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and door facing the Market Place, the appearance of this iconic building looks very much as it did when visited by the young Lord Byron. Only the name over the door has changed. At that time it was the premises of Samuel & John Ridge, printers and booksellers.


A Whilst the young Byron was living with his mother at Burgage


Manor in Southwell, he composed two works of poetry, Fugitive Pieces and Hours of Idleness, both works the outcome of the bore- dom he suffered whilst living there. Having written the poems, the urge to have them printed afforded him an ideal excuse to travel to Newark, a distance of some eight miles, which in mod- ern sensibilities is nothing more than a small inconvenience, but much more significant using horses.


It was at the Saracen’s Head Inn just a couple of score paces across the Market Place that Byron lodged for the few days it took to print his works. Doubtless, although what passed for his entertainment is not recorded, he made full use of the time in more exciting pur- suits than could be enjoyed at home in Southwell.


Burgage Manor 32


n 1806 picture of Ridges shop and the Market Place ap- peared in the English Illustrated Magazine, February 1897. Except for the addition of a late Victorian shop window


Te Saracen’s Head Inn in Newark now houses Barclay’s Bank.


Te entrance to the printer’s shop, with its classical oval fan- light, portico and two steps remains completely unaltered. Byron skipped up these 2 steps as best he could with his lame foot and gave with the brass knocker his hurried rap-a-tap which, from its peculiarity, always foretold his awaiting presence without. Behind this door is the very same staircase, now offering to a coffee bar on the first floor.


Te printing press used by the Ridge brothers was, until the


recent retirement of printer Roy Stephenson, still in use by him, first at his various business premises and latterly at Newark Millgate Folk Museum, where Roy used to give demonstra- tions. All of the type and the press itself can still be viewed at the Millgate museum.


Byron’s Printers Shop newark


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