Friday 27 October 2017


Desdemona McCannon invited me to collaborate with her on a marvellous Popular Print/Street Literature project workshop at Chetham Library, Manchester.

Chetham's Library was founded in 1653 and is the oldest public library in the English-speaking world.


We worked alongside the inspiring Jennifer Reid, and the brilliant Graham Moss of Incline Press.

Come and listen to ballad singer Jennifer Reid talk about her recent research trip to Bangladesh, where she explored Manchester and Lancashire song traditions, and how they relate to Bangladeshi songs of the same type. Jennifer will also perform a couple of folksongs from the Lancashire area similar to “Barbara Allen”, whose long and fascinating history will be described in depth during Vic Gammon’s Library Lecture later on in the day.

Again as an introduction to Vic Gammon’s talk, participants will be able to get a free letterpress version of “Barbara Allen” as produced by local printer Graham Moss from Incline Press in Oldham. There will be a chance to finish these copies with your own choice of illustrations by the hand of artist Desdemona McMannon and printer Stephen Fowler, who will provide a number of specially commissioned rubberstamps for this workshop.

We are making our collections of broadsides, ballads and single sheet material available online thanks to our ACE funded digitisation project “The Ballad of Chetham’s Library”. In addition to creating digital surrogates, we have put together a whole programme of activities aimed at providing a better understanding of the world of street literature from the 16th to the 19th century. This is our first event. There will be more events as part of “The Ballad of Chetham’s Library” project later on in the year. Follow us on Twitter #bballadschet to keep up to date.

Here are a few photographs of the event. 

Des's Rubber Stamps.
All photographs taken by Desdemona Mccannon 

Wednesday 25 October 2017

More Chapbooks and Broadsides from Chethams Library.

Here are a few more photographs of the brilliant chapbooks and broadside ballads from Chethams Library. Susana Sanchez Gonzalezir was very kind and generous, showing Des and myself all manner of printed delights. The archive of street literature will soon be available online.

Tuesday 24 October 2017

Chapbooks and Broadsides from Chetham's Library, Manchester.

Before Desdemona McCannon and I started the Broadside Ballard Rubber Stamp Workshop, we had the opportunity to take a look at the library's archive of Broadside Ballads and Chapbooks.

Susana Sanchez Gonzalez, Digital Project Officer,very kindly accessed the collection for us. 

Here are few of my favourites.