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Banging Out!

Fleet Street Remembered

"There used to be a tradition in Fleet Street newspapers called "banging out". It involved an employee, on the day he retired after a life-time's stalwart service to his chosen rag, being walked by his colleagues through the presses in the print room. As he wandered towards his rendezvous with a carriage clock, the printers serenaded him by whacking the metal benches with their hammers, beating out a ceremonial slow-march to mark his departure."
Jim White

Banging out also occured when apprentices passed out and when Fleet Street presses were shut down and moved to Wapping and Westferry in the 1980s.

digital:works worked with two primary schools near Fleet Street to chart the history of printing in the area from around 1500, when William Caxton's apprentice set up a printing shop in Shoe Lane, until the digital revolution saw presses move east to Wapping and elsewhere in the 1980s and 90s. This project puts former print workers at the forefront of this history and allows them to tell their story in their own words.

The children worked with Westminster Archives and St Bride Lbrary and met former printers to explore the history. They then did intensive workshops in film making and oral history before going on to conduct and film oral history interviews with former print workers from Fleet Street. They also did workshops in Letterpress and historical and creative writing for a booklet and exhibition.

A documentary film based on these oral history interviews was launched at St Brides in the summer of 2014. The film forms part of an exhibition which, along with the children's writing, is being shown at libraries and archives around London as well as in schools. This website hosts the young people's work including some interview extracts they have undertaken, their final edited film and their writing, both historical and creative. There is also a blog which follows the progress of the project.


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Latest New

News International Wapping Dispute 30th Anniversary Event.
Thursday 21st January 2016, 5pm to 7.30pm

Tower Hamlets Local History Library & Archives

277 Bancroft Road, E1 4DQ
020 7364 1290 /

Join the people involved in the dispute for this informal gathering to commemorate the
30th anniversary of the Wapping Dispute, which will include a screening of the film
'Banging Out: Fleet Street Remembered' (52 mins) at 5.30pm.

This event is organised by the News International Dispute Archive and supported
by Unite the Union, National Union of Journalists, Campaign for Press and
Broadcasting Freedom and the Marx Memorial Library. For further Information,
please call 07831 676587 or email