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Brief History of the “Blenkinsopp Lesser Printing Press”
The Blenkinsopp Lesser Press (modelled in some respects on the German Guttenberg printing device) was cast and assembled by one Obadiah Mallard Blenkinsopp of Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire in the late autumn of 1873.
It was originally commissioned by the Most Rev. Pettigrew Cholmondley-Smythe who required it for the production of his monthly newsletters. Many of his parishioners had deviated from the straight and narrow earlier that year by the discovery of gin, and this had impacted on the Sunday offerings. The gin also appeared to be responsible for the beaming smiles on his congregants faces, notwithstanding that he would repeatedly and incessantly berate them with lurid descriptions of what was sure to befall them in the burning fires of Hell as the wicked sinners they clearly were.
He flooded the diocese with newsletters about “the wrath to come” all printed on the trusty Blenkinsopp Lesser. However, after three years of unremitting fire and brimstone the Most Reverend minister was forced to abandon his efforts. It appeared they were being counter-productive. He was subsequently forced to sell the Blenkinsopp to pay off mounting debts which had apparently accrued because of a secret gambling addiction.
But after he’d paid off his creditors he didn’t want to sit on the leftover chunk of money, so he enterprisingly used the remainder to buy shares in the gin company. His mysterious disappearance from the diocese soon after is still a main talking point in the community. But rumours about him relocating to Marilyn Monroe’s old house in Beverly Hills still haven’t been proven, and the high concentration of plastic surgeons in that region mean that it may never be.
The Blenkinsopp’s second owner turned out to be the Lord High Sheriff of Bolton. But the two year period it rested in his hands turned out to be somewhat unremarkable. It was used only to create council proclamations, notices, bulletins and the like. However, it wasn’t long before all this would change.
Out of the blue it was sequestered by military decree. It was destined for use by “B” Company, 2nd Battalion, 24th (2nd Warwickshire) Regiment, Foot & Mouth (2nd/24th), under Lieutenant Gonville Germaine Broomhead. This was due to the rumblings then taking place during the build up to what would ultimately develop into the Anglo-Zulu war of 1879. You know, the one that Jack Hawkins, Stanley Baker and Michael Caine won?
It would not prove to be an easy passage though, and it took almost three years to get the Blenkinsopp to mainland Africa. The trip took a bitter toll. A number of unfortunate beasts of burden had to be seconded to carry it along the way and, sadly, they became so clapped out they died from exhaustion - or “knackeration” - to give it its proper veterinary medical name. (According to military records five donkeys, four horses, three Alpacas, two Llamas and an elderly Yak perished in turn.)
People are often staggered at the quality of our discs and wonder how it is that we can produce them to such a high standard.
It’s all down to the incredible “Blenkinsopp Lesser Printing Press”.
For the aficionados among us we are pleased to provide below a truncated history of this truly amazing device.