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Powage Press Aspley Guise

Powage Press
Powage Press about 1920 [Z50/3a/8]

The Powage Press has long been a part of the village. John Kemp bought the former masters' and school buildings of the Aspley Guise Classical Academy in 1874 and using them for the printing works of his firm, John Kemp & Company, a directory of 1885 noting that the head office was 46 Cannon Street, London. By 1898 John Kemp & Company was known as Powage Press. The name comes from The Powage, an area of ground originally owned by the Aspley Guise Classical Academy. The Powage Press buildings are on the site of the school buildings themselves including masters' accommodation and dormitories for the boys. These original buildings burned down in a disaterous fire in 1911 but their replacements were of a similar character.

In 1927 this part of Bedfordshire was valued under the terms of the Rating Valuation Act 1925; every piece of land and building was inspected to determine the level of rates to be paid on it. At the time of the valuation the owners were executors of John Kemp, the tenant The Powage Press Limited on 35 years lease of which 15 had expired.

The Offices comprised [DV1/C/138] : ground floor: clerical department (29½ feet by 13½ feet), strong room, office (14 feet by 13 feet). First floor: wc, strong room, office (20 feet by 13 feet), office (29½ feet by 13 feet), cloak room, landing and kitchen. There were cellars below. 

Powage House January 2008
Powage House January 2008

The printing works itself comprised an office (14 feet by 9 feet), composing rooms (54 feet by 32 feet and 20 feet by 16½ feet), an office (9 feet by 8 feet) and machine rooms (104 feet by 21½ feet and 36 feet by 8 feet), a foundry (25½ feet by 8 feet) and a wc; in the basement were a store (25 feet by 15 feet) and an engine room (25 feet by 13 feet), a dynamo room and a battery room. There was also a bindery (38 feet by 16 feet).

Plant at the works consisted of two 6hp Crossley gas engines, a switch board, a 56 volt dynamo, a 26 cell battery and 90 feet of shafting. The valuer completed his visit by noting: "Present people here before lease started some years. Place rebuilt pre-war 1912".

Powage House January 2008
Powage House January 2008