Owner & tutor: Jon Ward-Allen began his working life as an apprentice to a letterpress printer in Yorkshire in the 1970s. From there he went on to study and train in graphic design, typography and printing at Watford College of Printing. He then worked for fifteen years in publishing, advertising and design in London before setting up the Medlar Press in 1994. The Press, run by Jon and his wife, Rose, is now the leading publisher of angling literature and history in the country and prides itself on the quality not only of the content but of the design and production quality of its books. Although Medlar is at the forefront of printing and publishing technology, Jon has never lost his passion for the traditional methods of book production, and his enthusiasm and skill have always inspired and enthused those keen to find out more.
Owner & admin: Rose Ward-Allen has known the Grange since the age of 18 when she lived here with her aunt and uncle whilst completing her A-levels at Ellesmere College (as her parents were then on a posting in Mauritius). After her Geography degree, and a year travelling, she joined Macmillan International as a trainee Editor. She then moved to Bell & Hyman as the Editor for Humanities for UK Educational books (based in the then very unfashionable Bermondsey, where Jon had his design and advertising company), and after working with what had by then become Unwin Hyman for a few years and becoming a Commissioning Editor, she took a job based in Gaborone Botswana as Longman's Publisher for Southern Africa (working with the Ministries of Education to provide school books for Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland). Two years later, she swapped regions and became Longman's Publisher for the Caribbean, with an additional list of the acclaimed Longman African and Caribbean Writers' Series which, together with Heinemann's series of the same name, helped to bring new, and some now very well known, writers to a western audience. There was a lot of travelling involved, and for someone who didn't like flying, the prospect of staying in one place appealed, so when Longman were acquired by Pearson (with all the upheaval that would involve), and Jon suggested setting up the Medlar Press and moving out of London, it seemed like a great idea. In 1994 Jon and Rose moved to Shropshire, running the new publishing company from the Grange, courtesy of Rose's parents (who owned the house by then and ran it as a retreat centre). Since 2000, Jon and Rose have owned the Grange, raised a family (and a dog) and have developed the book craft courses to run alongside their busy publishing company, which now has over 100 books in print.
Ken Burnley served his apprenticeship as a compositor back in the Sixties in a large Lancashire bookwork printers. He subsequently became a lecturer at Liverpool College of Printing, where he taught typesetting for almost thirty years, experiencing the transition from traditional letterpress printing to phototypesetting and more recently digital printing. Latterly he has been a freelance copyeditor, designer, typesetter and proofreader for major international publishers, having project-managed over 1,000 books in the past fifteen years. Now retired, Ken has returned to his letterpress roots, and has revived his own Silver Birch Press where he sets and prints small limited-edition books. He is anxious to ensure that the skills are passed down to future generations to see them used to create beautiful printed images in the way that only letterpress can achieve.
Glenn Malkin is a professional bookbinder and a licentiate of Designer Bookbinders. Since becoming a full time bookbinder in 2008 Glenn has won numerous prizes and awards for his design bindings including the first prize for fine bindings in the 2015 Society of Bookbinders International Competition. He is an active member of both UK bookbinding societies and splits his work time between traditional book repairs and re-binds, creating design bindings and teaching and demonstrating at workshops and bookbinding events. Glenn has books in collections as far apart as Europe and the USA, and the Middle East and Australia. Glenn’s business, Signature Bindings, is based in seaside town of Hornsea in East Yorkshire.
Jim Mac Williams served his apprenticeship as a craft bookbinder in Edinburgh and also worked as a Bookbinder and Book Restorer for Edinburgh University before attending Teacher Training College in London. He subsequently became a Lecturer in Bookbinding firstly at Oxford College of Technology and then at Liverpool College of Art and Design. This was followed by taking up a post as Head of Print Finishing and Bookbinding at the London College of Printing and then a further post in Leeds College of Technology. Jim now has his own workshop where he undertakes Craft Bookbinding and Book Restoration projects.
Jill Sellars is a self-taught marbler who has been marbling since the mid-Seventies, when, working with bookbinder Paul Delrue an in-house supply of decorated papers was needed for the range of photograph albums and notebooks they were making. Since then Jill has developed her techniques, picking up new ideas and inspiration at the Marblers' Gatherings in America in 1991 and 2001. An Honorary Fellow of the Society of Bookbinders, Jill has been associated with the bookbinding world and has demonstrated and given talks on marbling for nearly thirty years. Jill’s papers have been used in many of her husband, David's fine bindings and in 2009 together they produced an edition of six miniature designed bindings illustrated with Jill's suminagashi.
Annabel Wade is an experienced meditator with a background in psychology and is pursuing further studies in mindfulness at Bangor University. She will be 61 this year. ‘I first came to the Grange over ten years ago to celebrate a big birthday. I felt it was time do do something just for me. I love facilitating our weekends and have met many wonderful and inspiring women. I enjoy writing poetry as well as practising tai chi, meditation and mindfulness.’
Rosemary Ward is a practising psychotherapist and has trained in teaching Meditation and Mindfulness at Oxford University. She has over twenty years’ experience of running groups for women, particularly those in the second half of their lives.