Printers & Publishers

Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire


Dotesio & Todd printers logo, Bradford on Avon

The logo of the Bradford on Avon printers features an old hand-operated printing press

At 28 Silver Street, now (2019) Kingston estate agents, where a ghost sign high on the wall reads “Printing Office”, a succession of printers worked from the early 19th to the early 20th centuries. Stationers and booksellers Stump & Bubb were there in 1822, with John Bubb stationer, printer, engraver and jeweller on his own from at least 1832. Bubb died in 1860 at 71, leaving money for the rebuilding of St Catherine’s almshouses in Frome Road.

Next came John Stephen Day, who printed many local pamphlets, advertisements and tickets and was described as ‘retired bookseller’ in 1871. His business was continued by George John Farrington (“late J.S. Day”), who printed local directories and was still there in 1887. 

With the arrival at the building of William Charles Dotesio by 1893, printing became a bigger business. Dotesio was printer, bookbinder and maker of business ledgers, sometime advertising as Dotesio & Todd of Bradford on Avon and Lowestoft, Suffolk, sometimes of Bradford on Avon and Devizes. The firm was able to produce complete books, notably Canon Jones’ history of Bradford as updated by John Beddoe in 1907. It expanded firstly into larger premises further up Silver Street, now Moxham’s Antiques shop and workshop and then, as a limited company, into vacated woollen factory and offices at Greenland Mills. Having been taken over by Top Ten Productions and with the impending redevelopment of the factory, Dotesio’s was moved to Trowbridge , but did not continue for very long.

staff of Dotesio's printing works, Silver Street

Dotesio staff outside their works in about 1930

At the end of the 19th century there was another printer in Silver Street: Ernest Holdom (1870-1929), who operated from premises opposite the Bunch of Grapes. He produced programmes and leaflets and was a leading light in the musical life of the town, conducting the Excelsior Choir and a Male Voice Choir.

In the Market Street area was a shorter succession of printers. Joseph Rawling (1792-1866), who was also a preacher at Bearfield Chapel, began at the building next to the Swan Hotel which was later a bank and bears the name Old Bank House. He moved up the hill to the building that had once been the Maiden Head Inn, at the back of which the former Methodist chapel that had been built for John and Charles Wesley provided space for printing works.

His younger son Charles Rawling (1831-1903) succeeded him, producing town directories in the 1880s and 1890s. At the same time, he was the town’s postmaster 31 years, operating the post office in the building next door. When he retired in 1898 the printing business closed and the Post Office needed a new home, constructing the building on the corner of the Shambles that opened in 1900.

Town Club & Stumble Inn, Market Street, Bradford on Avon

Rawling’s office in Market Street, in 2019 the Town Club and Stumble Inn

Charles Rawlings,1887 directory


A Miss Lavinia Jones of Bradford on Avon exhibited a miniature Albion Press and cases of type and furniture at the London Exhibition of 1862 and offered similar presses for sale and instruction to ladies in composition and press work.