Volume 54 - Autumn 2022


Robert Smail's Printing Works

A gem in the heart of the Scottish Borders by Roger Barlee


The other weekend I went to Innerleithen in the Scottish Borders and visited Robert Smail's Printing Works, a National Trust for Scotland property.

The business ran from 1866 until 1986 and barely modernized over that time. They also kept copies of virtually everything that had been produced over that period so you get a chance to see what they were printing over 100 years ago. When Robert's grandson retired the NTS took over the premises, photographed everything in position and then cleared the building for renovation before returning the stock to exactly where it had been. The printing works operate as a working museum but still operate the old printing machinery for local companies and individuals.


In the fascinating hour and a half tour you are given the history of the Company, then shown how newspaper pages were constructed, given a chance to set type on a composing stick yourself and then shown the printing machines in operation.



If you are in the area and interested in a facinating well worthwhile visit, then please check their websites as you have to book onto a timed tour

Robert Smail's Printing Works | National Trust for Scotland (nts.org.uk)


Skin Deep - Volume 54 - Autumn 2022

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