Rowley Atterbury and the Westerham Press Archive (publisher)

Reference: MS 5347Date: 1945-2007Extent: 85 boxes

Rowley Atterbury (1920-2011) is best known as the founder of the Westerham Press but he was also an important figure in the modern printing industry. Passionate about design and printing, he was closely associated with the advance of colour printing and in the development of the application of computers to type-setting.

The Westerham Press was set up in 1950, it aimed to do sound, well-designed work for customers in commerce and industry, not just limited editions for amateurs. The Press’s work included brochures, catalogues, and reports; high quality colour printing; commercial and private stationery; and technical and scientific work in the principal European languages. Customers included the City Music Society, Canchu Tea, Boosey and Hawkes, Killick Martin, Marley Tile Company, Rainbird McLean, the British Council, Penguin Books, Bromley Building Society, Geoffrey Dunn, and the Folio Society.

In the 1970s the Westerham Press set up a publishing arm, the Hurtwood Press, whose books included important works by John Piper and Robert Harling. In 1984 Westerham Press was bought by a large print and media group but Rowley Atterbury continued the work of the Hurtwood Press which is still in business today.

The collection contains correspondence with contacts and clients of the Westerham Press, many of whom were Rowley Atterbury’s personal friends.  There are records of company finance and management including Annual Reports and Accounts; records relating to the printing process including order books, invoice books, job sheets, and proofs; and publicity material such as press cuttings, leaflets and brochures, and company magazines. Personal material includes copies of talks and articles about the history of printing, and correspondence relating to books published by the Westerham Press, which seem to have been his personal projects. There are many photographs of Westerham Press’s visitors, premises, and machinery. Examples of material printed by the Press include concert programmes, company brochures and Annual Reports, book jackets, and postcards.

More information

  • A full description is available on our online database.
  • A handlist for the whole collection can be found here.
  • See also a list of other publishing and printing collections here.

Sources from our library collections