Thin Ice Press is the newly-built in-house printing studio in the Department of English and Related Literature at the University of York.

Our iron presses chart the evolution of print from 1838 to 1926. They offer the opportunity to experience the relationship between writing and printing practices through publication, practice-led research, teaching and public workshops.

The project to build a replica wooden common press will extend the timeline of our studio back to the early 18th century. Our press, based on the deconstructed remains of one owned by the York printer Thomas Gent, will allow us to preserve and share this lesser known aspect of York’s history and create links with the wider letterpress community of today.


The press will provide an opportunity to explore the vibrant printing history of York. From the 18th century female entrepreneurs who printed the first newspaper in York, to the printer’s devil that marked the location of the printing houses of Stonegate and its most famous resident, Thomas Gent (1693 – 1778).

Thomas Gent inherited his printing business from his wife, published several works (including a commemorative handbill on the Ouse in the great freeze of 1740) and established a printing house in Scarborough. Scarborough Museums Trust have kindly loaned Thin Ice Press the 18th century remains of a common press that once belonged to Thomas Gent, and it has already informed the plans and construction of our own working replica. 

Follow the links below to find out more about the wooden common press and to delve deeper into the history of printing in York.

Printing in York               Thomas Gent               Common Press               Blog


Thursday 24th January marked the official launch of Thin Ice Press. We celebrated the transformation of a neglected room into a working letterpress studio surrounded by staff, students, guests, and many letterpress printers who have helped us on our journey so far. Check out the launch event and past milestones, events and updates on our blog.

Our current focus is to provide a historical introduction to printing and ways to directly engage with letterpress. Members of the university can join our printing society (PrintSoc) and members of the public can check out our events page for more information.

Thin Ice Press has produced work for events within the the Department of English and Related Literature, conferences, collaborations between PrintSoc and student magazines, and facilitated independent creative work from visiting artists. You can view a selection of our work by following the links below.

Our Work               Printing Society              Collaborations


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