• Callums Night Photography

Cox & Wyman Printworks, Reading

Updated: Jul 7, 2020

Cox & Wyman is located on a large site close to Reading town centre. It is one of the oldest printing companies in the UK, with a history stretching back more than 200 years to 1777.

The Printworks was constructed in the first decade of the 20th century.

The Triangle looking pitched buildings on Addison Road side of the factory are made of an ornate design 'faced with yellow brick and dressed with pilasters with a Terracotta tiled banding'.

The Bricks & Tiles are have said to have been made by S.&.E Colliers a Reading local brick maker who was based in Coley in the mid 19th century.

S & E Colliers was Readings Largest Brickmakers.

Colliers moved to Grovelands in Tilehurst in 1870 and operated until 1966.

The company was well known for their Terracotta and 'Reading Red Bricks' a couple of examples in Reading Town such as the Town Hall and Queen Victoria Street.

The Cox & Wyman firm moved to Reading because most of its work was coming from GWR in 1902-1903 and the Addison Road site was conveniently placed along the GWR sidings.

When they moved to the Addison Road/Cardiff Road site they moved most of the heavy Printing Equipment by barge to Caversham Bridge.

The firm famously delivered a 25,000-copy reprint of Eimear McBride’s A Girl is a Half-formed Thing just 48 hours after the title was announced the winner of the prestigious Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction in June 2014.

In October 2014 the company printed 80,000 copies of the 2014 Man Booker prize winner The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flannigan in 72 hours.

In its heyday it was printing national railway timetables and even had a shop at Reading railway station.

The building was then put up To Let and a filming company used the building from 2016-2019 and now the building is undergoing demolition sometimes you have to wait until Demolition and big chunks are torn out of the buildings to see inside.

The building is pretty interesting with many CPI Cox & Wyman features still inside and beautiful iron beams holding the printing warehouse roof up.

The Former Printing Factory has been earmarked for demolition since 2015 when the factory closed down and is now set to be replaced by 96 new homes and a new development called The Printworks.

After hearing on a Facebook group forum that the Prop Company has moved out of Cox & Wyman i shot down towards the factory in Reading Town, after scouting out the area for a while with a few annoying neighbors being nosey i had to wait it out until it was the right time to hop in through a unlocked window! Once i got inside the Printworks i couldnt believe the size of it 'ITS HUGE'!! there wasn't much left inside except a few old features and posters on the walls! my favorite part was the Function Room with the air blocks on the front wall.

After exploring this place i spent a good hour or two taking photographs to document it.

Upstairs in the Offices we found a J Mould book with people who have recently signed into the site! i knew the place was being demolished but this showed me it was being prepared for demolition, its pretty sad but the factory has had its printing days and i guess it cant stay forever!

The Factory was split into separate sections some would have contained big machines these areas are, Text Printing Area, Dispatch Area, Paper Store , Foil Room, Colour Printing Room, Offices, Function Room, Compressor Room, The Trim Extract Room, Norm Binding Area & Harris Binding Line Area.

Above & Below Photos Cox & Wyman Interior c1908: Credit BIAS.org.uk

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Callum Cromwell - Reading - United Kingdom - Callums Night Photography

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