Letter: Plan for a Museum of Type

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The Independent Online
IN THE next two months Britain has its last chance to establish the Type Museum, a unique working museum in London devoted to printing with moveable type. The Merrion Monotype Trust, with the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Science Museum, has rescued an irreplaceable wealth of letter patterns and precision machines. These - some eight million artefacts - represent Monotype, the hot-metal process patented in 1897 that perfected the art of automatic typesetting and produced typefaces for virtually every known alphabet and script. Printers worldwide came to Monotype for their supplies. The elegance of Monotype type design and technology made possible the unsurpassed quality of 20th- century print.

A London site for the museum has been found, the purchase of which has to be completed within two months, where the public will be able to see type being created, and a new generation of students and researchers will learn the refinement of skills needed for electronic communication. With public support it can also become the home of a remarkable collection of British hand letter foundries stretching back to the 16th century.

To lose such a fundamental British resource would be a national deprivation. We urge your readers to support the project while there is still time.

From: Sir Neil Cossons, Director, The Science Museum; Dr Mirjam Foot, Director of Collections and Preservation, British Library; Piers Rodgers, Secretary to the Royal Academy of Arts; Elizabeth Esteve- Coll, Director, Victoria and Albert Museum; Alan Bell, Librarian, London Library; Professor Anthony Jones, Rector, The Royal College of Art; John Sorrell, Chairman, The Design Council; John Hendry and Paul Thompson, Directors, The Design Museum; Max Hebditch, Director, The Museum of London; Sir John Fairclough, Chairman, The Engineering Council; Dr Alan Borg, Director, The Imperial War Museum; John Martin Robinson, Secretary to the Roxburghe Club; Giles Waterfield, Director, The Dulwich Picture Gallery; James Arnold-Baker, Secretary to Oxford University Press Delegates; Elizabeth Harris, Curator, Division of Graphic Arts, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC; Jean Favier, President, Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris; Dr Eva Hariebutt-Bent, Director, Gutenberg Museum, Mainz; Dr Francine de Nave, Curator, Plantin- Moretus Museum, Antwerp