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Printing-Office (the Victoria Press) in Great Coram-Street, for the Employment of Women as Compositors. Photograph of the original illustration, by kind permission of Jeremy Norman of the History of Information website (see bibliography).


The introduction of women into the printing trade can now claim the consideration due to a successful experiment. The Victoria Press was opened in March, 1860, and has therefore stood the test of one year's work, and has triumphed over all the preliminary difficulties with which such an undertaking could not fail to be attended. The originators of this enterprise believed that former failures were to be traced to causes altogether apart from the nature of the work. They believed that these failures arose from the small scale of the experiments, which from the nature of the work and the considerable outlay of capital required before economical success can be secured, carried in this alone an element of loss. They resolved therefore to incur the risk of a larger experiment than any hitherto tried, feeling that the time was ripe for it. The public mind, long either strongly opposed or utterly indifferent to such innovations, was in enlightened quarters beginning to feel the necessity for extending the industrial employment of women. A certain amount of support was to be expected, an expectation which has been amply realised. The footing of the concern is that of a private business in which a considerable Capital has been embarked. Miss Emily Faithfull, as one of the proprietors, understook the sole management, and a year ago the office opened with a few girls, five of whom were apprenticed by the Society for Promoting the Employment of Women. In time these were joined by a few who had been trained by male relatives, but who could find not other outlet for their industry.

The site of the office of Great Coram-street is somewhat out of the bustle of business, but it was chosen as a quiet and respectable neighborhood for the experiment. Several large volumes have issued from the Victoria Press, showing efficient workmanship. Among them we may mention The Transactions of the Social Science Association, a volume of nine hundred pages; also The Report of the Committee on Trade Societies published by John W. Parker, The Englishwoman's Journal, a monthly publication devoted to the interests of women, is also issued from the office. If the Victoria Press continues to obtain the public support which has hitherto been extended to it there is no doubt of its utlimate entire success even as a commercial undertaking, and this is earnestly to be desired, as the only ground on which the extension of the experiment can be justly urged.

Vistors are allowed to inspect the establishment between three and five o'clock daily, and we recommend any one interested in the employement of women to take advantage of the permission thus extended to them.

This article comes from a copy of the Illustrated London News of 15 June 1861, p. 555, consulted in the British Newspaper Archive. It was formatted for our website by Jacqueline Banerjee.


Norman, Jeremy. Emily Faithfull Founds the Victoria Press for the Employment of Women 1860 CE. History of Information. Web. 3 June 2020 [gives a sizeable excerpt of her article entitled "Victoria Press" in The English Woman's Journal].

_____. "The Illustrated London News Reviews the First Year at Emily Faithfull's Victoria Press." History of Information. Web. 3 June 2020 [gives the whole review, with just a brief omission in the first paragraph and a few minor differences, as well as a useful introductory comment on it].

Created 3 June 2020