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The Westgate School

Exploring the Art of Printing and Literary Heritage in Oxford

On Monday, 10 June, Ms Mulligan and Mrs Mansbridge took 14 students to Oxford for a visit with the Bodleian Libraries education team. In the university's printing room, they learnt how books had been printed for centuries, handled printing materials, and experienced the craft and labour involved in creating a printed book. After selecting and arranging letters for print, students were able to use the historic letterpress printing equipment to make a keepsake to print and take home. Students also printed an exact replica of the first page of the Tempest from Shakespeare's first folio.

Following their wonderful experience in the historic print room, the group then visited Blackwell's bookshop; a tremendous bookshop founded in the 1800s where J. R. R. Tolkein sold his first poem. Students had a great time searching the extensive shelves for a book to choose as a reward. From books about the British rail system to fantasy and classics, students chose a great array of books, marking their varied literary interests.

It has been lovely to see these students reading their chosen books during library lessons already and we hope the overall experience stays with them for years to come.