern Press remained in Hackney until the company moved to Harlow in 2003. They started out using letterpress with Platens and a Glockner machine, a stop-cylinder press. Later on, they moved into offset lithography, and then specialised in foil blocking and holography, which was used for book covers and ID cards, among many other uses.
Having learned practical printing skills on the job, Peter went to London College of Printing (now London College of Communication) on a day-release course for order clerks. Later he returned for another course in platemaking, when it still involved pre-sensitised plates. Malvern’s clients included Philips Electrical, Burmah Castrol, the West Indian Gazette, the River Thames Watermen & Lightermen’s Union, Hackney Council and the pre-war Iraqi government. They also worked on first-day covers and prestigious short-run work for Lord Mayors’ dinners at Guildhall. The Malvern Press closed in 2014 having moved to Harlow in 2003.

Man with young boy and printed sheets
Les Wynn with his grandson, The Malvern Press, Dalston, 1977 Courtesy of Les and Peter Wynn, The Malvern Press
Les Wynn talks about starting up The Malvern Press in the 1950s.

My biggest problem when I started in 1953 was because I was doing everything.  I was setting, printing, admin, costing, invoicing, quite a full day.  But it was quite exciting really.  And we gradually employed people and they seemed to stay with me quite well, we had a good relationship, and obviously the work improved and I had to buy a faster and more efficient machine and I bought a brand new German machine and it was most awkward getting it into the factory because it was just a shop in Dalston – number 85 Dalston Lane, that was.  There was a shirt manufacturer on the first floor and above that was a fancy goods wholesaler, and I had the ground floor and the basement.

Les Wynn, The Malvern Press
Two men looking at printed matter
Peter Wynn and an employee, The Malvern Press, Dalston, late 1960s. Courtesy of Les and Peter Wynn

Peter Wynn of The Malvern Press

Barbara Whitlock

It was really interesting work, very varied – on Monday mornings the first job was Food and Cookery, which was a mailer, and that’s where you had to gather up the book, and it was stitched and inserted into an envelope, then you had to fan all the envelopes down so the adhesive showed at the end, and with a damp sponge you would sponge it out and then pull them towards you, sealing them as you went, pulling them underneath one another, press them down and they were sealed.

Barbara Whitlock, employee at The Malvern Press
Four men looking at printed sheet by a printing press
The Malvern Press, 1970s. Courtesy of Les and Peter Wynn, The Malvern Press

John Whitlock