Wolverhampton Printers

John Steen

Lawley writes of Steen as: "… the late Mr. John Steen, the legitimate successor to the most celebrated of our local printers. As partner with Mr. Thomas Simpson, his experience as a book publisher was very extensive, a vast proportion of our local literature having issued from their press during Mr. Steen’s career from 1854 to 1889. He was a gentleman of honour and integrity, genial in his manners and conversation, thoroughly imbued with the best traditions of his art, and a worthy upholder of his predecessor’s reputation. Like Mr. Roden (whose business Mr. Steen purchased) he was always anxious to improve the quality of his productions and in many ways succeeded in his endeavours – his printing being equal to those of the best houses in the trade. Mr. Steen … died unexpectedly while at Rhyl on June 14th 1889". [I assume that what was unexpected was that he died at all, not that he did so at Rhyl].

It seems that Steens always had offices and works in Queen Square.But when the old Grammar School buildings in St. John's Lane were sold in 1877 they were bought by Easthopes, the decorators, interior furnishers and bicycle makers, and then in 1879 were sold on to Steens who installed presses there.

Also in 1879, when Edward Roden, one of Wolverhampton's most progressive printers, retired the goodwill of his company was sold to "Messrs Steen and Blackett of Queen Square".  This must have made them one of Wolverhampton's biggest printers, if not the biggest.  But who Blackett was is not known.

Title page of the Reverend Dalton's memoir of his late wife. "Wolverhampton: Printed at the Office of Simpson and Steen, Market Place, 1862".
"John Steen and Co., Printers, Queen Square".  There were two bindings - one sewn, with green cloth covers with gold titling; and this, wire stab sewn with pasted paper on board covers.


left: the title page of G. P. Mander's History of the Wolverhampton Grammar School, 1913. 

Because Steens Ltd. operated from the schools old town centre buildings Mander says "it was thought fitting for the present work to appear" from there.

  Steens printed this programme in 1924.

And this trade catalogue in 1925.

An advert from 1953.

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