The Birchley Hall Press

Birchley Hall is an Elizabethan house in Merseyside built in 1594. It was the site of a secret printing press, possibly set up as early as 1604, but more certainly from about 1613. About 19 titles are attributed to the Birchley Hall press by the English Short Title Catalogue of the British Library.

The word 'press' is used as a descriptive term for the printing operation in these early times, as it is not likely to have been used as a formal title — mainly because it would have given away the location of the illegal printing press!

For more information on Birchley Hall see Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birchley_Hall

My grandfather, Vincent Wood bought Birchley Hall in 1945. At the time he owned and managed the St Helens Reporter, Wood Westworth & Co Ltd, a printers in St Helens that had been in the family since about 1860, and a stationery shop with a small library in St Helens town centre (now the site of a LloydsTSB Bank).

The Birchley Hall Press was resurrected by my father, Bernard Wood, and formally named as such, in 1951 in the same building as the original press, with the publication of This is the Faith. The actual printing, however, was done by Wood Westworth & Co. A few further titles were published up to at least 1960, including A Flame for Africa (1953) and Liverpool's Hidden Story (1957).

Birchley Hall is now a care home for the elderly run by Sue Ryder Care.

The Birchley Hall Press was resurrected a second time in 2007. The Birchley Hall Press now publishes The British Journal of Healthcare Computing and Information Management (www.bjhcim.co.uk), Medical Technology Business Europe (www.mtbeurope.info) an online magazine, and Tropical Trees for Life (www.treesforlife.info), a seedling-stage 'green' project with the aim to propagate information about tree growing and management in the tropics.

Harry Wood
Managing Editor & Owner
The Birchley Hall Press
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