Exquisitely carved wooden printing blocks from calico and silk printing business R & E Littler (who once shared factory premises with William Morris).
Silk and Callico printing trades were popular in Stratford dating back to the 17th century and by 1747 there were 81 acres of ‘calico grounds’ in the marshes between Stratford and Abbey Mills.
Silk printing continued at Abbey works until about 1862 with the last firm being John Tucker, successor to R & E Littler. These carved wooden printing blocks are said to have belonged to R & E Littler and used in the textile printing industry,
Littler had premises at Waltham Abbey and bought two factories at Merton Abbey in 1831 printing wool and silk during the time that William Morris open his factory there in 1881. The Littler factory was sold to Arthur Liberty by Littler’s grandson in 1904 and the timber structured site was demolished to set up Liberty’s new printing works premises,
The Littler family suffered tragedy in 1909 when the grandson Edmund Littler Junior (known as Ted) shot himself troubled (mistakingly) about fortune and business decline.
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I believe I have an Ancestral connection to Edmond Littler, I am interested in any information there is regarding the print works. Images of printing blocks, photographs ?
That’s very interesting. All of the information we have on the Littler print works can be found here: https://rawmaterials.bowarts.org/collection/r-e-littler/
A number of the Littler printing blocks are housed at Newham Archives and Local Studies Library, so perhaps they’ll be able to help you further!
Printing blocks from the printing industry and ‘calico grounds’ between Stratford and Abbey Mills. These wooden printing blocks are now housed at Newham Archive and Heritage Service.
This item is now housed at the Newham Archives. You can visit it here.