Recorded voices from the world of printing:

Vivian Ridler, Printer to the University of Oxford

In this conversation recorded in February 1998, Martyn Ould and Martyn Thomas talk to Vivian Ridler, who was Printer to the University Press, Oxford from 1958 to 1978, having joined as Assistant Printer to Charles Batey in 1948. Our conversation was recorded at his home in Oxford during our research for The Fell Revival, so the intended theme was the use of the Fell types in general, but we strayed into much of the surrounding territory including Ridler's own career.

We would like to thank the Ridler family for permission to include these recordings in our archive. The photo of Ridler above was taken in 1967 (copyright OUP). Ridler died in January 2009.

Part 1. Supplying the Fell types to others. Casting the Fell types for the John Fell, the University press and the 'Fell' types book, but still in limited amounts. The work of Top Comps. Trial settings done in Monotype faces. (The series '592' mentioned was Dante.) (9:20)
Part 2. Holdings of the range of Fell types. Ridler opens up his copy of John Fell. The portrait referred to is that of John Fell used for the frontispiece of that book. Carter, Morison's views of him, and Ridler's. The 1953 Fascicules. Carter's work at the Press. (11:26)
Part 3. Carter's character. Books printed in Fell for other publishers. The fate of the founts sold to others. Lunch with Francis Meynell. Drinks with Ralph Richardson. (15:22)
Part 4. Meynell and Morison. The writing and printing of Morison's John Fell, the University press and the 'Fell' types. (10:28)
Part 5. Printer John Johnson. Top Composing Room ('Top Comps'). (During the recording, Anne Ridler enters with tea and Jaffa cakes.) Head of the Layout Department: Kenneth Stewart. Goings-on at the Press. (23:02)
Part 6. The variety of items dealt with. Handling customers. Ridler's career before OUP. His printing since retirement from OUP. John Randle and Matrix. The Monotype Newsletter. (18:23)
Copyright Martyn Ould 2007.