Welcome to Paddington Printshop
From 1975 to the late 1980s Paddington Printshop was a centre for graphic design, printing and community activism in west London, UK.
This site is an educational resource about the printshop, its posters, and the people, organisations and ideas surrounding it. Files may be downloaded for study and non-commercial purposes
‘Among the most compelling burst of creative energy in the realm of the political poster post-1968, the body of work created by Paddington Printshop in the 1970s and 1980s is as fresh and relevant as it was 40 years ago.’
Reflecting on these posters more than 30 years later, not only is it a comprehensive archive of some of London’s most vibrant activist posters of the time, it’s also a demonstration of how communities can work together and how design can be used in its purest form, to communicate issues that are important to people.
In the 1970s, the Paddington Printshop – an Anarchist-run studio in west London – played a significant role in this history, supporting and promoting the hard work of squatters networks, feminist groups, anti-racist campaigns, and community events such as the burgeoning Notting Hill carnival.
‘no activism is worth its salt without letting its hair down. Hence a dragon gets into the festive mood in the anonymous Summer Festival 1982 and Joe Strummer announces The 101ers’ weekly gigs at The Elgin pub — a nostalgia rush to soften the heart of the hardest barricade minder.’
As well as providing a dash of background colour, the posters helped reshape the landscape of the area. One dramatic example was the creation of Meanwhile Gardens, a playground carved out of derelict land.
Thanks to its close involvement with local community and activist organisations, Paddington Printshop soon became much more than ‘just’ a print workshop. The organisers helped the Notting Hill Carnivalists secure public funding, assisted the artist Jamie McCullough to establish the community-run public park Meanwhile Gardens and designed a campaign in 1984 to stop the local authority selling the surrounding housing estate to developers.
Working with everyone – from community groups to local musicians like the Sex Pistols and Joe Strummer – Paddington Printshop grew to develop a special style. Its relationship with the local community extended the impact of socially engaged art in the UK.
Wall Street International Magazine 21 April 2018